×
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

  • Nicole KidmanWarner Bros. Pictures World Premiere

    How James Wan Convinced Nicole Kidman to Star in 'Aquaman'

    While some actors dream of playing a superhero, that wasn’t the case for the cast of “Aquaman.” “I knew nothing about this,” Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the James Wan-directed action film, told Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere. “I knew nothing about comic books in general. I didn’t know anything about this [...]

  • Hugh Jackman'To Kill a Mockingbird' Broadway

    'To Kill a Mockingbird's' Starry Opening: Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and More

    The Shubert Theatre in New York City last was filled on Thursday night with Oscar winners, media titans, and, of course, Broadway legends who came out for the opening of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The starry guest list included Oprah Winfrey, Barry Diller, “Les Misérables” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Gayle King, [...]

  • Clint Eastwood and Alison Eastwood'The Mule'

    Clint Eastwood: Why Alison Eastwood Came Out of Acting Retirement for Her Dad

    Clint Eastwood’s daughter Alison Eastwood was done with acting after appearing in 2014’s “Finding Harmony.” Or so she thought. It was a Friday night and she and her husband were heading to dinner when her father’s producer Sam Moore called. “He [says], ‘You know, your dad wants you to do this film,” Alison recalls. “I [...]

  • John CenaSports Illustrated Sportsperson of the

    John Cena on WWE's Acceptance by Hollywood and the Professional Sports World

    John Cena says the WWE is finally getting the attention it deserves by Hollywood and the professional sports world. “I’m just glad that no longer are we looked down upon, not only by the sport industry, but by the performing arts industry,” Cena told Variety on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of [...]

  • Steve Carell Welcome to Marwen

    Steve Carell on New Film 'Welcome to Marwen' and Reprising His 'Anchorman' Character

    In 2000, Mark Hogancamp was nearly beaten to death by five men outside of a bar. Left with brain damage and little money to afford therapy, Hogancamp began creating miniature doll versions of himself, his friends, and his attackers as a way to cope. This true story inspired the 2010 documentary “Marwencol” and the upcoming [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content