(Korean Movies) The Spy Gone North, 2018

The Spy Gone North, 2018

The Spy Gone North, 2018
Audience over 12 years old
running time
137 minutes
cumulative audience
4975517 people
39th Golden Cinematography Awards 2019


The spy who went to the North, codenamed Black Venus

In 1993, the crisis on the Korean Peninsula escalated over North Korea's nuclear development.
Park Seok-young (Hwang Jung-min), a former intelligence officer who was scouted by the Ministry of National Security, is ordered to infiltrate the high-level inside North Korea to dig up the reality of North Korea's nuclear program with the codename 'Black Venus'.
Except for Choi Hak-seong (Cho Jin-woong), head of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration's overseas office, and the president, Black Venus disguised as a North Korean businessman and approached Ri Myeong-woon (Lee Seong-min), a high-ranking North Korean official in Beijing, without even knowing his true identity.
After years of work, he builds a strong trust with Ri Myung-woon and, through him, succeeds in gaining the trust of the North Korean elite. However, in 1997. Just before the South's presidential election, Black Venus detects a covert transaction between the leaders of the South and the North.
He risked everything to carry out the work with a firm conviction for his country, but he is caught up in an uncontrollable conflict…


<The Peacock>, the first full-fledged spy drama in a Korean movie!
North and South Korea bring to the screen an espionage warfare at the forefront of the Cold War!

After the end of World War II, the East-West Cold War, centered on the United States and the Soviet Union, came to an end in the early 1990s, starting with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and leading to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. And the Cold War era in the West became the setting for some of the best spy films. However, even though Korea is the only Cold War country in the world divided into North and South by the same ethnic group, it was difficult to find a full-fledged spy movie. Also, although there was a time when a North Korean agent who came down to the South, also known as a South Korean spy, was the subject, there was no such thing as a movie depicting a South Korean spy who infiltrated into the North in earnest. <The Peacock> is the first Korean film that depicts the reality of an espionage war between North and South Korea. The duke's timeline spans from 1993 to 2005, when inter-Korean relations escalated into tension just before the war due to the North Korean nuclear issue, and the Korean Peninsula was the world's gunpowder, until a mood of reconciliation was created after the inter-Korean summit. The film broadly depicts the tension between the North and the South through the espionage warfare of the North Korean spy 'Black Venus' and the subtle sympathies that had to come and go because they were of the same ethnicity.

Director Yoon Jong-bin, who unfolded the most Korean reality into the cinematic world
In <The Peacock>, the 'era of division' is drawn through spies!

Director Yoon Jong-bin recalled the film from the social material that encompasses the present and past of Korea.

Looking back, director Yoon Jong-bin's debut film, The Unforgiven, also started from the divided reality of Korea. The armistice agreement of the Korean War in 1953 was not an end to the war or a peace agreement, but an armistice agreement, and strictly speaking, South Korea was at war with North Korea. As a result, Korea became a conscripted country where all adult males were required to join the military. The Unforgiven, about a young man unable to adapt to the oppressive military culture, drew attention for its outstanding perfection as well as an accusation against the military culture that dominated Korean society. <Beastie Boys> portrayed the current society with a host in a materialistic world as the main character, and <War Against Crime: The Golden Age of Bad Guys> received sympathy and love from the public by portraying the social scene of the 1980s as a gangster movie. <Kundo: Age of the Rampant> was well-received for its story of the people of the Joseon Dynasty in the 19th century.

In <The Peacock>, the main character is a spy who infiltrated North Korea, which remains the only 'country that cannot go' to all Koreans, and leads the story. And after liberation from Japanese colonial rule, it makes one think about the division period that defined the basic framework of modern Korean history. It realistically depicts the tension that existed as an enemy country between South and North Korea and the subtle emotions felt as a nation, and asks questions that make you think about the reality of division from a different perspective.

