North American Premiere
90 minutes, in Korean with English subtitles
Directed by: Ji Ha-Jean
Starring: Lee Moo-Saeng, Yun Sang-Wha, Choi Jeun
Film Society of Lincoln Center
Sunday, July 8 @ 12:30pm (buy tickets)
Thursday, July 12 @ 3:30pm (buy tickets)
A clockwork ballerina spins in place on a battered old music box. A man with a gore-covered hammer tortures a cop in a public parking lot. A nameless assassin is sprung from prison and immediately goes on the hunt. A man in chains with a mouth full of duct tape is set on fire from the inside. A biker driving into the mountain mist. A jazz-funk score keeping the pulse-beat of vengeance. Read it now and believe us later: BLOODY FIGHT IN IRON-ROCK VALLEY is the most groovy, chilled-out revenge movie ever made, and that is fantastic news for the increasingly-predictable cycle of Korean revenge films.
With a fragmented narrative and an abstract style, BLOODY FIGHT is a singular, stripped-down vision in which first time writer/director Ji Ha-Jean turns everything you’ve been expecting from this genre upside-down and makes you soak up his otherworldly atmosphere until you’re as high as a kite and ready for enlightenment. Two parts spaghetti Western and one part shot of absinthe, it took “Best Korean Independent Film” at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival, won “Best Asian Genre Film of the Year” from the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation, and now it’s coming for NYAFF to get us crunk before clubbing us to death.
We don’t know his name and they’ll never remember it, but the man on the bike (Lee Moo-Saeng, thrilling and implacable) wants “Ghostface” and his gang dead for a mysterious crime. Following their trail to the countryside, he stumbles upon a Buddhist temple and discovers a serpentine plot involving a corrupt construction firm and an illegal land development that rivals classic noirs like Chinatown for its labyrinthine interconnectivity and sociopolitical commentary. In the hands of Ghostface and his moneyed employer, the devout village has become a den of gambling and vice, the kind of place where they kill cops in a landfill, Julius Caesar-style, while the rich kid films it with his smartphone. Now the Man wants the temple and its land. Our hero – looking for all the world like a young Charles Bronson with his red neckerchief, and wielding a nail gun like an Uzi – is not about to let that happen. Oh, yes. There will be blood.