Synopsis by Gönül Dönmez-Colin
Birdcage Inn is a drama about experiences moulding people's lives. After the clearing of the red light districts in Seoul, a young prostitute named Jin-Ah settles in at the Birdcage Inn, a family-run establishment in a small port town. Although the family seem to be quite "normal," with a daughter, Hea-Mi, attending college and a son, Hyun-Woo, in high school, they have no qualms about living off the prostitutes to whom they rent their rooms. Only Hea-Mi seems embarrassed by the situation, and takes her anger out on Jin-Ah every chance she gets. Complications arise when all the male members of the family (including Hea-Mi's boyfriend) line up to sleep with Jin-Ah. Jin-Ah sells sex, but in one sense, she is free from it, whereas Hea-Mi is prudish and hypocritical about sex. A twist of events bring the two girls together when they realize how much they have in common and sex, which had alienated one from the other, turns into a mediating factor for reconciliation. Prostitution has long been a favorite themes of Korean cinema. Director Kim Ki-Duk, who is also an accomplished painter, captures some beautiful moments in the life of the prostitute, particularly when she leaves the inn and goes near the sea. The open landscape in these scenes serves as a metaphor for the girl's inner freedom, which is paradoxically fed by her captivity to her profession, inside the symbolic "Birdcage Inn" of the title. Intense dramatic moments of conflict are tightly controlled by the director to overcome tendencies towards theatrical melodrama. Birdcage Inn was screened as part of the Panorama section of the 49th International Berlin Film Festival, 1999.
cousin, family, friendship, hotel, innkeeper, prostitute/prostitution, reconciliation, sex