4.0, Korea


New York Asian Film Festival2009 / Yang Ik-joon > Raw, brutal and absolutely beautiful. When the star/director Yang came out and said, “Fuck the Korean film industry,” he meant it. Since 2005, Korean cinema has forgotten what made it so fantastic. It dared to do things global cinema was failing at. Whether it was the entirely unconventional roots of Shin Ha-kyun’s alien catcher in Save the Green Planet, the magical romance in My Sassy Girl or the twist of a lifetime in Oldboy, it’s been a long time since the country’s put forth anything worthy of conversation. Well, this is it: Not since Gary Oldman’s underappreciated Nil by Mouth have we seen domestic violence treated with this kind of uncompromising passion. And while passion may not seem like a word to describe a film of unabashed violence, it’s hard to argue that the violence of man is founded on a kind of ignorant, blind intensity that leads him to do things that don’t always make sense. Sometimes he doesn’t understand it himself until it’s too late. Breathless is that kind of film, where things happens as you would expect them to, no holds barred. Its anger is saddening but organic. There is no sentimentality, just the force of raw energy that devours all of us. The heart stirs immensely in this one, and if it doesn’t, I’d be hard pressed not to send you to the doctor to make sure you’re still ticking.