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SFF 2020 Review: Beasts Clawing at Straws

In response to the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the 26th Sarajevo Film Festival moved its full programme online…

A highly desired satchel filled with money intwines the lives of a struggling restaurateur with a mother suffering from dementia, a port authority officer threatened by a ruthless loan shark because he has been fleeced by his vanished girlfriend, and a bar hostess who is regularly physically assaulted by her husband.

After clearing out lockers at a bathhouse, Joong-man puts a left behind satchel in the lost and found room; curiosity gets the best of him and he finds out that it is filled with money.  Could this be the answer to his financial problems that includes paying the university tuition of his daughter, looking after his obstinate and dementia inflicted mother, and saving his restaurant?  Then there is the matter of Tae-young who upon securing financial-backing from a loan shark is faced with the strong possibility of bodily harm as his girlfriend has absconded with the loan.  And finally, Mi-ran enamors a bar patron so much that he is prepared to kill her volatile and abusive spouse.

There is a slickness to the cinematography and editing that it is easy to forget this is the feature directorial debut of Kim Yong-hoon; the former film studio employee like so many other filmmakers around the world has been inspired by Pulp Fiction which can be said has created its own subgenre.  Fortunately, Kim has not strictly gone for a homage but has put his own distinct stamp on bringing the nonlinear storylines together and raising the body count along the way.  It is hard not to imagine that Quentin Tarantino would not be pleased with the end result.  Special note has to be made to the score by Kang Nene which adds to the irreverent attitude towards the depravity being displayed by characters.

Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada; he can be found at LinkedIn.

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