My second domestically available Blu-ray commentary is for the 10th anniversary release of Park Chan-wook’s Thirst, one of the most original modern vampire tales. It focuses on a priest stricken with a vampiric virus that keeps him young, and it chronicles his attempts to free a beautiful younger paramour from her loveless marriage dominated by a stern, alcoholic mother-in-law. It takes the concept of the tragic-romantic French novel and play Therese Raquin by French author Émile Zola and offers a more supernatural twist on it with some additional narrative elements.
Although his Vengeance trilogy, particularly the violent and squirm-inducing Oldboy, shone a strong spotlight on Chan-wook and his work, Thirst definitely made an international splash and solidified his reputation as an important director. He would then go on to make the eerie Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowska, and Matthew Goode, for Fox Searchlight.
As with The Andromeda Strain, I received some nice praise for my commentary work. Thirst review quotes are excerpted below with links to the original sources.
“In this commentary, journalist and author Bryan Reesman shares plenty of interesting information about the production of Thirst and its themes, the evolution of Park Chan-wook’s work, and contemporary Korean cinema. There is even good information about Korean label CJ Entertainment and its domestic and international business. The commentary was recorded exclusively for Kino Lorber.”
“Although the special features are very slim, I think the excellent audio commentary by entertainment journalist and author Bryan Reesman definitely makes up for that. He goes into really incredible detail about Chan-wook himself; his films; the actors and their careers, as well as the amazing cinematography by Chung Chung-hoon, and the technical mastery used in the film. It’s a must listen!”
Edge Media Network:
“While there may not be much by way of special features on this new Blu-ray, there’s a delightful audio commentary with author Bryan Reesman that’s worth a listen. Reesman clearly is very interested in Park Chan-wook’s interest in using the genre to study class concerns in Korea, and it’s a pleasure to listen to a voice that clearly cares very deeply about ‘Thirst.'”
“The Blu-ray for Thirst contains a commentary by journalist and author Bryan Reesman which provides an enlightening cultural background…”
I also received this new fan note via Twitter:
@BryanReesman really enjoying your commentary track on THIRST. interestingly, the Korean title really is translated as "the bat", but i agree 'Thirst' is a better title. but both suggest impulses that in an animal might be excused…
— Lucas Smith (@LSMITHCINE) June 23, 2019