Posts Tagged ‘Thriller’

You don’t get many movies at the IU Cinema that are announced as sold out only days after first being listed, but this was an exception.  The Korean “Best Picture” Oscar winner, PARASITE, but with an added twist.  This would be the black and white version.

Why black and white? As noted by HOLLYWOODREPORTER.COM, Director Bong Joon Ho has suggested, first, that movie classics we remember, the NOSFERATUs, earlier Alfred Hitchcock, et al., were in black and white, so why not modern films as well?  But it’s not done lightly:  The new version of PARASITE was actually made before the original color edition had its premiere in Cannes, where it won the Palme d’Or.  Bong, with his director of photographer and colorist, worked on the new grading shot by shot.

“You can’t just put it in a computer and turn it into black and white,” he said, adding that he faced extra difficulties because he hadn’t considered black and white when working on the film’s production design or art direction, making particular scenes — such as the flooding, with mud water floating around — require extra consideration.

With the color removed, he said, viewers were given a stronger sense of contrast between the rich family and the poor.

“We can focus more on the texture,” he said, emphasizing the “very glossy and clean” surfaces in the house of the rich family.

Or, as the IU Cinema itself put it:  Regarding this version, which was created prior to the film’s premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Director Bong Joon Ho said:

“I’m extremely happy to present PARASITE in black and white and have it play on the big screen.  It will be fascinating to see how the viewing experience changes when an identical film is presented in black and white.  I watched the black and white version twice now, and at times the film felt more like a fable and gave me the strange sense that I was watching a story from old times.”

“The second time I watched it, the film felt more realistic and sharp as if I was being cut by a blade.  It also further highlighted the actors’ performances and seemed to revolve more around the characters.  I had many fleeting impressions of this new version, but I do not wish to define them before it is presented.  I hope everyone in the audience can compare their own experiences from the color version and find their own path to PARASITE in black and white.”

And so it goes.  I have not myself seen the color version, however, so — with memories, granted, of the films cited above, as well as Japanese films like RASHOMON and the original SEVEN SAMURAI, as well as American film noir classics — I (having bought my ticket well in advance), went into the theater prepared for what might be an unusual experience.  And in short, it was, with I thought the black and white version working quite well as an Asian sort of film noir in its own right, but quite a bit more too.  And — very possibly — better than it might have been in the color version.

Beyond that, the docent said before the film that “a lot of fun for this movie comes from not knowing anything about it,” though adding three points that pervade the film:  (1) that “money tends to smooth rich people out” — that is, despite being ignorant of those below them, they seem nice; (2) a lack of class solidarity (particularly in the lower orders); (3) the hand of American capitalism coloring all, e.g. “[knowledge of] English is almost like a commodity.”  In an earlier blurb, the IU Cinema classed the film’s genres as Drama and Thriller, though I was also struck by how funny the film is, in a knowing, satirical manner at first but, in the end, also darkly hilarious.  Also while not a horror film, really, there are horror tropes.  And mostly, in a perverse kind of sense, it’s a film about family — at least in my opinion.

Then, finally, to quote the “earlier” IU Cinema blurb:  Winner of the 2019 Cannes Palme d’Or, Bong Joon Ho’s newest film is a darkly comedic, genre tale of class struggle that has drawn comparisons to Jordan Peele’s US.  Ki-taek’s family is close, but fully unemployed, with a bleak future ahead of them.  Ki-woo, Ki-taek’s son, is recommended for a well-paid tutoring job, spawning the promise of a regular income.  Carrying the expectations of all his family, Ki-woo heads to the Park family home for an interview.  Arriving at the house of Mr. Park, the owner of a global IT firm, Ki-woo meets Yeon-kyo, the beautiful young woman of the house.  Following this first meeting between the two families, an unstoppable string of mishaps lies in wait.  In Korean with English subtitles.  Contains mature content. 

Got crime?  Violence?  Mystery?  Thrillers?  Monday night’s email brought  another acceptance from an anthology called UNCOMMON ASSASSINS, to be published by Smart Rhino Publications.  This one is not for horror as such, but “thriller/suspense stories in which the central character is a hired killer, assassin, hitman/woman, vigilante, sniper, or someone forced to kill for circumstances beyond his/her control.   . . .  a mix of stories:  noir, contemporary crime fiction, police procedural, historical fiction, dark fiction, steampunk, or even a hybrid of genres.  Use your imagination!  The emphasis is on ‘uncommon’ here.”  And so this was the reply to my submission, “The Wellmaster’s Daughter,” an ethnic tale of the Sahara Desert and a father forced to turn wrong to right at a horrific cost, originally published in ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE in November 1991:  “I enjoyed the story and, although it is quite different from the hitman/paid assassin stories currently in the anthology, I would like to accept the story.  I think the readers will enjoy it!”

UNCOMMON ASSASSINS will be officially open for submissions until June 30, but could fill up sooner so any interested should start considering things to send now.  Publication is tentatively scheduled for Fall 2012.  What is not wanted are simple serial killer stories – characters here “should be paid killers or assassins working from a moral or political motivation . . . they are doing this more for others than themselves.”  Also not wanted are supernatural horror stories – “the focus here is on suspense/thriller fiction, not horror.  Futuristic or science fiction will be considered as long as suspense/thriller elements are evident.”  UNCOMMON ASSASSINS also pays, granted not much but a little, and while preferring original work will also consider reprints from 2500 to 8000 words (with a preference for shorter over longer).

If intrigued, complete guidelines are available here.

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