Sang-hyun, a priest working for a hospital, selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project intended to eradicate a deadly virus. However, the virus eventually takes over the priest. He nearly dies, but makes a miraculous recovery by an accidental transfusion of vampire blood. He realizes his sole reason for living: the pleasures of the flesh.Written by
Pusan International Film Festival
The 148 minute Director's Cut of the film is Park Chan-wook's preferred version of the film. To date, it has only been released in South Korea and France on DVD and Blu-ray. All other home video releases (including the US Blu-ray and DVD) only contain the theatrical cut. See more »
Grant me the following in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like a leper rotting in flesh, let all avoid me. Like a cripple without limbs, let me not move freely. Remove my cheeks, tht tears may not roll down them. Crush my lips and tongue, that I may not sin with them. Pull out my nails, that I may not grasp nothing. Let my shoulders and back be bent, that I may carry nothing. Like a man with tumor in the head let me lack judgment. Ravage my body sworn to chastity leave me with no pride, and ...
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On the South Korean and French Blu-ray editions, there is a director's cut featuring 13 minutes of new footage, including extended versions of many scenes. See more »
There's a lot of stuff about repression here. A priest trying to come to terms with his newfound vampire bloodthirst, an alienated girl smothered by the middle-aged woman and her needy pathetic son who brought her up. Like the broken pieces of a puzzle, these two people figure together in awkward ways and romance erupts, wild fiery messy passion full of bloody bites and slushing sounds. We also get crime details painted with broad noirish brushstrokes; a murder the two protagonists are trying to keep under wraps, the mother who knows who murdered her son but can't say anything about it to anyone because she's paralyzed by stroke. All this is hastily nailed together with planks and long rusty spikes made of very very dark humor, so that if Thirst was a staircase it would creak and make lots of noise and you wouldn't trust it to support your weight to the top.
Yet it does, and that's part of what makes Thirst so good, that it works despite itself because all the pieces click into a pattern so that the romance is made dangerous by the horror undertones that lurk beneath it, the heady serious themes on regret and guilt the movie touches on constantly swim beneath the surface and are brought afloat on the whalebacks of black comedy that spurts jets of dark red blood all over the floor every time it rises to the surface. We even get the old vampire cliché, the "good vampire" protests the killing of innocents for their blood while the "bad vampire" proclaims it the way of nature; except this is exchanged while the two of them make impossible CGI jumps across rooftops like it's all an opera or very theatric melodrama, as though Park is saying "you know the tropes, now watch the presentation".
All this takes place across empty white walls with crucifixes hanging on them, a bunch of people are huddling around a small kitchen table to play mahjonng over heavy purple velvet, faces are lit sickly green against dark/golden brown backgrounds like something out of a Roger Corman film or a Nakagawa kaidan picture from the 50's and we only venture out of doors when the sun is down and the streets are empty. Of course you need to excuse Park his trademark overindulgence of overhead crane shots because there's a gazillion of them. At some point, the emotional codependence of the two protagonists turns into a purely physical one as they lie on the floor sucking blood off each other, all the heavy homely colors are brushed aside and the room is painted white, and the movie makes a getaway for "will the protagonists make it or will the murder be revealed?" waters that bring Seance on a Wet Afternoon to mind. That, and the seriocomic mood + cutting irony + impossible surreal things taking place in a domestic setting made me think of the Coens in more than one occasion.
This is all good to me but what I like most about it, what makes it special to me, is how all the repression is visualized. With David Lynch, there is a mysterious wooden box in the basement and someone's taking a lantern down the steps to it and we only hear the sound of the lantern breaking and it's all dark again. Here we're down in the basement and we see the box, it's a wardrobe flat on its back with a heavy rock keeping it shut and something's fighting to get out, and then we see the lantern break to pieces. Thankfully Park steers clear off most "Azn horror" clichés in the way Takashi Miike did in his musical remake The Happiness of the Katakuris. Come to think about it, this is a musical with all the dance numbers played to no music at all and it's great that way.
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