Archive of films Thirst / Bakjwi

South Korea
2009, 133 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2009

After winning an award for the now cult movie Oldboy, Park Chan-wook has returned from the Cannes festival with the Jury Prize for Thirst, an intellectual variation on the vampire tale, which focuses on the conflict between sin and redemption. Not unironically, a Catholic priest, a symbol of humanism, is the protagonist in the story of a man whose faith forbids him to kill while every inch of his body yearns for the blood he must drink in order to survive....


A Catholic priest named Sang-hyun becomes involved in a medical experiment during which he is infected with a deadly virus. After a strange transfusion he returns to the world of the living, but the blood, of unknown origin, turns him into a vampire. Sang-hyun struggles between his consuming desire to suck blood and his faith, which forbids murder. On top of that, he gets mixed up in an affair with a married childhood friend, and that doesn’t bode well either.... In his movies, Park Chan-wook has long investigated the relationship between sin and redemption. Thirst is a project that has been in the works for ten years. In 2000, when he shot Joint Security Area, he engaged Song Kang-ho to play the role of the priest who becomes a vampire. Not only the acting performances, but also excellent work with editing and camera have once again created the completely unique world characteristic of Park Chan-wook’s movies. An interesting bit of trivia: this is the first Korean film co-financed from the beginning by one of the big Hollywood studios (Universal Pictures International). At the Cannes festival, Thirst took the Jury Prize (shared with Fish Tank by Brit Andrea Arnold).

About the director

Park Chan-wook (b. 1963, Seoul, South Korea) graduated in philosophy from Sogang University. While at school he organized a film club and published film criticism. He came to international attention with his third feature, JSA – Joint Security Area (Gongdong kyeongbi gooyeok JSA, 2000), one of the first films to take a non-schematic look at the issue of the division of Korea. This was followed by a phenomenal revenge trilogy comprising utterly original movies: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Boksuneun naui geot, 2002), Old Boy (Oldeuboi, 2003), and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chinjeolhan Geumjassi, 2005). Old Boy took the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes. Set in an asylum, the hyper-stylized film I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (Ssaibogeujiman kwaenchanha, 2006) allowed Park to create a variation on the saucy romantic comedy.


CJ Entertainment Inc.
2nd Fl., 602 Shinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, 135 893, Seoul
Korea (Republic of)
Tel: +82 237 184 70
Fax: +82 220 171 241

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Park Chan-wook
Screenplay: Chung Seo-kyung, Park Chan-wook
Dir. of Photography: Chung Chung-hoon
Music: Cho Young-wuk
Editor: Kim Sang-bum, Kim Jae-bum
Producer: Ahn Soo-hyun
Production: MOHO Film
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Kim Ok-vin, Kim Hae-sook, Shin Ha-kyun
Contact: CJ Entertainment Inc.

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