While the sound of fanfare precedes celebratory events these days, in the past it often marked the start of a war that would leave all dead bar the victors. To the vanquished, the sound of the fanfare would be horrific, but to the vanquisher it would mark the start of a party.
Likewise, crime-thriller “Fanfare” from aspiring Korean director Lee Don-ku is an 88-minute whirlwind of blood-splattering horror and satirical humor, as five of the cruelest villains tangle with each other in a bar following an unexpected murder.
Leading the film’s narrative, mysterious woman “J” gets stranded inside a bar after two muggers -- Hee-tae and his older brother Kang-tae -- try to raid the bar but instead accidentally kill the bar manager. Finding a way to escape the situation, Kang-tae invites his friend Ssen to the scene, who then calls in his secret partner Baek-gu for help.
The film has elements of slapstick horror, as the five villains become involved in a night of endless doubt, betrayal and violence -- sprinkled with a pinch of the stupidity of the characters -- inside the cramped two-story bar.
“I wanted to depict how easily the power relationship can be initially built based on preconceptions of others in any situation, and also the excitement we feel as we watch such structure to be overturned,” director Lee said during the movie’s preview event held at a local cinema in Seoul on Tuesday.
(From left) Lead cast members of “Fanfare” Lee Seung-won, Lim Hwa-young, Park Jong-hwa, Park Se-jun and Nam Yeon-woo along with director Lee Don-ku pose for pictures at the film’s preview event in Seoul on Tuesday. (Indiestory)
For such reasons, Lee cast Lim Hwa-young in the role of J, who is the main protagonist of the film and also an onlooker over the situation most of the time.
“I first saw Lim in the drama ‘Prison Playbook.’ She played a feminine character, but I felt there was something sharp inside her,” Lee said.
Lim, who has mostly played seemingly ordinary and friendly supporting roles in TV dramas and films, takes on her first lead role on the big screen in “Fanfare.”
“Although J is an extraordinary character, I think she represents many of us by throwing the question ‘why do you think only you can do it?’ in the film,” Lim said.
Director-actor Nam Yeon-woo, who recently released his own directorial title “Jazzy Misfits” last month, plays Kang-tae in the film. Rookie actors Park Jong-hwan and Park Se-jun play Hee-tae and Baek-gu, respectively.
A fairly established indie film director, Lee Seung-won of films “Communication and Lies” (2015) and “Happy Bus Day” (2016), which both won awards at domestic film fests, takes on his first role in a film other than his own with Ssen in the upcoming movie.
“Fanfare” poster (Indiestory)
“Fanfare” ruled the 23rd Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival last year, with Lee winning for best director and Lim for best actress.
Lee, 36, made his directorial debut in 2012 with first feature “Fatal,” for which he was invited to several international film fests, including the 63rd Berlinale. His next feature, “Entangled” (2014), featuring the late veteran actress Kim Young-ae, also received critical acclaim from domestic viewers.
“Fanfare” hits local cinemas on July 9.
By Choi Ji-won (email@example.com