Sex with ghosts doesn’t usually appear in anything other than trashy horrors, but South Korean film The Bow somehow manages to make it work.
Set entirely on a fishing boat at sea, a 60-year old man has been raising a girl since she was a youngster. The plan is for them to get married on her 17th birthday, which is fast approaching. Theirs is a quiet and secluded life, spent renting the boat to day fishermen and practicing strange divination rites. However things change when a teenage student comes aboard…
Despite having lived together for 10 years the pair do not exchange any words (not audibly at least) for the duration of the film. Perhaps they never have. However, although the roles are silent, Seong-hawng Jeon as the old man, and the beautiful Yeo-reum Han as his bride-to-be, manage to fill every second of screen time with rich emotion.
Theirs is a relationship built on something that transcends speech – but the appearance of the student stirs new emotions in the young girl and the lack of communication soon brings out the problems lying dormant.
The bow of the title could refer to the weapon used throughout the film, or perhaps the musical instrument fashioned from it, or even the ship upon which their lives are built. Maybe it refers to the ties between the two which become undone when paternal love evolves into something else.
The supernatural swing towards the end of the film will throw many viewers off balance, but it somehow works in a film which is never on entirely calm waters.
You can buy The Bow here.