Stoker   

by director Park Chan-wook

When we sleep, we dream. What we have gone through during the day gets reenacted in a form that is a very strange deformation of what had actually happened. Stoker is that kind of film. The beautiful fairy tale picture book that was read during the day becomes the material for such a dream. A fairy tale twisted into a bizarre, unfamiliar and frightful form. In other words, a nightmare one dreams after reading a fairy tale. This is Stoker.

What then, is the content of the fairy tale? It’s the “coming of age story of a young girl.” The heroine is a princess left all alone with her mother at an old castle after her father has passed away. To this place, a pilgrim knight makes a visit. The younger brother of the late king has a beautiful green steed, named “Jaguar.” Our sensitive, anxious teenage princess is tormented. Is it okay for her to fall in love with this handsome, gentle knight who also happens to be a great chef? What about the greedy and jealous queen?

That point at which every fairy tale princess arrives, after all sorts of adventure, is not the place where our princess is headed. She goes to a completely different place. It might as well be the inverted, “negative image” of the destination for ordinary fairy tales. Is this place too dark? Well, didn’t I tell you that this was a nightmare?

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