Magazine article Screen International

'Madonna': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Madonna': Review

Article excerpt

Dir/Scr: Shin Su-won. South Korea. 2015. 120mins

Painting a dark and unsettling portrait of the issues faced by Korean women marginalised by society, Madonna tells a gripping story about a brain-dead patient. Nobody seems to care about her until a caregiver is asked to obtain a signed donor consent form from a relative and begins to investigate her past. Directed by Shin Su-won (Pluto), a former middle-school teacher, this is another outstanding feature to add to her impressive body of work further illustrating her growing status as one of Korea's leading female filmmakers.

A Cannes Un Certain Regard premiere gives Shin the perfect platform to increase her profile on the international stage following, Pluto which was well-received in Busan in 2012 and then won a Special Mention (Generation 14plus) in Berlin. Returning to Cannes after her short film Circle Line won the Canal+ prize in Critics' week 2012, Shin's looks set to break out.

Madonna initially follows Hye-rim (Seo Young-hee) who is struggling to keep on top of her debts. She then reports to a hospital on her first day as a nurse assistant and is assigned to a VIP ward where she's told to take care of a man - the hospital's chairman and one of its main investors - who has been leftparalyzed by a stroke. His morally questionable son Sang-woo (Kim Young-min), now running the hospital, is trying to keep him alive through a series of transplants as his father has instructed in his will that his fortune is to be given to charities and other social causes.

Once his father's latest heart starts to show signs that his body is rejecting it, Sang-woo searches for a new donor. He turns to a patient who was admitted to the hospital's emergency department and is now in an apparent vegetative state. Hye-rim is ordered by Sang-woo to find a next-of-kin and obtain consent for an organ donation. …

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