HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Base
Tampopo
My Life as a Courgette
Cold-Blooded Beast
Lake Mungo
One-Eyed Jacks
20th Century Women
Monster Trucks
Lookout, The
Black Belt
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Their Finest
Stella Cadente
Water Drops on Burning Rocks
Replace
Belladonna of Sadness
Aquarius
Erik the Conqueror
Baghead
Guns at Batasi
Gang Story, A
Magnificent Ambersons, The
Climber, The
It's a Big Country
Raw
Last Man Standing
Transfiguration, The
Alien Nation
Kajaki
Certain Fury
   
 
Newest Articles
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
Witching Hour: Hammer House of Horror on Blu-ray
Two Sides of Sellers: The Party vs The Optimists
Norse Code: The Vikings vs The Long Ships
Over the Moon - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 2
Alpha Males and Females - Space: 1999 The Complete Series on Blu-ray Part 1
Animated Anxieties: From the Era of the Creepiest Cartoons
Manor On Movies--Clegg (1970)
Plans for Nigel: The Crunch... and Other Stories on DVD
Let's Get Harry: Repo Man and Paris, Texas
   
 
  Memento Mori Buy this film here.
Year: 1999
Director: Tae Yong-Kim, Kyu Dong-Min
Stars: Kim Min-Sun, Park Ye-Jin, Lee Young-Jin, Hyo-Jin Kong, Baek Jong-hak
Genre: Horror, Romance
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: "The first day a girl is found dead, with her head emptied out. Perhaps she had remembered the truth".


A sequel of sorts to Whispering Corridors, Memento Mori takes place in a Korean girls school where So Min-ah (Kim Min-Sun) discovers a diary containing recorded fragments of an illicit affair. Two fellow pupils - Yoo Shi-eun (Young-Jin) and Min Hyo-Shin (Ye-Jin) - suffer condemnation from teachers and class mates as their lesbian relationship gathers momentum, moving from innocent rooftop encounters to a full-blown public display of affection; at least, for one of the girls.

As a love story, Memento Mori spins a tale of happiness, rejection and, ultimately, a great sadness which appears to reach out from beyond the grave. A passage in Hyo-Shin's diary reads, "You'll die if you stop loving me", and subsequent events do include a death; at least, from one particular viewpoint. Suicide, murder or neither? Perhaps Memento Mori (Latin for "remember that you must die") is a fever dream of longing and regret from the imagination of one of two major performers? Whatever, this is a film that's rich in characterisation with a trio of near pitch-perfect turns - and also contains haunting, often downright unnerving imagery: a trapped bird fluttering round a classroom, acting as a premonition for an imminent night of terror; half-glimpsed figures that haunt the rooms and corridors of the school; an empty swimming pool painted with crosses that may acknowledge the five deaths we are told have previously occured ( a 7th will, apparently, result in the school closing) and there's an Argento-esque nightmare to endure when the rain finally arrives and the entire school is 'sealed off' from the world outside. Simply brimming with visual metaphors, Memento Mori's literal slant only touches briefly on the relentless pressures of the Korean system of learning, electing instead to examine its fallout: peer pressure, forbidden same-sex love , teacher/pupil relationships and the eternal shame attached to the act of suicide on both sides of the divide.
On a horror/cult movie level, it combines the hallucinatory horros of Repulsion with Lynch-ian flourishes that reside in a Pandora's Box where the past and the present are as one.

By all accounts, Tai Seng's Region 1 DVD presents this film in the worst possible light, with horribly distorted colours making it well nigh impossible to watch. Interested parties are, therefore, directed to Spectrum's Region 3 disc which looks terrific. Here, bold rock-steady colours and good shadow detail make for a visual treat. Extras are rather thin on the ground, but the inclusion of the original soundtrack (running for 27m 45s) is a real bonus, providing an opportunity to hear that beautiful main theme in isolation, amidst a dozen other tracks.
There's also a theatrical trailer which includes a shot of Hyo-Shin and Shi-eun sharing a bath. Both the Korean government and the film company insisted that Memento Mori should be cut prior to release, and this short trailer certainly suggests the intimate side of their relationship was examined in more depth than is now the case.

The coming months should see the availability of a Memento Mori sequel, while a 3rd film is on the way. For now, this beguiling mystery further enhances the reputation of South Korean cinema. It's a little too heavy with symbloism at times, but ultimately, Memento Mori is a rewarding experience that leaves us eager to continue the story.
"And on the seventh day, a girl is going to die. Perhaps...."
Reviewer: Steve Langton

 

This review has been viewed 7515 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Ian Phillips
Jensen Breck
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Shrimpton
  Vikki Sanderson
   

 

Last Updated: