Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • Director of FATAL LEE Don-ku
  • by JI Yong-jin / 02.04.2013
  • I Want to Ask about Real Forgiveness

    - What made you direct  Fatal?
    I felt nothing but fury when I heard about terrible sexual crimes through the mass media several years ago. The problem is the fact that many sex crimes still occur as in the past. What makes me angrier is the lighter punishments for sexual criminals. I questioned myself about whether or not lighter punishments for sexual criminals made sense.  Directing Fatal began from my personal anger.
    - Would you tell us about your career before making your debut?
    I happened to have an opportunity to act in my high school days and then I worked as an actor in Seoul’s Daehakno area after my college graduation. But I found directing interesting and attractive and decided to switch to it. Before officially making my directorial debut. I directed short films such as A Life of Dog and Help. While making short films I was able to learn about the film production process.
    - Fatal is a low-budget film. What difficulties did you encounter during production?
    We had an extremely low budget so we had to fight unfavorable conditions. During the filming, the staff, actors and actresses could not eat or sleep properly. Fortunately, they cooperated with me so we successfully finished the project without any big problems. But one thing that I would have liked would have been to use proper lighting. In its absence, I used natural light as much as possible. I had no choice but to direct the film without proper lighting. Nevertheless, the world was bright. (Laughs)
    - In this film, the acting is very impressive. What are your casting standards and principles?
    Most of the actors, actresses and production staff are my longtime friends. The leading actor has been my friend for about ten years. At one point I did not know what to do since I could not find actors for the supporting roles. But by chance, we were able to continue the project as the leading actor introduced some good supporting actors to me. When I cast performers, I focus on their acting and sincerity. This is because sincere actors always study their characters hard. I believe that such efforts always vouch for good acting.
    - The movie shows a religious code about salvation and forgiveness. Why did you use such a code in your film?
    At first, I did not think about inserting a religious code into this film. I only tried to find an answer to a question, “How will he seek forgiveness?” after setting the character of the hero. As a result, I thought that a church is the only place which he can go to. In Korean society, churches are very close to people. People usually think about churches when they think about forgiveness. In this manner, I created a situation where the hero is expected to go to a church.
    - The original Korean title of this movie is ‘Thorny Flower.’ What is the meaning of this?
    ‘Thorny Flower’ literally means a flower with many thorns. A rose is beautiful but has numerous thorns. So it can hurt people with them. That is to say, the thorny flower in this movie means ‘Jangmi,’ (‘Rose’ in English) the heroine. The thorns are wounds that Jangmi will have until the end of her life. The hero tries to love and take care of Jangmi but, finally, he winds up in a situation where he gets pricked by the wounds which he inflicted upon her. This shows the irony of a thorny flower.
    - Who are your role models?
    KIM Ki-duk and BONG Joon-ho are directors who I have liked very much and respected for a long time. I have watched Memories of Murder numerous times. I always try to learn and study while watching their films.
    - What is your message to audiences through Fatal?

    My message is that a bad guy always gets his comeuppance. Even if the bad guy begs for forgiveness, the victim’s wounds will never heal. I wanted to ask a question “Is there any real forgiveness?” All of us need to live with a sense of responsibility.
    - What is your next move?

    For now, I will prepare for the release of the movie in Korea. The next film is on the drawing board. Currently, I am working on its scenario.
    photographed by KWON Hyuk-se
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