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Pieta (2012) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) DVD Region 3

Jo Min Su (Actor) | Lee Jung Jin (Actor) | Kang Eun Jin (Actor) | Kim Ki Duk (Director)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

For his 18th film, Kim Ki Duk returns to the unsettling themes, shocking violence and extreme portrayal of the loneliness and brutality of the human condition that characterized his earlier works. The first Korean film to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Pieta is a punishingly violent look at a twisted mother-son relationship portrayed by Jo Min Su, who won Best Actress at the Daejong Film Awards for her performance, and Lee Jung Jin (Troubleshooter).

Called a "devil" by his victims, loner debt collector Kang Do (Lee Jung Jin) has his own way of collecting outstanding loans – by maiming debtors and then taking their disability insurance payout. One day, a woman (Jo Min Su) appears before him, claiming to be the long-lost mother who abandoned him as a child. Kang Do subjects her to cruelty and humiliation to test her, but she takes it all without protest. Gradually, Kang Do accepts her as his mother and even begins to change for the better. Becoming more human, however, leaves him vulnerable to the violence and revenge of others.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Pieta (2012) (DVD) (Taiwan Version) 聖殤 (2012) (DVD) (台灣版) 圣殇 (2012) (DVD) (台湾版) ピエタ (DVD) (台湾版) 피에타
Artist Name(s): Jo Min Su (Actor) | Lee Jung Jin (Actor) | Kang Eun Jin (Actor) 趙敏秀 (Actor) | 李廷鎮 (Actor) | Kang Eun Jin (Actor) 赵敏秀 (Actor) | 李廷镇 (Actor) | Kang Eun Jin (Actor) チョ・ミンス (Actor) | イ・ジョンジン (Actor) | Kang Eun Jin (Actor) 조민수 (Actor) | 이 정진 (Actor) | 강은진 (Actor)
Director: Kim Ki Duk 金 基德 金 基德 キム・ギドク 김기덕
Release Date: 2013-02-15
Language: Korean
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: South Korea
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Sound Information: Dolby Digital 5.1
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 103 (mins)
Publisher: Sheng Chi Media (TW)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1032188532

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※榮獲第69屆威尼斯影展 最高榮譽 金獅獎
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Pieta (2012) (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"

January 8, 2013

This professional review refers to Pieta (2012) (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
Pieta marks the 18th film from Korean auteur and agitator Kim Ki Duk, following up on his exceptionally personal and enjoyably bizarre 2011 Cannes winning documentary Arirang which he made as part of a 3 year self-imposed exile from the industry. The film sees Kim returning to the same grim territory in which he made his name, dealing with violence, perversion, anger and angst in a harsh tale of a brutal loan shark and a woman claiming to be his mother. With Lee Jung Jin (Troubleshooter) and Jo Min Su in the lead roles, the latter taking Best Actress at the Daejong Film Awards for her performance, the film saw Kim continuing his prize winning streak, picking up the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, being the first Korean production to have done so.

Lee Jung Jin plays Kang Do, a particularly unpleasant debt collector, who makes money by crippling his debtors and cashing in on their insurance payouts, seeming to take pleasure in the pain and suffering he causes. His life is thrown into turmoil when one day a woman (Jo Min Su) turns up at his door, claiming that she is the mother who abandoned him as a child. Understandably suspicious and tormented, Kang subjects her to a variety of punishments to try and call her bluff, but gradually comes round to the idea that she might be telling the truth. As her unconditional love slowly seeps through into his heart and opens his eyes to the world, he starts to become paranoid that one of his victims is planning vengeance.

Pieta really does see Kim returning to his roots, taking place against a squalid background of dirty alleyways, rundown shacks and cramped machine shops, and exploring themes of loneliness, self-abuse and hatred. Given its mother-son subject matter, the film unsurprisingly plays out very much like an especially bleak and tense Greek tragedy, its drama hard hitting and harsh throughout, and much more grounded and depressingly human than in some of Kim's recent outings like Dream or Breath Through this, it works very well as a revenge drama of sorts, with a mid-film twist which though predictable is used expertly by Kim to dig even deeper and heap on even more agony. Though reasonably straightforward in narrative terms (at least by his own standards), the film is still ambiguous and at times abstract, Kim as usual leaving the viewer to make up their own mind on his use of religious imagery and capitalist metaphor. Although none of this is anything new for those familiar with the director's works, the film feels fresh and more mature, Kim seeming to have been blessed with renewed vigour following his exile.

