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Samaritan Girl back to product details

Samaritans All
written by talltale November 10, 2005 - 10:42 AM PST
4 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Markhl's review (below) of this film is exemplary. SAMARITAN GIRL is yet another surprise from Kim Ki-Duk, and while it may not be in the league with his "3-Iron," it nonetheless offers some meaty thoughts on life, love, sex and sin. Mr. Kim enjoys tweaking our sensibilities and forcing us to look at some of the shibboleths of our society from different, surprising angles: teenage prostitution, incipient lesbianism, and father/daughter love.

Shame is front and center (this is Asian, after all), but you may find yourself experiencing the film more from the viewpoint of its villains than from its heroines. Yet, on some level, everyone here is a villain (or maybe a hero). Kim tends to force this kind of thinking upon the viewer; it can be frustrating but salutary. If you're a fan already, you'll be lining up; if not, "Samaritan Girl" is not a bad place to begin Mr. Kim's acquaintance.

Sin and redemption through the eyes and mind of Kim Ki Duk..
written by markhl May 26, 2005 - 7:51 AM PDT
9 out of 9 members found this review helpful
The titles of the first and second acts, "Vasumitra" and "Samaria," refer to the symbolic ways in which the two young girls, Jae Young and Yeo Jin, justify their roles in prostitution. However despite these themes, it should be noted that Samaria isn't a religious film by any means. It is also too easy to be distracted by the provacative theme of teenage prostitution and miss the central, and more fascinating, parts of the film which follow the young protagonist, Yeo Jin, and her father as they struggle to relate to each other in light of the discovery of the girl's role in prostitution. Particularly poignant is the turmoil of the latter character, as both a single father and police officer, as he is forced to come to terms with the sexual maturation and illicit actions of his own daughter with both vengeance and compassionate forgiveness. The development of these two characters up to the anguishing conclusion in the final act is accomplished with a sense of unbiased realism. With this style, Kim Ki Duk forces us to re-evaluate our own prejudices and hypocritical sense of justice without interjecting his own.

Unlike in the director's earlier films, such as Bad Guy, the characters of Samaria are all too real and believable in their motivations, decisions and foibles. With this recent shift in Kim Ki Duk's style, the film ends up being much more emotionally accessible to a broader audience. While fans of his earlier work may critize that the director may be losing some of the unconventional edge which has been a trademark for his earlier work, I personally find his latest works, like this film and 3 Iron (Bin Jip, 2004), to be his best.

On a side note, it has been reported that this film was shot in a total of 11 days. Given the quality of the finished product, it is simply amazing that the director is able to accomplish this feat with a young, inexperienced actress (Gwak Ji Min) playing the challenging lead role. Although not provided with english subtitles, the short "making of" feature interestingly reveals the hesitancy with which Kim Ki Duk approached the socially sensitive themes in Samaria - rather unlike the visage of the women-hating iconoclast which many critics have accused him to be over the years.


(Average 6.73)
86 Votes
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