London Korean Film Festival
A year after the release of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987) with its sardonic credo of “greed is good”, director Jang Sun-woo unveiled what looks three decades on like the Korean response – a vivid, madcap comedy of corporate intrigue and naked self-advancement. The stage is the bland office of Seoul food manufacturer, Yumi, its corridors stalked by the ambitious Kim Pan-chok (Ahn Sung-ki), a salesman with a gift for self-promotion and a fierce devotion to a macho, militaristic form of capitalist endeavour: “Sleep More Than Four Hours, You’re Doomed,” reads a poster on his bedroom wall. Engaged in a bitter rivalry with another food company, Gammi, Pan-chok takes the opportunity to claw his way to the top via a web of romantic deceit and revenge. Boldly confrontational with a Brechtian tinge, Jang’s film took audiences aback at the time of its release but now stands as an irreverent assault on a business culture that would soon become the international norm.