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Archive for October 14th, 2010

(Park Chan-wook, 2009)

(essay by Kevin)

Park Chan-wook’s Thirst may just be the best vampire I’ve seen that isn’t silent or in German. This vampire movie is mopey and dopey with ashen heartthrobs declaring their love for a young girl while they prance around with their shirts off. No, this vampire movie is an odd pastiche of violence, nourish police procedural, Bergman-esque psychological drama, sexuality, and dark comedy; it’s also one of the most beautiful looking of modern horror pictures. Thirst is a film that lingers – with its stark lighting, reds that pop off the screen, hypnotic aesthetic – long after its initial viewing.

The story concerns Sang-hyun, a priest who is tired of the convent life; he’s tired of a life filled with death and suffering, and how this seemingly never ending cycle of despair feels as thought it’s crushing him into oblivion. Fed up with the priesthood, Sang-hyun volunteers at a hospital to be a guinea pig for doctors trying to find a vaccine for a devastating virus. However – and of course this should come as no surprise to fans of horror films – the experiment fails, and Sang-hyun, in need of a blood transfusion, seems to be facing death. But once Sang-hyun receives his blood transfusion something odd happens, and he makes a miraculous recovery. News of his recovery spreads, and people begin to flock to his congregation to see what kind of miracles he can perform. However, Sang-hyun begins to relapse, coughing up blood, and while waking up one morning, realized he needs to rush to shelter to guard his eyes from the light. He has become a vampire.

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 Copyright © 2010 by James Clark

      Back about twenty years ago, a young filmmaker, in love with the avant-garde, reeled off a long string of arresting rock videos. He thereby tuned up a generation’s improv enactments of going against the grain of that self-interest well-understood having prevailed since the days of a canny and revered avatar of advantage by the name of Plato. The other day, exiting the only theatre in town showing his feature film, Never Let Me Go, I was struck by the grip by which its subdued iconoclasm held me as I walked along a golden mile comprising such shops as Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany and Armani, and concomitant catwalks. What’s more, I realized I was touched by, not one, but two, outlaw visions—that of the film’s principal trio of clones who had been farmed for body replacement parts which had brought the median age of the population of England to more than one hundred years; and that of an audience member not having to cope with such savage curtailment and therefore more than ever on the spot to make such freedom matter. (more…)

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