In recent years, South Korea has been making many wonderful films like The Host (2006), Okja (2017), Cart (2014), Miss Granny (2014) which was remade as Oh! Baby (2019) and then Parasite (2019) winning the oscars. Earlier this month I read the news of a South Korean director Kim Ki-duk passing away due to COVID-19. I wanted to watch his films and started with the 3-Iron (2004).
This is an age-old story of a beautiful lady being held captive and ill-treated her husband, who later falls in love with a kind stranger (the hero). What is different in 3-Iron, is the way the director has handled this story and delivered an unique film. Here Tae-Suk, is a young man who rides from area to area in his bike, to identify houses where the owners are out-of-town to stay for the night and eat. He doesn’t steal or damage anything, in fact he cleans the house he stays and leaves behind the owners clothes washed and dried. In one such house, he finds Sun-hwa, a former model beaten up, bleeding and sad. He doesn’t approach her, she doesn’t speak to him. It moves from there in a way we will least expect.
Throughout the film there are no dialogues exchanged between the two – Tae-Suk and Sun-hwa, even under duress. If I remember right, Tae-Suk doesn’t speak at all in the whole film. Lee Seung-yeon (Wikipedia has listed a few controversies in her page) as Sun-hwa and Jae Hee as Tae-suk are wonderful and succeed in communicating their emotions by minimalist body language.
Don’t miss this fine cinema. It can serve as a masterclass on screenplay writing.