Her husband's (Jae-hyeon Jo, "The Isle") infidelity has driven her (Eun-woo Lee) to drink, but when she actually sees him with his lover (also Eun-woo Lee!), she's driven to violence, attempting to sever his penis. He's able to withstand her attack, so she turns her fury on their son (Young-ju Seo), eating his severed member before running off into the night in "Moebius."
Provocateur Korean writer/director Kim Ki-duk is at it again, tying sex with violence ("The Isle"), concluding that celibate Buddhism ("Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring") is the path towards inner peace and happiness. The film is often quite funny, especially as Kim explores pain's connection to pleasure, but considering it contains murder/suicide, S&M, incest and disfigurement it's also stretched a bit thin, even at under 90 minutes. With a reputation for shock and titillation, what is most surprising is that the movie is entirely dialogue free, the three primary actors conveying everything we need to know wordlessly.
Eun-woo Lee projects madness from the onset, her wineglass full, red wings curving upwards from her mouth like devil's horns, her movement almost feral. But although the wife and mother only appears at the movie's beginning and end, the actress is present throughout, also portraying the very different looking convenience store clerk who's been cheating with dad and who seduces the son. (So different are these two characters I had no idea it was the same actress while watching the film.)
Out on his own, the son wanders by the shop where dad's lover works, but when she exposes her breasts to him, he runs away, only to be attacked by school bullies following up on his sloppy bathroom practices. He's saved by some older thugs who then prod him into joining a gang rape of the shop girl which he play acts. He's literally exposed when dad arrives at the jail and proves his son couldn't have taken part in the crime.
Dad's tried to remedy his son's mutilation by donating his own organ, but research on genital transplants proves disheartening. When he's not holding a gun to some part of his body, further research turns up the ability to achieve orgasm by rubbing one's skin raw with a jagged rock, a practice he teaches his son. Returning to the store to beg forgiveness, the son is stabbed in the shoulder by the shop girl, an act which leads to further sexual revelations. The lead thug is let out of jail and she's there waiting for him, but when her and the boy's plan goes awry (in a humorously gruesome gag), they tumble into a threesome. It is the familial trio, however, that come together in even more disturbing ways when mom returns home.
Kim Ki-duk uses symbols and music to propel his ideas. A snarling ceramic dog graces the family's home, but mom's weapon of choice is stashed inside a Buddha bust. When she first leaves the house, she crosses the path of a stranger, who prays to a Buddha in a shop window as we hear a twist on the Middle Eastern call to prayer. Dad does a little putting practice with a glass ball. A successful transplant recalls "The Hands of Orlac."
For those looking for titillation, "Moebius" is more explicit in its ideas than execution, a twisted 'circle of life' that ends in death and disfigurement on the path to enlightenment.
Robin did not see this film.
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