Friday, May 11, 2007

Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom

In "Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring," Kim Ki-duk, a South Korean director whose past films were often fueled by violence, does a complete about-face.

This film is a pastoral poem about the changing seasons and a meditation on the cycle of life. In a tranquil and timeless setting of a temple floating atop a man-made lake in a forest, surrounded by mountain spires that cut the monastery off from worldly concerns, an old monk teaches his young disciple the wisdom of Buddha over the many seasons of their lives.

But don't let the movie's mysticism fool you: This South Korean/German production has created festival buzz here. Sony Pictures Classics snapped up the picture in the second week. As it is chosen to be South Korea's entry into the foreign-language film Oscar competition, "Spring" should become an art house hit in North America.

Set against the background of this floating monastery, the picture's only set, the film follows the lives of a child monk and his master through four different seasons of their lives. Kim infuses these episodes with Buddhist principles, which teach kindness toward all forms of life and the goal of inner peace. Yet the world does intrude into the serene hermitage, bringing with it life's pleasures and sufferings.

Under the watchful gaze of an old monk (Oh Young-su), a little boy (Seo Jae-kyung) learns what sorrows his own cruelty can cause. As a teen, the boy (Kim Young-min) experiences the power of love and of lust when a young woman (Ha Yeo-jin) enters his life. Turning his back on the hermitage, he joins the world of man only to return years later, in anger and terror, when his desperate need for possession has turned to murder. Before police can arrest him, his master sees that penitence has cleared his heart and soul of all hatred.

In winter, the old monk makes his funeral pyre. Then his disciple, now a mature man (played by the director himself), returns to the sanctuary of his youth. He seeks peace and quiet so he might fulfill his destiny. When a woman brings a male baby to the temple, the monk undertakes a journey of atonement to place a holy statue on a frozen mountaintop. Now he is ready to raise and instruct a new monk.

Much of the movie is steeped in Buddhist mysticism. Each of the five episodes features a different animal -- a dog, a rooster, a cat, a snake and finally a turtle. For each season, Kim Ki-duk observes the change of weather and the relationship of man with nature. The film emphasizes the power of meditation and, in the episode concerning the murderer who seeks enlightenment, the need to perform a sutra to cleanse the heart of all jealousy and anger.

Kim Ki-duk keeps dialogue to a minimum and actions simple in what is virtually a two-character piece. Humor arrives organically, often resulting in hearty laughs. Backed by a terrific South Korean/German production crew, Kim Ki-duk is in total control of his material, its rhythms and its tone.

Spring - Child Monk takes life of animals out of innocence

A child monk ties a stone to a back of fish. Same plight awaits a frog and a snake. The child monk roams the brook in search of the fish and the frog as his punishment allotted by the old monk.

Summer - Boy Monk in love learns obsession The monk is now 17 years old. To the lonely hermitage, a girl comes to convalesce. Before long, warm feelings towards the girl sprouts in the boy's heart. Their ripple in the water turns into an act of love.

Fall - Young Monk in agony of malice The boy returns to the hermitage in the mountains as a young man in his thirties after committing a murder. The old monk whips him finding the young man attempting suicide in front of the statue of Buddha. Old monk order him to etch the Pranja-parpamitasutra, meanwhile he finds peace in his heart.

Winter - Mature Monk in days of enlightenment The monk, now in his full maturity retraces his steps to the abandoned hermitage in the mountains. A woman wearing a veil visits the hermitage with a baby. She leaves her baby behind and runs away.

And then spring - Another child monk : cycle of four seasons The old monk living with another child monk is having a peaceful time in the hermitage...the circle of life keeps on.

Kim Gi-deok(b) has been known for making films that are involving but often difficult to watch. In his eight previous works, which include ''Som (The Isle),' ''Nappun Namja (Bad Guy)' and most recently ''Haeanson (The Coast Guard),' Kim has taken on such controversial and agonizing topics as the life of a prostitute, the love-hate relationship of a woman and a pimp who kidnaps her, and a soldier slowly going insane.

For his new film ''Bom Yorum Kaul Kyoul Kurigo Bom (Spring Summer Fall Winter... and Spring),' Kim says he tried to change the pace and outlook of his films and show a different side of himself.

''I feel like I've been living my life in a rush, so I wanted to slow down a little and make a movie like this,' Kim said after a press screening.

The film traces the life of a Buddhist monk as he goes from being a young orphan to an adult monk. Kim uses the passing of the seasons to parallel the monk's development and his experiences of desire, jealousy and rage.

