Time (Ki-duk Kim) 2006

Ki-duk Kim is a prolific director much in the same fashion of Takashi Miike (who can seemingly make movies in his sleep).  Kim has made fifteen films in 12 years.  Now his films range anywhere to possibly masterpiece level in Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring and 3-Iron, to good films in The Isle, to bad in Samaritan Girl, to god awful in The Bow.

Time can probably be compared to Teshigahara’s Face of Another (if you are an unbelievable movie nerd) or in more basic terms an allegory akin to a really good Twilight Zone episode.  The story is about Ji-woo and Seh-hee, two people in a troubled relationship.  Seh-hee is extremely jealous and feels that Ji-woo will tire of her face and break up with her.  Seh-hee takes the drastic measure of getting a completely new face from a plastic surgeon, leaving for six months without a word to Ji-woo (so the scars would heal), then seducing Ji-woo to fall in love with her again.

There are many layers to Time as it explores themes of identity (and identity loss in modern society), body insecurity, and what we call love and passion.  There are also many references to 3-Iron both style wise and actually showing portions of the film.  With others it may seem like a cheap gimmick of a director shilling his own movies, I actually feel he is tying many references and ideas together.  I guess maybe another example of this movie may be to Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Keep in mind, I am only talking about similarities to style and not making a comparison to quality.  They both have a comedy and sci fi themes in addition to commentary, but Time is way more toned down (not trying to be wacky) and takes its time telling a story (even though the running time is 97 minutes).  Many compare Ki-duk Kim’s movies to visual poems and I tend to agree with that assessment.  His movies are loaded with visual symbols and is more content with showing actions instead of long drawn out talky scenes.

That’s not to say the movie is perfect.  Because Kim works so fast may result in his creativity but we still get a little bit of a rough stone instead of a polished diamond.  The ending is also a little to bizarre although I think with repeated viewings it will be clearer.  Time is not as good as Spring or 3-Iron (I would still heavily recommend those films to anyone) but it is probably my third favorite from Kim and a very good movie.

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