Kushner and Eustis: Wrestling With Angels
photo: Todd Shotz

Yongman Kim, owner of New York City rental chain Kim's Video (where, full disclosure, I once worked), has always supported aspiring filmmakers, hiring many of them to staff his stores, and now we see why: He's one himself. He wouldn't be the first video store veteran to make the transition to auteur—another one, Quentin Tarantino, thanked Kim's Video in the credits for Kill Bill—and he doesn't lack for ambition; his debut is a borderline experimental, nearly silent film loosely based on Dante's Inferno. The discovery of a peephole in his wall leads a Buddhist monk (Ivo Velon) living on St. Marks to compulsively spy on his prostitute neighbor Lotusia (Diana Gitelman), who satisfies her johns' every fetishistic desire. Kim eschews narrative and dialogue for abstract images; natural sound is almost nonexistent, replaced by a collage of baby's cries and trumpet loops. The sexual horror makes it difficult to watch at times, but a voyeuristic slant on The Divine Comedy sort of needs to be. And that shot of East Village burnouts transmogrified into a zombie horde is creepy as hell.

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