South Korean filmmaker Na Hong-Jin isn’t a big talker. Maybe because he doesn’t speak English, and it was his translator who was doing all the chatting. But uttering the key words ‘Murder 2’, ‘inspired from’ and ‘your debut film The Chaser (2008)’ immediately got us a response in the form of a visible nod. "Yes, yes… that, I know," says the director, whose second film, The Yellow Sea (The Murderer) was screened at the ongoing Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) in the city on Tuesday.
Needless to say, the theatre was packed. "After I arrived in Mumbai, I realised that a film like Murder 2 existed. I heard it had something to do with The Chaser. I saw the DVD at a store and I’m going to buy it and watch it once I’m back," says Hong-Jin, who has made three short-films before this. "This doesn’t make me angry, it makes me laugh. I don’t even know how The Chaser got popular, I just make movies, I know nothing else," he adds.
Mohit Suri’s Murder 2 reportedly borrows heavily from The Chaser. "A film has been inspired by Oldboy (2003) as well right?" he asks, immediately after enquiring about Sanjay Gupta’s Zinda (2006). "I want to watch that too," laughs the director, who has never watched an Indian film. The Chaser gained cult status within days of its premiere at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. Eom Joong-Ho (Kim Yun-Seok) plays a hardboiled pimp, who after realising that his girls are mysteriously vanishing, heads out to unravel a serial killer’s blood trail.
The Yellow Sea, like his first film, also has its share of realistic chase sequences. Is that a signature move? “It’s fun!” he smiles. Currently Hong-Jin is busy watching films at MFF as part of the jury. Once he’s back, the director will start scripting his next.