Im Sangsoo

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The President's Last Bang Review


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It's a scenario one can imagine happening in medieval times. A despotic ruler has grown fat and cruel on a steady diet of sycophants and instant gratification. Some of his men grow more dissatisfied with each passing day and finally take matters into their own hands. The coup is swift and bloody, with the nation's fate balancing on a knife's edge, but the plan has holes and the perpetrators are swiftly rounded up. Only it didn't happen centuries ago. This was South Korea, 1979, and it's the subject of Im Sangsoo's unnerving comedy The President's Last Bang.

Some subjects lend themselves almost too easily to satire, and the aforementioned despot, South Korean president Park Chunghee, is one of them. A military man who engineered the country's postwar economic ascendancy, by 1979 Park is a full-fledged dictator who has rewritten the constitution to give himself limitless power, which he uses to crush any opposition, and also to feed every fleeting, decadant, Kim Il Jong-esque fancy. On the night of October 26, Park announces that he wants to have a banquet with his inner circle. Usually occupied with torturing civilians and covering up Park's peccadilloes, the KCIA - the all-purpose FBI/CIA hybrid that functions as Park's personal Gestapo - has to make the arrangements at one of their safehouses, which is where the plotters come in.

Continue reading: The President's Last Bang Review

The President's Last Bang Review


Good
It's a scenario one can imagine happening in medieval times. A despotic ruler has grown fat and cruel on a steady diet of sycophants and instant gratification. Some of his men grow more dissatisfied with each passing day and finally take matters into their own hands. The coup is swift and bloody, with the nation's fate balancing on a knife's edge, but the plan has holes and the perpetrators are swiftly rounded up. Only it didn't happen centuries ago. This was South Korea, 1979, and it's the subject of Im Sangsoo's unnerving comedy The President's Last Bang.

Some subjects lend themselves almost too easily to satire, and the aforementioned despot, South Korean president Park Chunghee, is one of them. A military man who engineered the country's postwar economic ascendancy, by 1979 Park is a full-fledged dictator who has rewritten the constitution to give himself limitless power, which he uses to crush any opposition, and also to feed every fleeting, decadant, Kim Il Jong-esque fancy. On the night of October 26, Park announces that he wants to have a banquet with his inner circle. Usually occupied with torturing civilians and covering up Park's peccadilloes, the KCIA - the all-purpose FBI/CIA hybrid that functions as Park's personal Gestapo - has to make the arrangements at one of their safehouses, which is where the plotters come in.

Continue reading: The President's Last Bang Review

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