Stateless Things is a dark and dreamy parable that tells the story of two disparate, lonely young men trapped both physically and psychologically by their status in the heartless megacity of Seoul. North Korean migrant Jun scrapes by at menial jobs, working at a gas station and handing out flyers. He lives in constant fear because of his illegal status. Meanwhile, rudderless young gay hustler Hyeon is in over his head with no place to go, and is being held hostage emotionally by his very rich and very married older lover.
Busan native Kim Kyung-mook portrays the city of Seoul in a way not often seen–as fragmented and broken, just like Jun and Hyeon. Reflecting the city, Stateless Things is structured in separate pieces: Jun inhabits the older, established North Side, while Hyeon resides in the nouveau richeSouth. Crossing over in glimpses, Jun and Hyeon’s stories eventually converge in the fateful third act, and the previously distinct narratives come together in tragedy and hope.
Critic, programmer and leading Asian film advocate Tony Rayns noted that, “no director has arrived on the Korean indie scene with more impact than Kim Kyung-mook.” Kim is a true independent whose films address the unseen margins of Korean society in both fiction and documentary genres. Stateless Thingsis a thought-provoking look at how one can escape one’s personal prison, and shows Kim’s fearless dictum that rules, both in filmmaking and society, are made to be broken.