Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Korean film Oldboy (올드보이) at Row House Cinema from Friday.

Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville will show the 2003 Korean film Oldboy (올드보이) from December 26 through January 1. 올드보이, the 21st-century classic not to be confused with the 2013 Spike Lee remake, is summarized in a 2005 Roger Ebert review:
A man gets violently drunk and is chained to the wall in a police station. His friend comes and bails him out. While the friend is making a telephone call, the man disappears from an empty city street in the middle of the night. The man regains consciousness in what looks like a shabby hotel room. A bed, a desk, a TV, a bathroom cubicle. There is a steel door with a slot near the floor for his food tray. Occasionally a little tune plays, the room fills with gas, and when he regains consciousness the room has been cleaned, his clothes have been changed, and he has received a haircut.

This routine continues for 15 years. He is never told who has imprisoned him, or why. He watches TV until it becomes his world. He fills one journal after another with his writings. He pounds the wall until his fists grow bloody, and then hardened. He screams. He learns from TV that his blood and fingerprints were found at the scene of his wife's murder. That their daughter has been adopted in Sweden. That if he were to escape, he would be a wanted man.
. . .
When he suddenly finds himself freed from his bizarre captivity 15 years later, he is a different person, focused on revenge, ridiculously responsive to kindness. Wandering into a restaurant, he meets a young woman who, he knows from the TV, is Korea's "Chef of the Year." This is Mido. Sensing that he has suffered, feeling an instinctive sympathy, she takes him home with her, hears his story, cares for him, comes to love him. Meanwhile, he sets out on a methodical search to find the secret of his captivity. He was fed pot stickers, day after day, until their taste is burned into his memory, and he travels the city's restaurants until he finds the one that supplied his meals. That is the key to tracking down his captors.
Showtimes are available online. The theater is located at 4115 Butler St. (map).