With a small cast, all of ''Spring' takes place in and around a temple on Chusanji Lake located in Mt. Chuwang National Park, North Kyongsang Province. A 30-ton set built specifically for the film, the temple floats like a wayward raft on the lake, accessible only by a small boat.

With the construction of the temple and the logistics of filming on water, Kim says there were a lot of people behind the film that made it possible. ''They made something that it seemed could not be done work,' he says.

The floating temple was used to show ''the speed in which life can change, the way that one can wake up and find that East has become West and West has become East, that irony of life,' Kim said.

''Spring' also shows Kim making his debut as an actor. Kim portrays the older monk in the film's winter scenes, a role he originally conceived for the veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki or renowned scholar and philosopher Kim Yong-OK. Both were unavailable due to schedule conflicts.

After deciding to take on the part himself, Kim made the already physically demanding role, which included meditating in freezing temperatures, even more so. In one scene Kim climbs up a steep mountain with a large stone tied to his waist while carrying a stone statue of a Buddha with both arms, something he admits he wouldn't have asked another actor to do.

A devout Catholic _ Kim at one point in his life seriously considered priesthood _ the director says the film in part was driven by his relationship between his own religious values and the culture around him.

''All Koreans have lived surrounded by Buddhism and Buddhist culture is the foundation, which we acknowledge and accept,' he says.

And though the changing of the seasons in the film is to show the life of one monk, Kim says it reflects the cycle of life in general.

''If we were able to remember life's lesson from spring we wouldn't repeat them,' Kim says, ''but like winter which rots away the leaves and freezes over everything, like the seasons' patterns, our patterns in life will make us forget and repeat our past mistakes.

''This is not only a Buddhist idea but one of the facts of life.'

Author: Musashi Zatoichi ( from Stockholm

Notes on a Scandal

NOTES ON A SCANDAL is a Judi Dench "triumph" of brilliant wit, pain and a satanic passion for a woman out of reach in Cate Blanchett. Her "Judas" to her supposed friend and fellow teacher is an acting performance which will land Ms. Dench right back in "Oscar country". Too bad it is in the same year as Helen Mirren's magnificent "Queen" as Dench gives a show here in NOTES ON A SCANDAL that leaves you quite breathless to the last and final scene and fade out.

Barbara Covett (Dench) teaches history at a comprehensive school in London, England. A lonely old spinster, Barbara's primary relationship is with herself by means of a diary which she keeps compulsively, the only "intimate relationship" in her life. She is unpopular among her students and colleagues, but an effective disciplinarian. At the start of the school year, a new teacher, Sheba Hart (Blanchett), begins to teach art at the school. When two male students get into a fight despite Sheba's attemps to separate them, Barbara intervenes, discovering in the process that one of the boys was fighting the other because the latter had impugned Sheba's honor. Barbara and Sheba begin a friendship during the course of which Barbara learns of Sheba's family, her much older husband and two children, a boy with Down's Syndrome, and a girl. Sheba admits to her that she is unhappy with her life and had planned it differently. Barbara is thrilled with her new friendship and begins to place her hopes on it.

Not seeing Sheba at the school play, Barbara goes looking for her and witnesses her having an amorous encounter with fifteen-year-old Steven Connelly (Simpson), the boy who had earlier fought for her. Barbara is shaken and confronts Sheba, demanding to know everything. Sheba explains that Steven had been making passes at her during their after school tutoring sessions, and that she had succumbed after learning that his father is abusive and that his mother is dying from kidney failure. Barbara sees this as her opportunity to cement the relationship she always wanted. She agrees not to inform anyone if Sheba ends the affair, noting everything down in the diary.

Sheba's gratitude and Barbara's increased hope intensify their friendship. Sheba, however, has not been able to resist Steven's desire for her, or her own feelings. They are interrupted while making love by Barbara's unexpected visit, during which Barbara attempts a physical seduction of Sheba, who is visibly desperate to return to Steven, left waiting for her. Barbara glimpses the shape of a boy in the back yard, Sheba's cell phone rings and both women lunge for it. Barbara is first to take the call, only to hear Steven's graphic, seductive language. She again forces Sheba to promise to cut off the relationship. She again tries and fails, discovering in the process that Steven's tale of woe about his family was a lie.

