Flower Island is one of my favorite films of the past 10 years, largely because it combines three subjects which are among my favorite subjects to see in films: surrealism, death and religion (no love unfortunately). It deals with these subjects subtly, there is no real message to the film, just an overwhelming feeling of the existence of mystery.

The film is about three women who are going through traumatic times in their life, traveling from a mountainous part of South Korea, to a warm island off the south seas. The island is something of a clear metaphor for death and something of a less clear metaphor for heaven. The woman who is dying of cancer stays on the island while the other two go back to land, and the only resident on the island is a woman who is referred to as an angel.

What makes the movie so fantastic is the little random things that are fundamental to the plot, essential to building a theme, but without any real meaning or sense to them. The best among these scenes is when the bus that is supposed to be driving the two women to the coast, drives them up into the mountains because the bus driver is going to his friend's funeral. Part of the charm in the scene is that the driver acts as though the situation entirely makes sense ("I couldn't drive you to the coast, because I am going to my friends funeral"), and with these little completely sensible moments of nonsense the film manages to make it seem not as though the film was about death/religion, but that death/religion somehow invades life at every point.

Through this slow buildup of theme, the film becomes something of a journey into the realm of death and back again. But it is a different type of death than we are normally used to. In this film death is not something to be feared, it is just a strange thing that happens. When you go from existing to being no more.

Buy Flower Island here

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