[ENTERTAINMENT]Movie discovers a French connection"She lives with a broken man, a cracked polystyrene man who just crumbles," sang the British rock band Radiohead in a 1995 track, "Fake Plastic Trees." The song provided a seed of inspiration for Korean filmmakers to create a twisted tale of mystery, "Plastic Tree," which will be the first locally made film to be produced by a foreigner.
Though Radiohead can claim credit for the original idea for the movie, which started filming Friday in Busan, the capital to produce it will be provided by Regis Gezelbash, president of the production company RG Prince Film.
"The French and Korean movie worlds are quite similar in that their local films are more powerful than foreign films," Gezelbash said. "I hope this film gives the Korean movie industry another chance to go global."
The budget for "Plastic Tree" is 1.4 billion won ($1.1 million). RG Prince Film is registered as a Korean company based in Seoul with a branch in Paris. It hosted a French Film Festival in Seoul last year, and has distributed French animated films in Korea, such as "Kirikou and the Sorceress," directed by Michel Ocelot. It recently produced another animated film, "Les Triplette de Belleville," which is set to compete at this year's Cannes International Film Festival.
In contrast to the producer's recent focus on animation, "Plastic Tree" is disturbingly real. It tells a grim and morbid story of a woman, Won-young, and an impotent man, Su, who live together and lead what seems like a normal existence. Won-young makes money with a delivery service and Su is a barber. Their ostensibly peaceful life is disrupted, though, by a friend of Su's, Byeong-ho, who comes to live the couple. Byeong-ho is jealous of Su's happy life with Won-young, and the relationships of the three characters break down, engendering a bloody mystery drama.
The cast and the crew of the movie are all Korean, with the director, Eo Il-seon, making his official big-screen debut. Jo Eun-suk stars as Won-young, Kim Jeong-hyun as Byeong-ho and Kim In-gwon as Su.
The director Eo said, "I want to make this film full of suggestive visual images, to be as artistic as possible."
In addition to the producer, "Plastic Tree" recently added another French taste in the sound track department. An Academy Award-winning composer, Francis Lai, agreed to write the score for the film.
Lai has composed music for more than 100 films, including "A Man and a Woman" (1966) and "Love Story" (1970), for which he won an Oscar. He also accompanied and wrote songs for Edith Piaf. He is considered by many in the industry to be one of the best artists at his craft, along with Ennio Morricone and Michael Kamen.
"Plastic Tree" will be released in Europe in June, and will reach Korean screens soon after.
Asked whether he would continue to work within the Korean movie scene, Gezelbash said, "Love and war know no national boundaries, and art does not either."
by Chun Su-jin