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The Fake ("Saibi")

Quebec Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2013
  • 101 mins
  • DCP
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
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WINNER: Best Screenplay, Fantasporto 2014
WINNER: Anima't Award, Sitges international Fantastic Film Festival 2014
WINNER: Best Animated Feature Film, Asian Pacific Screen Award 2013
Official Selection, Toronto International Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, Busan International Film Festival 2013
Official Selection, Fantastic Fest 2013

"A finely crafted and absorbing film that offers a stark and tough insight into modern South Korea" – Mark Adams, SCREEN DAILY

The citizens of a village destined to be submerged in the wake of a dam’s erection are getting ready to move on with the monetary compensations offered for their relocation. The context is ideal for Sung, the new pastor, and Choi, a charismatic businessman, to be exhorting the villagers to turn to God by donating a share of their allocations for the construction of a chapel. It is a tad less ideal, however, for Min-chul’s return. An aggressively violent, foulmouthed waste-of-space who has come back to torment his family, the first thing he does is steal his daughter’s savings for a sinful night out on the town. His antics quickly lead to a confrontation with Choi and a visit to the police station, where he believes he recognizes the businessman in question on a poster portraying men wanted for fraud. This triggers the start of a merciless clash for which all the villagers will pay the price. For Min-chul is right: Choi is a notorious con man that is manipulating the good pastor to get his hands on the community’s savings through phony miracles and fiery sermons. But who is ever going to believe or follow such an irredeemably vile person as Min-chul? When evil is pitted against evil in a village blinded by piety, there are bound to be martyrs…

After having garnered the very first Satoshi Kon award and a Special Mention of the First Feature jury at Fantasia 2012 for the THE KING OF PIGS, a shattering work dealing with harassment and the battle of the classes, Yeon Sang-ho has returned with the no-less-troubling THE FAKE. Armed with his signature animation style focused on realism, and emotions, which the auteur transforms into the quasi-animalistic impulses of character traits deformed by rage, fear and desperation, Yeon exposes the sordid truths of human nature through social and moral dealings that irremediably touch us all. With THE FAKE, he targets corruption, Korean displacement policies that favour progress over the individual’s welfare, and the dark side of religion. While the criticism may be strong and the tone brutal, the director never lacks in empathy and orchestrates a dramatic crescendo that maintains a fierce grip on the audience right up through the film’s explosive final act, which will leave no viewer indifferent. With his powerful writing, incisive subject matter and unique style, Yeon Sang-ho confirms his rightful place amongst the greats of contemporary animation.

— Nicolas Archambault