Yu-min Kim – Norang meori AKA Yellow hair (1999)
Yu-na (Lee Jae-eun) and Seong-ji (Kim Ki-yeon) are the closest of female friends who have decided to shun normal life and the morals of society in the pursuit of pleasure, dying their hair bright yellow in the process. On a night out dancing, they meet Yong-kway (Kim Hyeong-cheol) and no sooner have they invited him back to where they live than Yu-na begins a passionate sexual relationship with him. As the two new lovers’ constant need for sex inadvertently begins to push Seong-ji away, she takes it upon herself to have sex with Yong-kway too… Yellow Hair was the first film to be banned in Korea by the Korean Performing Arts Promotion Committee, with its subsequent release only being allowed with a darkening and blurring of some of the sexual imagery.
Cinematically, Yellow Hair strives to visually emulate the dark grittiness of the narrative itself, and is awash throughout with tones reminiscent of the hair colours of Yu-na and Seong-ji, especially during the numerous sexual scenes. This, in itself, repeatedly gives an almost unreal, dream-like (or nightmare-like, if you prefer) quality to the increasingly twisted proceedings and largely feels like the visual equivalent of the narrative glimpses into Yu-na’s mind – with each adding to the effectiveness and believability of the other. The pace is brisk throughout, but never feels forced or rushed, and as the story continues to darken, the regular use of close-up and extremely intimate camera work deftly changes the overall feeling from sensual and erotic, in the early stages, to deeply claustrophobic, as the conclusion draws near.
Subtitles:English, Italian (.srt)