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Day 2: Biffes 2009 at Vision Cinemas.

I had missed Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Three Monkeys and the Will Smith-starrer Seven Pounds earlier in the day. So, it simply had to be Kim Ki-Duk’s Coast Guard which I chose over Aki Kaurismaki’s Man Without A Past.

The Korean film follows a similar pattern seen in other Kim Ki-Duk films: a lot of violence, an odd-ball hero, a tormented female lead, a mythic stalker and an unconventional plot.

For a change, the main actor speaks quite a few lines of dialogue. A wannabe spy-killer, he takes his job of guarding the sea shore seriously. While others with him just want these years to be spent harmlessly, he dreams of shooting a spy and thus get decorated with military glory.

He fulfills his wishes but has to contend with his own guilt-ridden conscience. It slowly leads to a degeneration of the battalion and his mental state affects his former comrades to such an extent that his visions stalk them.

With a heavy political viewpoint behind the film, Kim Ki-Duk churns out many elements here in other movies of his. Time, Isle and 3-Iron bear some similarities with this film, and sadly, so does his awful Wild Animals.

Even though the violence is heavy-handed and some of the scenes are quite disturbing, he hardly ceases to be uninteresting. Coast Guard too follows the trend.

The second film I sat through (half of it) was Akasa Kusum, a Sri Lankan movie by Prasanna Vithanage. Since it was the first film I had seen from that country, I was curious. Have to say, had it been in Bengali, I would have guessed it was an Aparna Sen film. One eye-opening scene: Sivaji Ganeshan dances to Sinhala lyrics in an old movie tape!

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