The Isle is a South Korean movie directed by Kim Ki-duk and released in 2000. It was Kim's breakthrough movie, his previous works having remained relatively confidential.
The setting of the story is a remote lake where people rent small floating bungalows. The caretaker, Hee-jin, is a mute woman who ferries the customers around, provides them with supplies, and engages in occasional prostitution. One day, a man shows up, wanted by the police for killing his wife. Distraught and desperate, he tries to commit suicide, but Hee-jin rescues him. Intrigued by his pain, she begins a wordless but intense relationship with him, and the two lovers gradually shut themselves out from the outside world.
Contains examples of:
- Disposable Sex Worker: Hee-jin casually disposes of a prostitute who was beginning to compete with her for the man's attention.
- Hazardous Water: If you get on Hee-jin's wrong side, better stay clear of the water.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Played straight but in a strangely twisted way. Early in the relationship, Hee-jin turns down a clumsy attempt by the man to have sex with her. But she still thinks his needs have to be satisfied, so she sends him a prostitute.
- Interrupted Suicide
- Language of Love: Although Hee-jin never speaks, it doesn't get in the way of psychological or physical intimacy.
- Self-Harm: With fish hooks.
- The Speechless: Hee-jin never speaks, even when someone refuses to pay her unless she does so. The customer believes she can talk because she's capable of moaning. Later, Hyun-shik returns to her after hearing her cries of (self-inflicted) pain.