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4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In Kim Ki-duk's offbeat romance, a death-row inmate (Chang Chen) makes headlines when he tries to commit suicide by stabbing himself in the neck. His story captures the heart of a young wife and mother (Park Ji-a), who sneaks away from her squeaky clean Seoul apartment and loveless marriage in the middle of the night. She goes to the prison, claiming to be the convict's ex-lover. Under surveillance, she is allowed to see the now-mute prisoner in a meeting room, where she proceeds to talk about her life and the world outside. Each season, she returns for such a date, coming closer and closer to physical contact with every breath.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Chen Chang
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Collector's Edition, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: August 16, 2011
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0052XU4BU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,587 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on August 23, 2011
Format: DVD
Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk has a unique and disturbing way at getting to the core of complex and dysfunctional relationships. His "Bad Guy" is one of my favorite character pieces. Unrelentingly dark and extremely brutal, the film is a masterwork of nightmarish psychological suspense. 2007's "Breath" continues with many of the same challenging themes. Told very simplistically, this grim tale of obsession and compulsion has moments of tender sweetness amidst a very unhealthy central romance. Painting characters that are unrepentantly selfish, the film miraculously manages to make these thoroughly unlikable individuals compelling and oftentimes sympathetic. It's like a high-wire act that is balanced to precision and the film, while often distasteful or uncomfortable, is impossible to turn away from. I don't know that I loved "Breath" but I sure won't forget it! That, in itself, is reason enough to make this an easy recommendation for adult audiences.

The central characters are a suicidal death row inmate and a dissatisfied (and betrayed) housewife. When news of the inmate is televised, the young lady feels drawn to seek out a re-connection with the condemned man. The two had known each other in more innocent times, and visiting her former flame pulls her further away from an adulterous husband. Upon each visit, she sets an elaborate stage with flowers, wall treatments, and music to create an idealized oasis away from reality. The two become more and more intertwined, and yet each much ultimately confront the truth of their situation. The bond they share is alternately tender and creepy and the film uses this incongruity to create an almost hyper-real environment.
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Format: DVD
Ki-Duk Kim has done it again. The South Korean writer/director is best known universally through his 2003 minimalist, Buddhism-inspired fable 'Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring' and once again he demonstrates that with very minimal resources he can create a story at once complex and compelling in this new film BREATH. Not only are his ideas for film unique in the technical aspects, his concept of telling a story is always surprisingly subtle.

Jang Ji (Chen Chang) is on death row in a Korean prison for the murder of his family. He shares the bleak cell with three other prisoners, one of whom (In-Hyeong Gang) is young and obviously in love with and is very possessive of Jian Ji. Jian Ji attempts suicide and the media focuses on the transfer of the prisoner to the hospital where he barely survives his self-inflicted stab wound to the throat. One woman on the outside, Yeon (Zia - or Ji-a Park) watches the coverage on the media in silence (: she is married to a man (Jung-Woo Ha) who apparently is having an extramarital affair and pays little attention to her, finding Yeon's obsession with the prisoner 's exposure in the media this foolish and repulsive. They have a young daughter who observes the lack of interaction between her parents. Yeon is a sculptor and quietly works at her art, watching the coverage of Jian-Ji's plight. Something in her relates to the prisoner and she begins making trips to the prison where she sets up the visitor room with wall photographs, paintings and flower props that look like Spring. It is in this atmosphere that she meets the handcuffed Jian Ji and there is obvious exchanged compassion between them.
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Format: DVD
Kim Ki-Duk makes art house watchable. At least there is an interesting premise. I mean, there's another film (not Kim's) where the character just sat in the park for 20 minutes - to illustrate isolation and loneliness.

This offering from Kim pairs a prisoner on death row who develops a relationship with a female visitor.

Breath is simple yet dexterous in its visual execution. It mixes the non-speaking roles (the protagonist Jin and his cell mates) with the verbal ones (the female lead Yeon and her family).

The prisoners did an admirable job conveying emotions through gestures, body language and facial expressions. The homosexual cell mate of Jin alternates between tenderness, desire, despair, jealousy, protectiveness, possessiveness and murderous hatred for his unrequited efforts.

In stark contrast to the sombre prison scenes are the parts where Yeon visits Jin. The walls are brightly decorated according to the seasons and she does cute cheery songs for him.

One of the things Breath does best is to explore impossible relationships - perhaps an unintended didactic message. You have the husband's fling, the spurned cell mate and Yeon investing so much effort on a condemned convict instead of her own marriage.

The will to live and the will to die is best expressed in the central character. Initially, Jin attempts suicide because there is nothing to live for. However, when told by Yeon's husband that she will not be coming any more, he tries to end his life again.

The day before his execution, Yeon pays a final visit where they make love as sort of a farewell. After climax, she tries to suffocate him. Perhaps, Yeon who herself was dead for five minutes as a child tried to give Jin a taste of dying.
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