Director Gu Hye-sun talks about her film at PiFan
Boys Before Flowers actress Gu Hye-sun‘s directorial debut is screening at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, or PiFan, which opened last week and closes this weekend. The film, translated literally as The Cheerful Caretaker [유쾌한 도우미], also goes by the English title The Madonna.
The short clocks in at 14 minutes and also screened at the Busan Asian Short Film Festival in May, where it brought home the Audience Award. At PiFan, Gu Hye-sun spoke about making the film and her intentions behind writing a story that deals with the topics of death and euthanasia (mercy killing), as a man seeks relief in the church. She explained, “I didn’t want to make it a story about morality or euthanasia, but about a person’s choice.”
The Madonna‘s been received well. How did you think of such a story?
I don’t usually think those thoughts. [Laughs] I wanted to make a short film with a story that couldn’t be done in a feature-length film.
When did you start dreaming of being a filmmaker?
To be accurate, it’s not that I wanted to make movies, but I was interested in graphic design. After drawing, making music, and trying this and that, I started to want to try design. I thought of studying mise en scene, but the [now-deceased] film company CEO Jung Seung-hye encouraged me to try film directing. So I took on this wild challenge.
Whose idea was behind the film?
The idea came to me completely out of the blue. At first, it was a story about an undertaker who handles dead bodies. But the thought came to me that it would be more interesting if the person handling the bodies was someone who shouldn’t be. That’s how I came up with the religious part.
I could feel the influence of director Park Chan-wook.
Because it’s a short film, I experimented with a lot of things. You can imagine any sort of outrageous things in a movie, and I decided to tackle as taboo a topic as I wanted in the short. I really like Park Chan-wook’s movies. I’ve been told by someone at a production company that after seeing the film, they thought of Park Chan-wook’s old short films. It’s such an honor.
There are quite prominent people listed in the credits.
It’s all thanks to CEO Jung Seung-hye. I don’t have anything on my own. In the beginning when I was meeting with her at the company’s office, when people would drop by to ask, “What are you doing?” she told them, “Work on this.” When someone would say a greeting like, “Oh, Gu Hye-sun, hello,” she’d tell them, “Sit for a moment.” [Laughs] They were brought in guerilla-style, and helped me half-doubtingly.
How far are you in work for your feature film?
We’re casting now. It’s a music film about a cellist. For now, we’re saying we will begin shooting in November — I have to say something aloud to stick to it. I think I’ll do a drama series too, so I’m in trouble in this second half of the year. [Laughs]
A scene from the short film
Via IS Plus