A Cheonggyecheon Dog (2008)

2008 | HD | 61min | 1.85:1 | Fiction

The historic Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, for long a kind of open sewer, has been cleaned up at the cost of billions. Sex changes, hysterical pursuits and talking dogs; nothing is too crazy in A Cheonggyecheon Dog


The Cheonggyecheon River is the natural dividing line between the northern and southern parts of Seoul. Ever since the Japanese occupation of Korea in the early 20th century, much of the River has been used as a sewer. Lee Myung-Bak (former president of South Korea) in his time as mayor of Seoul artificially polished up the River, making it one of the city’s major tourist attractions now. Here we immediately reach the underlying socially critical message of the film; Seoul is a city that is changing at high speed and is increasingly becoming artificial. Old parts of the city are being demolished and new buildings put up.

When the protagonist meets a talking dog, that is the starting point of a surrealist pursuit through the whole of Seoul. In the scenes with the man and the dog, we see parts of Seoul that are about to disappear, in the scenes with the woman, the parts that already have been replaced. Kim Kyung-Mook uses all conceivable film styles mixed up in A Cheonggyecheon Dog, a major contrast with his formal and stern first film. It’s a fresh, campy film that was visibly made with pleasure.  (IdL)