****/**** Image B- Sound A Extras D
starring Sung Hyan-ah, Ha Jung-woo, Park Ji-Yeon
written and directed by Kim Ki-duk
by Walter Chaw Horror is the product of Kim Ki-duk's Time, the South Korean auteur's unbelievably unpleasant treatise on misogyny and objectification: the twin crosses he bears in the crucible of his own country's harshest criticism of him. To see it as the director's response to his detractors is simplistic, to be sure, and given that other filmmakers' marches to rhetorical cavalries (Todd Solondz's Storytelling, Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things) are so obviously band-aids applied to sucking chest wounds, it's not a flattering analysis, either. But Time is the species of rebuttal that functions as a prime example of the artist's essential concerns applied to what are perceived to be his essential blind spots. It's a Kim picture that clarifies other Kim pictures--a treatise on misogyny that is not in itself misogynistic. It's self-aware in a way that Kim's films haven't been so far, enough on point throughout that common charges of Kim's wandering attention span are difficult to levy. What elevates Hitchcock into the pantheon has more than a little to do with the fact that his masterpieces are consistently and mainly about his blind spots. You don't so much dissect Vertigo as Vertigo, with every year and every subsequent viewing, dissects you. Time isn't Vertigo, but it lives behind the same door in our collective, Jungian cellar. It tackles the big existential question of personal identity by concerning itself topically with the current plastic-surgery fad run amuck in South Korea. Peel back its surface to find an underneath writhing with a universal horror of temporariness and mortality.