Plot: One of Taiwan's best actors, Chang Chen (Eros), teams up with maverick Korean director Kim Ki Duk (Time) for Breath, a bittersweet love story between a death row inmate and a woman who feels betrayed by her husband's infidelity. Breath enjoyed international exposure through screenings at a handful of prestigious film festivals including the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Stepping away from his usual style marked by sensationalism and violence, Kim offers plenty of humanism and realism, along with beautiful cinematography that complements the film's atmosphere. Through the contrasting lives of these two protagonists, Breath finds a common ground that blurs the line dividing life and death.
Bored Seoul wife Yeon (Zia) is gripped by a news story about Jang Jin (Chang Chen), a Death Row prisoner who has attempted suicide by stabbing himself with a sharpened toothbrush handle. Oddly drawn to him, Yeon heads to the prison to become his new best friend - and his unofficial interior decorator... As she brightens his cell with wallpaper and trinkets and his silent existence with song, a relationship develops that confounds observers.
«Overall I was much more disengaged than I was with 3-Iron. Breath seems to concentrate less on the relationships and the characters and more on the strange thread of the relationship with the prisoner.»
«Unfortunately, Breath turns out to be a time waster, and you'll find yourself cheering at any moment that could have possibly breathed life into a dull movie. Perhaps art movie lovers out there could find some meaning if they look hard enough, but here, I'm calling out that the Emperor is naked.»
«The “vision” that Ki-duk Kim possesses is truly impressive and seemingly held by no limits. Occasionally this does result in Kim glossing over smaller details to arrive at the big picture. The end result at times is less realism, connection, and empathy for the characters than what you would normally get in other films.»
«Breath manages to affect without really doing very much, using its quirky black humor and glimmers of small hope to speak volumes that may not really be there. For audiences - and even for the film's characters - the experience may be more about what is individually taken, rather than what is explicitly given.»
«"Breath" lacks some real emotions, so that we never feel moved by it at all. Kim already proved that he can do better than this with his movies "Spring, summer, fall, winter... and spring" or "3-Iron". Also, this time the director refrains from shocking his audience, as he avoids depicting violence in any form.»
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