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Archive for October 2009

Thirst ****

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Thirst

Since the Cannes premiere of Oldboy, the international acclaim that brought Chan-wook Park (박찬욱) into the Western lexicon has typically characterised his work as edgy, hip, graphic and violent. Finding a feature which doesn’t name-drop Tarantino is a tall order. Serious analysis has been sparse and in some quarters sweeping generalisations have been made, opinions reversed. A simple fact: in content, Park’s oeuvre denies characterisation. This truism does not extend to form. Across Joint Security Area, Sympathy, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance, Cut and I’m A Cyborg, Park has demonstrated a wide ranging appeal and mastery of storytelling. He has also presented himself as an auteur who is defined by stylistic methodology and aesthetic habit, rather than by mise en scène and theme. Chan-Wook Park spins stories by showing, rather than telling.

This is not a literal claim – along the clichéd dichotomy of representation and exposition – but a figurative one. Park is in the game of articulating immanent experience, of showing precisely what he means in every detail, rather than constructing a referential whole, pointing to abstract notions. His meaning is to be felt under the skin of the film, not to be read from its images. Thirst (박쥐), a timely vampiric adaptation of Thérèse Raquin, illustrates this perfectly.

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Written by James P. Campbell

19/10/2009 at 21:14

Posted in Reviews

Tagged with , , , , , , ,