Moscow

Meaningfully blending economic injustice and the vagaries of friendship, this South Korean drama explores how time-and the cruel circumstances global capitalism can bring about so swiftly and completely-can rupture bonds once innocent and pure. The film opens on a chaotic labor protest-a sign reads “Hunger Strike Day 23”-that culminates with a young woman vomiting and wandering off along a busy highway. Meanwhile, another twentysomething woman busily stalks the halls of a sterile corporate office, ultimately surrendering to her own exhaustion. Soon we learn that the two women, labor activist Jin-hee (Sung Soo-jung) and office worker Ye-won (Lee Hye-jin), are childhood friends who haven't spoken since junior high. When Jin-hee unexpectedly visits Ye-won's office in Seoul, the two quickly fall into familiar patterns of giggling fits and playful physicality-and reminiscences fuelled by beer and soju. Jin-hee stays on at Ye-won's apartment but their reunion turns sour as exhaustion and depression lead to hostility and jealousy. Jin-hee grows obsessed with acting and devotes all her energy to memorizing a part in The Three Sisters, a play with much to say about their mutual alienation. Boasting remarkable lead performances, which register the profound anxiety beneath social and economic dislocation in poignantly personal terms, Moscow sounds the deepest political and cultural themes in its sisterly protagonists' yearning for their simple, wide-open childhood.

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