Poles apart from the Korean obsession with youth and beauty that reign over both screen culture and society’s everyday dealings, E J-yong’s new film tells a tale of shame and disgrace that feels as fresh as an open wound. And yet, The Bacchus Lady is as funny and elegant and as it is devastating. The incomparable Youn Yuh-jung, one of Korea’s most revered actresses, gives another masterful performance as a sixty-something prostitute who spends her days in public parks, offering bottles of Bacchus (a brand-name energy drink) to old men as a code for sexual favors. But when a touch of gonorrhea leaves her unable to ply her trade, she is forced to find other services to offer her clients and soon turns to a darker business. In the hands of another director, this setup could have been the grounds for a low-brow comedy or crass exploitation, but E (Actresses) eschews satire for a light-hearted yet incisive examination of several taboo topics, including the U.S. military’s use of prostitutes, Korean men who refuse to acknowledge their children with women from Southeast Asian countries, and, most importantly, the shameful neglect of the elderly in contemporary Korea. Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Center New York.
This film has no current screenings