Where the film really hits home is through the depth of its characters, with both Kang and his mother being rich and multi-layered characters, Kim fleshing them out subtly and through small details in their behaviour rather than manipulative back stories or exposition. There's a lot left unsaid and for the viewer to discern, and this adds to the tension and to the depth of the fascinatingly twisted relationship at the film's core. The film lurks unrepentantly in moral grey areas, and though Kang is a devilish brute, the viewer is never allowed to forget that he is also a human being, who himself has suffered terribly, and who is by no means devoid of emotion. Thanks in part to an excellent performance by Lee Jing Jin, equal parts sneering barbarity and touching vulnerability, it's hard not to feel sympathy for him, and the film is at times acutely uncomfortable to watch as a result. Jo Min Su is similarly on impeccable form as the mysterious mother figure, and their shifting bond, defined by a disconcerting mixture of passion and misery, is powerful and moving.

Pieta is a very dark film indeed, and features some extremely tough scenes, enough so to mark it as being not for everyone. Though Kim keeps much of the violence and blood out of shot, the film is unflinchingly nasty and callous in relentless and ruthless fashion, leading up to a gruesome last scene which sticks in the memory for some time. Worse still is the film's sexual violence, which though never exploitative in the least, is hard to stomach and will likely prove too perverse and distasteful for some viewers. This having been said, it's the film's emotional and psychological violence which punish the viewer more than its visceral scenes, and this makes it difficult for even hardened souls to escape its many horrors.

Pieta is not only a triumphant return to dark drama for Kim Ki Duk, but one of his best films to date, no small praise given the unfailing quality of his output. Though undeniably a tough watch, it's a film which succeeds fully on both an emotional and artistic level, and which again confirms Kim as one of the most talented directors working in Korea and indeed the world today.

by James Mudge –

Feature articles that mention "Pieta (2012) (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

Customer Review of "Pieta (2012) (DVD) (Taiwan Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

See all my reviews

June 25, 2013

This customer review refers to Pieta (2012) (DVD) (First Press Limited Edition) (Korea Version)
1 people found this review helpful

A painful iconic reflection of mad austerity Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
A Kim Ki-duk movie is no doubt going to be deep and heavy to watch and his 18th movie is no exception! ‘Pieta’ a modern posthumous allusion to Michelangelo’s Christ and mother sculpture is emotionally painful, violent and sad. Kang-do (Jung-jin Lee), a hardened debt collector decides to physically cripple small business owners, then use the maimed debtor’s insurance claims as his collected payment. But Kang-do is confronted by a pitying woman (Min-su Jo) claiming to be his mother and follows Kang-do on his daily brutality. Kang-do’s logical reaction is irritated disbelief, but the woman slowly turns his life. For one Kang-do was abandoned as a child, and by a mother’s absence creates a misogynist resentment in Kang-do as he regularly thrusts a kitchen knife into a paper drawing of a nude female on a dartboard; Kang-do’s futile expression of womanly betrayal. But as the woman relentlessly beseeches Kang-do she’s his mother, he angrily insists her to prove it, which results in violent and humiliating scenes; one of such sexual violence that’s very difficult to watch. But eventually Kang-do mellows when inwardly convinced the woman is that someone who birthed him, and even begins to show humane feelings towards his debtors when hope seems to shine. But as violence as been thrashed out by a dead soul walking, Kang-do’s new grace is eventually met by a revenge he’d never expect.

Of self-hatred and abuse ‘Pieta’ is as harsh and bitter as its crumbling environments, of people’s rage, misery and pain at the behests of servitude, money worries, poverty and abandonment. A shifted kaleidoscopic miasma of hurtful influence transforming Kang-do into an obliquely violent ‘monster’. A lonely soul weathered into a barren landscape of insecure hatred, and a torn woman of muted misery his only saviour. ‘Pieta’ as many nuances and symbolic elements (coincidental for me were the cramped industrial cog machinery shops, desolated building blocks, severe and brutal violence and KKD’s four season themes at the time I’m gaming ‘The Last of Us’) and socially symbolic of a wider aspect about pressurising debt than one man’s bitter angry life. How mainstream industrialization reduces small business prospect to ruin, and those of the latter needing loans for personal survival. But another reason for Kang-do’s cruelness is he’s the recipient of violent intolerance from his loan shark boss as well as the murky past of his forgotten abandonment. A hard but interesting movie.
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