Standard: HKD 85
Concessions: HKD 68
Sang-hyun (Song Kang-ho) is a priest who is dedicated to guiding and comforting patients in a hospital. Although he cares about his parish, he yearns for a more critical assignment. He volunteers as a test subject in the development of a vaccine for a deadly virus. He succumbs to the fatal infection, but a blood transfusion mysteriously revives him—the only catch is that he has turned into a vampire who needs to consume human blood to prevent the symptoms of the virus from raging back. Disturbed by his newfound appetite for carnage and carnal pleasures, the priest sustains his new lifestyle in secret. Meanwhile, his miraculous recovery attracts many new believers, including his sickly childhood friend and his mother. When they invite him to visit their home, Sang-hyun finds himself instantly attracted to his friend’s wife, Tae-ju (Kim Ok-vin).
Unabashedly lascivious, Thirst relishes the erotic exchange of bodily liquids, yet its profound depiction of guilt, suffering, and mortality is undeniably influenced by Park’s Catholic upbringing. These seemingly incongruous elements fit perfectly in a Park Chan-wook vampire film.
About the Director
Park Chan-wook (b. 1963, South Korea) studied philosophy at Sogang University in the 1980s. After working as a film critic for many years, Park made his directorial debut with The Moon Is... the Sun's Dream (1992), followed by Trio (1997). His political thriller Joint Security Area (2000) received rave reviews and became the high-grossing film in South Korea at the time. Park then directed Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2001), the first of his ‘Vengeance Trilogy’, followed by Oldboy (2003), which was awarded the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival, and Lady Vengeance (2005). After the intense trio, Park directed the offbeat romantic comedy I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (2005). In 2009, he subverted expectations with the genre-bending vampire film Thirst. Park made his American debut with Stoker in 2013. Meanwhile, his streak at Cannes continued with The Handmaiden (2016) and Decision to Leave (2022), for which he was awarded Best Director.
Image at top: Park Chan-wook. Thirst, 2009. Courtesy of CJ ENM.