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At a US army base in Seoul, an American officer gives the order to dump litres of out-of-date formaldehyde down the sink and, consequently, out into the main river of the city.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).