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CELLO

Director: Lee Woo-chul

SOUTH KOREA| 2005. SUBTITLED. COLOUR. DIGITAL VIDEO. 94 MIN.


Like so many East Asian films we’ve seen in the West, South Korean director Lee Woo-chul’s Cello is a supernatural ghost story. Hong Mi-ju is a college lecturer and cellist. As the film opens, she is rattled by news of an old friend, Tae-in. It appears that she has a bitter memory involving Tae-in’s accidental death many years ago. When her daughter acquires a cello and shows an unhealthy interest in it, Mi-ju learns that her family is put under threat by a supernatural force. The cello, a musical instrument whose shape resembles a human torso, is here used as a mirror-like medium upon which the moral hypocrisies of a middle-class Korean family are reflected. Much like Kubrick’s The Shining, this visually beautiful film makes excellent use of decor to capture an overwhelming sense of isolation and a descent into madness.

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