Opening shot: under the surface of the ocean, late day.
The water is murky, its murk accentuated by the fading light that shines, muted by water, from the far sky. Every now and then, a fish — or group of fish — comes into view. Then all disappear, startled.
Over the sound system we hear the amplified hiss and violent gurgle of someone off-camera breathing through scuba gear.
And who knows what he was looking for, small lost fish? Who knows what in this vast sea he was hoping to find?
The jarheads are mainly gone now, but the signs of the bars, half-Hangeul, half-English, still litter the streets, like flotsam and jetsam bobbing in a freighter’s wake — a seagull’s dinner.
This is Itaewon at low tide; this is Seoul from the deep.
He walks up the street, limping again, past bars with names like Star Butts or Texas, when a petite prostitute wearing hot pants, a sweater and glasses emerges from one of them and grabs his arm.
“I just want to talk,” she says, pulling at him both gently and insistently.
He knows he should (and could) pull away. He knows he could wriggle free. But as she pulls on his arm, he finds he likes it; likes the sensation of someone needing him, wanting him with a greedy desire that would amount to genuine emotion if it weren’t motivated by — greed.