Joo Young-jak is the private male secretary of Baek Geum-ok, middle-aged heiress and wife of a rich chaebol. Baek covets Joo’s young body, and he has already sold his pride for money a long time ago. What tangles up their relationship is the appearance of Baek’s daughter Na-mi. Na-mi shows an interest in Young-jak, and he is also attracted to this girl who is so different from her money-is-everything parents.
Im Sang-soo (born April 27, 1962) is an award-winning South Korean film director and screenwriter. Im was born in Seoul. He studied sociology at Seoul’s Yonsei University before making a move to The Korean Academy of Film Arts in 1989. He began working in film that same year, landing his first job as Park Jeong-won’s assistant director on Kuro Arrirang (was coincidentally also the first film of Choi Min-sik, who also acted in Shiri and Oldboy).
Following graduation from the Academy of Film Arts, Im worked as an assistant director under Kim Young-bin on Kim’s War (1994). In 1995 Im wrote the screenplay for The Eternal Empire, and also the screenplay A Noteworthy Film, which won him the Creation Prix at the Korean Motion Picture Promotion Scenario Competition.
In 1998 Im landed his first directorial gig. Girls’ Night Out, a drama about three women in Korea, caused a controversy upon release due to the frank and sexually driven dialogue and has received mixed, almost polarized… read more
Im Sang-soo has a knack for making South Korean society appear as decadent and doomed as the final days of Rome. In "The Taste of Money," a wealthy patriarch's indiscretions leave room for a young errand boy to ascend the company ranks. Unfortunately, this spiritual successor to "The Housemaid" isn't nearly as pleasurable as that effort. Sang-soo misjudges scenes with an overabundance of poorly delivered English dialogue, self-conscious callbacks to his previous film, and a worrying streak of anti-feminism. The filmmaker seems to want to rub the Korean bourgeois' nose in their own filth, but for all of Im Sang-soo's heavy-handed moralizing the squeaky clean do-gooders we're supposed to root for aren't half as convincing as the gilded world they hold in so much contempt.
I agree with many of your points and yet still find this to be a compelling, endlessly fascinating film. A lot of your misgivings--the anti-feminism, the awkward English dialogue, and the unconvincing heroes--felt to me like natural elements of Im's critique and surrealistic atmosphere, but your comments do give me some helpful caution that I will think about. Thanks!
Lacks the fatalistic unease of Housemaid, yet has something else stranger on offer. Taste unfolds like a mystery, with murder and sabotage that wouldn't be out of place in a giallo save for one thing: whodunnit is of no importance. We know who but it doesn't matter. Im's compositions are still first-rate, even among South Koreans, as he/his leads chase some singularly strange and ugly truth. Who knows if he found it?
The festival arrives at a close, with films in competition from David Cronenberg, Sergei Loznitsa, Im Sang-soo, and Jeff Nichols.
On the opening day of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival: a poster round-up of the films in competition.
Cronenberg, Resnais, Carax, Hong, Kiarostami, Reygadas, Wakamatsu, Miike…
Followups to The Housemaid and City of Life and Death.