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Ko - production in Busan
  • The Priests
  • by Pierce Conran /  Nov 10, 2015
  •  
    2015108 MIN | Mystery, Drama
    DIRECTOR JANG Jae-hyun
    CAST KIM Yun-seok, GANG Dong-won
    RELEASE DATE November 5, 2015
    CONTACT United Pictures
    Tel : +82 2 3443 8842
    Fax : +82 2 3443 4298
    Email : up@upictures.co.kr
     
    First time filmmaker JANG Jae-hyun expands his award-winning short 12th Assistant Deacon into The Priests, an exorcism thriller that borrows from western supernatural genres and features two of Korea’s biggest stars, veteran KIM Yun-seok and the ever fresh-faced GANG Dong-won, who previously featured together in CHOI Dong-hoon’s time-hopping action-comedy blockbuster Woochi (2009).
     
    Two priests travel from the Vatican to Korea to deal with an evil spirit, but after committing a hit-and-run and perishing in a car crash, a young girl winds up in a coma and Father KIM (KIM Yun-seok) believes that the evil spirit has transferred to her body. Seeking permission from his superiors to perform a complicated exorcism, he must enlist the help of an assistant deacon, and soon gets the help of Father CHOI (GANG Dong-won), a rebellious student from the seminary school. Together, they begin a process rooted in ancient Latin rituals and texts to rid the young girl of the possessive spirit.
     
    Possession and exorcism are elements that have featured in Korean cinema for at least 50 years, but always in the context of shamanism, whereas in Hollywood, they are generally aligned with Catholicism, and have yielded such important works as William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (1973). Borrowing from those classic films and other films within the subgenre, JANG aligns classic western supernatural horror tropes with a strong local flavor seen in the melodramatic background to GANG’s character and the patriarchal hierarchy which runs above the pair of deacons.
     
    Star of The Chaser (2008), The Thieves (2012) and most recently The Classified File (2014), KIM brings his gruff demeanor to the part of Father KIM while GANG, star of The Duelist (2005) and Secret Reunion (2010), injects his younger deacon with charm and boyish mischievousness. Their combination has proven to be a potent combination, as The Priests got off to a big start, drawing 1.6 million viewers (USD 11.29 million) in its first four days in theaters, the third highest debut for a Korean film in 2015, behind Assassination and Veteran.
     
    Director JANG previously served as an assistant director on the blockbuster period drama Masquerade (2012) before breaking out with the short 12th Assistant Deacon, which won the Best Film award in the Extreme Nightmare section of 13th Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival and the Best Director Prize at the 15th Jeonju International Film Festival. GANG served on the jury that awarded JANG a prize at the Mise-en-scène Short Film Festival last year.
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