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Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000)
"Flandersui gae" (original title)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,458 users  
Reviews: 19 user | 24 critic

An idle part-time college lecturer is annoyed by the yapping sound of a nearby dog. He decides to take drastic action.

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Title: Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Sung-jae Lee ...
Yun-ju
...
Hyeon-nam
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hie-bong Byeon ...
Janitor
Su-hee Go ...
Jang-Mi
Ho-jung Kim ...
Eun-Sil Bae
Roe-ha Kim
Jeong-seon Seong
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Storyline

The disconnections of urban life. Yun-ju is diffident, almost without affect; his wife is pregnant, and he's wonders if he should bribe the dean to secure a professorship. He's also bothered by a yapping dog that disturbs him in the large block of flats where he lives. Hyeon-nam is equally disengaged; she's a bookkeeper at same block of flats, animated only when she learns of a lost dog. Over the course of a few weeks, three dogs in the building go missing - Yun-ju and Hyeon-nam have a connection to each. So might a janitor. Is it a man-eat-dog world? Is there any cure for this ennui? Can anyone connect? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

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Details

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Release Date:

19 February 2000 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Flanders' Dog  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Made for around 950 million won (around $800,000/£500,000), Joon-ho Bong was hoping the film would break-even at the box-office, however only around 100,000 viewers nationwide in South Korea saw the film, concluding Bong to note that; "It was a total flop at the box office." See more »

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Features Christmas in August (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Beautifully executed, unique film-making. Bong Joon-ho's a master.
14 June 2009 | by (Melbourne, Australia) – See all my reviews

This film is incredible. Released in 2000 it ran as a pre-cursor to a trend of 'indie' toned films that would be become standard fair over the last ten years and, to an extent, lose their freshness. This film still feels as original and fresh 9 years later. Bong Joon-Ho has created something especially unique and multi-layered with this debut.

The plot is a based around a small group of characters that live within an apartment block complex. Lee Sung-jae plays a wannabe university lecturer who is plagued with the constant yapping of a neighbor's dog. Bae Du-na is great as a bored office clerk who wants to be noticed. Byeon Hie-bong is exceptionally charismatic as the colorful apartment janitor. All characters are played superbly and each have different personal goals, which they struggle with.

Bong lets you know right from the beginning, he is a master of direction. In the opening scenes Yun-ju tries to silence a yapping dog, Bong is almost immediately playing with the audiences' sense of morals and emotions. Either way it grabs the audience and is truly a clever opening.

Bong is not afraid to spend time with each of his characters, so much so that at times the film can seem as if it's a series of short films stitched together. Some might point to this a shortcoming, but I believe since each character scene has been so carefully crafted and written that I would have been disappointed if Bong had taken any other approach. Scenes have been written not only to be entertaining but also to elaborate on themes raised within the film, ie, corruption within democracy, fame, and family values, and by the end of the film plots are tied together enough for me to be satisfied. The final scene is subtly book ended with the first in an interesting, introspective manner.

The cinematography is astoundingly planned and executed. Shots of the bland modernist apartment block are beautifully composed, and serves as much as a location as a representation of the characters lives. Long takes are used on many occasions, not breaking the mood of a scene and developing a more contemplative atmosphere. The visual structuring of a janitors ghost story is accented with sudden swift camera pans and creeping dollys. Simply, the film is beautiful to look at and very comfortable to watch. Bong knows how to use the camera as a powerful storytelling tool.

What Bong has created is not necessary a comedy, but more of a drama the sweeps from comedic moments to emotionally dramatic, as well as surrealist spooky. Bongs abilities are clearly on display as he switches between these genres. The film is multi-layered. It is just as much a 'social commentary' on modern Korean life. I love this film for its execution, its themes, its intelligence, and its uniqueness!

97/100

Harry High Pants.


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