Birth of a 'Korean-style spy movie' different from Hollywood
Perhaps the essence of a spy is not an 'action hero' but an 'actor with a thousand faces'

<The Peacock> is a film that boldly throws away the action hero grammar that has recently become the mainstream of spy movies. Brilliant action, a breath-taking chase, and a feast of gorgeous new weapons are the signatures of spy movies we are familiar with. In addition to this, it can be said that the typical grammar of espionage is to overcome all kinds of difficulties and punish the 'evil' who is in opposition to the main character.

On the other hand, the espionage warfare of <The Duke> is based on a fierce "psychological warfare". So, the agents in <The Peacock> are not action heroes, but 'masters of psychological warfare' and 'actors with a thousand faces'. In the film, the North's persistent suspicion to understand the identity of the other person and the fake of Black Venus to avoid it intersect ceaselessly from one glance and one breath.

Also, <The Duke> does not run towards the single goal of 'punishment of evil'. The geopolitical peculiarity of the Korean Peninsula, which is both an enemy country and the same people, is incorporated into <The Duke>, constantly disturbing the clear identification of who is on our side and who is the enemy.

Perhaps <The Peacock> is the first 'Korean-style spy movie' that shows the epitome of a new spy imaginable only in the Korean film scene.

Hwang Jung-min, Lee Seong-min, Cho Jin-woong, Ju Ji-hoon. Actors making today's Korean films
Draw a dynamic ensemble between the north and the south that oppose as enemies and coexist as a nation!

<The Duke> is raising expectations with the participation of representative actors from Korea, including Hwang Jung-min, Lee Seong-min, Cho Jin-woong, and Ju Ji-hoon, who have both personality and acting skills.

Actor Hwang Jung-min, who was an unforgettable face in Korean genre films such as <Wailing> and <Asura>, <New World>, <Unfair Trade> and <Sweet Life>, took on the role of 'Black Venus', a 'spy who went to the North'. The role of 'Ri Myung-woon', the highest-ranking person in North Korea, is played by Lee Seong-min, an actor who will make the audience believe the reason for the character's existence the moment he acts, regardless of movie or drama. The change in the relationship between the two people, which crosses the border between the north and the south that cannot be crossed as the 'enemy' drawn by division, captures the audience's attention until the end with an unexpected and changeable chemistry. Jo Jin-woong, who played the general manager of the operation as the head of South Korea's National Security Agency, attempted to transform his acting into an unexpected appearance different from his previous masterpieces such as <The Handmaiden> and <Going to the End> and <The Sheriff>. And Ju Ji-hoon of <Along with the Gods>, who plays a North Korean security guard, reunites with Hwang Jung-min, who built a realistic villain in <Asura> in a relationship between the north and the south, splitting into North and South Korea to keep them in check. South and North Korea, ideological confrontation, and hostile countries with the possibility of a war that threatens survival. The three-dimensional drama of <The Peacock> that crosses enemies and nations adds a sense of reality through the interaction of actors.


Official invitation to 'Midnight Screening' at the 71st Cannes International Film Festival!
The Hollywood Reporter's 2018 Cannes Best 20 list and
“Words are more powerful than guns!” The pouring rave reviews from influential overseas media such as!
Becoming a 'Star of Cannes' by showing the essence of 'Korean-style spy movie'!

<The Peacock> was invited to 'Midnight Screening' in the non-competitive section of the 71st Cannes International Film Festival and drew attention from all over the world. Director Jong-bin Yoon had the honor of being invited to Cannes for the second time since <The Unforgiven> was invited to the 59th Cannes International Film Festival in the remarkable spotlight in 2006. Hwang Jung-min, who took on the role of 'Black Venus', a spy who went to the North, played <The Wailing> (non-competition section), and Cho Jin-woong, who played the role of 'Choi Hak-seong', the head of the South Korean National Security Agency, played <The Handmaiden> (competition) and <Going to the End> (Director's Week). department) was invited. <The Duke>, which revealed its reality for the first time in the world at the Grand Theater of Lumière, filled with 3,000 spectators, finished its successful debut stage with a warm standing ovation.

