Film Screening

Man with three coffins

Directed by Lee, Jang-ho
21 August 2009

A man travels to the eastern coast of Korea carrying the ashes of his deceased wife. He hopes to scatter the ashes in a place close to her hometown which lies in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating North from South Korea. Along the way, he becomes burdened with the deaths of two more women who cross his path. At the same time, a nurse attempts to escort the dying chairman of a business conglomerate to his hometown which is also located just beyond the DMZ. Pursued by henchmen of the chairman’s son, a politician who wants to keep his father’s journey out of the press, the nurse encounters the man who metaphorically carries ‘three coffins’. Underlying the film’s political content are strong Shamanist themes, punctuated by glimpses of bells and a Shaman’s clothing. A Shamanist notion of fate ties together the two protagonists in this dramatic story. Although by no means an easy film, Lee Jang-ho’s film possesses a striking beauty and a brooding, dark tone that places it amongst one of the great films in the annals of Korean cinema in the twentieth century.
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