A darker, weirder short film than the previous segment, Collector is a quirky and engaging meditation on what it means to give away parts of yourself for the wrong reasons.
This review is for the second segment of Netflix’s Persona, titled Persona: Collector. It contains spoilers. You can check out our spoiler-free thoughts on the full season by clicking these words, and our thoughts on the previous segment by clicking these ones.
Collector is a weirder, more ambitious short film that Love Set, but one that asks just as many, if not more questions. This short also concerns itself with the idea of jealousy, this time in a romantic context rather than a familial one, but it’s darker and bloodier, without any of the odd moments of levity that featured in the opening segment.
IU returns here as the disinterested girlfriend of a befuddled man played by Park Hae Soo. As they go on various dates, she informs him that she has been holidaying with male friends, rarely looks up from her phone, sneaks off to smooch other men, and pays no attention to her partner’s desperate attempts to explain his idea that God must be a woman.
Frequent cutaways to the man in an odd all-white room, where his head slides off and is later reattached, break up the scenes of strained dialogue. The differences between men and women make for a superficial theme of Collector, but the deeper idea is of what it means to love someone who doesn’t love you back. The titular collector is IU’s character, who demands a display of love, a confirmation that the man is willing to offer her more than platitudes and dopey theories on women. She asks him to show her his heart, and he takes it literally, removing it, still beating, from his chest and placing it her hands. She seals it in a glass jar and labels it with his name, before placing it in a handbag full of others.
Collector, then, is about giving away aspects of yourself to your own detriment, sometimes for the wrong reasons. It’s about the perils of trying to force a relationship, a connection, when your efforts aren’t being returned. It’s a weird and engaging short film that makes its point in bold strokes and is well-worth seeing.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.