DIRECTOR: Chan-wook Park
FEATURING: Su-jeong Lim, Rain
PLOT: Young-goon, a young woman who believes herself to be a cyborg, is institutionalized after a gruesome and nearly fatal attempt to recharge her batteries. Among the characters she meets in the mental hospital is Il-soon, a kleptomaniac who steals not only small items, but character traits from the other patients. Young-goon enlists Il-soon’s aid to help her discover and complete her purpose as a cyborg, while he finds himself coming to care about her—and seeks to find a solution to her troubles that will remain true to her delusion.
- I’m a Cyborg was director Chan-wook Park’s first film after completing his popular and ultra-violent “Vengeance Trilogy” [Sympathy for Mr. Vengance (2002), Oldboy (2003), and Lady Vengeance (2004)]. It was the #1 film in Korea in it’s opening week, but tanked quickly thereafter and ultimately became a box-office disappointment.
- The idea for the movie came to Park after he had a dream about “bullets coming out of a girl’s body.”
- The mail lead, Jeong Ji-Hoon, is a top Korean pop music star who records under the name “Rain.” He makes his movie acting debut in Cyborg.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: The audience-pleasing image is Young-goon sprouting jets from her ratty sneakers so she can elevate to kiss Il-soon. The most enduring image, however, is the vision of Young-goon as a combat cyborg, with bullets shooting from her fingertips and spent shell casings ejecting from her open mouth.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: The main characters—a woman who self-destructs because she believes herself to be a robot, and a kleptomaniac with a fondness for bunny rabbit masks—would, at the very least, qualify as quirky. Add elaborate hallucinatory sequences, including a massacre of the hospital doctors set to the rhythm of a gentle chamber waltz, and a flight to the Swiss Alps in the grasp of a giant ladybug accompanied by yodeling, and the movie becomes fantastic. But what makes it weird is that the director takes the principals’ delusions at emotional face value, never allowing reality to bully and overcome his madmen’s subjective worlds.
Trailer for I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK
COMMENTS: We can easily imagine the 2009 Hollywood remake of Saibogujiman Continue reading 6. I’M A CYBORG, BUT THAT’S OK [SAIBOGUJIMAN KWENCHANA] (2006)