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BONG Joon-ho Discusses Le Transperceneige

2008/05/28 Source

Director of Korea's all-time box-office monster, The Host (2006), and the now classic serial-killer mystery, Memories of Murder (2003), held a roundtable conference in Seoul last week to discuss a highly gossiped about future project 'Le Transperceneige' ("Snowpiercer"), which he aims to have ready for release in 2011.

BONG recently completed his contribution to the omnibus project "TOKYO!", a homage to the city, for which he and two famed French directors, Michel Gondry and Leos Carax, each made a short film. The finished project had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival this Spring, where it received glowing reviews.

BONG is currently working on a crime-drama with the working title "Mother - 2009", after which he plans to devote all his attention to 'Le Transperceneige' ("Snowpiercer"). At the roundtable, he presented the project as a 'multi-national co-production' in which he may cast Korean, Japanese, Chinese, or other Asian actors along with English-speaking actors.

He describes the story as something of a "Noah's Ark" in tone. Set in a post-apocalyptic future on a train where the passengers are the last survivors of a devastating world war and the onset of an ice-age. The train continues to run through a glacial landscape, with carriages partitioned into classes as a microcosm for human society.

BONG said at the talk, "I remember it was around the end of 2004. It was when I finished 'Memories of Murder' and was working on "The Host". I went to a comic book store near Hong-ik University. I go there once or twice a month when I am stressed out. 'Le Transperceneige' ("Snowpiercer") suddenly came into my sight, and I read the whole trilogy standing there. I could not wait until I got home to read.

"This train has enraptured me. I believe everyone has a fantasy about trains giving off chugs and puffs, and landscapes viewed from the window.

"What you can see from the window in this story, however, is only the world icebound, with minus 80 degrees outside. Survivors live in the train, but they can't stay in harmony even at a time of adversity".

"Each partition of the train represents a class. In the last partition of the train, people live wretched lives. The closer to the front they are, the more luxurious life gets.

"It's not quite the same, but it can be similar to what you feel when you get off a plane and see all the empty seats in business class after you spent more than 10 hours flying in the confined economy class seats. You realize some people got there very comfortably and almost have a fit of anger".

Bong confirmed that the film will be produced by fellow director Park Chan-wook, who won accolades and awards for his vengeance trilogy, including the Cannes 2004 Grand Prize for "Old Boy". The big-budget project will include ambitious special effects, something BONG wrestled with and proved a master of in his previous film.

"During making "The Host", I had such a hard time. I am not fond of making blockbuster movies. As for "The Host", it was inevitable, since we had to make the monster".

"'Le Transperceneige' ("Snowpiercer") is going to be much more spectacular with all the trains and frozen scenery. But the spectacle is not what I really want to show".

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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