LIKE A VIRGIN (Lee Hae-yeong , Lee Hae-jun, South Korea). Subtitled. 116 minutes. Thursday (May 15), 8 pm, Varsity. Rating: NNNN
Inside Out’s opening gala is a multi-cultural wonder, but not in the usual ways. It affords a glimpse of South Korean life, but also uncovers the mentality inside the sport of wrestling.
Protagonist Oh Dong-gu (Deok-Hwan Ryu in a terrific performance) is a young boy trying to earn money for a sex change operation. He joins his high school wrestling team because the city champion wins a sizable scholarship.
There’s a lot going on in this tender, off-kilter and sometimes upsetting film. Oh’s gender issues are flipping out his dad, an alcoholic failed boxer; his mother is loving but too busy trying to get out of her abusive husband’s way to pay her son much attention; and Oh’s hot for his not very sensitive teacher.
Fabulous payoff at the end. This movie’s called Like A Virgin for a reason.