Kim Ki-duk's Latest Movie 'Call Of God' – Deadline

Kim Ki-duk’s Latest Movie ‘Call Of God’ – Deadline

After a lifetime of creating outrage and offense both on and off screen, Korean master Kim Ki-duk has left the world with this latest film, finished by his friends after his death. The story of a passionate affair that curdles almost immediately into jealousy and hatred, but ends on a lyrically melancholy note, it’s a surprisingly fitting rogue’s epitaph.

call of god he was shot in Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, and Latvia in 2019. Kim died of complications from Covid in late 2020 at age 59; the film was edited by Artur Veeber, its Estonia-based producer. Sexual manipulation, seething violence, spiritual longing, and the soothing beauty of the natural world: all hallmarks of her work since her debut with Alligator in 1996 – they are here. It’s a minor film but, like everything he did, distinctively his own.

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A man (Abvlai Maratov) and a girl (Zhanel Sergazina) meet at a crossroads. Kim shoots in creamy black and white. His characters are geometrically framed by an avenue of trees leading to a park, with the camera positioned directly in front of them. The Man asks how to get to the Dream Cafe, which is conveniently close. He is smoothly flirting with The Girl when a young man snatches her bag, which he retrieves after a chase and fight. He then invites her to dinner. On the surface, the whole scene, which seems to be setting the tone for the upcoming film, is recognizably French New Wave vibe. Even Sergazina’s dress, a short white nightgown, could have been lifted from the Cherbourg Umbrella wardrobe.

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This borrowed nonchalance makes what follows seem even stranger. After her first meeting, The Girl answers the phone in the middle of the night and hears a mysterious voice telling her that she just had a dream about a man asking her how to get to a cafe. She admits that this is true. If she wants to know what happens next, she says the voice, or maybe she should be The Voice, she should go back to sleep. However, she may want to stay awake because whatever happens in her dream will also happen in real life. She chooses to keep dreaming.

One day, she and The Man are having hot sex in her car. She then realizes that he is already having an affair with other women, including the owner of the Dream Café, and she is consumed with fiendish jealousy. Telling him that she should be his alone, she forbids him from talking to another woman, then insists that she move in with him to make sure she follows her rules.

For a few minutes to bite your nails, call god it turns into a horror movie with The Man as its pitiful victim. Then his own need for control resurfaces. Thus follows a frantic descent into madness, often clumsy but strangely gripping, before falling into yet another dream that may or may not deliver on the promise of the title. Director Kim’s god lurks suggestively in the details – the flower petals, the snow glistening on the surrounding mountains – but is otherwise elusive. The devil, on the other hand, is everywhere.

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Kim has long been criticized in Korea for his depiction of women as bland, garish and frequently beaten. In particular, he has reveled in graphic sex scenes, sometimes grotesquely set up, that were roundly vilified at home and helped ensure that his movies rarely did well at the local box office. However, they have won him many awards at international film festivals, where his furious energy and iconoclasm won him a loyal following.

In 2017, general disapproval of Korea’s bad boy turned to opprobrium when he and one of his male stars were accused of rape by an anonymous actress. Other accusations followed, detailed in a blunt television report in 2018 that cursed his reputation forever. As a result, for several years he worked alone internationally. call of god it was made in Russian with actors from Kyrgyzstan and he had plans to make his next film in Latvia. Korean labor unions and women’s organizations have strongly opposed her latest film getting a slot in Venice. The artistic director Alberto Barbera responded to questions from the press that “the separation between man and artist is inevitable.” It’s an argument that could go on forever, not something that will happen to call of god.

Kim Ki-duk always made raw films, occasionally with momentous results. call of god it certainly has transcendent moments: the dappled light through the trees on The Man’s car windshield, overwhelming their banal discussion about whether or not to have sex, is an inspired image. There are glimpses of his taboo-busting wickedness, like the couple diving into an embrace at the fresh grave of his ex-girlfriend, that are as vigorously offensive as his fans would want. However, it is not enough: this is one for the Kim Ki-duk completists. By no means is he just a moan, but the Great Offender goes out with a very small bang.

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