Film of the Week :: Paranmanjang (Night Fishing), by Park Chan-Wook (2011)

This week’s Film of the Week is the first that you may very well be watching on the device on which it was shot. Park Chan-Wook, the South Korean director best known for his 2003 modern classic, Oldboy, prompted much discussion in filmmaking circles early this year when he released a stunning 33-minute film, Paranmanjang, shot entirely on the iPhone 4 in select South Korean cinemas. While the internet pondered on the future of film-making now that Chan-Wook had proven that decent mobile-phone-film-making was within everyone’s grasp, the majority of us were left waiting to actually see this acclaimed masterpiece.

Paranmanjang (known to English audiences as Night Fishing) was recently posted on Vimeo and proves worthy of the industry-hype. Chan-Wook has taken his excellent command of the lens over to this little phone camera and caught some stunning shots, surreal colour pallettes, and some beautifully crisp contrast in his monochrome scenes. Combined with some hyper-real scenarios, the film’s power lies in its visuals much more than its story, which makes it worth watching despite the lack of English-language dubbing or subtitles.

The story is simple enough: man goes fishing, man catches fish, fish becomes woman, woman turns out to be some kind of ghost. I think she embodies his missing daughter. I also think he might be dead, and she’s communicating to him on his families behalf through a ceremony involving a bath, some wacky music, and a long piece of cloth… Regardless, the visuals, in both situation and style, leave you intrigued throughout and will hopefully inspire you to undertake your own mobile film-making project.

We look forward to seeing the results at Kino #34.

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