© MFA/24 Bilder

Durst (Thirst, Bakjwi)
South Korea 2009

Opening 15 Oct 2009

Directed by: Chan-wook Park
Writing credits: Seo-Gyeong Jeong, Chan-wook Park, Émile Zola
Principal actors: Kang-ho Song, Ok-vin Kim, Hae-sook Kim, Ha-kyun Shin, In-hwan Park

Korean director Park Chan-Wook has a special talent of making films that explore a realm of fantasy with imagery that is completely new and different. They are so unique that most likely they will become cult films like the film Rocky Horror Picture Show. This vampire film begins with a frustrated Catholic priest, Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho), who is tired of giving last rites to dying people and wants to some good in the world. He goes to Africa and volunteers to be a part of an experiment. He is injected with a deadly virus and receives a blood transfusion from an unknown source. Like the vampire in Interview with the Vampire, Sang-hyun can't kill people due to his sense of morality, so, with a straw, he sucks on those who lie in comas. Chan-Wook uses sound to exaggerate the images which give this film a funny but heavy sense of the dramatic life change Sang-hyun has gone through.

The film then takes on a sexual, erotic twist when Sang-hyun meets his former childhood friend Kang-woo (Shin Ha-kyun) and his wife, Tae-ju (Kim Ok-vin). Although Tae-ju appears to be shy, she has a natural charisma that pulls all the men in her life to her. Will Sang-hyun kill Kang-woo in order to get Tae-ju? Chan-Wook uses surrealistic expressionism to emphasis the struggle that Sang-hyun goes through in his life as a vampire. This film won the Jury prize in the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and is just as surprising as his film I’m a Cyborg, but that’s OK. (Shelly Schoeneshoefer)

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