Far East Film Festival 20

Udine Italy April 20th/ April 28th 2018
The Film Festival For Popular Asian Cinema
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
Wednesday, Apirl 26, time 10.00 PM


By date


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Fabricated City

There’s a sense of mischief in the air from the very opening scenes of Park Kwang-hyun’s Fabricated City. Despite its dark visual tone and the mood of foreboding that hangs over just about every scene, there’s also a playfulness at work just below the surface. But you wouldn’t necessarily pick that up just from reading the synopsis.

Our protagonist Kwon Yoo (TV star Ji Chang-wook, in his film debut) is a heroic online gamer, displaying resourcefulness, leadership abilities, and a willingness to sacrifice himself for the good of his fellow players. In real life, however, he is an unemployed loser who was kicked off of the national taekwondo team for fighting with a teammate. Living with his mother, his life seems to be going nowhere, until it unexpectedly gets much worse. After receiving a phone call and following through on what seems like an ordinary request, he suddenly finds himself accused of rape and murder, with forensic evidence that seems irrefutable. Kwon Yoo is baffled, both at how he ended up being framed this way, and why anyone would bother to target an ordinary guy like him.
His confusion will only grow deeper as he finds himself painted as a monster in the press, then swiftly sentenced and thrown in jail with a life sentence and no parole. But the plot of Fabricated City is only just getting warmed up. With each narrow escape, plot twist and betrayal more outlandish than the last, Kwon Yoo finds himself on an adventure far more dramatic than the games he loves to play.
It should probably be emphasized from the start that in order to enjoy Fabricated City, you have to watch it in the right frame of mind. Its hyper-kinetic energy and cyber-punk attitude are probably more naturally suited to the young, but most of all, it needs to be watched with an appreciation for the tongue-in-cheek rebelliousness that lies at its heart. Like many recent Korean films, it is a story about power and social injustice, but instead of the usual heavy, despairing tone and urgent moralizing we’ve come to expect, Fabricated City simply lifts a big middle finger to the 1%.

Director Park Kwang-hyun has been away a long time since releasing his hugely popular debut film Welcome to Dongmakgol, which won the Audience Award at the 8th FEFF. Over the next decade his intended follow-up, the big-budget SF action project Kwon Bob, looked ready to enter production on several occasions before falling through each time for various reasons. Fabricated City is perhaps an unexpected comeback for the director, with a very different tone than we’ve seen in his previous work. It has its weaknesses, but Park retains his gift for creating interesting and at times very funny characters, such as the genius hacker Yeo-wool who has some unusual communication issues (played by Shim Eun-kyoung, who voiced the robot in Sori: Voice from the Heart) and the central villain played by Oh Jeong-se, whom FEFF regulars will remember from Audience Award winner How to Use Guys With Secret Tips. It’s these sort of colorful and unpredictable characters that ultimately prove to be Fabricated City’s biggest treat.
Darcy Paquet
Film director: 
Park Kwang-hyun
Running time: 


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