Matters are brought to a head when Barbara, distraught over her cat's death, seeks out Sheba's companionship. She meets up with her as Sheba and her family are leaving for a long-planned school play involving her son. Barbara confronts Sheba with the demand to choose there and then between her and her family, resorting to blackmail. Sheba says that her loyalties lie with her family and goes off to the school play. A teary-eyed and furious Barbara buries her cat alone. Later that night, she hints to one of her colleagues, himself in love with Sheba and seeking an adulterous relationship, that Sheba is having an affair with Steven. He, humiliated and incensed, lets the truth out. Steven's mother storms into Sheba's home, accuses her before her family of sleeping with "a child" and physically attacks her. Sheba's husband blames her for giving in to feelings that "everyone" has but is able to suppress.

Within a short amount of time, Sheba is questioned by the police in a headline investigation. The school headmaster believes Barbara was aware of the affair and questions her, but is unable to find any evidence. He does, however, mention a previous incident where a "friend" of Barbara's moved away after requesting a restraining order against her, claiming she had stalked her previously. Barbara is forced into retirement a year early and is stalked by the press as well.

Barbara visits Sheba, who has been cast out by her family, in particular her husband and daughter. Believing that Steven had been the one to divulge the relationship, Sheba goes to live with Barbara. While Barbara fantasizes about renewed intimacy with her, Sheba discovers the diary. Disgusted, Sheba exposes Barbara to herself as a deluded fool, and returns to her family and a sentence of ten months in prison.

A few days later, Barbara meets Anabelle, a woman Sheba's age, reading about Sheba in a newspaper. She talks to Anabelle about having met Sheba, and a new possible friendship, one which may include another "deep bond," begins.

Patrick Marber delivers a deliciously wicked, witty and crisply written script in NOTES, and it only enhances his reputation for giving an audience a story well developed and with characters that you can't take your eyes off on the screen. His writing in CLOSER was so brilliant and clever, but in NOTES ON A SCANDAL he hands Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett words that are zingers and with a strong blend of anger, pain and humor. Please, Patrick, gives us another film quickly! The "teacher/student" romance was well developed and the chemistry between the two actors was believable and very sexual, and one could understand the youthful passion delivered by a young man with a strong mind and body. I did at times have to listen carefully to the young actor's lines, but he delivered them like a pro.

In the weeks ahead, I anticipate a "roar from the crowd" for this very dark and witty Judi Dench performance and who knows, she may upset "The Crown" in the end come Oscar time.

The Insider

From scene one, this film delivers a long slow burn as the tale of power and corruption unfolds. There is little action, but the film is steeped in an atmosphere of tension and high drama. The direction by Michael Mann is masterful, an object lesson in how to frame shots and let silence, as well as words - and music - work for the story. Al Pacino is once more the great actor of early films such as 'Scarecrow', instead of the theatrical performer of recent films. Russell Crowe shows his solid 'ordinary guy'character as more tortured through losing his family than any of the macho scenes he portrayed in 'Gladiator.' A superb film.

The film begins with Lowell Bergman (Pacino) and a colleague being taken (under a blindfold) to see a Sheik in the Middle East about doing an interview with Mike Wallace (Plummer) for the CBS show 60 Minutes. Bergman's blindfold is kept on while he speaks to the Sheik. When the Sheik agrees to the interview and leaves the room, Bergman removes his blindfold and calls Mike Wallace, while his colleague looks at how the room can be used for the interview. Two days later Wallace arrives and, even though one of the Sheik's bodyguards does not want him to sit so close, the interview goes ahead.

While this is happening, back in the United States in Louisville, Kentucky, Jeffrey Wigand (Crowe) packs his belongings and leaves Brown and Williamson to go home to his wife (Venora) and two children, one of whom suffers from acute asthma. It is not until after the family sits down to eat dinner, that Wigand's wife raises questions regarding boxes she has seen in Wigand's car. He replies in a very solemn voice that he was fired that morning.

Now back in the U.S., Bergman is at home when an anonymous package arrives concerning the tobacco company Philip Morris and a cigarette and fire safety study. Because, the documents inside the package are all written in chemistry jargon, Bergman calls a friend to ask the name of someone who could translate the study into plain English. His friend gives him Wigand's name and phone number. Wigand refuses to speak to Bergman, and they exchange faxes. Eventually Bergman says that he will be at a hotel in Louisville at a certain time.

