A filmmaker leads us through a period of personal crisis in this deeply personal fusion of documentary and fantasy from Korean director Kim Ki-duk. During the production of Ki-duk's 2008 film Dream, one of his actors played a scene in which the character was supposed to commit suicide; the mock hanging didn't go as planned, and the performer nearly died as a result. Though the actor recovered, Ki-duk was wracked with guilt and anxiety over the accident, and retreated to a small cottage on a remote hillside. There, Ki-duk kept his distance from the world and sank into a deep depression, doing little besides chopping firewood, preparing his Spartan meals and drinking heavily. Still compelled to create and communicate, Ki-duk began documenting his activities on a digital video recorder, and in Arirang he speaks to the camera about his demons, offers a look into his daily routines, sings old Korean folk ballads, looks at his previous films with a variety of emotions, and slowly starts taking action against the world in sequences that may be real or may be a hoax. Arirang was an official selection at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
by Mark Deming synopsis