Everybody has a mother – even bad guys.
PIETA, the latest release from Drafthouse Films, is the 18th film from acclaimed South Korean director Kim Ki-duk. At once both emotionally stirring and shockingly brutal, PIETA is further proof that few countries are as consistently solid with their cinematic exports as South Korea.
Lee Jung-jin stars as Lee Kang-do, a brutal and petty gangster who makes a living collecting money from loan sharks. When those in debt are unable to pay back their loan, Kang-do collects in a different way – crippling his victims and pocketing their insurance payouts. Kang-do’s life is pretty simple – sex, violence and food. Things get complicated, though, when a woman (played by Jo Min-su in a heartbreaking role) shows up claiming to be Kang-do’s long-lost mother.
As the two bond and Kang-do finally is given a chance to spend quality time with a mother who abandoned him as a child, the butcher begins to lose his edge – an edge he’ll be in severe need of when a forgotten victim resurfaces looking for revenge.
Kim Ki-duk is no stranger to controversy. Over the length of his career, the director has found much acclaim and critical accolades for films that are both beautiful in their askew look at the world and their strong, unwavering approach to the subject matter. With PIETA, Kim Ki-duk has created a movie that is unwavering in its message and never flinches from the violence or sexual taboos that the movie depicts. As the movie crawls to its inevitable ending – with a third act that will have audiences squirming in their seats – PIETA remains as gutsy and powerful a film as ever.
Don’t miss PIETA this week at Vintage Park. Advanced tickets can be purchased here. And don’t miss the next release from Drafthouse Films – A BAND CALLED DEATH – when it opens at Vintage Park this June.
Once you've seen PIETA, join the conversation at Drafthouse Cinephiles, a Facebook group administrated by the Drafthouse's programming team.