(Korean Movies) THE PRISON, 2016


Youth not allowed
running time
125 minutes
cumulative audience
38th Golden Cinematography Awards 2018


No traces or evidence!
The perfect crime starts in prison

At night, prisoners go out and create perfect crimes in Korea. Ik-ho (Han Seok-gyu), who reigns as the king of the prison. There, former police officer Yoo Geon (Kim Rae-won), famous for his 100% arrest rate, is enlisted on charges of hit and run, destruction of evidence, and police bribery.
Ik-ho puts Yoo-geon at the forefront of a new crime, and gradually becomes more ambitious…

There are other people who move the world
When the prison door opens, the big game begins!


prison 矯導所 [pronunciation: kyoːdoso]
[Noun] <Law> An institution in charge of administrative affairs.
It is a facility that accommodates people who have been sentenced to imprisonment or imprisonment, detention or detention in labor camps, and people who are on trial.
[Synonym] cell³, prison²
(Source: Naver Korean Dictionary)

prison. A place where those who cross the line of law are imprisoned.
But what if they could freely cross the fence and commit another crime?
<Prison> is a story that started by breaking common sense and stereotypes about prisons.
Director Na Hyun


Perfect Criminal Zone Prison?!
A shocking prison door that overturns your common sense opens!

'The death of a key witness who will reveal the tax evasion charges of a large corporation, the large-scale drug smuggling and distribution with unknown backgrounds, and the mysterious death of a reporter in charge of the US who was digging up the truth of all cases… ' What if the prison was where the perfect crime with no trace or evidence was first designed and started? The movie <Prison> presents a fresh shock by transforming a prison, which was believed to be a facility for isolating criminals from society, correcting and rehabilitating them, into a perfect crime zone with a 100% alibi.

Above all else, <Prison> gachas the genre formulas that have been commonly seen in movies that dealt with prisons, in other words, 'the main character who is wrongly framed, the prison guards oppressing the prisoners, and the prisoners who try to escape without the guard's knowledge'. It attracts attention with fresh ideas and bold attempts to break without breaking. Prisoners in <Prison> freely move in and out of the prison just like an office worker commuting to and from work. A design book outside the prison prepares for a new crime, and a plan is delivered with a connection plan that can cross the prison without question. And the power of the prison, which leads all the prisoners and plans the perfect crime, creates a new version. When all preparations are completed, the prison door finally opens, and the prisoners selected as experts in each field begin their work. A new perfect crime is 'born' at the 'extinction' point of a crime that no one suspects.

Director Na Hyun, who directed and wrote the screenplay for <Prison>, said, “The idea suddenly came to me. 'What if prisons are not places where crimes are paid, but where new crimes are produced? What if the prisoner is holding the prison guard? What if prisoners could move in and out of the prison?' I wanted to make a completely new prison film that twists all conventions,” he said. Actor Han Seok-gyu, who plays the role of 'Ik-ho', said, "<Prison> is faithful to the genre of crime action, but it has a distinct difference through the outrageous material. The author's imagination that a prisoner imprisoned in a prison goes out to commit a crime and then returns to complete a perfect alibi was very attractive. Kim Rae-won, who plays the role of 'Yoo-gun', also said, "From the first time I read the script, the new events taking place in an unusual space called a prison were interesting. Director Na Hyun emphasized the 'not obvious' from the beginning to the end even on set," he said.

As such, <Prison> will heat up the theater district in March by providing a special fun differentiated from the existing crime action with a new material that rejects typicality and twists customs.

The first perfect villain in life, Seok-gyu God
X The greatest smoke explosion Gadraewon!
The first meeting of the acting gods on the screen!

The movie <Prison> draws attention with just the first encounter on the screen between Han Seok-gyu, who won the Grand Prize for the drama [Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim] at last year's SBS Drama Awards, and Kim Rae-won, who won the Grand Prize for [Doctors]. In particular, the perfect acting transformation of the two actors, who took off their doctor's gown and put on a prison uniform, is the most anticipated point of the movie.

Han Seok-gyu, the 'God of Acting', who has walked along with the box office history of Korean films such as <Green Fish> <Christmas in August> <Shiri> <Sexual Life> and <Berlin>, will play the first perfect villain in life. 'Ik-ho', played by Han Seok-gyu in <Prison>, is the absolute king of the prison where all perfect crimes in Korea begin. Han Seok-gyu showed special affection for the character, even before the crank-in, actively suggesting ideas. The back door that the scene was called 'scenario addiction' for not letting go of the scenario for even a moment. Han Seok-gyu said, "Ik-ho is a character like the evil dictator of the kingdom. I remembered the image of a male hyena struggling to the end to survive. I tried to show the charisma of 'Ik-ho' in every aspect, such as hairstyle, clothes, and gait, by making new vocalizations so that my existing self could not be seen." In the movie, the big wound that runs from the neck to the back of 'Ik-ho' is also an idea suggested by Han Suk-gyu, showing at a glance the characteristics of a vicious character who does anything to survive.

