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U.S. Theatrical Premiere
Golden Palm Cannes Film Fest
"There's complexity and a darkly humorous sensibility in how Kim [Ki-duk] arranges the film, creating characters that are perverse and unlikable, and yet engaging and sympathetic" -Love HK Film
"Quietly affecting" -Variety
"Breath is a painful, awkward movie, but a moving, captivating one for all that, quirky, distinctive, even genuinely funny" -Twitch
While waiting on death row, Jang Jin (Chen Chang), tries to commit suicide in the most bizarre way, using a sharpened toothbrush handle as his main tool. Trapped in a stagnant marriage, with her daughter as the only link to her boring husband, young female sculptor Yeon (Ji-a Park), learns of the prisoner's fate on television and decides to pay him a visit, claiming to be his ex-girlfriend. A peculiar connection begins to grow between Jang Jin, who has become unable to speak, and Yeon, who becomes obsessed with brightening his cell with wallpaper and trinkets represented in vivid colors.
Set in Seoul, Breath tells its story with sardonic humor as Yeon's strikingly colorful decoration of the cell walls draws a dramatic distinction between their meetings and the innocuous aspects of Yeon's life on the outside. Each of her visits to the prison is seasonally themed, and their love story is told as much in images, embellished by Kim Ki-duk's recognizable strong visuals, mise-en-scène and aesthetic composition. Breath is a voyage through the pure art of cinema and all the possibilities it contains, in a drama which revolves around jealousy, unhappiness, and the lack of love.
As Kim Ki-duk has stated, Breath is "referring indirectly to a difficult relationship with Korean society. I concentrated on individuals. What interested me was to show how human beings utterly fail to communicate."
Directed by Kim Ki-duk, South Korea, 2007, 84 mins. In Korean with English subtitles.