Samaritan Girl (2004)

73.

★★★★

Directed by: Ki-duk Kim
Written by: Ki-duk Kim
Starring: Yeo-reum Han, Ji-min Kwak and Eol Lee

When watching a Ki-duk Kim film, there will be moments where you stop and deeply appreciate what is at work. Whether its the original premise, the complex and captivating characters, or just the economical way in which Ki-duk treats dialogue, this South Korean director makes it evident through his films that heknows what he is doing.

Awarded the Silver Bear for Best Director, Ki-duk Kim’s Samaritan Girl tells the story of two junior highschoolers – Yeo-jin (Kwak) and Jae-young (Han) – trying to save money for a trip to Europe. Despite their innocent smiles and playground games, Yeo-jin and Jae-young make their money within a well-kept secret. Jae-young prostitutes herself while Yeo-jin scouts out prospective clients. What ensues is a deeply affecting tale of shame, redemption, and forgiveness.

Getting prepped

While Samaritan Girl follows the same vein of contemporary Korean films that have been getting quite a rep internationally for their gritty and compelling subject matter, the film distinguishes itself with a stronger focus on story rather than anything luxuriously visual. As the plot takes surprising turns and makes interesting observations on heavy themes and ideas, Samaritan Girl uses its visual grit and unsavory violence to give the film’s concepts poetic and powerful expression.

Tragic, thoughtful, and beautifully conveyed in cinematic language, Samaritan Girl is the tenth wonder of Ki-duk Kim.

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