Magazine article Herizons

Mother

Magazine article Herizons

Mother

Article excerpt

MOTHER

Directed by Bong Joon-Ho

Seeing the film Mother, by brilliant South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho, is like watching a beautiful, luminous snake eat its own tail until the snake does not disappear, but rather transforms itself into something even more breathtaking than its original form.

The premise of the film is simple: A schoolgirl isfound murdered and draped over the roof of a building for the entire town to see. A young mentally challenged man (Won Bin) has been accused and arrested. His mother, played in a highly nuanced and astounding performance by Kim Hye-Ja, an actor who can marry tragedy and comedy in perfect balance, seeks to redeem her son with a fury so driven it's on fire.

Bong has the suspense genre firmly integrated into his psyche. He plays with our expectations throughout the film. Alfred Hitchcock played with audiences' expectations - setting viewers up for the mundane, then delivering terror. Bong takes the opposite tactic. In an approach that is as ironic as it is effective, he repeatedly breaks then builds tension by setting us up for terror, then follows up with the mundane.

The story propels forward as each seemingly insignificant detail raises the question of the accused's innocence and drives the mother in pursuit of his freedom. The mother's orgiastic dance at the end of the film embodies the pain and confusion around the moral contradictions that confront her. We know murder is wrong, but what about saving one's child? Isn't it instinctual? …

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