[ENTERTAINMENT]Asian directors scare up a 3-way storm

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Asian directors scare up a 3-way storm

What do you get when you put one Chinese, one Korean and one Thai director together? "Three," composed of three horror shorts in three languages and styles. The filmmakers of this omnibus movie are Peter Chan from Hong Kong, Kim Ji-woon from Korea and Nonzee Nimibutr from Thailand. It opens Friday on local screens.

"Three" already opened in Thailand, on July 12, and pulled in about $750,000 at the box office in its first three days. The film opened last Thursday in Hong Kong.

Each piece ?"Memories" by Kim, "The Wheel" by Nimibutr and "Going Home" by Chan -- is 40 minutes long. Kim's piece can be seen as a departure from his normal themes. The director cut a conspicuous figure with his 1997 comic thriller "Joyonghan Gajok" (Silent Family), and is known for his distinct sense of humor. But here he gets serious: "I tried hard to make a film that isn't funny."

Kim spins an eerie tale of a married couple living in a big city packed with tall apartment buildings. One day the husband finds that his wife has mysteriously disappeared, and he is jolted from a quiet, mundane life of routines to one of panic and despair. Meanwhile, the wife finds herself lying in the street and suffering from amnesia. Without any identification to tell her who she is, she wanders around in a daze of fear. Playing the wife is Kim Hye-soo, who is usually noticed because of her looks; in "Three," her portrayal of the lost housewife brought acclaim.

Comparing his piece with the other two, Kim jokingly said, "I guess my film looks the plainest, which horrifies me." He said "The Wheel" is the most stylish of the three; it is about a traditional doll with a curse on it, and is based on a true story. The director, Nimibutr, said, "Since I'm not afraid of ghosts, I had trouble making a horror film, because I didn't know what makes a viewer horrified." His piece, however, is the scariest of the trio.

Chan was the one who hatched the idea of the film. His piece is about a widower who is so obsessive about his dead wife that he cleans her corpse every day for three years, hoping she will come back to life.

At last year's Busan film festival, and before starting the joint film, Chan talked about it to the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition. "I hope this film can be a bridge for Asian films to overcome the gaps between each," he said.

by Chun Su-jin

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