From the drama [Rooftop Cat] and [Punch] to the movies <The Little Bride>, <Sunflower> and <Gangnam 1970>, actress Kim Rae-Won occupies a unique position with excellent acting skills regardless of genre. In last year's drama [Doctors], he hit women's hearts with the role of 'Hong Ji-hong', a romantic man who makes a quick confession in the drama [Doctors]. 'Yoo Gun', played by Kim Rae-won, was famous for its 100% arrest rate, but was a riotous police officer who was imprisoned in prison for hit and run and destruction of evidence. He showed the side of an acting perfectionist who shouted “one more time” until the best performance came out, no matter how difficult the scene was. Kim Rae-won said, "'Yoo-geon' is a man with a chubby temperament, rough, but at the same time pleasant and deep inside. Through <Prison>, audiences will be able to see unexpected sides that they have never seen before,” he said, expressing his confidence in his acting transformation.

On the other hand, Han Seok-gyu, who recommended Kim Rae-won to appear in <Prison> first, said, "Kim Rae-won showed a completely new performance by showing the amplitude of the character in a variety of ways, even though 'Yoo-gun' was not a formidable character. The greed he showed as an actor was truly terrifying.” Kim Rae-won, who has expressed respect enough to pick Han Seok-gyu as his role model in every interview, said, "When we meet, we often talk about 'when can we be together? He expressed his overwhelming feelings.

Birth of 'detail gangster' crime action!
Become the ultimate reality king with a living and breathing scenario!

The screenplay of <Prison> was a work that was widely talked about before production in Chungmuro. In particular, due to the detailed description of the prison and the characters living and breathing, I even heard stories from various places saying, 'Isn't it a scenario that reconstructed a real incident?' In addition, “I read the scenario at once” (Han Seok-gyu), “The hierarchy, order, and human relations in the prison were completely different from normal life” (Kim Rae-won), “The group of people living in the prison centering on ‘Ikho’ was the first time I'd seen it” (Jung Woong-in), “I stuck my tongue out at the reality of the scenario” (Cho Jae-yoon), “a work in a format completely different from previous films” (Shin Seong-rok), “unusually shows an unfamiliar space” (Kim Seong-gyun) All the actors of <Prison>, such as , also praised the screenplay and decided to appear at once.

Director Nahyeon, who came up with the shocking subject of 'a prison where prisoners cross the walls and commit perfect crimes', said, "I wanted to strengthen the setting that was difficult to accept and increase the probability to convince the audience." told Through numerous materials such as works on prisons, specialized books, documentaries, and memoirs, he studied a wide range of materials, from the rules in the prison to the living conditions of the inmates and the slang they use. Above all, we focused on making the prison, which is the background and the main character of <Prison>, more alive and breathing.

The place I was most worried about when entering the filming stage was the space of Ik-ho, the absolute king of the prison. It was because the prison life like ordinary prisoners did not match the character's setting. The detail added after long consideration is the gardening room that appears in the movie. The gardening room was actually inspired by the workshop of a gardening class operated by some prisons. As comfortable workplaces are usually assigned to high-ranking economic and political prisoners or chaebols, it was judged that it was a suitable space to show the power of 'Ik-ho' to roll not only the prison but also the world.

On the other hand, director Na Hyun, who said, “I thought that prison was a barometer that showed that society,” set the historical background of Prison to the mid-1990s, when various types of corruption were exposed and major accidents such as the collapse of Sampoong Department Store did not cease. The most important part was news clips and props for broadcasting. The newspaper, where 'Ik-ho' receives information from the outside world, meticulously reproduces the style of the time when Chinese characters were mixed. When producing a news clip for broadcasting, he put great effort into recording the announcer's outfit and makeup, as well as the tone of his voice in the 90's style. Not only that, but even the clothes of ordinary people on the streets were prepared in the fashion style of the 90s. Han Seok-gyu, who plays 'Ik-ho', brought the gray jumper and cardigan he actually wore during the release of <Shiri> and suggested it to the costume team directly, and it was also used as an actual movie costume.


“The prison is another hero!”
Korea's first, all-location real prison!
The reality campaign that 'licked' the prison is revealed!

#One. A location process for a space that lives and breathes even on the screen!
In <Prison>, the most important mission was to find a place that could capture the vividness of the prison as it is, to the extent that all the production crew said, “The prison is another protagonist.” Previously, most of the movies set in prisons were filmed on sets located in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do or at Seodaemun Prison. However, the production team, who decided that it was not enough to realistically depict the interior as well as the entire prison, began to search for a suitable place for the movie 'Seongan Prison'. After selling the products for 6 months, I got permission to shoot at Jangheung Prison in Jeollanam-do, where actual inmates lived for 20 years. Thanks to this, <Prison>, the first Korean film to be filmed in real prisons for four months, was born.

