Arirang

Arirang

South Korea, 2011, 100 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Art/Filmmaking, Documentary, Korean
Programs: Documentary Films, Focus on a National Cinema: South Korea
Language: Korean English Sub-Titles

For admirers of the once-prolific South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk, who directed 15 sumptuously-photographed features between 1996 and 2008, this raw personal diary—which he shot himself with a Canon Mark II videocam—will come as a shock. It's a corrosively self-critical meditation on life, death, and the suspect purposes of art itself, poured out to the camera like an overwrought video blog. Fact is, Kim Ki-duk has been living alone in an isolated mountain cabin for the past three years, drawing his water from the snow and the rain, relieving himself in the woods, eating sparely. Judging by his on-camera breakdowns and tearful confessions, he's profoundly depressed.

So. What happened? How did one of the world's most gifted film directors become a reclusive, self-questioning hermit?

In 2008, when Kim was making a film called Dream, his leading actress suffered a near-fatal injury on the set. Kim helped save her life, but the devout Buddhist was so traumatized that he went into hiding and has not re-emerged—but for the release of this strange video diary. Early viewers of Arirang have various reactions. Screen Daily praises it as “the ultimate film d'auteur ever made,” and IndieWire calls it “a darkly surreal meditation on the creative process.” But TotalFilm is less sanguine: “It's revealing in parts but stridently self-indulgent.”

In any event, this is like no other film we have seen.
—BILL GALLO

Sponsored by Asian Art Coordinating Council, Denver Chapter of the National Unification Advisory Council


DIRECTOR: Kim Ki-duk
Producer: Kim Ki-duk
Editor: Kim Ki-duk
Screenwriter: Kim Ki-duk
Cinematographer: Kim Ki-duk
Principal Cast: Kim Ki-duk

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