Filmmaker Im Kwon-taek announced Friday that his 102nd movie would be a film adaption of author Kim Hoon’s 2004 award-winning short story “Hwajang.” Actor Ahn Sung-ki, who previously starred in a total of six films by Im, has been cast in the leading role.
Kim’s short story, which won the prestigious Yi Sang Literary Award in 2004, is about a middle-aged man who spends most of his life working for a cosmetics company, and his wife, who is dying of cancer. The devoted and patient husband also has been carrying feelings for his young, beautiful office subordinate, Choo Eun-joo.
The story’s title “Hwajang” is a Korean word with two meanings: makeup and cremation.
|From left: Actor Ahn Sung-ki, filmmaker Im Kwon-taek and author Kim Hoon pose for a photo during a press conference about their upcoming film project at Busan International Film Festival on Friday. (Yonhap News)|
“I thought it would be worth a try to make a film based on Kim’s powerful and lively sentence,” filmmaker Im told reporters during a press conference Friday at the Busan International Film Festival.
“But it would be a challenge to depict the characters’ inner emotions. I think this movie will turn out great if I manage to follow and portray the hidden feelings of the main character, as well as the feelings that he is ashamed of.”
Kim said he trusted Im and Ahn’s abilities and thinks the movie will turn out great. Kim said he initially hoped his 2001 novel “Song of the Sword,” about the life of 16th-century Admiral Yi Sun-shin would be made into a movie, mostly because he thought it would be easier to visualize.
“‘Hwajang’s protagonist, to be played by Ahn Sung-ki, is a man who is very much morally corrupt,” the author told reporters.
“But his corruptness is what makes him look competent at his work. Now this is a very typical case for many in Korean society. And his everyday life, which is filled with corruption, is in conflict with the beauty of a young woman he witnesses. I think this will be very challenging for Ahn.”
Ahn, who has been involved in the film industry for more than 50 years, said he read Kim’s short story in 2004, the year it won the Yi Sang Literary Award.
“I am very honored to participate in this movie, which is an adaptation of Kim’s short story,” Ahn told reporters. “I respect Kim very much. When I first read the story ‘Hwajang’ in 2004, I remember thinking, how it would be very difficult yet also very meaningful to make the text into a movie.”
“Hwajang” is scheduled to be released in theaters in Korea next year. The film will be entirely shot in Busan, its producer Myung Films said.
BIFF runs until Oct. 12 at Busan Cinema Center and other six other venues in Busan. For this year’s full lineup and ticket information, visit. www.biff.kr.
By Claire Lee (email@example.com)