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Ko - production in Busan
  • A Dirty Carnival
  • by Pierce Conran /  Jan 03, 2017

  • 2006141 MIN | Action, Crime, Drama
    DIRECTOR YOO Ha
    CAST ZO In-sung, CHUN Ho-jin, JIN Goo, YOON Je-moon, Namgung Min, LEE Bo-young 
    RELEASE DATE June 15, 2006 
    CONTACT CJ Entertainment 
    Tel: +82 2 371 8147
    Fax: +82 2 371 6340
    Email: filmsales@cj.net

    Much like in other countries, the gangster film is one of the go-to genres for Korean filmmakers and audiences and among the many examples that have hit screens each year, few have reached the status of YOO Ha’s 2006 gangland epic A Dirty Carnival. Featuring ZO In-sung in the lead and early roles for future major stars such as YOON Je-moon, CHO Jin-woong and JIN Goo, the film traces the rise and fall of a young mobster in the Seoul crime scene.

    ZO plays the leader of a small gang that has fallen on hard times. He receives no help from his superior and one day takes initiative by superseding him when he sees a chance to help the big boss by eliminating a troublesome attorney. At the same time, he helps his school friend with his gangster film script. While his aspirations allow him to rise quickly, he becomes more careless as time goes on.

    While A Dirty Carnival doesn’t boast the same polish as similar films by the likes of KIM Jee-woon, there’s a great deal of sophistication in its minutiae, which elevates what is a fairly familiar gangster narrative. Add in the film’s tautly edited hit jobs and all-out brawls and YOO’s film becomes a memorable example of the modern crime film. The filmmaking angle also gives the narrative a knowing edge as a piece of mobster entertainment.

    ZO, with his slim physique and boyish looks, portrays a fiercely loyal and violent gangster who increasingly learns the costs of balancing his responsibilities and ambitions. He throws himself into a physical role and is surrounded by a strong cast, including veteran character actor CHUN Ho-jin as the big boss and TV performers Namgung Min, LEE Bo-young as the director and ZO-s love interest.

    Originally known for his poetry, YOO switched his pen for a camera around the turn of the millennium and has become known for bringing his particular brand of melancholic narratives to different film genres each time, from the affair drama Marriage Is a Crazy Thing (2002) and youth action drama Spirit Of Jeet Keun Do - Once Upon A Time In High School (2004) before A Dirty Carnival, to period court drama A Frozen Flower (2008) and investigative thriller HOWLING in 2012. In 2015, YOO returned to the site of his greatest success when he released the gangster film with Gangnam Blues.
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