Busan: Korean Director Im Kwon-taek Embarks on His 102nd Film

Im Kwon-taek

The 77-year-old auteur will adapt "Hwajang" from best-selling South Korean novelist Kim Hoon.

Veteran filmmaker Im Kwon-taek will be adapting the Kim Hoon novel Hwajang (working title) as his 102nd film.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Kim Hoon, and it’s going to be a challenge to translate the power and dynamism of his words into an audiovisual medium. It will involve different storytelling techniques from my previous work,” Im announced at press event on Friday in Busan. “I’m going to have to find my own voice while exploring Kim’s artistic intentions.”

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Hwajang, a homonym that in Korean means both “cremation” and “makeup,” is about a middle-aged man caring for his dying wife while fantasizing about a younger woman. “My book is really about things that are unsaid and not directly shown, and I am curious to see how Im will portray this onscreen,” said Kim.

The project reunites Im with veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki for their seventh collaboration. “The director has always dealt with aspects of Korean culture to examine the human condition, and the upcoming film will probably focus more on the latter like the book. I have a feeling it’s going to be a very difficult role to tackle as an actor,” said Ahn.

“The master filmmaker will join hands with a great actor to adapt an honored novelist’s work -- this project is bound to be masterpiece,” said the festival’s founder/honorary director Kim Dong-ho.

The Myung Films production will go into production in December. Meanwhile, 10 other book-turned-film projects are seeking financial partners at the Asian Film Market on Oct. 8 and 9.