Director: Lee Chang-dong
Cast: Han Suk-kyu, Shim Hye-jin
Film genre: Noir
Cert 18, 114 mins, 1997
Distributed by CJ E&M
In 1997 Lee Chang-dong wrote and directed Green Fish. At the time, it was simply the debut film of an established novelist, but we now know that it also heralded the arrival of a very significant film-maker. Han Suk-kyu is 26 year-old Makdong, a young man discharged from the military, who, rootless and unsure, becomes involved in the grubby life of a Seoul gangster. The nearest thing the director ever did to a genre film, Lee’s rare and sophisticated sensibility is already in evidence, as is his ability to find a striking image, deploy a fluid use of camera, and, most of all, get the best performances possible out of his actors. There are many who regard Lee as South Korea’s greatest living director, and since this is a relatively rare screening in the UK, you should run, not walk, to see it.