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North american Premiere

  • South korea 2009
  • 133 min
  • 35mm
  • Korean with English subtitles
WINNER: Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2009
Official Competition, Cannes Film Festival 2009

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Director: Park Chan-wook
Screenplay: Park Chan-wook, Chung Seo-kyung
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Kim Ok-vin, Kim Hae-sook, Shin Ha-kyun
Producers: Park Chan-wook, Ahn Su-hyeon
Distributor: Alliance-Vivafilm


“Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife…” In a small Korean town, the well-respected pastor Sang-hyun strives to overcome his sinful lust through self-flagellation. Then he encounters Tae-ju, who lives with her sick husband—who happens to be the pastor’s friend—and his over-protective mother. Tae-Ju runs at night in bare feet and dreams of escaping her hellish life. When Sang-hyun meets her, he offers her shoes to wear, but he hides a dark secret at the same time—due to an experimental medical treatment gone wrong, Sang-hyun is a vampire. A bloody crime of love and passion begins.

Park Chan-wook, the acclaimed director of the VENGEANCE trilogy that included OLDBOY, marks his return to the thriller genre with the controversial THIRST, a Korean vampire film depicting the illicit love between a man of the cloth and an unhappily married woman, a love that contradicting the three biblical commandments noted above. THIRST received a long standing ovation at its gala screening, and the Jury’s Prize as well, at Cannes 2009. Park has gambled on a new face, Kim Ok-vin, in the role of Tae-ju, and she delivers a sensational performance in her second feature-film appearance. THIRST boasts a splendid cast all around and a veteran crew as well, a team that Park has worked with before—the convincing Song Kang-ho (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, THE HOST and JSA), Shin Ha-Kyun (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE and SAVE THE GREEN PLANET) and as the mother-in-law, the notable actress Kim Hae-sook, whose charismatic presence has graced almost every Korean drama to date. Renowned DOP Chung Chung-hoon who shot OLDBOY, is also on board. Though the film was inspired by the novel THÉRÈSE RAQUIN by Émile Zola, the layered subplots and heavily symbolic use of space, colour, lighting, camera angles and directorial mise-en-scène provide a rich variety of possible interpretations—especially the pastor’s nude scene, a satirizing of religious and social issues in Korea that sparked huge debate on its home turf. The Korean-American co-production, teaming up CJ Entertainment and Universal Pictures, offers a multitude of different potential perspectives, any of which will slake your thirst for intense, intelligent cinema.

—Mi-jeong Lee

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