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Ko - production in Busan
  • THE SHAMELESS Bows to Positive Reviews in Cannes
  • by Pierce Conran /  May 18, 2015
  • JEON Do-yeon Singled out for Strong Performance

    The first Korean film (out of four) to screen at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival, OH Seung-uk’s The Shameless bowed to positive reviews on May 15th, as it competes in the Un Certain Regard competition.

    Director OH, a well-respected scripter (Green Fish, 1997; Christmas in August, 1998), previously made the little seen but acclaimed Kilimanjaro (2000) and made the trip to France for his photo call along with leads JEON Do-yeon and KIM Nam-gil.

    The film, detailing a detective’s search for a murderer and his subsequent entanglement with the fugitive’s lover, won over critics for its assured style and convincing performances as the first international reviews streamed in from Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Film Business Asia. Screen’s Jason Bechervaise praised ‘the film’s rich and stylish dark tone,’ going on to state that due to its combination of noirish and melodramatic tropes, it ‘delivers something quite unique.’

    The best praise was reserved for JEON, who, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s Clarence Tsui ‘gives a reliably nuanced performance that makes everything around her pale in comparison.’ Variety's Maggie Lee’s was just as enthusiastic, noting that the film ‘owes its mood of slow-burning heartbreak’ to JEON’s ‘masterful performance.’  The film marks JEON’s fourth trip to the French Riviera, following her Best Actress win for LEE Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine (2007), another official competition berth with IM Sang-soo’s The Housemaid in 2010 and jury duty for the main selection last year.

    However, some critics took issue with the film’s length, with Screen pointing out the film’s lack of strong pacing and Film Business Asia’s Derek Elley bemoaning that its accumulated credit is blown by an unnecessary (and lengthy) coda.

    CGV Arthouse (a division of CJ Entertainment) will release The Shameless domestically on May 27th.

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