I've seen three and a half Bong Joon-ho films now -- counting his segment of Tokyo! -- and I'm increasingly impressed. Memories of Murder (2003) was a superior police procedural, and The Host (2006) was an absolutely amazing monster movie, that -- like the best 1950s monster movies -- had a little something to say about humans as well. Watching Bong's newest film, Mother (13 screens), I began to appreciate his method of constantly juggling two ideas, sometimes opposing ideas, sometimes in the same shot.

In one scene, mother (Kim Hye-ja) feeds her son, a twenty-something, possibly developmentally disabled man, Do-jun (Weon Bin) a bowl of broth. She does this while he's urinating against a concrete wall. Essentially, one liquid goes in at the top, and another liquid comes out the bottom. This mother can feed her son everything, food, energy, wisdom, and she has absolutely no control over where it goes or how it comes out. It's a pretty startling image.

categories Columns, Cinematical