Director: Kim Ki-young
Cast: Lee Hwa-si, Kim Chung-chul, Park Jung-ja, Park Am
Film genre: Drama
Cert 18, 110 mins, 1977
Distributed by Dong A Exports Co., LTD
This is an extinction rebellion! Ieoh Island, Kim Ki-young’s third film with his young star Lee Hwa-si, is justly hailed as the most bizarre Korean film of all time, for its shamanic necrophilia, foggy island of women divers and cursed men, flashbacks-within-flashbacks, and lots of dead fish. Kim’s trademark horror combines his psychosexual drama with a parable of pollution that could not feel more timely.
Travel agent Hyun Sun-woo finds himself on Parang Island, where the men are cursed to die when their son is born. He is looking to clear his name of the murder of journalist Cheon Nam-suk, on a press trip to the mythical Ioeh Island said to beckon dead sailors. Sun-woo interviews Nam-suk’s lovers, one of whom is his own childhood love Min-ja, sworn to bear his son. Like Sun-woo, viewers get relentlessly drawn into the unique and intense island culture, following the red thread of shamanism through the film’s moody blues and greys to the unerring eco-logic of the film’s legendary, still-shocking climax.