Remember Lee Jung-jae’s Seong Gi-hun Squid Game? The actor has now turned director with a film, titled Hunt. The film South Korean film, touted to be an espionage action thriller, premiered at the 75th Cannes Film Festival on Friday.
The film was screened at Grand Theatre Lumiere, the main venue of the world’s most prestigious film festival under the non-competition section, and it is reported that the film received a three-minute standing ovation.
Lee, also an actor in the film, and lead actor Jung Woo-sung stood together and thanked the audience, who clapped and cheered for the 131-minute film that depicts the intelligence war between South and North Korea during the military regime in the 1980s.
“I wish everybody enjoyed the movie. Thank you, merci beaucoup!” Lee said after the screening.
Hunt is the story of two rival intelligence agents in South Korea, Pyong-ho (Lee) and Jung-do (Jung), who separately chase after a North Korean spy leaking top-secret information that could jeopardise national security.
It is Lee’s first film where he works behind the camera in his 30-year acting career, during which he has starred in about 40 films and TV series. He has also written the script of his maiden film.
Hunt is also his first project following the global sensation Squid Game, which brought Lee several major acting prizes in the United States, including best lead actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
“I searched for a screenwriter and a director with a similar creative vision, but in the end I couldn’t find one, so I took on the task of writing the screenplay myself,” Jung said in a statement. He added, “The element I focused on most was to establish convincing motivations for each character.”
He said his film seems to focus on the decades-long inter-Korean conflict, but he tried to shed light on the past wrongdoings committed by a few to instigate people to engage in fake news, propaganda or political manipulation.
“This movie is not only about what happens in Korea but also about stopping all conflicts in the world,” Jung said. “I like to think that this film is more about people who are working to right their ill-conceived ideologies, rather than to tell a story about North and South Korea.”