Director: Jang Sun-woo
Cast: Lee Sang-hyeon, Kim Tae-yeon
Cert NR, 112 mins, 2000
Distributed by Shin Cine Communications
Note: this film contains scenes of a highly-explicit sexual nature throughout which some may find disturbing
After some steamy phone calls, J and Y meet and begin exploring each others bodies with a rabid intensity that takes them deep into the realms of shocking sadomasochism. J is a man, a sculptor in his late thirties, and Y an 18 year old girl about to go to college. They enact their transgressive fantasies in bare motel rooms, far away from more traditional dwellings. In company of others they act distant and cordial, but behind closed doors, and within any four walls that will hold them, their passion erupts in an intense exploration of power play, with a strangely tender consensual dimension to it.
When screened at festivals in the 90s, Lies only bolstered director Jang Sun-woo’s reputation as Korea’s enfant terrible of the time, and many critics condemned it as pornographic indulgence. While debate over Jang’s intentions and gaze remain, Lies holds up as a unique depiction of sexual obsession told with a heart on its sleeve and a whip in its hand.