Sunday, 21 December 2008
The Bow (Hwal) 
Kim Ki-Duk has explored a tale of forbidden love in the serene but quietly disturbing movie The Bow. Veering decidedly towards abstract imageries and performances, it chronicles the peaceful existence of a laconic older man and an ever-smiling young girl who he has brought up in his boat and plans to marry as soon as she turns seventeen. However with the Korean director’s movies one knows peace is nothing more than superficial – first we have lecherous men making obscene passes at and attempts on the girl, and soon enough we see a sensitive teenager falling in love with her, which drastically complicates the secluded love affair of the unlikely couple. The bow, which the old man uses as a dangerous weapon, a fortune-telling tool, as well as a musical instrument, easily manages to delineate the basic motif of the plot. The movie is heavily reminiscent of Duk’s 3-Iron in particular in that dialogues play a minimal role here (a common string for all his movies I’ve watched) and the two principal protagonists’ voices are never heard as they hardly ever speak, and when they do, they do so in whispers. Surrealistic in feel, layered in content and making fine use of symbolisms, this movie is bound to keep the viewers spellbound, even if at the end they would be left uncomfortable and with a heavy heart.
Director: Kim Ki-Duk
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Romance
Country: South Korea