Dream (2008)

18.

★★★★

Directed by: Ki-duk Kim
Written by: Ki-duk Kim
Starring: Jô Odagiri, Na-yeong Lee and Mi-hie Jang

The arthouse lure of Korean films, which has been picking up interest internationally through film festivals and critical acclaim, owe a lot to the work of director Ki-duk Kim. The intensity of human emotion when it comes to love, jealousy and loneliness has been explored countless times in films because of its universality and dramatic qualities. Director Kim’s take on these themes, however, take on a psychological and powerfully visual style of storytelling that is uniquely disturbing and hypnotic.

Must. not. sleep.

When a man discovers that his dreams are being put into action by a sleepwalking woman, the two confront dark histories that ultimately render them inseparable. While a mystic tells them that putting their past behind them and loving each other would simply solve the situation, the two individuals find it difficult to let go of their old lovers and escape the strange curse that seems to bring them together.

Interchanging between the Japanese dialogue of Jô Odagiri and the Korean cast, Ki-duk Kim also leaps across limitations and oddities in the film’s own visual direction, taking commonly jarring filmic qualities and using them to the film’s advantage. With such a strong central concept that drives the film’s plot, Dream is able to stretch the strange circumstances of the two protagonists until it reaches a climax that twists into a satisfying and beautiful ending. Until then, however, the film follows a relatively weak plot progression that could have been more diverse in its representation of the dream world and each character’s inner change and development.

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