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Ryoo Seung-wan’s ‘I, The Executioner’ premieres at Cannes Film Festival

By Kim Da-sol

Published : May 21, 2024 - 14:05

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Director Ryoo Seung-wan (center) and cast members Hwang Jung-min (left) and Jung Hae-in pose during a photocall for Director Ryoo Seung-wan (center) and cast members Hwang Jung-min (left) and Jung Hae-in pose during a photocall for "I, the Executioner" presented as part of midnight screenings at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, Monday. (Reuters-Yonhap)

South Korean filmmaker Ryoo Seung-wan’s new action blockbuster “I, The Executioner” premiered at the 77th Cannes Film Festival on Monday.

The 77th edition of the film festival kicked off Wednesday last week and runs through Saturday.

“I, The Executioner,” also known as “Veteran 2” here, is a sequel to the 2015 hit blockbuster “Veteran” which attracted 13.41 million viewers. The movie is the only Korean film that has been invited to the official section of this year's Cannes Film Festival.

The film picks up on the story of detective Seo Do-chul (Hwang Jung-min) nine years after the first installment, joined by newbie detective Park Sun-woo (Jung Hae-in).

This marks Hwang’s fourth visit to the prestigious film festival, following “A Bittersweet Life” (2005), “The Wailing” (2016) and “The Spy Gone North” (2018), whereas it was Jung's first time at the prestigious film festival.

It is Ryoo’s second showing at Cannes following his 2005 work “Crying Fist,” which was invited to the director’s week section.

The movie was shown during the midnight screening category, which is a noncompetition section dedicated to introducing genres like action, fantasy, horror, thriller and noir.

The Cannes Film Festival said, “Through this feature-length film, the Korean director highlights the prominent role of ‘fake news’ and the growing power given to algorithms within Korean society."

“The film also encourages viewers to reflect on the blurred line between good and evil, and the importance of distinguishing between them in today’s society,” the festival organizer said on its website introducing the film, quoting director Ryoo.

Along with director Ryoo, lead actors Hwang and Jung appeared for a photo call earlier in the day.

A team for “I, The Executioner” poses for a photo before the midnight screenings at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 20. (Cannes Film Festival) A team for “I, The Executioner” poses for a photo before the midnight screenings at the 77th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 20. (Cannes Film Festival)

On the red carpet, Ryoo and the two actors were joined by Ryoo’s wife and CEO of the movie’s production firm Kang Hye-jung and the firm’s vice president Cho Sung-min. At the movie's premiere, CJ Group Vice Chairperson Lee Mie-kyoung and Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda were also spotted.

The movie's distributor CJ ENM said it is the firm's 14th invitation to Cannes, having showcased various Korean hit movies since 2005, including 2019’s “Parasite” and 2022’s “Decision To Leave.”

“I, the Executioner” is slated for release at local theaters in the second half of this year.