'Doomsday Book' (2012)

by Michael Barrett

11 January 2013

A zombie and a robot walk into a bar.
cover art

Doomsday Book

Director: Yim Pil-Sung, Kim Jee-Woon
Cast: Kim Kang-Woo

USDVD release date: 11 Dec 2012

Today’s entry from far left field is a South Korean anthology film with three near-future stories. Yim Pil-Sung directed the first and third stories, “A Brave New World” and “Happy Birthday”, both of which are bleak comedies. The first story starts out like Contagion, with somebody eating a bad piece of meat, and evolves into a viral-zombie tale. In keeping with many South Korean films, it presents a jaundiced (literally diseased) view of its own culture and the people in it. The absurd disaster in the final story is brought on when a girl orders an eight-ball over the internet. As a mysterious meteor heads for collision with Earth, the girl’s dysfunctional family watches TV ads capitalizing on the disaster.

These facetious apocalypses bracket “The Heavenly Creature” from Kim Jee-Woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, I Saw the Devil), a lyrical and philosophical anecdote about a robot who works in a Buddhist monastery. The monks believe the machine has achieved enlightenment, and this presents a problem for the robot’s corporation. Is it malfunctioning? Should it be destroyed? What does “existence” mean anyway for an enlightened one? This is like a koan, an excuse for dialectics between characters who assert opposing views, something to be puzzled over more than a narrative to be resolved.

Doomsday Book



//Mixed media

The Moving Pixels Podcast Becomes the 'Beholder'

// Moving Pixels

"It's easy to think that we would never be complicit with the dictates of an authoritarian regime, but Beholder reveals how complicated such choices can become.

READ the article