GenreDrama ScreenplayPark Chan-ok, Yu-rim Lee CountrySouth Korea
Release dateOctober 29, 2009 (2009-10-29) WriterYu-rim Lee, Chan-ok Park (screenplay) Initial releaseOctober 28, 2009 (South Korea) CastLee Sun-Kyun (Kim Joong-sik), Seo Woo (Choi Eun-mo), Eung-soo No (Choi Eun-soo), Ye-ri Kim (Mi-ae), Kang-gook Son (Shim-bok) Similar moviesD-War, Hot Young Bloods, Double Dragon In Last Duel, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring, J.S.A. Joint Security Area, The Berlin File
Joonh-shik meets a woman and distracts her from her baby with disastrous results. Years later, he leads a political protest and obstructs the citys plans to demolish an apartment complex.
Paju (Hangul: ; RR: Paju) is a 2009 South Korean film. It tells the tale of a teenage schoolgirl (Seo Woo) and her complex relationship to her older sisterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s husband (Lee Sun-kyun). Set in the city where it takes its name from Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a longtime military area and now a developing city located close to the North/South Korean border Ã¢â‚¬â€œ its elegant and well-constructed narrative deals with guilt, mystery, love and redemption, as well as the psychological layers of its characters. The film also offers a vivid glimpse into Korean society and the struggles some residents of Paju face. The result is both uniquely Korean and universally resonant.
In 2010 Paju became the first ever Korean film to open the International Film Festival Rotterdam and to compete at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Introduced at the 14th Pusan (Busan) International Film Festival (PIFF), director Park Chan-ok's movie is about a girl who happens to live with her sister's husband. Though she believes he killed her sister, she loves him despite the deep hatred. As a suburban city of Seoul and a longtime military area, Paju is shown as full of such contradictions and wandering souls.
Twenty-something Eun-mo listens to a taxi driver drone on as she rides down a foggy highway. The story then cycles back eight years earlier, when a lustful Joong-shik accidentally causes a woman to neglect her baby with disastrous consequences. Suffering from guilt, Joong-shik goes on the lam and holes up in the titular city of Paju, an underdeveloped and desolate city just north of Seoul and near the North Korean border. Teaching religious classes to the towns schoolgirls, Joong-shik captures the heart of local house owner Eun-soo, despite the protestations of her pubescent younger sister and Joong-shiks student Eun-mo.
Back in the present day, Joong-shik is now the ringleader of a political protest group whose interests run from obstructing the citys plans of gentrification to strengthening relations with North Koreans. Squatting in Pajus derelict apartments, the group is under siege from an unidentified property developer who has engaged goons to bulldoze the buildings. With only the briefest of hints as to what has transpired, Eun-soo is nowhere to be seen and Joong-shik and Eun-mo are clearly at odds. While believing her brother-in-law killed her sister for insurance money, Eun-mo finds herself falling in love with him, the sole guardian and grownup in the lonely girls life. Narrative flashes back twice more to sparingly fill in the gaps on their shifting lives.
Lee Sun-kyun as Kim Joong-shik
Seo Woo as Choi Eun-mo
Shim Yi-young as Choi Eun-soo (Eun-mos sister and Joong-shiks wife)
Kim Bo-kyung as Jung Ja-young
Kim Ye-ri as Mi-ae (Eun-mos friend)
Lee Dae-yeon as Pastor (Joong-shiks cousin)
Lee Geung-young as gangster boss
Son Kang-kuk as gangster
Jung Man-sik as anti-demolition member
Oh Dae-hwan as insurance examiner
Lee Bong-kyu as tenant on 1st floor
This is Park Chan-oks long-awaited follow-up to her critically praised 2002 debut Jealousy Is My Middle Name.
Park had found it difficult to secure funding for her sophomore film amidst Korean cinemas currently declining investment environment, and though her screenplay won the Kodak Award and received ?20 million (US$19,000) worth of negative film from the Pusan Promotion Plan in 2005, it would eventually take almost seven years to complete Paju. Park said, "I stopped (filming) because I could not make any more modifications to it. I wanted to talk about emotions shared by two people who are similarly alone. More than a love affair between a man and a woman, the relationship between Joong-shik and Eun-mo is more of compassion that those in agony are likely to develop for each other."
Park said Paju is the perfect backdrop for this mysterious and gripping story. "When I think of Paju, I always view it as a mysterious place because it was always foggy whenever I visited there and it also sits right next to the border area dividing the two Koreas. I wanted to portray that mysterious feeling in the film."
Paju played to highly impressed reviews in its debut in the Pusan International Film Festival. The PIFF jury awarded it the NETPAC Award, describing it as "a fine example of passionate, high-quality filmmaking."
Screen International said of director Park, "This should help to cement Parks reputation as one of Koreas most talented arthouse directors" while Variety praised the films handling of elements of melodrama, action and mystery, saying they "make it function like a Bergmanesque thriller." The Hollywood Reporter wrote that "Seo delivers one of the most believable depictions of conflicted female emotion as has ever been put on film in Korea." Koreanfilm.org called it "without question one of the best Korean films of 2009."
2009 Pusan International Film Festival
2010 International Film Festival Rotterdam
2010 Goteborg International Film Festival
2010 Deauville Asian Film Festival
2010 Trondheim International Film Festival
2010 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival