“Witty and surprisingly thoughtful... fascinating and brave... a surprisingly non-exploitative peek at unconventional sexuality” — James Mudge, BEYOND HOLLYWOOD
Director: Lee Hae-young
Screenplay: Lee Hae-young
Cast: Shin Ha-kyun, Eom Ji-won, Shim Hye-jin, Ryoo Seung-beom, Baek Jin-hee
Producers: Lee Jung-se, Jo Chul-hyun, Lim Min-sub
Print Source: Showbox
Word has come down in the local police station that in a not-so-subtle public relations display, the cops are going to double their efforts at keeping at least one particular neighbourhood — a nice, quiet, wholesome part of town — free of sleaze, perverts and indecency. Won’t the locals appreciate that! Not that Jang-bae is really the right cop for the job. He’s a total pig at home, awful to his girlfriend, and convinced that given the size of his mighty cock, the world owes him everything. Right around the time Jang-bae’s ego is shattered by the discovery of his girlfriend’s mail-order vibrator purchase, other naughty secrets are surfacing. A prim and proper dressmaker has noticed the handsome handyman across the street — and the whip and handcuffs hidden in his storage room. The dressmaker’s teenage daughter has a secret of her own. As does the fish-sausage vendor she’s got a crush on. And her high school teacher. And sooner or later, all these fetishes, kinks and sexual hijinks are going to boil to the surface — for better or worse!
Lee Hae-young first showed his knack for poignant yet never pitying portrayals of sexual outsiders with the 2006’s LIKE A VIRGIN, an incisive, highly empathic comedy about a sumo-wrestling teenage sex-change hopeful. With FOXY FESTIVAL, Lee expands the scale of his tale, turning over rocks and finding abnormal inclinations behind every other bedroom door — B&D, S&M, sex dolls, cross-dressing, you name it! Inventive and over-the-top, FOXY FESTIVAL refrains from outright farce, and its capable cast captures the nuances. Oh Dal-su, a veteran of Park Chan-wook’s hard-boiled films, and Ryoo Seung-boem, given to kicking ass in his brother Seung-wan’s work (CRYING FIST, THE CITY OF VIOLENCE, this year’s Fantasia offering THE UNJUST), both show more sensitive sides here. Shim Hye-jin and Baek Jin-hee are deft and subtle as the mother and daughter, while Shin Ha-kyun (THIRST, NO MERCY FOR THE RUDE) is a riot as the obnoxious cop with a problem in his pants. Not unlike John Waters’ PECKER, this film purports that the perverts outnumber the prudes, and are in fact the better angels of the community. While it’s certainly a pervert-pride flick, and one loaded with smart, sexy gags both broadly ribald and elegantly understated, FOXY FESTIVAL doesn’t lose sight of the tough fact that being true to yourself often, perhaps always, comes at a cost.