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Review of "THE FAKE"
By Jayne Waterford
Copyrighted © Jayne Waterford, 2014 Revised 2nd January 2015
REVIEW: "THE FAKE" by Jayne Waterford

YEON Sangho's "THE FAKE" (2013) is not about gorgeous drawing or incomprehensible amounts of blood and violence. It's about a credibly violent culture and that greatest taboo of all, personal religion.

Our rural village in South Korea is about to be flooded in the building of a dam. We wade through a few cliches like a daughter's life savings for college stolen by a drunken father but ultimately our script departs from anything that's expected.

A pastor arrives in town with a corporate entourage. They hoist a red neon cross like those all over Seoul, above a large shed and create a cult. And this is where it gets a little Jim Jones. This particular cult denies free will and personal responsibility. If anyone behaves badly it's Satan in them, they are possessed. Plus there are only 144,000 places in heaven, making it more difficult to get into that being the best in your school. People get together for impromptu prayer gatherings and confess, the church's corporate body trots out miracles and the people donate. The only person who sees these crooks and the gullibility of the villagers for what it is is the violent drunk, the Satanist himself, Min-chul. By the end of the film we are cheering for him.

What is particularly startling in "THE FAKE" is that writer & director YEON Sangho taps into that lovely comfortable, warm, feeling that devout people get even if what they're doing is spectacularly wrong or irrational. It's people basking in the glow of their god spot.

YEON Sangho's use of violence seems appropriate to plot rather than gratuitous or excessive and his characterisation was complicated and yet completely accessible. I liked it. 8/10

Copyrighted ©: Jayne Waterford, 2014.

YEON Sangho's
"THE FAKE" (2013)

Writer & Director YEON Sangho
Producers CHO Young Kag
Release Date SFF June 2014
Category Violent Animae/Drama Feature Animation
Running Time 101 minutes (1 hour, 41 minutes)
Rating Rating Unknown
Origin South Korea
Coda No
Distributor Sydney Film Festival 2014
Official Blurb "An animated thriller between a good-hearted person speaking falsely against an evil-natured person speaking truthfully, and of those that surround them.

At a rural village that is determined to be submerged, a church is built. Mr. Choi, an elder of this church, calls upon Reverend Sung asking him to show light of hope to these poor villagers, making him head of the church. However, Choiís real intention is to pocket compensations given to the villagers. In the meantime, Min-chul, a former resident who had been

wandering out of town, returns home by the time his family is to receive the compensation; so he can pocket the compensation and also the savings that were made for his daughter Young-sunís college funds.

In the process, Min-chul gets into an argument with the church elder Choi and when Min-chul is taken to the police station where he discovers that Choi is a wanted con man. But nobody is willing to listen to Min-chul known as a notorious son of a gun while they deeply trust Reverend Sung who treats them warm-heartedly. After Young-sun loses all her college funds to her father, Choi approaches her proposing that if she does the work he introduces, heíll pay for her college tuitions. And she leaves town.

As time passes, Reverend Sung realizes that Choi had built the church specifically for the compensations, but heís in too deep to hand Choi over to the police. Full of rage against the church for hiding his daughter, Min-chul is fully determined to reveal that itís a pseudo group. Reverend Sung starts to think that if it wasnít for the crook Choi and Min-chul who insults the church, everyone would be happy. And for the justice that they believe in and out of hatred, Min-chul and Reverend Sung start their destruction against each other." - Sydney Film Festival 2014 PR

Director of "THE FAKE" (2013) screening at the Sydney Film Festival 2014: YEON Sangho


"Who is good and who is evil?
What is the boundary of good and evil?
I wish to blend things that are perceived as good or as evil
within an intense drama/thriller genre."

Film still from YEON Sangho's "THE FAKE" (2013) at the Sydney Film Festival 2014.
Film still from YEON Sangho's "THE FAKE" (2013) at the Sydney Film Festival 2014.
Film still from YEON Sangho's "THE FAKE" (2013) at the Sydney Film Festival 2014.
Film still from YEON Sangho's "THE FAKE" (2013) at the Sydney Film Festival 2014.