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South Korea, 2005 (MIFF 2006, Regional Focus)

Director: Bong Joon-ho


Screened in Director's Fortnight, this film is, at once, a revelation (one of the few at Cannes this year) and a reaffirmation of filmmaker Bong Joon-ho's ability to mould humour, socio-political satire and visceral kicks.
At a US army base in Seoul, an American officer gives the order to dump litres of out-of-date formaldehyde down the sink and, consequently, out into the main river of the city.
Six years later, families are enjoying a day on the banks of the River Han when something slithers from the water, causing pandemonium and snatching a high-school girl from the embankment. The US military quarantines the river environs, claiming the creature is host to a horrific virus. The girl's family, convinced she is still alive, arm themselves and slip through the US military cordon to hunt down the creature.
A thrilling, genre-bending hybrid, Bong's film veers between monster shocks and deadpan humour with a dose of sharpened parable thrown in for good measure. Bound for instant cult status, fans of inventive cinema should clear their calendars for this one.

D Bong Joon-ho S Bong Joon-ho, Ha Joon-won, Baek Chul-hyun
Dist Madman L Korean w/English subtitles TD 35mm/2006/119mins

Bong Joon-ho was born in Daegu, South Korea, in 1969. His previous films include Barking Dogs Never Bite (MIFF 2001) and Memories of Murder (MIFF 2004).

See also...


An accomplished debut feature from South Korean director Bong Joon-ho. this twisted social comedy works as a dry and amusing human-interest cackle. An indolent university lecturer, scheming to bribe ... More »


Memories of Murder (Sarineui Chueok) South KoreaOne of South Korea's box-office smashes of 2003, Memories of Murder is the latest film from acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho, who dazzled MIFF audiences ... More »


"Beautifully directed, unsentimental and darkly funny." - Time Out London ... Bong Joon-ho (Mother, MIFF 2009; The Host, MIFF 2006), a true creative and commercial giant of South Korean cinema, made ... More »


“Vertigo-style flashback and shocking revelations elevate the film beyond mere thriller into high-octane Almodovar territory.” - Screen International ... One of South Korea's most exciting ... More »


“Even by Korean standards of movie brutality, A Bittersweet Life raises the bar to a new level… will have genre fans nailed to their seats” - Variety ... A tour de force of noir-ish style ... More »


“The best independent feature film of the year.”- Pusan International Film Festival The Unforgiven scooped a multitude of awards at Pusan and screened as part of Un Certain Regard at Cannes this ... More »

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