Written by By Staff Writer
A new prequel to Park Chan-wook’s “Army of the Dead” was revealed at a festival in China on October 18.
“Assassination Station” tells the story of an English woman who flees to China after being implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot.
In a nod to the director’s previous film, which starred Gang Dong and Min Bang , “Assassination Station” stars Lupita Nyong’o, who most recently took home an Oscar for her role in “Black Panther.”
Written by Wan Lijun and directed by Han Yan, “Assassination Station” takes place in 1960 and follows a tour group ahead of its field trip. Bekwon Wang is a traveling academic who narrates the story, with help from at least 10 narrators from five different countries.
Nyong’o, who previously worked with Park on “Lady Vengeance,” plays a spy named Ruth, who joins the tour and soon finds herself in danger after being implicated in a global terrorist bombing plot.
When Park’s third and final installment of “Army of the Dead” was unveiled in 2004, one of the interesting pieces of trivia was that the plot was based on an actual case of alleged espionage in China.
Three CIA officers and a China-based arms manufacturer were arrested in 1972 for alleged subversive activities.
Park’s foray into espionage movies is a step forward for China’s increasingly robust and diverse cinematic output.
According to Guo, from “Assassination Station” on, “the literary currents of novels tell a succession of spy stories, especially those by Corelli’s Mandolin” and “Act of Killing.”
Other writers from that era would use the term “ecological terrorism” to identify the acts of conspiracy involving ecological damage.
More recent popular literary references include “Cold War” by Diana Athill and “The Bridge of San Francisco” by Pierre Bourdieu.
Although writing in a mostly French language, Bourdieu’s “Bridge of San Francisco” and Athill’s “Cold War” were co-written by Chilean writer Manuela Mendoza.
Media attention surrounding China’s homegrown spy genre appears to have been hampered a little bit over the past year by the scandal in which a real-life agent of China’s foreign intelligence agency was arrested.
The case, which captured headlines in China and overseas, has been investigated by the European Union.
But Park is not the only Chinese director who is making major splashes in foreign movies.
Li Wei’s “The Tale of the Water Crocodile” — China’s submission for the best foreign language film Oscar — is a sci-fi thriller starring Gong Li.
And the unofficial Chinese version of “Black Panther” premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March, with lead actress Liu Yifei also appearing in the Cannes film festival premiere of “High Life,” which is loosely based on Chinese director Wang Xiaoshuai’s documentary “The Bird Box.”