South Korean master director Im Kwon-taek launched his 102nd film project today at the Busan International Film Festival, where a major retrospective on his work is underway.
Starring veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki, Hwajang (working title) is being produced by Lee Eun and Shim Jae-myung (a.k.a. Jaime Shim) of Myung Film.
One of Korea’s strongest production houses, Myung Film’s credits include films such as Park Chan-wook’s Joint Security Area/JSA, Kim Ki-duk’s The Isle, the animation Leafie, A Hen Into The Wild, and most recently the box office hit Architecture 101.
“Hwajang” is the Korean word for “make-up” and, also, “cremation”. The film is based on the short story by Kim Hoon which won the 28th Yi Sang Literary Awards’ Grand Prize.
The story is about a cosmetics company executive in his mid-fifties who loses his wife after a long battle with cancer. While earnestly caring for his ailing wife, he had been fantasizing about one of his young female subordinates and new discoveries come to light as he makes funeral arrangements.
Im says he is looking forward to the challenge of portraying Kim’s story with the added experience and perspective of his years.
He and Ahn have worked together several times over the years on films such as Mandara and Festival. It will be their first time in 11 years since Chihwaseon, the film which won Best Director ex-aequo at Cannes in 2002.
Currently in pre-production, Hwajang is tentatively set to start shooting this December.