Doomsday Book

Doomsday begins with the most fun of the bunch, “A Brave New World,” in which a nerdy, horny young man is upset that his family embarks on a fabulous getaway vacation without him, leaving a long list of chores. Many of them deal, unsettling enough, with food waste. He gets ill, and I’ll leave the fun of further details for your discovery. Pil-sung coats his horror story with heavy doses of political, social and sexual satire, lending a fresh take to a currently in-vogue subject.

Jee-woon delivers the middle portion, “The Heavenly Creature,” choosing to explore — as the title tells — issues of science and religion. Taking place in an age where robot assistants are in widespread use, it imagines what might happen if a robot in a monastery claimed not only to have reached Nirvana, but that he is Buddha. It’s an interesting idea, yet Jee-woon’s treatment grows overly philosophical, slowing the heretofore consistent pace.

Finally, Pil-sung returns with “Happy Birthday” — a purposely ironic title for a tale in which a little girl “celebrates” hers on the same day as a meteor is scheduled to collide with Earth. While watching TV coverage of the impending disaster, she makes a discovery that rocks her world — what little may be left, that is — and infuses the film with a shot of large-scale absurdity. —Rod Lott

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Rod Lott

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