×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Vegetarian

Body horror and art are conjoined in this tastefully kinky film; an audacious debut by Lee.

With:
With: Chae Min-seo, Kim Hyun-sung, Kim Yeo-jin, Kim Young-jae, Park Sang-yeon.

Body horror and body art are conjoined in the tastefully kinky “Vegetarian.” A tonally extreme portrait of a woman who swears off meat before retreating into a literally vegetative state, writer-director Lim Woo-seong’s debut is an audacious if borderline risible psychodrama that suggests a South Korean spin on “The Pillow Book.” Pic seems unlikely to appeal to Asian auds far beyond the fest circuit; impact on post-viewing Korean BBQ consumption seems negligible.

In response to a series of scary dreams, Yeong-hye (Chae Min-seo) suddenly stops eating meat and becomes near-catatonic, with occasionally violent episodes, sending her husband (Kim Young-jae) packing. Her kindly sister (Kim Yeo-jin) asks her own husband, Sang-min (Park Sang-yeon), to keep an eye on Yeong-hye, which turns out to be a bad idea: Sang-min, an artist, starts filming her while painting flowers on her naked body, which turns out to be weirdly therapeutic for the disturbed Yeong-hye. Chae gives a committed perf as a woman who should be committed, and Kang Chang-bae’s sumptuous lensing results in some eerily erotic tableaux. But Yeong-hye’s inner demons, hinted at in flashbacks and whispery voiceover, don’t have much meat on their bones.

Vegetarian

South Korea

Production: A Sponge release, presented with the support of the Korean Film Council, of a Blue Tree Pictures production in co-production with Rudolf Film. (International sales: Sponge Entertainment, Seoul.) Produced by Lim Min-sub. Executive producers, David Cho, Cho Eunun. Co-producer, Park Byung-choon. Directed, written by Lim Woo-seong, based on the novel by Han Kang.

Crew: Camera (color, HD, widescreen), Kang Chang-bae; editor, Moon In-dae; music, Jeong Yong-jin; production designer, Jang Je-jeen; costume designer, Chae Kyung-hwa; sound, Jang Chul-ho; line producer, Im Jun-hyuk; assistant director, Koh Jung-wook. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema -- competing), Jan. 22, 2010. (Also in 2009 Pusan Film Festival.) Original title: Chaeshikjueuija. Running time: 114 MIN.

Cast: With: Chae Min-seo, Kim Hyun-sung, Kim Yeo-jin, Kim Young-jae, Park Sang-yeon.

More Scene

  • Yalitza AparicioTeen Vogue Young Hollywood Party,

    'Roma' Star Yalitza Aparicio, 'Central Park Five's' Jharrel Jerome Sound Off on Trump

    Yalitza Aparicio recently reunited with Alfonso Cuarón, who directed her in “Roma,” for a W magazine photo project that featured her standing at various barriers built at the border between Mexico and the United States. The message? “You can make a name for yourself despite the differences,” Aparicio told Variety on Friday at Teen Vogue’s Young [...]

  • Karl LagerfeldChanel Paris-Londres 2007/8 Show, London,

    Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

    Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion icon – and iconoclast – who outfitted and photographed such stars as Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, has died. He was 85. Lagerfeld died in Paris, fashion house Chanel said. Although his health had been failing, he kept working up to his death, issuing instructions regarding Fendi’s fall ready-to-wear collection, which [...]

  • Eric Wareheim, 'The Simpsons' E.P. Matt

    Beefsteak Gathers Comedy Bigwigs for Meat and Mayhem

    The masterminds behind Beefsteak, a debauched tribute to the meaty arts that raises thousands for the Los Angeles Food Bank, switch things up each year so that guests are never bored. Organized by comedy players including Eric Wareheim, “The Simpsons” executive producer Matt Selman, and ABC Studios VP of comedy Cort Cass with Redbird chef Neal [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron71st Annual Writers Guild Awards,

    Alfonso Cuarón on Academy's 'Inevitable' Reversal on Televised Oscar Categories

    Alfonso Cuarón isn’t exactly surprised that the Academy reversed its decision and will now air all the Oscar categories during the live show on Sunday. Feb. 24. Calling the decision “inevitable,”Cuarón tells Variety that he thinks the Academy should take things even further. “Let’s stop calling them technical categories!” he told Variety on Sunday night [...]

  • SAN FRANCISCO, CA - February 16

    San Francisco Symphony Ushers in Chinese New Year With Glitzy Gala

    As legend has it: among the Chinese Zodiac’s 12 animals, the pig comes last because it was the final one to arrive to a party thrown by the Jade Emperor — lazy sauntering being a characteristic trait of the animal. The folktale was perhaps less fitting this past Saturday evening, as the San Francisco Symphony [...]

  • Marianne Rendon, Matt Smith, Ondi Timoner

    Robert Mapplethorpe Biopic Team Talks 'Fast and Furious' Filming

    Thursday night’s New York premiere of the Matt Smith-led biopic “Mapplethorpe” took place at Cinépolis Chelsea, just steps from the Chelsea Hotel where the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe once lived — but director Ondi Timoner had no sense of that legacy when she first encountered him in a very different context. “When I was ten [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content