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Pieta (18)

Jeff Sawtell recommends a telling exposure of the loan-shark system

Pieta (18)
Directed by Kim Ki Duk

“The fool will go crazy over losing his family,” a character remarks in Kim Ki Duk’s latest allegory.

It encapsulates the film’s soap opera-like scenario, in which kith, kin and clan are held to ransom for not paying their debts.

Thus Pieta is a timely if somewhat vicious reminder of the world of Wonga, the money lenders who profit from poverty.

How different from this director’s poetic Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter ... and Spring.

Then, life hasn’t eased in South Korea.

Its stark reality is highlighted as a crippled man hoists himself on a hook from his wheelchair so he can hang himself.

We witness what appears to be a day in the life of a young slob who masturbates, throws a knife at a picture of a girl and then leaves.

He’s Gang Do (Lee Jeong Jin) a sadistic loan-shark who maims those who can’t pay so they can claim insurance.

Meanwhile, a lathe worker is going crazy, begging his wife for a shag because there’s no money and this could be his last.

Gang Do is merciless, even humiliating the woman offering herself to him and casting her aside before going on his way.

Suddenly, he’s confronted with a mysterious woman (Cho Min So) who offers him food, begs for forgiveness and claims she’s his mother.

As the saga unfolds the principles of the system that multiplies misery and then death when there’s nothing left comes into acute focus.

Pieta’s moral is that there’s always a worm that’ll turn and horror will most certainly return to haunt those with any sense of common humanity.


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