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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.12.10] post apocalyptic movie news drama



Year: 2010
Director: Jo Sung-Hee
Writer: Jo Sung-Hee
IMDB: NA
Trailer: NA
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 9 out of 10

The very pregnant Soon-Young is travelling by taxi from Seoul to see her mother. Along a deserted road, the cab driver stops for a stranger who is also travelling to Soon-Young’s destination. Being the nice girl she is, Soon-Young agrees to share the cab with the stranger whose face is, at all times, hidden from her and the audience. As soon as the taxi begins to move, the stranger starts to talk and the conversation quickly turns from random chat to prophesizing. He knows the intimate details of Soon-Young’s life and those of the taxi driver and he keeps going on about something happening in 256 seconds. Then, just as the taxi driver is getting ready to pull over to throw out the mysterious stranger, the car stops their cell phones go dead. The trio, and the rest of the world, has entered a blackout. With the taxi driver off looking for help and the stranger gone, Soon-Young finds herself wondering alone through the countryside in search of food and water and meeting a variety of odd individuals along the way. Her one bit of help: the stranger who keeps in contact with her through a walkie talkie.

This is the setup for Jo Sung-Hee’s stunning debut End of Animal but it’s also the least important part of this story. Creating a world devoid of electronic communication is only the beginning of this tale which explores everything from morality to the resilience of humanity all set to the backdrop of an apocalyptic disaster which is actually the plan of a supreme being (God? An angel?) who appears to be testing Soon-Young who he randomly selected (the selection process itself is quite amusing).


There is little action in the barren landscapes of Sung-Hee’s film but the few encounters and Soon-Young’s diary entries more than fill the vast space. Sung-Hee’s choice to shoot this away from civilization and the chaos of mobs allows for the small comments, thoughts and actions of the characters to shine through without having to fight their way through noise. One would think that the setting might get boring after some time but Sung-Hee makes excellent use of what little there is, particularly the light.

In one of the film’s most powerful moments, Soon-Young stands in front of a loaded gun being held by a man who she stabbed in the neck after he tried to sexually assault her. As sun sets and Soon-Young sings, you can almost feel her energy for life fading with the light. The single shot scene is only one of the many that highlights director Sung-Hee’s talent as both a director and a writer.

Aside from themes of survival and morality which are givens when a film centres on a group of people struggling to survive through some disaster, Sung-Hee’s film adds a third dimension that is not so commonly brought up and that is the idea of faith. Soon-Young is at first unwilling to listen to the disembodied voice on the radio but she soon comes to realize that though she does not understand why he knows what he knows, this voice from the ether is her best chance at surviving. The film consistently returns to ideas of faith and spirituality which are handled beautifully even if they create more questions than answers.

End of Animal’s social experiment isn’t exactly new but Sung-Hee’s approach to the material certainly is fresh and full of staggering power. A brilliant feature film debut, Jo Sung-Hee is a filmmaker to watch.

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John (10 years ago) Reply

Interesting, thank you Marina.

Here is the qa:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLNvc2idWwg

More reviews:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff/node/1035
http://funcine.net/entry/제4회-시네마디지털서울-영화제-감상작-짐승의-끝
http://www.maxmovie.com/movie_info/sha_news_view.asp?mi_id=MI0089677513&mi_type=03
http://cinema5.tistory.com/entry/시네마디지털서울-2010-프리뷰3-짐승의-끝
http://nixon.egloos.com/3413287

Cast:
Park Hae-Il
Lee Min-Ji


Movie: End of Animal
Revised romanization: Jimseunghui Ggeut
Hangul: 짐승의 끝
Runtime: 114min.
Language: Korean
color | 16:9 Anamorphic | Stereo | HD

Country: South Korea

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