South Korea, 1983, 90 minutes. 5:30 p.m. It begins as an excellent mood piece: a modern young schoolteacher, crisp, self-possessed, enters an isolated mountain village, shrouded in mists--whose inhabitants are clannish and inbred, outwardly friendly but strangely secretive. She encounters there a mysterious tramp who watches her with smoldering, impudent lazy eyes, and, in some curious way, seems to embody all the sexual repressions of the village. The director, Im Kwon-t'aek, has high visual flair; he brings this situation to a fine shivery seething, generating tremendous erotic tension. But something goes sadly awry in the last half-hour, something in the film's philosophy and attack; perhaps it tries too hard to explain the inexplicable, to calculate desire, to perceive sexuality as godlike rebellion in a "closed society."

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