Thierry Primo, Cannes Film Festival executive director, said, “The Duke is a well-made film. It was intense yet great,” and gave the highest praise to director Yoon Jong-bin, saying, “Next time is the competition section.” Sabrina Barasseti, executive director of the Udine Far East Film Festival, said, “It is a film with an attractive setting that makes you look back on the Cold War at the point where the heads of the two countries met recently. Two great actors, Hwang Jung-min and Lee Seong-min, deliver fantastic performances for the two Koreas (“the Korea”).” It poured favorable reviews on Hwang Jung-min and Lee Seong-min, who portrayed changes in their relationship. The Hollywood Reporter in the US said, "It's full of stylish and suspenseful thrillers. The emotional characters completed with the excellent performances of the actors convey a great resonance.” In addition, <The Peacock> was selected as the only non-competitive category among the 20 best films selected by critics at the 71st Cannes International Film Festival in 2018. British Screen International said, "It's not a franchise film, but it's a clever and captivating spy thriller genre. In <The Peacock>, words strike more powerfully than guns. I couldn't be vigilant for even a single moment," he said, saying that it contained genre fun through intense psychological warfare, breaking away from the grammar of existing Hollywood spy movies. The Duke, which captivated the world with the aspect of a 'Korean-style spy movie', offers another cinematic experience to Korean audiences living in the only divided country to this day.

The spy <The Peacock> that went to the North, heading to the world!
Following the favorable reception at the Cannes International Film Festival, sales in 111 countries have begun!
“A suspenseful story, a timely message captivating!”

<The Peacock>, which showed the essence of a Korean-style spy film to audiences around the world through the 71st Cannes International Film Festival. After the screening of 'Midnight Screening', the movie was sold to 111 countries abroad amidst pouring favorable reviews. In addition to North America and Latin America, it was sold to Asian countries such as Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia, and European countries such as France, Poland, UK and Spain.

Overseas buyers who saw the film gave high marks to the film's solid perfection and the actors' passionate performances. Signature Entertainment, a British distributor, said, "After the screening of <The Peacock> at the Cannes International Film Festival, I had no choice but to make a distribution decision after seeing the hot international reactions and positive reviews surrounding the film. The tense plot and timely message were very captivating,” he said, explaining the reason for distributing the movie <The Peacock>.

Borsalino Films, a South American distribution company, said, “The Peacock realistically depicts South and North Korea, creating a spy film that one cannot take their eyes off of. Based on a true story, intense suspense and mystery are added, making it a pearl in the history of cinema.”

Twin, a Japanese distributor, also said, “The acting of Hwang Jung-min and Lee Sung-min was the best. As 'Black Venus' (Hwang Jung-Min) entered North Korea, the tension and the subtle relationship with 'Ri Myung-Woon' (Lee Seong-Min) were impressive. I was moved by the way they believed in each other and fought in the same direction even though their positions were different. If you watch the movie to the end, it gives you a lasting impression.”

<The Peacock>, which captured the hearts of overseas audiences even before its release and sold in 111 countries, is discussing an overseas release date in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. They will also be able to see the movie.


Jung Jung-dong's camera walking, a meticulous spy war seen through bold close-ups!
Capture the actors' live lines and eyes as they are!

The Cold War between South and North Korea, the only divided country in existence, is based on complex sentiments beyond simple systemic competition. The part that gave the most strength to immerse the audience in this deep emotion was the filming. The filming of <The Duke> chose a method that was faithful to the basics. Cinematographer Chan-min Choi, who showed stylish and dynamic camera movement through <Kundo: Age of Rampant>, returned to the beginning and used static camera walking and focused on the basic shots and continuity of the film. The tension between actors and actors, which intersect subtly, as well as checks and doubts about each other, gradually added to the audience so that they could be conveyed to the audience. A wide lens was used to show North Korea or a scaled space, and bold close-ups were actively used for scenes that needed to focus on the person. One principle that director Yoon Jong-bin and cinematographer Choi Chan-min established when filming 'Black Venus' was to shoot the cuts separately when filming the words he spit out and when capturing the sincerity or feelings of this person. I tried to capture the fine facial tremors and the tension I have as a spy through close-ups.

