This week we’re watching a 2013 twisted crime drama directed by legendary filmmaker Kim Ki-duk. ‘Pieta’ is a captivating example of redemption and forgiveness. This film was a huge success at festivals during its release year and continues to intrigue filmmakers and fans alike.

Pieta follows the anti-hero character of Gang-do, played by Lee Jeong-jin. The protagonist is a mercenary-meets-debt collector who seeks his debtors and cripples them into paying hefty repayments owed.  Gang-do continues to live immorally with no desire to change until he meets a woman claiming to be his mother.  Gang-do is forced to think about his choices with the unexpected arrival of this middle-aged woman who claims to be his long lost mother.


Cho Min-su plays a sobering character who clings onto Gang-do no matter how reluctant he is. His burgeoning desperation and guilt is the driving force of this film and helps justify the imbalances in his life. The whole film has a really disturbing feel to it, from the grey wash-out editing to the unsettling, agonising characters.  Pieta has been stylised to the director’s touch.  Kim Ki-duk is renowned for many creative qualities that are evident in this film and they work beautifully in the production. The silences in character dialogue is especially executed well in Gang-do’s character. It’s a film that provokes thought, feeling and response. There are injections of Christian symbolism in the narrative which emphasise the truly spiritual and psychological nature of this ‘mother-son’ relationship. Stripped down to its primary element, Pieta is an emotional study of the two characters and the themes of redemption, Christianity and forgiveness are the pieces that help create this harrowing masterpiece.

Pieta’s nature can be unnerving and sometimes a little lifeless but it incites a response which is internationally received. It’s a disturbing film and similar to most other Kim Ki-duk classics, there’s appetite for a well-conceived reveal at the end.

Check out the trailer!


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