Wigand and Bergman meet at the hotel and Wigand agrees to be a consultant about the Fire Safety Study from Philip Morris but he says that he can't talk about anything else because he is bound by a Confidentiality Agreement. Wigand takes the documents and leaves. He then goes to a meeting with the CEO of Brown and Williamson, Thomas Sandefeur (Gambon), who forces him to sign an expanded confidentiality agreement. Wigand believes that Bergman told Brown and Williamson about their meeting and accuses him of it.

Bergman visits Wigand's house the next day and denies that he said anything to Brown and Williamson because it's not what he does. Wigand and Bergman talk about the seven CEOs of Big Tobacco testifying to Congress that they know nothing of addiction in nictotine, and that they should be afraid of Wigand. They also talk about why Wigand started working for a tobacco company after he had worked for other Biotech companies. Bergman tells Wigand that he has to decide for himself whether or not to blow the whistle on big tobacco.

Back at CBS Headquarters, Bergman and Wallace are in a meeting where they view the seven CEOs testifying before Congress and they discuss what Wigand might have that would hurt them. A lawyer is present at the meeting and he claims that because of Wigand's Confidentiality Agreement and because big tobacco have an unlimited checkbook, he will never be able to reveal what he knows. Bergman then proposes that Wigand could be compelled to speak through a court of law, which could give him some protection against Brown and Williamson should he do an interview for 60 Minutes.

Wigand becomes a high school teacher in Chemistry and Japanese in Louisville. He and his family move into a new house. One night he finds a shoe print in his garden, receives death threats via e-mails and then finds a bullet in his mailbox. The FBI doesn't take him seriously and seizes his computer, even though it is personal property.

Wigand and Bergman have dinner together and Bergman asks Wigand about incidents from his past that big tobacco might use against him. Wigand tells him several things, then expresses that he is risking a lot and he can't see that it's going to make much difference. Bergman assures him that it will.

Bergman gets in touch with Richard Scruggs (Feore) and Ron Motley (McGill) who, along with Mississippi's Attorney General, are suing big tobacco on behalf of the State of Mississippi (Mike Moore, playing himself) to get the state reimbursed Medicaid cards for treating people with smoking related illnesses. Bergman tells them his idea and they express interest in talking to Wigand.

Wigand phones Bergman telling him that his family is being terrorized and that he wants to go to New York and get on the record. Wigand and his wife meet Bergman and Wallace in New York, but Wigand has not told his wife that he will do the interview. As the Wigands leave separately Wallace asks, 'Who are these people?' to which Bergman replies, 'They're ordinary people under extraordinary pressure, Mike. What did you expect? Grace and consistency?'

Wigand does the interview with Wallace where he states that Brown and Williamson manipulates nicotine through ammonia chemistry to allow nicotine to be more rapidly absorbed in the lungs and therefore affect the brain and central nervous system. He then goes on to say that Brown and Williamson has consciously ignored public health considerations in the name of profit.

Wigand begins his new teaching job and he talks to Richard Scruggs. He goes home to find that Bergman has given him some security personnel. Wigand's wife is struggling under the pressure and tells him so.

Wigand goes to Mississippi where he receives a restraining order issued by the State of Kentucky. It is not honored in Mississippi but if he testifies then as soon as he goes back to Kentucky he could be imprisoned. After a long period on his own, he decides to go to court to give a deposition. At the deposition he says that nicotine acts as a drug.

Wigand goes back to Kentucky to find that his wife and two children have left him.

At this point the film shifts its emphasis from Wigand to Bergman. Bergman and Wallace go to a meeting with CBS Corporate about the Wigand interview. A legal concept has emerged, known as Tortious interference. If two parties have an agreement, such as a confidentiality agreement, and one of those parties is induced by a third party to break that agreement, the party can be sued by the other party for any damages. It is revealed that the more truth Wigand tells, the greater the damage, and a greater likelihood that CBS will be faced by a multi-billion dollar lawsuit from Brown and Williamson. It is later suggested that an edited interview take the place of the original. Bergman disagrees, and claims that the reason CBS Corporate is leaning on CBS News to edit the interview is because they fear that the prospect of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit could jeopardize the sale of CBS to Westinghouse. Bergman comes to see that he is alone on the issue, as Wallace agrees with editing the interview.

Big tobacco also begins a smear campaign against Wigand, talking to his first wife and publishing a 500-page dossier about everything Wigand has done wrong. Through talking with Wigand, Bergman sees that big tobacco has distorted and exaggerated their claims. He gets into contact with a reporter from the Wall Street Journal about delaying the story until it can be proved. He also gets into contact with private investigators who do their own investigating. Bergman gives his findings to the Wall Street Journal reporter and tells him to push the deadline. Bergman is ordered to go on vacation.

