중앙데일리

Vampires that feel a thirst for money

May 09,2009

Director Park Chan-wook and the main cast of the film “Thirst” have started on the ambitious road toward final selection for the Cannes Film Festival on May 13. Thirst is a story about a vampire, and is receiving a heated reaction with more than 1 million moviegoers just one week after its release.

There are vampire legends all around the world. Vampires of all countries commonly have nocturnal habits and are afraid of sunlight, and victims who are bitten by vampires become creatures of the night, too.

Is it possible that such vampires actually exist? Professor Costas Efthimiou of the University of Central Florida explained in a study in 2006 that any possibility of their existence can be denied with simple calculations.

Suppose one vampire existed on the earth on Jan. 1, 1600, when the human population was around 500 million, and the vampire had to feed off one victim every month to survive. There would be two vampires in February 1600, and four vampires in March.

If this trend continued all humans would become vampires by 1603, even factoring in new births, leaving no food source for vampires. Therefore vampires would go extinct, too. Ultimately, if vampires cannot control their greed, it not only leads to eradication of the human race but also to the end of their own existence. This reminds me of the term “vampire economy,” used in current affairs.

A “vampire economy” refers to a nation that pursues wealth accumulation that does not involve normal corporate actions or labor, or to a company that lives off the normal economic activities of others.

Around four to five years ago, Wall Street made the statement that the Korean economy should have been stricter about restructuring, and called it “a vampire economy full of bad companies that will disappear the day they see sunlight.”

However, the real den of vampires turned out to be in the United States. It has been discovered that the large-scale financial companies that started the financial crisis that swept the world beginning in the second half of last year accumulated their wealth by sucking the blood of the common people. Members of the elite who were treated kindly for leading the international economy were treated differently, like infectious disease carriers, overnight.

The conclusion of the film Thirst can be interpreted as a fable. When those who have greater skills than normal people (vampires, in the case of the film) have no consideration for others and wallow in their own greed, somebody has to put a stop to it. Of course, Thirst is a much too complex film to sum this up in this one lesson.

I wonder how the delicate and intricate film Thirst will be evaluated at the Cannes Film Festival.



The writer is a team manager at JES Entertainment.

By Song Won-sup [five@joongang.co.kr]





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