t.l. I selvaggi
야수의 피 (Yasu-ui pi)
South Korea, 2023, 106’, Korean
Directed by: Kim Bong-han
Screenplay: Kim Joo-man
Photography (color): Kim Jae-seong
Editing: Kim Woo-hyun, Kim Hyun-seo
Production Design: Kim Young-tak
Music: Mok Young-jin
Producer: Lee Chan-nam
Cast: Park Sung-woong (Song Woo-chul), Oh Dae-hwan (President Jang Do-sik), Oh Dal-su (Ri Gak-su), Seo Ji-hye (Bom/Choi Myung-joo), Joo Suk-tae (Detective Cho Jeong-gon), Jeong Soo-gyo (Director Kang), Yeon Soo (Madam Han)
Date of First Release in Territory: TBA
The Wild opens with a new beginning for our protagonist Song Woo-chul. After being sentenced to 8 years in prison for taking part in an illegal boxing match/betting ring in which his opponent died, he is released from jail early due to good behavior. His good friend Do-sik picks him up and gives him a bite of tofu (a traditional gift for people who are released from prison). But he is a bit taken aback when Woo-chul says he’s decided to live an honest life. He even refuses the offer of a cigarette.
Do-sik has not been engaging in good behavior in the intervening years. The head of a gang that is growing steadily more powerful, Do-sik has his hands full with various businesses including gambling and – most profitably – narcotics. Having once worked quite closely with Woo-chul, he thinks to start his friend off with something simple, like running a bar. But Woo-chul has been feeling pangs of conscience in prison over the young man he unwittingly killed. Telling Do-sik their days of working together are over, he signs up to work on a ship that is setting out to sea in three months time. But sure enough, much will happen before that ship sails, making it more and more difficult for Woo-chul to keep his hands clean.
Smoothly directed by Kim Bong-han (Ordinary Person, The Golden Holiday), The Wild is a film with a large group of characters, each of whom are driven by different motivations, and attracted or repelled by each other in different ways. A sort of triangle of power emerges, with Do-sik in one corner; a ruthless, crooked cop Detective Cho in another corner; and Ri Gak-su, who leads a group of North Korean drug smugglers, in the third corner. Caught between the three are not only Woo-chul but also Bom, a troubled young woman who he meets on his first night back from prison.
Shot in the seaside city of Gangneung, The Wild may contain story elements that feel familiar, but the film itself is never predictable. It’s also a measure of the film’s strengths that all the characters grow steadily more complex and interesting the more time we spend with them. This is particularly true of the film’s hero Woo-chul, thanks to the nuanced performance of actor Park Sung-woong. Park has shown quite a range in his acting career, feeling at home in comedy (FEFF audiences may remember him from the 2020 action comedy OK! Madam) while also playing the darkest of villains (The Deal). In The Wild he is given one of his most interesting roles, a character who is convincingly threatening but also vulnerable and human.
Kim Bong-han made his directorial debut with the family comedy The Hero, starring Oh Jung-se. His second feature Ordinary Person, about an honest policeman who becomes a victim of the military dictatorship in the 1980s, screened in competition at the Moscow International Film Festival where Son Hyun-joo received a Best Actor award. Kim also co-directed the documentary Do You Hear? about communication expert Kim Chang-wook. In 2020 he released the action comedy The Golden Holiday, shot partially in the Philippines. The Wild receives its world premiere at the 2023 Far East Film Festival.
2013 – The Hero
2017 – Ordinary Person
2020 – Do You Hear?
2020 – The Golden Holiday
2023 – The Wild