Seemingly voyeuristic in its approach, Motel Cactus is a steamy narrative of people’s lives and relationships, all of which takes place in a single, seedy motel room in Seoul.
The film consists of four separate stories that illuminate the complexity of the human condition. In the first encounter Choi chooses to spend her birthday with her boyfriend Lee Min-Koo at the motel, because it is the only place she feels entirely secure with him.
Next, film student Sung Joon-Ki rents the room to shoot a scene for his filmmaking project, but while waiting for the cameraman to show up he and the actress become physically intimate.
In the third story an older couple, Kim Suk-Tae and Choi Hyun-Joo, heavily intoxicated after drinking at a bar, use the room for a one night stand. Finally, a recent divorcee rents the room to reconnect with her old flame.
The four stages of romantic relationships presented in this first film by Park Ki-yong provide an original look at modern sexual loneliness and desire.
Movie trivia – Shot by Chris Doyle, look out for a linking shot of a prop that shows up in Wong Kar Wai’s Happy Together, which Doyle was also shooting at the time.
Awards/Festivals: New Currents Award Pusan International Film Festival 1997; FIPRESCI Prize – Special Mention and Nominated Tiger Award Rotterdam International Film Festival 1998; Singapore International Film Festival 1998.