December 16, 2007

301/302: What Really Counts for Women

It's hard not to imagine that scenarist Lee Suh-goon's 301/302 was inspired by a found box of papers by a now-dead radical feminist from the 1970s. The central thesis plays out between two single women who reside across the hall from each other and who conveniently represent diametrically opposed aspects of stifled personhood. In apartment 301 lives a divorcee (Bang Eun-jin) who loves to cook, eat, screw, scream, and be complimented. You'd say she was a carefree spirit if she hadn't cooked the family dog then fed it to her husband in a flashback. In apartment 302 lives an anorexic intellectual (Hwang Sin-hye) who hates sausage, was molested by her stepdad the butcher, and could probably resolve all that inner turmoil if her editor let her write in the first person for goodness sake. I kid you not. Eventually, the two become one as the food-fetishist makes a stew out of the grim-faced bulimic. I kept waiting for someone to say, "Eat me." No such luck. A little lesbianism would have gone a long way amid the psycho-symbolism. The closest we get is having the surviving tenant steal the starving tenant's smart bob of a hairstyle posthumously. Women can be so vindictive! Down with the patriarchy.

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