Magazine article Screen International

Amen

Magazine article Screen International

Amen

Article excerpt

Dir/scr: Kim Ki-duk. South Korea. 2011. 72 mins

Apparently inspired by a trip he took around Europe during his youth, Amen often comes across like something Kim Ki-duk threw together during his school holidays. As per Arirang, Kim's self-reflective documentary that won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes this year, Amen marks a dramatically pared-back change of direction for the director of Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter...And Spring. There are only two credits here, Kim and his actress Kim Ye-na.

Distinguishing the film is talented young Korean actress Kim Ye-na.

Hopefully this will turn out to be a small detour in Kim's ongoing cinematic journey. Amen is a highly conceptual shot-on-the-fly piece about an un-named alienated Korean girl who shuttles around Europe looking for an absent artist boyfriend whose name she shouts at various destinations ("Lee Myong-soo!"), marking the only real dialogue in this 72-minute film. She is raped on a train from Paris to Venice one night by a man in a gas mask who steals her bag and shoes and begins to pursue her.

Kim Ki-duk has helpfully stated that the gas-masked rapist (which he himself plays) doesn't actually exist and is a manifestation of the girl's fears, just in case anyone might be tempted to take Amen on face value. …

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