How big is the gap between friendship and love between women? Can one separate the moral principles of caring for another from the desire to possess that person? Can coerced heterosexuality compete with closet homosexuality? Ascetic, which has gained cult notoriety for its controversial focus on lesbian love, poses these questions and issues.
Middle-aged painter, Noh Mi-eh who had endured years of sadistic cruelty from her husband, finds solace in the young fashion model, Kim Young-hee, who is burdened with her own painful past of being gang raped by three men. Mi-eh’s job offer to Young-hee to pose for her painting has the younger woman living under Mi-eh’s roof. Like a mother or even a lover, Mi-eh takes care of Young-hee, doing all she can to help her younger roommate to be freed of her past demons. But when Young-hee falls in love with a man, the two women’s relationship and fate takes a drastic turn.
Ascetic presents a story of two women who attempt to create their own world that sees beyond age, class and experience, and embraces the other’s existence. At the same time, it stages a drama that reveals how difficult either ‘coerced heterosexuality’ or unapproved love can be. (Joo You-shin)
Kim SuhyeongKim Suhyeong
Born in Paju, Gyeonggi-do on March 26, 1945. Influenced by his cinephile father, KIM had a dream of becoming a filmmaker since he was young. In 1973, he made his debut film Young Ones with HAN Soryong, KIM Okjin, and HEO Jangkang. As a prolific director, he directed almost 40 films. Most of his works are either melodramas or erotic films.