A BLOODY ARIA
- WON Shin-yeon
- Release(May 31, 2006)
- HAN Suk-kyu, LEE Mun-sik, OH Dal-su
- Running Time
- Festival & Review
Director's Notes on <A Bloody Aria>
I had made numerous independent films, but I was still athirst to resonate with a larger audience by crossing the barrier between commercial and independent films. The unexpected break came one summer day while hunting for a movie location. I met the characters who could represent the modern history of Korea, an unending circle of lust for power and violence. Their faces were dark as if light had turned its back on them, and their eyes were sad yet beast-like as they drank their sorrow away on a deserted riverbank. Rank exists even among losers, and they were relishing their chain of power by abusing each other like animals.
But they were unexpectedly happy to welcome a stranger among their midst, and showed kindness even at my cautious approach. The screenplay for <A Bloody Aria>, a fable of violence in Korean society, was drawn from my real-life experience at the deserted riverbank.
Power wields many forms of violence to satisfy its lust. People tamed by violence are unhesitant to promote it. Nowadays, most people take it for granted. That's why I wanted the audience to feel the pain, and wanted to wake their subconscious sense of submission. I wanted them to look back at themselves and those around them, and see our society for what it is, full of irrationality.
The film initially started out as a low-budget, but started to gain momentum as notable actors volunteered to be in the movie. However, record snowfall and cold weather hit as filming began, and the actors had to act as if the season was autumn, wearing thin clothes in the freezing weather.
The river froze over, and the crew had to break over a meter of ice every day. Even the actors joined in shoveling the snow. The cold weather continued with our filming but the crew were indomitable, and the actors never once gave up. We worked as a team, and the movie is the result of that effort.
I wanted <A Bloody Aria> to be as genuine as possible, as if witnessing a real-life crime scene. I wanted to convey the raw feelings as in a documentary. That's why I took really long takes, encouraged the actors to act as naturally as possible, and used only natural lights.
Two cameras were used to capture the actors' every emotion, and five were used in the beating scenes or the car overturning scene.
The texture of the screen is as rough as the characters’ minds, and through multiple film tests, we found the monotone between black-and-white and color. We revived the silver particles with special effects, and accentuated black and white through digital color correction.
Music used in the film are mostly percussions, in order to emphasize the character of the movie. I wanted the spirited melody of Korean traditional music to awaken the hibernating senses of the audience, and at the same time to embrace han(a sense of remorse or lamentation) within a person. So I used traditional instruments such as kkwaenggari (Korean gong) and drums as the main instruments, and inserted humorous rhythms to enhance black humor.
F. A word to the future audience
The violence in <A Bloody Aria> is an expression of pain and wound embedded deep inside the characters. If the audience is able to feel it, then the movie has accomplished its goal. A seemingly minor incident snowballing into an uncontrollable situation is feasible even in real life. The movie tells an unpredictable story with a black humor suspense twist that scares you while you laugh and that makes you laugh as you get scared.
<A Bloody Aria> is not just a dry social drama. It is deeply conscious, yet there are still plenty of aspects to enjoy. I would like more people to see this film, to have fun with the black humor and psychological game as with the beautiful scenery and spirited gut(shamanistic ritual) performance.