Park Chan-wook Recounts a Worse-Than-Usual Day at the Morgue


With such deliriously stylized, intense films as Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance on his résumé, Korean director Park Chan-Wook has already managed that all-too-rare combination of art-house cred and pop notoriety. But Thirst, his graphic new drama-cum-thriller-cum-romance-cum-we-don’t-know-what, which opens at the Sunshine today, could bring him that much closer to household-name status, thanks to its ever-popular subject of vampirism. So, we thought this would be a good opportunity to feature a short film Park made in 1999, called Simpan (Judgment), a pretty great (and, yes, morbid) drama set in a morgue, centered around an attempt to claim insurance money in a time of rampant natural disasters. Although it’s not as gloriously stylized as his later films, Park’s characteristic perversity and his tonal playfulness are in full display here. It’s as if Jean-Paul Sartre and Rod Serling got together and hijacked a Roland Emmerich film. Really.