Thirst (Bakjwi) 2009 Chan-wook Park
Chan-wook Park takes a break from the world of vengeance to slip wondrously into the surreal and mythic with a take on the vampire mythos that struck home for me. Kang-ho Song (The Host) plays Priest Sang-hyeon – a priest who volunteers to be a guinea pig of sorts to help find a cure for a horrid, 100% fatal disease. He survives...but with some truly horrid side effects. When he returns home, he revisits a friend from his childhood and his bride, Tae-joo (played by Ok-vin Kim). The Priest is filled with sinful thoughts at the sight of her. They knew each other as children and a lingering, smoldering ache still exists between them. The Priest used to be able to deal with such thoughts, but now...he longs to give into his desires...his needs...and his thirst.
This film functions on many different levels. If you've seen other Park films, you know that he is very good at mixing the dark with the comedic. This film has some dark moments for sure, but it also has some scenes that are almost slapstick in nature. It's subtle and fun.
It also presents an interesting take on the vampire mythos. What is a vampire? Can they be good or are they too driven by their needs? And, are there humans that are more horrid?
Park mixes the fantastic, magical world of the vampire legend with the incredibly slow lives of humans working day in and day out and going home to people they would rather not see. Ever. Subtle effects usage makes the story believable and beautiful and the writing leaves it open for much interpretation about life, love and friendship.
This is definitely one to watch.