The second film in the KCC’s Jeon Kyu-hwan season this Thursday is Animal Town, the second of his ‘Town Trilogy’. Read a review of Mozart Town, last week’s screening, over on Eastern Kicks.
Animal Town (애니멀 타운, 2009)
7pm, 13th Sept 2012, KCC
Director: Jeon Kyu-hwan
Cast: LEE Jun-hyeok, OH Seong-tae
Certificate: 18 (South Korea) Nobody under the age of 18 can be admitted this film
Running Time: 97 min
Book on the KCC website
SEONGCHEUL OH is a man out of parole but the tracker on his ankle reminds him that he is otherwise. He wants to be a changed man. He struggles with his inner demons by living a harsh life as a manual laborer, living in a dilapidated low rise apartment and continually going to see his psychiatrist. However, the fragile balance of his equilibrium is tested when he loses his construction job and he must work as a cab driver. He must truly test his desire to live as a member of society.
HYEONGDO KIM is a broken man. He is a family man that is burdened with the experience of a parents’ worst nightmare. He goes through the motions of life until one day he sees Seongcheul by coincidence. The desire to have his revenge consumes him, and when he sees Seongcheul drawn to a nine year old girl he becomes obsessed with stopping him.
In Hyeongdo’s close surveillance of Seongcheul, his fate falls into his hands when he stumbles upon the scene of Seongcheul’s body struggling on a noose.
At first glance it may appear that Jeon Kyu Hwan at the age of 43 made his directorial debut comparatively late. However, when one watches his films one immediately sees the work of a storyteller whose pieces are defined by the raw emotions and experiences that can only come with a life of observation. Having achieved recognition and critical acclaim across the globe for his ‘Town Trilogy’ it can be said that Director Jeon is better known abroad than he is at home; however this is changing somewhat as his canon of work expands and his work becomes more accessible. Director Jeon’s films have been said to focus upon the lives the underdog, the minority, those in society whose lack of economic control over their lives opens them to abuse from all quarters.
In this sense Director Jeon’s films cover subjects that are challenging to say the least; however each is enveloped in a rich visual imagery that creates a body of work that remains with the viewer for some time. Incredibly popular on the festival circuit Director Jeon has shown his films at over 30 Festivals across the globe. In this time he has also become a champion for the independent filmmaker, promoting the awareness of independent film and the talent it produces.
In 2009 Jeon returned to the Director’s Chair and what duly followed with his piercing observations and melodrama was ‘Animal Town’ (2009). ‘Animal Town’ proved even more popular than ‘Mozart Town’ and was notably awarded the Jury Prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival. Continuing to challenge conventions, Director Jeon introduces Oh Sung-Chul played by LEE Joon-Hyuk who had shortly been released from prison. His crimes are shameful and he is tagged accordingly and is also on medication to control his urges. Although hoping to put his past behind him he loses his job and discovers that he is also about to lose his home. We also meet Kim Hyung-Do, a religious, family man who runs a printing company. Kim is rebuilding the lives of his family after his daughter was one of Oh Sung-Chul’s victims. In this, Director Jeon’s most powerful movie we experience crime, violence, revenge and guilt in a captivating piece that continues Director Jeon’s signature style of presenting uncomfortable subjects and uncomfortable people leading uncomfortable lives.