Ubisoft Presents Fantasia 2008

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Our Town

(Woori Dongne)

North american Premiere

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Credits

Director: Jung Gil-young
Screenplay: Mo Hong-jin
Cast: Ryou Duck-hwan, Oh Man-suk, Lee Sun-kyun
Producers: Yoo Jae-hak
Distributor: CJ Entertainment

Description

One quiet grey morning, a young woman is discovered in a schoolyard, murdered and crucified. A sadistic ritual killing at the hands of a lunatic, beyond a doubt. She is the town’s fourth victim found in comparable circumstances. It’s an exasperating puzzle for the police, utterly helpless in the absence of any usable evidence on the corpses. The day after the grisly discovery, everyone’s chattering about it, particularly Kyeong-joo, a cash-strapped writer who vents his frustrations through violent crime thrillers. His best friend Jae-sin is a police detective assigned to the case. When Kyeong-joo’s landlady confronts him with eviction, he snaps and kills her in cold blood. Not the wisest idea when your best buddy is a homicide cop, but Kyeong-joo takes advantage of the moment and arranges the crime scene to fit with the recent murders. Maybe he can deflect suspicion this way. Or maybe he’s stirred up the attention of the cops… and a serial killer.

“A normal person can’t catch a killer. To get to him, you have to be as crazy as he is.” This loaded remark from Kyeong-joo to Jae-sin effectively captures the spirit of OUR TOWN—watching the film is a little like spending a stretch of time inside the mind of a psychopath. If you feel similar inclinations coming on, please suppress them for everyone’s sake. OUR TOWN is grim and sordid enough to to make one want to crawl back into the primordial ooze and forget one was ever “human.” With this debut feature, writer/director Jeong Gil-yeong ably weaves together some of the most prominent strands of current Korean cinema—police drama, serial-killer movie, revenge saga, social critique and psychological study—with amazing smoothness, boobytraping it with twisted surprises while picking apart three minds locked in a complex game of cat-and-mouse. Fantasia regulars will be happy to see Ryu Deok-hwan, International prizewinner at last year’s festival for his turn in LIKE A VIRGIN, almost unrecognizable in his disturbing role here.

—Nicolas Archambault (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)