Fearful Symmetry: The Films of Lee Changdong
Screening Dates
  • June 10, 2023 6:00
  • June 13, 2023 8:30

A forthrightly dark, genre-transcending gangster masterpiece.”

Samuel Jamier, Film Comment

In Lee Changdong’s tightly wound debut, noirish tendencies manifest in the wake of a Korean male’s mandatory military service. Out of that genre’s long line of saps (think Lancaster in Siodmak’s Criss Cross), Makdong (Han Sukkyu) arrives as a young Rip Van Winkle on the scene, out of time, out of sorts, and out of work in a newly developed area of Seoul. A chance encounter on a train with Miae (Shim Hyejin) gives Makdong a roseate veil through which to perceive the city’s maze; Lee’s own design for the film is the suffocating imposition of order, as Green Fishs zero-hero comes to inhabit the masculine shell demanded by the criminal network that wraps its arms around him. Song Kangho, in only his second acting credit, plays a particularly memorable gangster, while the Taiwanese New Wave and Blue Velvet-era David Lynch, with their mixed moods of cruelty and guileless romance, serve as neo-noir muses.

In Korean with English subtitles

Dragons & Tigers Award
Vancouver International Film Festival 1997

A rousing contemporary epic … As a gangster movie, Green Fish is as bravura and compelling as any in the genre.”

Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

The most highly regarded Korean movie of the year … Finely balanced between violent action, intense emotion, and thoughtful reflection.”

Tony Rayns, VIFF
Co-presented with the Korean Film Festival Canada