Peninsula director Yeon Sang-ho: Grateful to Parasite for drawing attention

Celebrated filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho admits he knows little about India. As Peninsula, the sequel to his much-acclaimed Train to Busan (2016), gears up for a November 27 release in India, he is eager to see how the audience receives the apocalyptic horror film. "I had no idea that my films had a huge fan base in India. As I've only lived in Korea, I have not [gauged] the interest [my movies] elicit abroad. I'm aware that the Indian film and animation industry are huge," says Sang-ho, speaking from Seoul.

A still from Parasite

With the world coming to a standstill due to the pandemic, the makers had a tough time planning the film's theatrical release. While the horror thriller hit screens in South Korea on July 15, it sought a date with the US audience a month later on August 21. "The hardest part was determining how and when to release the film so that the audience could go to theatres safely. The footfall had plummeted, and theatres were closed internationally. As one of the few films that released during the pandemic, Peninsula had satisfactory [box-office] results. People around the world were rooting for it, and that collective support showed in its success."

Yeon Sang-ho

With Parasite (2019) sweeping the top honours at the Academy Awards earlier this year, auteur Bong Joon-ho's words — "Once you overcome the one-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you'll be introduced to many more amazing films" — have sparked a widespread interest in South Korean movies. Quiz Sang-ho whether he feels the pressure to perform, and he says, "There is no pressure at all. I am grateful to Parasite for drawing positive attention towards Korean films. I am working hard to create films that match the expectations."

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