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BUSAN – Though adapted from a novel by Kwon Ji-ye, B.E.D. has more the feeling of being an extended short story, one that has been liberally padded with soft-core sex scenes to draw a crowd. The prolific veteran Park Chul-soo, who began directing melodramas in the ’70s and moved to a more experimental approach in the ’90s, has a few good ideas to share about male psychology and his hero’s obsession with a woman, but that hardly justifies putting his actors through serious full-frontal nudity and a repetitive series of barely simulated sex acts. The film simply looked out of place as a Busan gala presentation, whereas it should find a comfortable berth on the DVD shelves of soft-core aficionados.
Divided into parts, the story is progressively told through the eyes of the three main characters. The man B. (JangHyeok-jin) is inseparable from a sturdy double bed on which he had a yearlong fling with E. (Lee Min-a), a bored married lady who took up with him for some noncommittal fun. When she dumps him, warning him to get rid of the bed, the depressed B. goes into group therapy and becomes convinced he can forget her by marrying nice divorcée D. (Kim Na-mi), a tour guide with a small daughter who longs to settle down. But their marriage (hardly platonic) is a farse, because B. doesn’t even try to shake his obsession with his ex and keeps calling her on the phone, looking for a retrial. He unwisely keeps the bed.
As the wife, Kim plays the most normal character of the lot and superficial though she is, at least she has a child and a job. E.’s motives are never clear, and she comes off as simply an evil tease. Obviously, both actresses look good whether clothed or disrobed. As B., Jang has one stupefied expression that covers everything from orgasm to depression. The round-the-clock sex scenes, shot coyly through a thin veil or with silk sheets hiding or falling off strategic body parts, have nothing imaginative about them.
And for the record, the fabled bed, a wooden affair in fake American colonial style, is not that attractive, either.
Venue: Busan Film Festival (Gala presentation)
Production companies: Cinehill
Cast: Jang Hyeok-jin, Lee Min-a, Kim Na-mi
Director: Park Chul-soo
Screenwriters: Park Chul-soo, based on a novel by Kwon Ji-ye
Producers: Oh Young-hwan, Ryu Hyeon-jin, Son Dong-joo
Director of photography: Oh Seung-hwan
Production designer: Jeong Hye-won
Editor: Lim Cheol-min
Music: Oh Su-jin
Sales Agent: M-Line Distribution
No rating, 90 minutes.
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