Production design alive with the reality of time and space
Meet the space that maximizes the tension in the flow of characters and events!

The starting point of <The Peacock>, which first portrayed the reality of the espionage war between South and North Korea, was reality. Director Jong-bin Yoon and the production team realized the reality of the era and space of <The Peacock> of the 90s after a thorough research and verification process. For about six months, the production design tailored to the flow of people and events was completed by shooting locations nationwide such as Jeolla-do, Gangwon-do, Chungcheong-do, Gyeongsang-do, Gyeonggi-do, and Taiwan. The characteristics of each space are very clearly contrasted and create a dramatic tension. The Goryeogwan, where Heuk Venus and Ri Myeong-un meet for the first time, has a lot of 'Kim Jong-il Flower', a flower decoration often used in North Korea, to bring out the reality of a restaurant run by North Korea. And Kim Jong-Il's villa, the decisive space where Kim Jong-Il confronts Heuk Venus in <The Duke>, is a secret space that has not been known for a while, and was made according to the atmosphere of the person and the situation. Kim Jong-il's villa set was made by taking advantage of the characteristics of North Korean architecture. The huge murals created over 4 months and the wide space are actively used to convey a vast feeling, creating an overwhelming atmosphere. Reality was saved with surprise in the setting of the now-closed billiard room, the space next to the laundry where many people come and go, the main space for planning and directing the operation. As such, <The Peacock> will help the audience completely immerse themselves in the production design that realistically captures the genre characteristics of a spy movie and the era of the 90s.

It captures the beauty of a skilled spy and the dignity of a high-ranking executive!
From trench coats to vintage glasses to angular military uniforms!
The style of <The Peacock> that contains 100% of the characteristics of the characters and thorough research!

The biggest mission for the style of <The Peacock> was to show realistically the atmosphere of the 1990s and the appearance of North Korea that could only be seen through broadcasting. With reference to photos, movies, and dramas of North Korea, the costume manager Chae Kyung-wha created a costume that looks like old furniture by utilizing the desolate color and classic fit.

Heuk Venus and Park Seok-young (Hwang Jeong-min) have a trench coat that is suitable for any season and any occasion, and have the typical feeling of a spy, and natural and warm colors such as brown and khaki are used to express as a skilled spy. Choi Hak-seong (Cho Jin-woong), who coordinates the operation behind the scenes with meticulous planning, uses a cool color that contrasts with Park Seok-young, and puts a hard pad on the costume or uses a hard material, so that you can feel a daunting presence at a glance. Ri Myeong-woon (Lee Seong-min), the head of the North's Foreign Economic Commission, expressed it as a neat and luxurious suit as much as possible by taking advantage of the characteristics of the North's high-ranking ranks. The same North Korean figure, Chief Jeong (Ji Ji-hoon), tried to express the unique style and sophistication of each character by focusing on saving the angle without being disturbed in order to express that he is a proud soldier.

When it comes to makeup, we tried to break away from the stereotyped concept. Black Venus made it its mission to create an image that does not stand out when it enters the crowd rather than the strength that is generally felt when talking about spy or spy. On the other hand, Lee Myung-woon, from his first appearance, aimed to show his strength through the exterior, and made use of his character's personality, such as strongly drawing eyebrows that male actors don't often draw, or wavy all-back hair.

In particular, in the case of special makeup that perfectly reproduces Kim Jong-il's life, an overseas special makeup team that worked on <Men in Black 3> <I Am Legend> and <Black Swan> was recruited. We discussed together from the casting stage, and went back and forth between Korea and New York for about 8 months to make corrections. The style of <The Peacock>, which was completed by appropriately mixing historical evidence and character characteristics after numerous processes like this, will be another pleasure to watch the movie.

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