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The Weight ("Mooge")

North American Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2012
  • 107 mins
  • DCP
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
WINNER: Queer Lion Award, Venice International Film Festival 2012
WINNER: Best Director, Tallinn Black Night Film Festival 2012
Official Selection, Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival 2012
Official Selection, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival 2013

“A grotesque flight of fancy... impressively crisp” - Boyd van Hoeij, VARIETY

Forget Gangnam-style, sleek K-pop bombshells and blond-streaked pretty boys — a very different Korea is shown in the scathing film THE WEIGHT. Seoul takes on the appearance of an Eastern European mining city: a dismal hellhole under a soot-filled sky. The lost souls that live there, caught up in the strangest of love stories, are the hunch-backed, tubercular and arthritic employee of a morgue and his transsexual brother. Jung does makeup for the dead to render their corpse presentable to the families, and he occasionally welcomes a necrophilic biker who keeps his helmet on during intercourse. For this pariah, representative of the botton-dwellers that consumerist growth refuses to acknowledge, the dead are much better companions than the living, and he sees them dancing languid tangos. Jung’s brother sometimes comes to seek shelter at the morgue, his face bruised and battered by occasional lovers.
THE WEIGHT searches for the diamond in the rough, for the purity in these suffering bodies: one entrapped by malady, the other by the wrong gender. THE WEIGHT ventures deep into darkness and attacks many taboos, doing so without complacency and always ensuring that its characters are not reduced to simple puppets in a macabre little show. Jeon Kyu-hwan offers to each his own redemption and inserts naïve, disarmingly pure images into their imaginations, memories of a childhood that was stolen from them. As such, the violence featured in THE WEIGHT is far more emotionally painful than that of Jeon’s contemporaries, who tend to pile on the “shibal” (fuck) in their gangster flicks. Born in 1965, the director is representative of the rougher slice of Korean cinema, in the style of Kim Ki-duk or of newcomers Bim Byung-hun (TOUCH) and Lee Donku (FATAL), auteurs of melodramas verging on the horror genre. Having previously traumatised a few festivals with his naturalist dramas centering on a pedophile (ANIMAL TOWN, 2010) and a North Korean immigrant (DANCE TOWN, 2011), he now ventures into the phantasmagoric register and proves himself worthy of a Bukowski with this tale of ordinary madness in Seoul. Beyond offering us a raw slice of the human condition and a staggering melodrama, THE WEIGHT marks the entrance of a significant auteur in new Korean cinema.

— Stéphane du Mesnildot