STATELESS THINGS is a movie I admired rather than enjoyed. Indeed, so little did I enjoy it, so long did it drag, so obscure was its meaning, that I considered walking out. But I'm glad I persevered to understand the overall architecture of the film and something of its purpose.
Kim Kyung-Mook's follows his FACELESS THINGS with another movie set on the fringes of contemporary South Korean society. The first forty-five moments focus on Jun - an illegal immigrant from North Korea who is exploited by his employer, forms a tentative relationship with a sweet girl - another immigrant - but eventually finds himself forced to trick for cash. The second forty-five minute segment moves to a more luxurious but no less sexually exploitative situation. Hyeon is a kept in a nice apartment by a closeted homosexual, tricking in his spare time, and caught in a deeply obsessive relationship. As the movie reaches its conclusive segment, I became very confused about what was going on. Jun and Hyeon clearly meet, there's a confused, suffocating finale, are they two aspects of the same man? Figuratively? Literally?
The directorial style goes from social realism in the first half, to showy and quirky in the romance sequence, to almost Lynchian in its obscurity in the final segment. All of which is unsettling. There is also a lot of very explicit homosexual sex, and perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of my day of screenings was to watch couples walk out of the homosexual sex scenes in STATELESS THINGS but not during similarly explicit but heterosexual scenes in SHAME earlier in the day. I guess it's still a sad indication of the world we live in.
STATELESS THINGS played Venice, Vancouver and London. It doesn't yet have a commercial release date.