Last week I planned to have a movie marathon and in the process happened to watch this Korean movie titled ‘Samaria’ or ‘Samaritan Girl’ by none other than the great director Kim-Ki-Duk. With it my movie marathon halted for a whole week. The movie affected me so much that I went around telling anybody who would listen about the theme of the movie.
As the thought kept haunting me, I came across a news snippet on a similar subject - http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/24/hongkong.teenage.prostitution/index.html?iref=mpstoryview
Yes.. the Samaritan Girl is a similar story happening in Seoul (if am not wrong) where two young girls Jae-yeong and Yeo-jin, both in early teenage try to make money to get air tickets to Europe, their dream destination. Jae-yeong is the one who does the ‘job’ and Yeo-jin handles the calls, clients, cash in a diary and keeps a look out for cops for her. The movie gives a glimpse of the family background of Yeo-jin, who is the daughter of a loving cop dad. There is not a mention about Jae-yeong’s family at all.
The story is presented in a way that Jae-yeong actually enjoys what she does and calls herself ‘Vasumitra’ – a mythical famous prostitute in India, but Yeo-jin has her own reservations about what they do to save money. She keeps advising Jae-yeong not to get emotionally attached to anyone but as you could guess, our Jae-yeong does get attracted to a musician, one of her clients and all goes wrong. In one such situation where Jae-yeong is with a guy and Yeo-jin loses few minutes in alerting her when the cops come to the motel, Jae-yeong jumps out from the second or third floor of the motel and is hurt really bad. In the hospital, Yeo-jin tries to get the information about Jae’s parents but she wants to meet only the musician she had fallen in love with.
Yeo-jin tries to persuade the guy to come visit her dying friend but the cost she had to pay becomes her virginity. But alas… Jae-yeong dies with a beautiful smile even before her best friend brings the musician to her. With this ends the part of Vasumitra.
The second part of the movie is the one that does justice to the title of the movie… the Samaritan Girl. Now the heartbroken Yeo-jin feels guilty for what she has done and wants to get rid of the diary and money that stays as the testimony to their action. Just when she burns them off, she realizes that she can do better than just burning it off to get away from the guilt. And here comes the Kim-Ki-Duk twist. She wants to return every penny earned to the rightful owners… but how? After having sex with all those men - as a tribute to Jae-yeong. This was the part that ripped my heart. Girls that young do not know what they get themselves into and what more they do to get out of the guilt feeling.
The scenes where older men meet Yeo-jin is really painful, especially when one elderly guy calls up his own school going daughter to check if she is in the tuition and not with any guy like this girl he had slept with. Now comes the next stab in our heart. Yeo-jin’s dad who happens to be a cop comes to a motel to investigate the murder of a young girl and sees his daughter in the hands of a man in the opposite building. The ‘almost dead’ expression on the father’s pain is just….. With this ends the second part of the movie.
In the final part, the father sees the innocent sleeping daughter of his in their home and weeps silently thinking what has happened for such a fate to befall his daughter. He stalks the men trying to meet his daughter. He even encounters one such guy in front of his family, hits him hard and asks ‘How can you sleep with a girl younger than your own daughter’ and leaves the place. The guy realizes his guilt and commits suicide by jumping off his multi-storied apartment. Yeo-Jin meets another guy again in the park and her dad knocks him to death in the restroom there. Yeo-jin sees the corpse, does not realize who has done it, scores out his name from Jae-yeong’s diary and throws it off, indicating that she is through with her tribute. Her father sees the diary and appears to understand something and that his daughter will not get back to this.
The same day, he packs some food and suggests to Yeo-Jin that they visit her mother’s grave and spend the weekend in the country side. And they do just that. During the trip, Yeo-Jin expresses a desire to drive the car but is scared to try it. In the next shot, we see her father driving the car in a very remote jungle…IN the river water, not on the banks and the young Yeo-jin fast asleep in the car. Her father gets out of the car and when Yeo-jin gets out too, she calls out for her dad and the next thing we see is her father strangling her to death and burying her. But wait… that’s only a dream or possibility. When she wakes up, we see her father painting the pebbles on the river bank in yellow color to pave a route and teach her how to drive within the painted path. While she is at it, we hear her dad calling up some cop and providing them the location of their whereabouts. Just when we see Yeo-jin getting a hang of driving on her own, a patrol-car pulls in and the father silently leaves with them.
Yeo-jin tries to drive fast to reach her dad but gets stuck in the muddy bank and with that the movie ends. Its left to the viewers to assume what happens next. What will she do all alone? Will she get back to prostitution? Or, will she be more responsible being alone? Will her dad be released soon to take care of her daughter? Is teaching her to drive mean that her father things she is a grown-up now and has to handle things on her own? Too many questions… and there can be equal number of answers.
It was a beautiful story and I felt these kinds of movies should be showed to all teenage school children to educate them the consequences of their immature decisions. Wish I could do something about this….