Before 2003’s heralded Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring, Korean director Kim Ki-Duk was best known for his unnerving shock-cinema love story The Isle, a creepy, gruesome, gorgeous and flabbergasting treatise on romantic obsession and violent, nasty male-female relationships. Hee-Jin (Suh Jung) is the mute proprietor of fishing shacks sitting out in a river who spends her overtime sexually servicing (or procuring other female companionship for) her male clients. One of the shack’s current residents, Hyun-Shik (Kim Yoo-Suk), is a suicidal police officer traumatized by having killed his girlfriend – an act he sees in nightmarish flashbacks – in a fit of jealous rage. The two strike up an unlikely, and unhealthy, relationship in which Hee-Jin murders another prostitute who’s eyeing her new man and Hyun-Shik crafts little sculptures (such as a swing and a hangman) out of copper wire. Ki-Duk’s film partially succeeds as allegory even as it falls flat dramatically, but symbolism-infatuated director Ki-Duk beautifully juxtaposes the serenity of the mist-shrouded isle – its hazy gray punctuated only by the floating cabin’s coats of primary colored-paint – with ugly violence such as Hee-Jin and Hyun-Shik’s two shocking acts of fishhook self-mutilation that eerily link the lovers’ plight to that of the water’s hunted fish.