[Our thanks to Padhrig Harney for the following review.]
"Rolling Home with a Bull" is a powerful story of a lost poet. Traveling across Korea with the bull that represents everything he is lacking in life the bull takes on roles as companion, teacher, and lover. Based on the original novel by Kim Do-yeon the film is a hilarious and emotionally unrelenting work leaving the viewer to think about reality, Buddhism, society, and relationships. Walk away from this film and you will be sure of one thing. The state of Korean cinema is alive and well.
Revenge films with high body counts and cool male characters have tantalized international audiences over the last decade. When you mention Korean film these are most likely the works that people are familiar with. This portion of the industry has its strong points, however these films look to emulate Hollywood films. While Korean film can do a bang up job at emulation (some might argue an even better job) the true joy is to see a film that is uniquely Korean in every way.
With Im Soon-Rye's debut film "Three friends" she gave us insight into the lives of modern Koreans looking to fit into a society that was less than welcoming. After that we where treated to "Waikiki Brothers", a film that gives us another set out outsiders as they become more and more marginalized in their world of night life entertainment. She has displayed wit in writing and directing all while operating in the male-dominated field of film. These works while interesting failed at the box-office and didn't really bring much festival attention ether. In the first If You Were Me Im offered a small but significant look into the discrimination of women and the life of a high school girl in "The Weight of Her".
With a few films under her she was giving her first read opportunity to shine with a bigger budget and name actors. Her 2008 film "Forever the Moment" chronicled the Korean National Women's handball team and the ups and downs on the way to the Olympic games. The film was a box-office hit and proved that her film could make money. There has never been anything wrong with Im's work. She has given viewers insight into the human condition in every work to this point. Sometimes it just takes a masterpiece for others to realize genius. "Rolling Home with a Bull" may well very well be the work that launches Im into the forefront of Korean filmmaking.
Offering a style that cannot be found outside of Korean cinema Im Soo-rye's film "Rolling Home with a Bull" works in every aspect as a film and a work of art. The film is more than just perfectly delicate moments of pain and loneliness woven together to paint the hardships of the human condition. It is the ideal combination of talent in acting and filmmaking. The film is pure genius and will surely vault Im into domestic and international fame.
Review by Padhrig Harney
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