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South Korea, 2004 (MIFF 2004, Regional Focus)

Director: Kim Eui-suk

Sword in the Moon (Cheongpung Myeongweol) South Korea

A pedal-to-the-metal South Korean martial arts spectacular, Sword in the Moon injected a high dose of visceral entertainment in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes this year with its breathtaking scenery, vivid colours and stunning climatic fight sequence.

In the early 17th century Korea faces a major crisis: Japan has just mounted an unsuccessful invasion but the threat of future attacks looms. An elite band of imperial Korean guards, code-named 'Fresh Wind, Bright Moon', is formed to protect the status quo. Leading the charge are Ji-hwan and Gyu-yeob, master swordsmen and life-long friends, who have pledged their allegiance to each other. However, the volatile times conspire against the pair and, when the two sworn brothers turn on each other in a bloody duel, Ji-hwan disappears nursing a critical injury.

Five years later Gyu-yeob, who has remained in the military, is known as 'The Butcher', ruthlessly deposing of anyone who stands in his way. When an elusive assassin begins murdering officials, Gyu-yeob is hell-bent on tracking him down. When he finds the assassin's sword, he becomes convinced that it is his old friend out for revenge'and in these days of blood and strife, the world only wants one hero.

D Kim Eui-suk P Lee Dong-gweon S Jang Min-seok WS Mirovision L Korean w/English subtitles TD 35mm/Col/2003/94mins

Kim Eui-suk was born Goosan, South Korea in 1957. Films include: A Marriage Story (1992), Trigger (1995), Peking Express (1999).

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