Park Chan-wook, the Korean filmmaker behind “Oldboy” and last year’s “Decision to Leave,” has joined as producer and co-writer of historical drama film “War and Revolt.” The film is Park’s first collaboration with Netflix, the global streaming platform that is market leader in Korea and which has been instrumental in the global success of Korean contemporary culture.
“War and Revolt” tells the story of two childhood friends, portrayed by Gang Dong-won and Park Jeong-min, who become adversaries. It is directed by Kim Sang-man (“Midnight F.M.”) from a script by Shin Chul and Park Chan-wook.
Production is by Moho Film, the powerhouse indie behind Park’s “Decision to Leave,” “The Handmaiden” and the 2013 Bong Joon Ho-directed “Snowpiercer” film, in collaboration with Semicolon Studio.
Gang (“Jeon Woochi,” “Secret Reunion” “The Priests”) takes center stage as the enigmatic Cheon-young, a character whose remarkable martial prowess defies his humble origins as a slave. Struggling to break free from the chains of servitude, Cheon-young combines charm and action.
Park Jeong-min (“Decision to Leave,” “Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet”) assumes the role of Jong-ryeo, Cheon-young’s former master and scion of the Joseon dynasty’s most influential military family. After passing the military service exam, Jong-ryeo becomes King Seonjo’s personal guard, leading to a heart-wrenching reunion with his former friend. The role requires delving into the complex psyche of a man torn between friendship and duty.
Other key roles go to Cha Seung-won, Kim Shin-rock, Jin Sun-kyu and Jung Sung-ill.
Cha portrays King Seonjo, a monarch who abandons his people at the onset of the Japanese invasion, but who seeks to restore his reputation and authority after the war. Kim (“Hellbound”) portrays a resolute member of the civilian militia who defies social norms and confronts obstacles. Jin plays the role of a civilian militia leader descended from the traditional ruling class who emerges as an inspiring force amid the chaos of invasion. Jung (hit Netflix series “The Glory”) plays an intimidating Japanese warlord who recognizes Cheon-young’s extraordinary swordsmanship.
Netflix gave free rein to Bong as one of Korea’s leading filmmakers to make creature feature “Okja” in 2017. The move was a major signal to other creators in Korea and kicked off an era of intense film and TV production, and content exports from Korea. Netflix recently committed to spending a further $2.5 billion on Korean content.
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