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The Bow [Import]

Yeo-reum Han , Si-jeok Seo , Ki-duk Kim    Unrated   DVD

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Product Description

On a fishing boat at sea, a 60-year old man has been raising a girl since she was a baby. It is agreed that they will get married on her 17th birthday, and she is 16 now. They live a quiet and secluded life, renting the boat to day fishermen and practicing strange divination rites. Their life changes when a teenage student comes aboard...

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Kim Ki-Duk's best, but good nonetheless.. June 15 2007
By Woopak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Kim Ki-Duk is a very acclaimed director from Korea. He is responsible for Korean Masterpieces: THE ISLE, SPRING SUMMER FALL.., TIME, BAD GUY, 3-IRON and some others. This director's style is that he expresses his films with very little dialogue, he intends the actors, actresses to express the story through the expression of raw emotion. You may say his films are a bit on the "artsy" side, but for me, his films deal with the frailties of the human spirit, man's weaknesses and their ability to adapt.

The story centers around an old man in his sixties who has been raising a young girl(Han Yeo Reum, Samaritan girl) since childhood on a ship that floats unanchored off Korea's coastline. The girl hasn't been outside the confides of the boat and as a result, her world are obviously quite limited, but still she seems satisfied and happy, and the old man plans to marry her the day she reaches legal age. The two make their living by hosting fishermen aboard the boat, and also tell fortunes in a rather bizarre and dangerous fashion, by shooting arrows whizzing past the girl's head into a Buddhist painting on the side of the boat. Afterwards, the girl whispers in the old man's ear the 'said' fortune. (This method of fortune-telling appears to have been invented by Kim, though possibly inspired by the common practice of dropping a dart onto a spinning disc as I've read)

The film opens in striking fashion with a shot of the weapon that inspired the film's title. When fitted with an additional piece, the bow becomes a stringed instrument. Sadly, however, the instrument doesn't fit into the film's plot beyond providing for occasional mood music. The Bow is utilized more often as a means of fending off lecherous fisherman from manhandling the young girl, who braves the elements in a flimsy dress, and who (like all the women in Kim's films) is pretty gorgeous. Most of the fishermen gossip that the old man supposedly kidnapped the young girl when she was too young to remember. Soon, however, a sensitive male college student shows up on board and develpos a liking for the girl. The old man discovers he's going to need more than a bow if he wants to keep the delectable young thing for himself.

Kim's mostly common approach to expression is to set the story in an isolated or a marginalized world, usually a physical space or a way of life(like 3-IRON, Time), places that certain specific rules and customs would apply. Examples are the floating temple in Spring.., the red light district in Bad Guy, the lake in the Isle, the motel in the Bird Inn, etc. The delight of watching his films come from exploring and coming to understand these worlds, the applied rules and how they operate.

In the Bow, we see that the bow itself is a means of defense for the old man and the girl in a series of repeating incidents. It characterizes the "society" of the boat by showing first, a man's skill with the bow, and then how the girl's spatial knowledge of the boat and archery skills is a second line of defense.
These scenes don't add to character depth, and compounded by the fact that they hardly talk to each other, while much of the film shows the old man and the girl growing more emotionally detached, all they can do is trade angry/annoyed stares at each other. (over and over again, again and again)It gets a little repetitive after a while, however, the strong performances of the two leads does help the film along. You can really observe that one building emotion within.
Kim's style with the limited dialogue approach hampers this film, it comes more like a gimmick and not an integral part of the film. The lack of words by the lead characters(because they hardly know each other) in THE ISLE and 3-IRON worked very well because they could communicate emotionally and the silence accentuates their strange bond. Kim's approach to his film "TIME" would have served well in the "The Bow".

I have the Korean Region-3 release, and from experience, I know Tartan will utilize the transfer from this dvd. The Korean release is almost 122 minutes long, I'm not sure how long the U.S. version is, specs say 90 minutes, I'm not sure.
PICTURE: Anamorphic Widescreen. The transfer is fitting to the film. It is sharp and has good black levels. Some scenes have a bit more grain than others do.
AUDIO/SUBTITLES: Korean 5.1 DD and DTS. The subtitles are well timed and executed.
EXTRAS: Trailers, Interviews, commentary.

In Closing: Although "The Bow" it is not one of Kim Ki-duk's best, it is very much still worth a look. Always approach his films when you are in a certain mood. You will not be able to figure this one out until its climax.
Done perfect or not, Kim Ki-Duk always takes you on a ride. As with most of his films, the ending is pretty much open to the viewer's interpretation. Whether you take it literally or as a metaphor(that's how I took it) is entirely up to you, it is the beauty of Kim's film making.
RECOMMENDED!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Bow Nov. 24 2011
By JWSamm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I'm relatively new to watching foreign movies and this one by Kim Ki-Duk is a jewel. The story line is a bit of a stretch; a 60 year old man taking care of a young girl he found lost/abandon in the city, and he is making plans to marry her when she is of age (i.e., 17). I won't tell the story because several reviewers have done more than an adequate job of that already. However, I will say that there is something about this movie that just draws you in. The music is mesmerizing, character development is excellent, and the acting is superb. There isn't a hold lot of dialogue, so those who don't like reading subtitles don't fret. Besides, you can pretty much figure out what's going on anyway. So if you've never seen a Korean movie before this one definitely will not disappoint.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stick with mindless action movies, you pseudocritics Dec 6 2012
By Kimberly R. Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Many of the so-called 'reviews' I see on here make my gorge rise. Idiot babble of the ilk of 'aw man not one car chase'.
The story was one of isolation,loneliness, alienation and redemption via metaphysical and spiritual means.
Critics need to have some knowledge of the culture, mores, and psychology of the subject material to properly understand protagonists; and also remember that movies are essentially fantasy.
This movie was a fine, and fascinatingly eidolonic tale. If I want 'gritty realism'('real' as perceived by Hollywood) or mindless entertainment I will watch one of the many hideously stupid American films. Or maybe some Bollywood offering.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth seeing June 5 2010
By Kenneth L. Whittier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Yeo-reum Han is going to be one of those actresses that you just know will have a bright future in films. This is evident in her acting here. She hardly says a word but her presence is captivating(no pun intended). One of my problems with the story was with the old man and how his character was written, without giving away too much, he took the girl when she was very young intending to marry her when she got older, in short, he kidanpped her! Yet he brings back people to his boat to fish, people who seem to know all about what he did and no one seems to care or turn him into the police?! Until the girl takes a liking to a young man, then things get a little more realistic. Realistic until the very ending, which is the other problem I have with this movie, but I won't go there and give away any spoilers. I think if you can get past these two problems then you will enjoy the movie, as I said you should just by seeing
Yeo-reum Han.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful! Aug. 16 2007
By Yoshi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Another masterpiece from Korean director Ki Duk! If you haven't seen some of his previous works than I highly suggest that you do. Kim Ki Duk's film are mood driven pieces and you always feel the emotion he brings. Like his last couple of flicks there really isn't that much dialouge from his main charachters. He tells the story through expression and you feel the charachter's pain, joy, and loss. The story is of a man who wants to wed a younger female. He is a fortune teller and he knows that his time is almost up. I sat in awe the entire time watching this film. The soundtrack is worth the price of admission. The film is in DTS and the transfer is beautiful! Very similar in ways to 3 IRON and SPRING SUMMER!

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