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Screening: Kim Ki-young’s Angel, Become an Evil Woman

The KCC’s Korean Film Nights for 2022 kick off at the Genesis Cinema on 28 February with the first of a mini season of posthumous works.

An Experience To Die For: Angel, Become an Evil Woman (죽어도 좋은 경험: 천사여 악녀가 되라)

Dir: Kim Ki-Young (1990, 100 mins)
Cast: Youn Yuh-Jung, Hyun Gil-soo, Lee Tammi, Kim Byunghak
Monday 28 February 2022 – 6:30pm
Genesis Cinema | 93-95 Mile End Rd | London E1 4UJ | Nearest tube: Stepney Green
Tickets: £8.50 inc booking fee | Buy tickets

Still from: Angel Become an Evil Woman

Korean Film Nights presents director Kim Ki-Young’s final film An Experience To Die For, Angel, Become an Evil Woman. (1990)

Kim Ki-young made a wide variety of films in a career that stretched from 1955 to 1990. After the major success of his 1960 film The Housemaid, however, he often repeated the basic narrative of that first real hit: a young working-class/country woman becomes a servant in a more-or-less middle-class Seoul family. She seduces the weak husband, becomes pregnant, drives the wife to despair, and maybe tosses into the mix damage to available offspring. All these scandalous goings-on are frequently backed up by daring camera work and bizarrely innovative set design. Not much in the way of sexual frankness made it past the censors in the 1960s and 1970s, so the films remained popular while critics increasingly appreciated the anti-establishment, anti-melodramatic instincts of the director.

With Angel, Become an Evil Woman, Kim has reinvigorated his familiar materials by splicing into them a different kind of story. The idea of having two disaffected spouses swapping plans to murder the other’s partner is something Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Strangers on a Train (1951) had taken from Patricia Highsmith. Kim spliced the story of two women seeking revenge on two men into the relationship between a married man, his mistress and his wife. The result makes for, to put it mildly, a very complex film, one that the director ultimately decided to shelve. Yet the starring role played in it by Oscar-winner Youn Yuh-jung has finally prompted the film’s revival. So we are left with the question: was Kim right to withhold ‘An Experience To Die For, Angel, Become an Evil Woman’?

Korean Film Nights (KFN) is a year-round programme of film screenings, mini-lectures and discussions that guide audiences through different aspects of Korean cinema and culture.

This special series of Korean Film Nights in February and March will be exploring ‘Posthumous works’.


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