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White: The Melody of the Curse ("Hwaiteu: Jeojooui Mellodi ")

Quebec Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2011
  • 106 mins
  • DCP
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
Official Selection, Vancouver International Film Festival 2011

“Gok and Sun prove themselves amongst the more energetic and enthusiastic directors to have tackled the genre of late” — James Mudge, BEYOND HOLLYWOOD

The K-pop band Pink Dolls, whose style is deemed a bit too cute for today’s preference for provocation, leaves the public totally indifferent. Soon after moving into a studio that was previously the site of a deadly fire, Eun-joo, the band’s senior member, discovers an old VHS tape that contains a recorded performance by an unknown group. The Pink Dolls decide to appropriate the song, which they’ve entitled “White”, in the hopes of finally becoming famous. Against all odds, “White” becomes a phenomenal hit. While the band is showered by fans and tempting offers alike, they still need to find a leader, the choice of which creates envy and conflict within the ranks. Furthermore, each time their manager selects a member to fill the spot, a strange accident sends her to the hospital. Seeing as there is obviously something fishy about this mysterious song, Eun-joo decides to investigate what is starting to look more and more like a curse.

After having conquered Korea, K-pop bands — such as Girls Generation — took Asia by storm and, with a strategy worthy of General MacArthur, are getting ready to take over the world. Love it or hate it, K-pop fuels a visceral passion. Whoever watches WHITE: THE MELODY OF THE CURSE will soon realize that writers/directors Kim Sun and Kim Gok (creators of the strange ANTI GAS SKIN, selected at Venice) abhor this phenomena. For their first commercial project, these two Korean cinema rebels follow the J-horror rulebook to deliver a crushing critique of this industry, worthy of PARLEZ-NOUS D’AMOUR, although in a more public fashion than Jean-Claude Lord’s classic. Psychological and sexual abuses, hysterical fans, superficiality, over-ambition — all are present and deftly used by the Kim twins to support their supernatural tale. Therefore, the spectre tends to guide the Pink Dolls members towards situations that are inherent to their lifestyles, such as towards a pack of raving admirers, instead of killing them outright. This offers endless possibilities for unfortunate encounters and gives way to a deliciously ironic finale. Selected at the prestigious Vancouver Film Festival, WHITE confirms that K-horror is alive and well, proving that there will always be South Korean authors capable of producing genre cinema that has something to say.

— Nicolas Archambault