Park Chan-ok’s second feature swims through the complex layers of humanity. Eun-mo is suspicious of her brother-in-law Joong-sik for her sister’s death, yet somehow helplessly gravitates toward him. Park’s mastery of storytelling contours the seemingly tranquil base tonality, with a perfect amount of grey, cold, and melancholy. Eun-mo’s love for Joong-sik also becomes a suffocation of its own, and Park’s brilliance blurs the dichotomous line of outcomes, navigating audiences through the unknown particles in everything, including human feeling. Paju is a lesson in letting go of one’s desire in the hopes of understanding everything.

DIRECTED/WRITTEN BY: Park Chan-ok. WITH: Seo Woo, Lee Sun-kyun, Han Ye-ri, Shim Yi-young. 2009. 111 min. Korea. Color. Korean. 35mm. Print courtesy of KOFA.

Academy Museum film programming generously funded by the Richard Roth Foundation. 

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