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Filmex Reviews : 'Spinning Wheel'

March 15, 1985|MICHAEL WILMINGTON

Korea, 1983, 105 minutes. 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. The full title of this strong, passionate film is "A History of Brutality to Women: O Spinning-Wheel, O Spinning-Wheel"--which more fully conveys its attempted scope: a microcosmic study of the repression of Korean women throughout the Choson dynasty, exemplified by a holocaust of grief suffered by the 15th-Century heroine, Kil-rye: sold by her parents, seduced by her master's son, forced into flight, raped by another master and subject to bewilderingly unjust social codes and protocols. The inevitable comparison is with Mizoguchi's historical films, especially "Oharu" and "Chikamatsu"; it's a tribute to director I Tu-yong that his film doesn't overly suffer by that comparison. The talented, prolific Tu-yong (he has directed more than 50 films since his debut in 1969, and here shows great visual flair and intensity) may be one of the finds of 1985's Filmex. RECOMMENDED.

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