Yeo-jin and Jae-young are two young school girls who come
up with a novel way to earn money to buy plane tickets to
Europe, they turn to prostitution. Quickly it becomes obvious
that this form of commerce comes with a psychological price.
Yeo-jin sets up the meetings and takes care of the money while
Jae-young has sex with the men. Tensions in the girl's relationship
are obvious as Yeo-jin feels more and more like a pimp. When
Jae-young kills herself jumping out a window to escape the
police Yeo-jin vows to sleep with the same men again to return
their money. During one such liaison she is spotted by her
detective father, Yeong-ki, whose anger towards the men explodes
in a trail of violence. Father and daughter escape to the
countryside, each in their way looking for redemption and
Samaritan Girl (2004) is another interesting film written
and directed by Ki-duk Kim, whose previous films have included
Unknown, Bad Guy, The
Coast Guard and The Isle. The film won
the Silver Berlin Bear at the 2004 Berlin International Film
Festival and was nominated for the Gold Bear.
beautifully shot, the film does suffer from a number of problems.
First and foremost is the two young leads relationship. Thrown
straight into their life of teenage prostitution, and then
the sudden death of Jae-young, we are never given the chance
to get to know the girls and their motivations prior to the
untimely death. So, Yeo-jin's decision to return all the money
the girl's had made, by re-sleeping with Jae-young' clients,
does not really make any sense. In this I'm sure that the
subtitles don't do the original justice as it translates her
decision as being so that she does not feel as sorry for Jae-young.
Why she didn't just return the money, without sleeping with
anyone is never made clear, presumably it is her way of atoning
for her complicity in her friend's death.
film really starts to come into its own when the father discovers
what he thinks she is doing and follows her. Through her eyes
we see the men justify their desire to sleep with young girls,
and for a moment in the film you're almost convinced that
the director is out to justify it. Only when the men are confronted
by the father does their own inner guilt show through, they
know it's wrong from both a legal and moral stance. With the
lies exposed, and in one case exposed in front of his family,
one man cannot come to terms that he is sleeping with someone
younger than his own daughter and kills himself.
Ki-duk Kim also implicates Yeong-ki, when he, in distress,
invites one of his friends out to talk. What actually happens
is that his friend tries to chat up a group of young girls
and is shocked by Yeong-ki's negative reaction. The point
being drawn is that he himself, prior to his discovery, must
have engaged in such practices for his friend to consider
it normal. The sexualisation of young women runs deep in many
cultures and Yeong-ki is not as innocent as he would like
The film is multi-layered with meaning and requires the audience's
attention. This is no mere exploitation film, but a serious
look at the lies that surround the sexualisation of young
women and the deep desire for atonement for the wrong doings
that we do to each other.
was a good film that was sadly let down by the DVD release.
The cover that was supplied promised a directors interview
and introduction, but all the film comes with is four trailers
for other films. The audio options are better giving a choice
of stereo, 5.1 and DTS with English subtitles and the film
is presented in a very clear anamorphic 1.85:1.