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'Antarctic Journal' Director Says His Film Explores Human Nature

2005/05/11 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Song Kang-ho, left, and Yoo Ji-tae play members of an expedition team in the upcoming film, "Antarctic Journal".
At first glance, the upcoming film "Antarctic Journal (Namguk Ilgi)" may look like a human drama about perseverance and achieving goals, however, its director, Yim Phil-sung, said it is actually a film that examines serious issues about human nature, which are revealed beyond the arctic setting.

"I focused more on the characters rather than events or accidents, and I tried to depict the conflict and fear in their inner selves as the story develops", Yim told reporters Tuesday after the film's preview screening at Megabox theater in Seoul.

Mixing the genres of thriller and horror, the movie is a fictional account of a South Korean exploring team that sets out to reach the Pole of Inaccessibility, or the point most remote from all coasts of Antarctica. On their journey to the destination, they confront a series of mysterious accidents.

The film stars popular actors Song Kang-ho from "The President's Barber" and Yoo Ji-tae from "Old Boy". Song plays the captain of the expedition team who is passionate about his goal, and Yoo plays the youngest team member who joins out of admiration for the captain .

"It is purely a commercial movie. But I just wanted to talk about the ruthless human nature to satisfy their desires, which can jeopardize their lives. And I thought a mysterious or unknown place could successfully give the audience a sense of fear when it is combined with that human nature", Yim said.

With the production budget of about 8 billion won, the project was first proposed in 1999, but it took Yim five years to prepare for the film as he wanted to make a "unique commercial blockbuster" movie. Yim said the actual production was also not an easy task.

To create the spectacular setting and atmosphere of Antarctica, the film was largely shot in New Zealand last year and was later combined with the scenes that were shot in artificial indoor sets using the latest computer graphic technology.

"The whole procedure of filming in New Zealand was really disastrous", Song said jokingly. "That's because we had to shoot the film with a very tight schedule under very bad weather conditions".

But Song said the most challenging part of shooting the film was actually playing the character. As the setting is simple and there are only six main characters, their performances are more exposed to attention and scrutiny.

"There weren't many things that we could rely on or hide behind, but we're all happy to see that our efforts brought fruitful results", Song said.

Bridget Mary Bourke and Rob Uvil who worked on "The Lord of Rings" series also helped on the production. Famous Japanese music director Kenji Kawai, who worked for the 1995 animation "The Ghost in the Shell", its 2002 sequel "Innocence" and the 1999 horror film "Ring 2", composed the score.

"Antarctic Journal" will be released in local theaters on May 19.

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