News from the Locarno Festival
 

Pa-go

Premio speciale della giuria (Special Jury Prize) of the Cities of Ascona and Losone

The frequent nighttime shots. The wild boundaries of an island. And the constant roar of the waves in the background, giving rise to an impending sense of unease that fills a police officer where there's no evidence of a crime, but on the contrary is hidden within its surroundings and becomes a collective guilt. Korean director Park Jung-bum's third feature, Pa-go (Height of the Wave) crosses a genre film score with a natural studio, staging the turbid passage of a remote community in South Korea. The story is centered around a young orphan, Yea-eun, who grew up on the road and is terrified of the sea, with whom another female figure hooks up, the daughter of a policewoman, who is struggling with the trauma of her parents' divorce. It is around these two solitary souls, deprived of points of reference, that the police motive of the film connects the past and present, becoming a pretext for the collective discovery of a small world. The physical and mental limits act as a paranoid stagnation for the preservation of a reputation which contrasts with the abuse and hidden collusion, to which none can say they are unaware. And it is precisely in this context of lurid images that Park Jung-bum inverts the causes and effects of an investigation, so that to recover a lost innocence remains only the residual physicality of those who oppose, with just their simple presence, that widespread evil that would like to pursue them forever.

Lorenzo Buccella

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