That Fishhooks In The Fanny movie. Very rarely do you come across a film that the memory of which is so easily summed up in an alliterative phrase. Kim Ki-Duk’s film The Isle is not an easily forgettable film for this reason. From 2000, it has taken four year to get to the UK via the Tartan Asia Extreme season, and part of me wonders why they bothered. On the other hand it was a Korean film constantly mentioned as part of the recent boom, and having seen ads for it in Brussels well over a year ago I must admit I was intrigued by its horror trappings.

It disappointed as a horror movie. It is a film of near inexplicable longuers split up with a few scenes of violence, sex and nasty fishhook action (we get fishhooks out of the throat too.) I have seen two of Ki-Duk’s later films – the excessively violent but melancholy Bad Guy and Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter…and Spring. In a lot of way The Isle is an existential horror romance version of that latter film, taking place on the water, with some similar themes. SSAW…aS plays it Buddhist, The Isle plays it for chills. But it still takes it time, makes little sense and does nothing but appall and baffle in equal measure. That said, Ki-Duk’s control of his audience is impressive, even if you don’t envy the mind of a man who sees entertainment in ripping up fish and kicking women in the vagina.

This is an extremely butchered cut by the way, made obvious by some leaps from live animals to filleted ones. I am a bit torn by these cuts. I am not PETA activist (despite my name) and certainly the treatment of the fish in the film is no different to what is going on at river banks the length and breadth of he country. But the whole pain and suffering for the sake of a movie aspect does not sit well (it happens in SSAW…S too so you get the feeling animal torture is one of his things).