The edited interview is broadcast. Bergman tries to get through to Wigand at his hotel but there is no answer. He talks to the hotel manager who goes up to Wigand's room with a phone. Wigand is sitting still and staring straight ahead. Then he looks over his shoulder and sees his daughters playing in their back garden. Finally Wigand talks to Bergman, accusing him of manipulating him into where he is now. Bergman tells Wigand that he is important to a lot of people and that guys like him are in short supply. Wigand says the same about Bergman.

Bergman decides to get in contact with a journalist from the New York Times, and everything that went on at 60 Minutes is revealed. The Wall Street Journal60 Minutes finally broadcasts the full interview with Wigand. finally releases its article where it states that most of the accusations against Wigand are backed by scant or contradictory evidence, and they reveal Wigand's deposition in Mississippi.

In the final scene Bergman talks to Wallace and he tells him that he's quitting saying, 'What got broken here doesn't go back together again'. The final shot is of him leaving the building. A series of title cards appear stating the settlement that big tobacco made with Mississippi and other States in their lawsuit, that Wigand lives in South Carolina and that Bergman works for the PBS show Frontline.


Polish caper pic "Vinci," in which thieves plot to purloin a Leonardo da Vinci painting, is no masterpiece, but it forges zippy, mainstream entertainment from by-the-numbers elements. Veteran crime and comedy helmer Juliusz Machulski ("Killer," "Superproduction") mixes a few gimmicks from Hollywood heisters like "The Score" and the new "Italian Job" with plenty of Polish-specific gags and references. Local B.O. figures this fall were pretty enough to hang on a wall, but international auds won't gaze with such rapt admiration.

Inveterate thief Cuma (Robert Wieckiewicz), on parole from prison, uses a once-in-a-lifetime chance to swipe the national treasure, Da Vinci's "Lady With an Ermine," for a wealthy collector. Cuma's former partner, Julian (Borys Szyc), isn't keen at first to help out -- given he's become a cop -- but finally does. Rest of the gang includes forgers Magda (Kamilla Baar) and Hagen (Jan Machulski), and a docile getaway driver (Lukasz Simlat) whose brain disorder prevents him from recognizing faces, which makes him incapable of betrayal. Pic gets bogged down with crime mechanics in the middle act, but the climax delivers.

Vinci is just the next movie of Julusz Machulski, polish director widely known (at least in Poland) as director of quite clever and good comedies and crime-comedies like "Vabank" or "Kiler" (which was best-selling polish comedy years ago), so the genre "Crime" what "Vinci" seems to be classified as is not fully correct. As usual from this director you should rather expect funny crime story type of movie and so "Vinci" is. However, I personally would not call "Vinci" the best movie Machulski ever made, but fortunately all his movies never were time wasters even they were not brilliant. The plot ain't very unique and as you have probably guessed, it's all about most famous painting of Leonardo Da Vinci, and while it's still crime-o-type movie, you may also expect some bad guys sniffing around the painting with thievery in mind. Good acting and funny dialogs are the bright side of this movie, however I'd expect a bit more complicated plot from Machulski. Hopefully you shouldn't get bored but rather enjoy watching this movie.

Scandal - Joseon namnyeo sangyeoljisa

No, this has nothing to do with alcoholism. As well, movies with sweating, panting sex scenes are a dime a dozen. The accent here is aristocracy. The party in a tireless pursuit of amorous encounter here is as much of an artist as Diego Rivera is (remember the chap in Frida who is "physiologically incapable of fidelity"). More than that, he is a nobleman, one Jo-wan (Bae Yong-Jun), accomplished in not only painting, but also poetry, calligraphy and martial arts. And, for good measure, he paints scene of his own licentious encounters.

Untold Scandal is yet another adaptation of 18th century classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, better known to moviegoers as Dangerous Liaison (1988). The scene, however, is transported to feudal Korea. The main story line is Jo-wan's bet with his cousin Lady Cho (Lee Mi-sook) that he can seduce virgin widow Lady Suk (Jeon Do-yeon). Along the way, we are privy to Jo-wan's other exploits, including his painting model, Lady Suk's maid, and an adolescent concubine-to-be So-ok. In the last case, Lady Cho also got her prey in So-ok's young admirer, through a wicked conspiracy she and Jo-wan executed over the innocent young couple.

