Moebius ****Dir: Kim Ki-duk. With: Jae Hyeon-jo, Eun-woo Lee, Young-ju Seo. 89 mins. Cert: 18.
Blimey. 2012’s Pieta suggested Korean provocateur Kim Ki-duk was working his way back to full creative potency; his latest opens with a housewife punishing her husband’s infidelities by castrating their teenage son – an act presented, in typical Kim fashion, as just another bloody day at the office. Somehow more shocking – and impressive – is how this berserker set-up twists round (as per the title) to reveal a more ruminative flipside: what follows is a wordless, crypto-Buddhist treatise on pain and pleasure in which all the parts keep shifting, not least Eun-woo Lee’s astoundingly resonant appearance as both wife and mistress. Though mercifully discreet in what it shows, it retains a pulsing, semi-crazed narrative drive, and no film has been more revealingly upfront in its phallocentrism: Kim absolutely grasps how the penis can destroy as much as it creates, and what a few extra inches here and there might do for a boy’s self-esteem.
Moebius is now playing in selected cinemas.