Release Date: May 17, 2013
Running Time: 104 minutes
Does a child abandoned by his mother grow up without love in his heart and zero compassion for those in need? This is a question that director Kim Ki-duk poses in Pietà, a brutal South Korean thriller that probes the relationship between a vicious loan shark and the middle-aged woman who claims to be his long-lost mother. Kang-do (Lee Jung-jin) operates a medical insurance scam that requires him to cripple the poor souls who cannot settle their debts. Things go to hell when Jang Mi-sun (Jo Min-su) shows up and reveals herself to be Kang-do’s mother. Slowly but surely Kang-do becomes emotionally overwhelmed by being in Jang Mi-sun’s presence, even though there’s a part of him who doubts her story. For most of Pieta, it doesn’t matter whether Jang Mi-sun is who she says she is. This is a story about how the introduction of a mother’s care and affections can thaw the coldest of hearts and coax out the man inside a monster. There are several uncomfortable moments when Kang-do tests Jang Mi-sun, which introduces an element of incest to the already stomach-churning proceedings. As Kang-do, Jung-jin slowly reveals the human side of a sociopath who enjoys inflicting pain on others. Min-su retains an air of mystery around her as Jang Mi-sun, which serves Pieta well in its bid to keep us guessing as to the woman’s true relationship to Kang-do until the bitter end.
Aired: May 16, 2013
Web site: http://drafthousefilms.com/film/pieta