Archive of films The Bow / Hwal

South Korea / Japan
2005, 90 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2005

An almost magical parable about the uncommon cohabitation of an old man and a girl who live together on fishing boat on the open sea. The unexpected intrusion of civilisation sometimes interrupts their quiet life, reminiscent of a dreamlike ritual. The man, an excellent archer, tries to defy fate and keep his beloved foster daughter in tender captivity. But the girl is struck by her feelings for a student who sails over from the mainland. 


Kim Ki-duk’s twelfth film is an elegiac parable narrating the poetic love story of a 60-year-old man living on a boat anchored on the open sea. The taciturn seaman’s companion is an attractive 16- year-old girl whom he found as a child, raised and deeply fell in love with. The man, who is also a gifted archer, patiently counts the days to her approaching 17th birthday when he plans on marrying her. Intruders from the mainland, attracted by the fishing, sometimes disturb their calm, slow-paced life cut off from civilisation. Then one day a nice young man visits the old painted boat. To his great displeasure, the foster father perceives that his young bride fancies the lad. For the old adherent of archaic rituals, a bow serves three important functions: not only is it a swift and sure weapon used to protect his independent existence, but it also foretells the future and can be played as a musical instrument. With its sharp arrows, the bow is a symbol of his strength and manhood. The film opened the section Un certain regard at Cannes this year.

About the director

Kim Ki-duk (b. 1960, Kyongsang Province) as a young man worked in a factory, he was a sailor, and spent five years in the army. He also sold his paintings for two years in Paris. He then began writing screenplays and made a name for himself as a controversial director of films that combined deep melancholy with brutality and erotic extremes. He has become South Korea’s leading director, and his films were profiled at the 37th Karlovy Vary IFF (2002). His work often features outcasts or those hounded by obsessive feelings of guilt. He shouldn’t be mistaken with the director of the same name who worked in the 60s and 70s. Filmography: Crocodile (1996), the drama Wild Animals (1997), The Birdcage Inn (1998), The Isle (2000), the political drama Address Unknown (2001), Bad Guy (2001), Coast Guard (2002), Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (2003), Samaritan Girl (2004), 3-Iron (2004).


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About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Horizons
Director: Kim Ki-duk
Screenplay: Kim Ki-duk
Dir. of Photography: Jang Seung-beck
Music: Kang Eunil
Editor: Kim Ki-duk
Producer: Kim Ki-duk
Production: Kim Ki-duk Film
Cast: Jeong Sung-hwan, Han Yeo-reum, Seo Ji-seok
Contact: Cineclick Asia

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