BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE
FLANDERSUI GAE
2000, Magnolia Pictures, 110 min, South Korea, Dir: Bong Joon Ho

A mix of gallows humor and character-driven chaos, Bong Joon Ho’s directorial debut stars Lee Sung-jae as a jobless academic living in an apartment complex. Driven to the brink by his demanding wife and by the persistent sound of a barking dog, he resolves to rid the complex of noisy pooches wherever he finds them. Faced with the disappearance of one beloved pet after another, the complex’s unassuming bookkeeper (Bae Donna) finds herself under pressure to uncover the culprit. Smartly satirical in its depiction of confined living, BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE both shocks and delights with a tale of two unfulfilled people and the surreal series of events that brings them into collision.


TO DIE FOR
1995, Columbia, 106 min, USA, Dir: Gus Van Sant

There’s nothing that up-and-coming TV weather woman Suzanne Stone (Nicole Kidman, in one of her most audacious performances) won’t do to get what she wants. After marrying a man (Matt Dillon) for his business ties, she feels tied down by his desire for children and seduces a troubled teen (Joachin Phoenix) to get him to eliminate her bothersome husband. Buck Henry’s biting script uses the real-life Pamela Smart case as inspiration for riffs on naked ambition, the justice system and the media circus. Keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by director David Cronenberg as a mob hitman! "An irresistible black comedy and a wicked delight." – Janet Maslin, The New York Times


HELTER SKELTER
HERUTA SUKERUTA
2012, Asmik Ace, 127 min, Japan, Dir: Mika Ninagawa

Lilico (Erika Sawajiri) is Japan’s top model and the envy of every high school girl across the country. She is also, with the exception of her fingernails and a couple other parts, entirely fake. Created with the most advanced plastic surgery methods organized by her savvy and manipulating manager (Kaori Momoi), Lilico is a star on the verge of elite status. But as her own manufactured body deteriorates, she lashes out at and torments her social circle, particularly her infatuated assistant (Shinobu Terajima). When a philosophical prosecutor (Nao Omori) begins to collect evidence of medical malpractice stemming from the grisly suicides of models whose bodies have been destroyed by similar surgeries, Lilico’s life starts to unravel in spectacular fashion. Based on Kyoko Okazaki’s eponymous award-winning manga (2004 Grand Winner of the Tezuka Osama Cultural Prize), HELTER SKELTER has the bright sets and colorful palette of Ninagawa’s SAKURAN, with some kinky sex and macabre violence thrown in for good measure. As a kinetic look at celebrity culture and the fashion industry, the mix of black humor and gaudy melodrama makes for a satire that is appropriately in-your-face. In Japanese with English subtitles.


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