Address Unknown

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  • R
  • 2001
  • 1 hr 57 min
  • 7.2  (3,799)

Address Unknown is a 2001 South Korean drama film directed by Kim Ki-duk. The story revolves around two lifelong best friends, Eom and Jeong-Soo, who live in a small South Korean town. Eom is a talented artist who owns an art gallery, while Jeong-Soo is a hardworking farmer who struggles to make ends meet. Despite their differences in social status and personality, the two men share a deep bond and often spend time together.

One day, Eom receives a letter from his old friend, a German man named Klaus who he met during his time studying in Germany. The letter contains an invitation for Eom to visit him in Berlin. Eom is thrilled at the prospect of reuniting with his former friend and decides to leave for Berlin immediately. However, before he leaves, Eom entrusts his gallery to Jeong-Soo, asking him to maintain it in his absence.

As Eom settles into his new life in Berlin, he begins to realize that his old friend Klaus is now a Nazi sympathizer who openly supports Adolf Hitler's regime. Shocked and appalled, Eom tries to distance himself from Klaus but finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into the web of Nazi ideology. Meanwhile, back in South Korea, Jeong-Soo discovers that Eom's gallery has become the target of anti-Korean sentiment, with many of the townspeople vandalizing it and boycotting its exhibitions.

As the story progresses, the two friends find themselves caught up in a political and ideological conflict that threatens to tear them apart. Eom increasingly identifies with the Nazi worldview and becomes more and more distant from his Korean identity, while Jeong-Soo struggles to understand his friend's newfound beliefs and the reasons behind his sudden abandonment of his heritage. The two men exchange letters, with Eom expressing his admiration for the Nazi way of life and Jeong-Soo pleading for him to come back home and reclaim his Korean identity.

The film is a powerful meditation on the nature of identity, nationalism, and the consequences of blindly following an ideology. The performances by Dong-kun Yang and Min-jung Ban as Eom and Jeong-Soo respectively are excellent, with both actors conveying a deep sense of friendship, betrayal, and confusion. The film's pacing is steady but engaging, with a few tense moments that keep the audience on their toes. Kim Young-min's portrayal of Klaus is also noteworthy, capturing the character's fanaticism and charisma in equal measure.

In terms of cinematography, Address Unknown is visually stunning, with several shots of Berlin's streets and landmarks that give the film a sense of place and time. The film's color palette is mostly muted, with a few splashes of red and black that add to the film's thematic resonance. The film's score is also notable, combining traditional Korean music with classical compositions to create an ethereal and haunting atmosphere.

Overall, Address Unknown is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant film that explores complex themes with nuance and sensitivity. While the film's subject matter may be difficult for some viewers, it is ultimately a rewarding and unforgettable cinematic experience.

Address Unknown
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 57 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (3,799)