Kim Ki Duk cinema never fails to become a treat for the film lovers of IFFK. No wonder why Kim Ki Duk a South Korean film maker has so many admirers in Kerala. This time also it was evident from the crowd in front of the theatre where his film Pieta was screened for the 17th IFFK. Even with two or three characters and limited locations Kim can do wonders. From the 10th IFFK, Kim has been carried on shoulders by the film lovers of Kerala through his magical depiction of films like ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…..and Spring,’ ‘The Bow’, ‘Samaritan Girl,’ ‘Coast Guard’ etc.
The film revolves round the life of Lee Kyan Do, a heartless man who threatens the debtors who do not repay their loans. The only way of making the helpless people repay is to make them crippled so that they can claim their insurance which will be sufficient for them to repay their debt. The first half of the film makes the spectators travel through violent scenes which is the speciality of most Kim films.
The turning point of the film is the sudden arrival of a middle-aged lady who claims to be Kyan Do’s mother. She asks for his forgiveness as she abandoned him forty years back as a child. Gradually Kyan Do starts loving the lady as his mother after she goes through cruel experiments like eating a piece of flesh from Kyan’s thigh and also suffering molestation from him to prove that she is his mother.
Sudden twists and surprises later, as in all Kim Ki Duk films, the suspense falls when the spectators come to know that lady was taking revenge for the loss of her son Sang Du who committed suicide as he was not able to pay back his debt and was constantly threatened by Kyan Do. The woman is killed by the people who wanted to take revenge on Kyan. Kyan is totally shattered when he takes the woman’s body to be buried under the pine tree which both of them planted. When he digs the ground he sees the woman’s original son who met with his untimely death because of Kyan himself.
The film is itself a psycho analysis of Lee Kyan Do who realises the mental agony at the loss of dear ones and ends his life tying him under a truck run by a lady whose husband was crippled by him. Like most of the other films of Kim Ki Duk this film too has a message hidden in it. Nothing in this world is more precious than peace of mind. At one point, when the protagonist is asking the question, ‘what is the reason of love, despair, weakness, revenge etc’, the woman answers that the beginning and end of everything is money. But the real message hits the spectator’s minds when the film ends, which is that, love itself is the beginning and end of everything in life.