So much for the pleasure of the flesh. The light, comic tone turns dark when a measure of affection develops between Jo-wan and Lady Suk, ending in a fatalistic tragedy.

Comparison with Dangerous Liaison seems inevitable. Both Li Mi-sook and Glenn Close gave an excellent portrayal of this intelligent, cultured, completely bored and thoroughly wicked high-born lady. In Dangerous Liaison, the woman's brilliant performance is perfectly matched by the man's, in John Malkovich's cunningly charming nobleman. In Untold Scandal, however, Bae Yong-Jun, despite his immense popularity in Korean soup operas, is coming short. His Clerk Gable style charm and wit are rather superficial, rendering the successful seduction of this immovable lady rather unconvincing.

With the character of Lady Suk, it's yet another story. Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeon Do-yeon both did a marvellous job, but it's not meaningful to compare them because their style is so different. Here I'd rather concentrate on Jeon Do-yeon, who must be considered one of the best actresses in Korea today. To fully appreciate her brilliant versatility, one has to see both the shy, innocent, lonely girl yearning for love in Cheob-sok (1997) and the scheming, reckless adulteress in Happy End (1999). Those who consider her lovemaking scene in Untold Scandal daring (for a Korean movie) should see the first ten minutes of Happy End for an eye-opener.

The story of Untold Scandal is told in a simple manner, with conspicuous, frequent use of voice off. Art direction and cinematography are the forte of this movie. At the close range, we see a meticulously detailed shot of a serving tray with a sumptuous Korean meal served in some thirty bowls and dishes. A similar shot, but on a different subject matter, is the make-up tray for the high lady. In the medium range, the colourful Korean consumes and architecture become the star. Finally, there are breathtaking views of sea and snowfield that accentuate the poignancy towards the end. Ref.:Harry T. Yung (

The Limb Salesman

"You wouldn't believe what the fuckin' mutants would do for an arm and a leg."

- Contact explaining the facts of improved life to Dr. Goode

As many countries worldwide struggle to keep a handle on health-care costs and regulate medical research to prevent Dr. Frankensteins from opening "Bodies 'R Us" clinics, Anais Granofsky's The Limb Salesman should find sympathetic audiences in every corner of the planet.

Set in the future, but draped in the past (Diana Abbatangelo's production design revels in antiques, fabric and decades-past baubles) the film achieves much as social commentary even as its fantastic plot moves unevenly forward.

As Dr. Goode, the deeply troubled DNA wizard, Peter Stebbings gives a convincing performance of the nightmare-haunted surgeon who gradually falls in love with his legless patient Clara (Ingrid Veninger) whose full recovery allows her to walk full steam ahead into an O.

Surrounding the tormented lovers in a house that personifies isolation, are the incorrigible family matriarch Lolly (Jackie Burroughs, equally adept as lush, dancer and conniver), her wicked son Abe (Clark Johnson, appropriately nasty, but foiled by a script that lets Clara, the ultimate "wife replacement" toddle off seconds before the revenge-seeking "grunts" circle their wagons) and his son Charles (Charles Officer), onsite overseer of the family's employee-filling water mine—the most precious commodity of the New World.

In order to procure the necessary "parts," Dr. Goode treks to Junction where his contact (Julian Richings, who greedily savours this manic role, resplendent in leather) cooks up a pair of gams in his human tissue lab but not before discovering that the good doctor's heart is not his own. No problem. Contact suggests that "you find a freak generic mutant and help yourself" because "the heart is one organ you can't grow in a Petrie dish" (something about having a soul ...) (Real life mutants are only too common, cross-reference below.) Some of his lines are spoken while, literally, on top of the physician-for-hire, which only serve to muddy the relationship pot.

Writers Granofsky and Veninger do best when shading the contemporary metaphors of cue jumping, two-tier service delivery, exploitation of labour and incest with situations that make this production not "just another fairy tale." They are aided by John Welsman's score, particularly the baroque violin that pulls us back further in time even as the Chopin Ballade signals "dinner is served."

But, finally, that's the flaw: with such a rich buffet of eras, ideas and commentaries, it's difficult to conclude what this film's really about, yet it's a cinematic meal that has much to enjoy.

Not least of which is the unforgettable scene when Dr. Goode awakens, bare, alone with only his own steady pulse for company. Stebbings soars through the moment with chilling authority.