Films: Animal Town

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Animal Town

Animal Town

South Korea, 2009, 97 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Korean
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, Focus on a National Cinema: South Korea
Language: Korean English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Jeon Kyu-hwan
Producer: Choi Mi-ae
Editor: Han Jong-hoon
Screenwriter: Jeon Kyu-hwan
Cinematographer: Choi Yeong-sun
Principal Cast: Ra Mi-ran, Oh Seong-tae

Animal Town is the second installment in writer-director Jeon Kyu-hwan’s Town Trilogy, screening in its entirety at SDFF34. This drama, released in 2009, is set in Seoul: industrial, bright, and bustling with technology, it seems full of promise from one angle. But from another, it’s full rather of lonely individuals enduring dreary lives, surrounded by the city’s grittiness.

In the aftermath of the global financial crises, two such characters are reeling from their economic woes. Oh Seong-cheul is a parolee squatting in a building set to be demolished. He works on a construction site and visits his state-appointed psychiatrist to overcome inner demons. Kim Hyeong-do runs a printing shop, where he takes less and less interest in the quality of his work, simply going through the motions of his day-to-day routine. The pair, connected by a horrific event in the past, are brought together in the present by a homeless girl who roams the streets with a stroller. Meanwhile, a rogue boar is also running rampant through the city; officials are unable to capture the creature. The boar is seen in Korea as a symbol of wealth, but also of greed, filth, and stupidity; likewise, desperation and the need for revenge are threatening to take over the lives of our would-be heroes.

Jeon uses sparse dialogue and the ambient chaos of life in the city to convey the misery of the lives of the people he portrays. His camerawork is detached—leaving the viewer, too, at odds with the complexities of life his characters face.
—REBECCA CARO

Sponsored by Asian Art Coordinating Council, Denver Chapter of the National Unification Advisory Council

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