Chungmuro puts in solid showing at 69th Cannes Film Festival
The Cannes Film Festival has historically been friendly to Korea’s film industry, aka Chungmuro, and this year looks to continue the trend. All three of Chungmuro’s entries at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, currently underway, are meeting with strong reception and garnering positive word of mouth.
First to premiere was director Yeon Sang-ho’s zombie action thriller Train to Busan, the story of passengers on a KTX train headed to Busan to escape a zombie outbreak in Seoul and their fight for survival. The film elicited a standing ovation at its midnight screening on May 13.
“It was the best midnight screening ever,” said festival director Thierry Fremaux, adding that director Yeon Sang-ho’s next work may be seen in competition in the future.
Train to Busan stars Gong Yoo (The Suspect) as a single father, whose onscreen daughter is played by Kim Soo-ahn (Love, Lies), joined by Ma Dong-seok (Bad Guys) and Jung Yumi (Discovery of Love) as a married couple, policeman Choi Woo-shik (Ho-gu’s Love), and passenger Ahn So-hee (Heart to Heart).
Next to premiere was the latest from director Park Chan-wook, who became a Cannes-beloved filmmaker with Oldboy and Thirst. His current film Agassi (or The Handmaiden), which is in competition in the Official Selection category, was met with praise for his stylish interpretation of Sarah Waters’ Victorian crime novel Fingersmith, which depicts thieves who seduce an heiress for her fortune. Agassi’s gothic sensibility and mise-en-scène were particular points of praise.
Set in the 1930s, Agassi stars Kim Min-hee (Right Now, Wrong Then), Ha Jung-woo (Assassination), Jo Jin-woong (A Hard Day), and newcomer Kim Tae-ri.
Completing the trio is Na Hong-jin’s horror thriller The Wailing, which released in Korea this past weekend in advance of its Cannes premiere on May 18 (it screens out of competition) and saw an explosive response domestically. In its first four days, it surpassed an impressive 2 million ticket admissions, well on its way to joining the director’s previous critical and box-office hits, The Yellow Sea and The Chaser.
The Wailing tells the story of a village policeman (Kwak Do-won of The Magicians and Tazza: The Hidden Card) as he investigates recent murders, searching for their connection to his daughter’s sudden illness. Hwang Jung-min (Himalayas, A Violent Prosecutor) plays a mudang, a traditional Korean shaman, who warns about the danger of a new foreigner in town. Chun Woo-hee (Han Gong-ju) plays a mysterious witness, and Japanese actor Kunimura Jun is the foreigner whose arrival coincides with the strange events in the village.
The Wailing follows its Korean and Cannes premieres with a North American release on May 27.
- Train to Busan brings zombie apocalypse to Cannes
- Mystery-thriller film The Wailing to appear in 69th Cannes Film Festival
- Park Chan-wook’s Agasshi gears up for Cannes premiere
- Kim Min-hee joins Park Chan-wook’s new film Agasshi
- Ha Jung-woo to star in Park Chan-wook’s Agasshi
- Gong Yoo boards a zombie train with Busan Line