Oldboy Director Park Chan-Wook Shot His New Movie On An iPhone

The modern cell phone camera is so good that the days of buying devices dedicated entirely to taking still photos are all but over. It won’t be long before video cameras and maybe even eventually some day down the road bulky film cameras, follow suit, ending up next to bins full of Kodaks and Cannons. But that day isn’t quite here yet, which makes acclaimed Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook’s decision to shoot his next movie on an iPhone 4 somewhat pre-mature.

He’s done it anyway according to Yahoo. The movie’s a $133,000, 30 minute short called Paranmanjang, which means a “life full of ups and downs”. At least he’s not painting himself into the corner with that title. It's a title which covers pretty much everything from Star Wars to The Truman Show. In this case he’s zeroed in on the story of a fisherman who catches a woman. They both end up entangled in the line, she strangles him and when he wakes up they’ve exchanged clothes and she’s calling him father. It sounds a lot like the sort of messed up territory Chan-Wook covered in Oldboy… except of course shot on smart phones.

As for why exactly he’s chosen to shoot his movie like an amateur porn video, Park Chan-Wook offers this explanation: “there are many people around the world who like to play and have fun with them.” That’s really his explanation. Is he secretly being sponsored by Apple? That’s just about the only thing that would actually make any senses here. Chan-Wook’s work is generally intensely visual, I can’t see this format doing him any favors. He says though that the “technology creates strange effects because it is new and because it is a medium the audience is used to.” Since the cameras are so small, light, and portable the movie incorporates a wide variety of angles and edits using footage taken by different people on the set. Maybe that’ll make it worthwhile.

Paranmanjang opens in Korean theaters on January 27th.

Josh Tyler