On the other hand, director Na Hyun thought that the prison in <Prison> should be an 'Empire' where 'Ikho' reigned. Na-hyeon, who wanted to see the exterior of the 'U-shaped structure', from which the prisoners live, the work building where they learn skills, and the warden and control room, can be seen at a glance through the gaze of 'Ik-ho' who climbs the watchtower and looks down To realize this, the director decided to build a new building that did not exist before. <Prison> boldly built a building with the H-beam steel structure used at actual construction sites instead of wooden frames or container boxes used at film sites. Only through intense efforts for reality, <Prison> created a real crime zone of its own throughout the running time.

#2. Everything about art and filming techniques that utilize the spatial characteristics of the prison!
The space of <Prison> was given a different personality for each area. The first thing to focus on is 'color'. The gardening room and secret room, which are the spaces of 'Ikho', are set in brown tones, and the space of 'Changgil', where 'Yoo-geon' is first entered, is set in blue tones. Through this, the distant appearance of 'Yoo-Geon', who entered the space of 'Ik-Ho', was drawn as a confrontation between 'brown' and 'blue' to convey visually strange fun. The eight wards and the kitchen where the gang of 'Ikho' live were set in gray tones to express the living space of colorless and odorless characters who obey power. Art director Nae-kyung Nae-kyung said, “The key was to create a new space that matches the tone and manner of the film while maintaining the reality of a real prison.”

The unique sense of closure and disconnection of the prison was also an important point. The production team maximized the pressure of the space by using large ducts on the ceiling, dark lighting, and pipes and wires everywhere. Hong Jae-sik, the cinematographer, said, “It was the first time for a movie in which prison was another main character, and I was challenged to work in a limited space,” said cinematographer Hong Jae-sik. The handheld technique was chosen to effectively express the reality of the place and the unstable emotional state between the characters. In addition, in order to bring out the dark atmosphere of the prison and the details of the person at the same time, an expensive Leica lens that is easy to shoot even in low light was used to realize light with minimal lighting like a fluorescent lamp in a real prison.

#3. From costumes to props, the world of real prisoners captured on the screen!
Jangheung Prison is actually a space where prisoners lived for more than 20 years, and even small props that left their traces were able to capture a realistic sense of reality. Devices installed in an unheated cell to prevent the wall from being chilled, recycled materials used to create insufficient storage space, daily necessities thrown away by prisoners when the prison was relocated, and graffiti on the walls of the prison cell. Everything about Jangheung Prison became the idea for the movie. In particular, the 'No Reading' sign attached to the central corridor of the prison is a real prop that means 'You must always move with the guards' in order to prevent the unexpected behavior of actual inmates. In the movie, Ik-ho walks through the prison alone without any restrictions with his back to the 'No Reading' sign, and his imperial side even stands out.

On the other hand, the costume of 'Ik-ho', who leads the prisoners, is a brown uniform worn by real model prisoners, and it shows interestingly a powerful character who moves everything according to his will in the prison. On the other hand, 'Yoo-Gun' has a yellow number tag indicating the inmate of interest. When 'Yoo-Gun' is transferred to 'Ik-Ho''s prison for the first time, the lines of the prisoners who say, "I spread a forsythia on my chest" by looking at the color of his number tag implicitly shows his chubby personality.

Rough breathing and explosive energy,
Add reality with 'survival action' to survive!

The part that the production team paid the most attention to to show the explosive energy of the movie <Prison> is the thrilling 'survival action'. Director Na Hyun said, “I literally wanted action that was like the real thing. If you witness a real bloody fight on the street from your side, you will naturally feel threatened and retreat or avoid. We wanted to create an action that the audience can experience,” he said.

At the beginning of the movie, the confrontation scene between 'Yoo-gun' (Kim Rae-won) and 'Chang-gil' (Shin Seong-rok), which takes place on the playground of the prison, begins with the exhilarating action of 'Yoo-gun', a former police officer who demonstrates various techniques based on judo technology. In order to properly express the characters of 'Yoo-Gun', who is full of gossip, and 'Chang-gil', a gangster, Kim Rae-Won and Shin Sung-Rok had to engage in a literal 'dog fight' several times, rolling on the dirt floor and biting their side. The threatening assault scene of the gang of 'Chang-gil', who is put in the same cell as the newly imprisoned 'Yoo-gun', is also full of raw energy. In order to show the meanness of 'Chang-gil', 'Yoo-geon' is gagged in the mouth and beaten in a hand-to-hand position. It was a physically difficult scene, but Kim Rae-won shouted 'one more time' even with a gag on his hand.

'Ik-ho' (Han Seok-gyu) also subdues opponents with powerful energy and charisma like a king who rules the prison. It shows bloody action by weaponizing even trivial objects like spoons without showing any mercy to those who threaten them. Han Seok-gyu picked the watchtower scene as the best action and said, “It is not just a passing action scene, but a highlight scene that reveals the ambition of the character. I had to digest dramatic emotions and action together, so I felt dizzy after the cut,” he said.

Martial arts director Kim Min-soo said, "Like a veteran, Han Suk-kyu perfectly digested action movements and emotional expressions, and showed extraordinary acting skills, and Kim Rae-won is willing to do it himself, no matter how difficult it is. It was strong, and I was very immersed in every moment.”

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