on April 29, 2005 by Kevin Courrier
When South Korean director Kim Ki-duk depicts the conflict between his culture's feudal traditions and modern democracy, his films usually swing madly between the contemplative ("Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring") and the violently garish ("Address Unknown"). In his latest picture, "3-Iron," which earned him a Best Director prize at the Venice Film Festival, he finds a harmonious balance between the two extremes.

During the day, Tae-suk (Jae Hee) is a homeless motorcycle courier who delivers brochures door-to-door. By night, he breaks into residences whose owners are away--but not to rob them. Tae-suk occupies their house as if it were his own--he even fixes their broken appliances. One evening, though, he enters the lodging of Sun-hwa (Lee Seung-yeon), an abused wife in a deeply unhappy marriage. After helping her escape the clutches of her violent spouse, Tae-suk and Sun-hwa quickly discover that they are kindred spirits on the run.

"3-Iron," with its subtle touch of the supernatural, is an oddly funny love story about dispossessed soul-mates who ultimately unlock each other's hearts. Starring Jae Hee and Lee Seung-yeon. Directed and written by Kim Ki-duk. Produced by Michio Suzukt. A Sony Pictures Classics release. Drama. Korean-language, subtitled. Rated R for some sexual content. Running time: 95 min

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