Simpan – Judgement (1999) by Park Chan-wook

Two different families claim the body of a woman killed in a catastrophe.

Suspense and satire abound in this early short by Park Chan-wook, the singular South Korean auteur behind Oldboy and The Handmaiden. Titled Simpan (“judgement”), its starting point is the deathly collapse of a shopping mall in South Korea, and the announcement that all relatives of the deceased will be financially compensated for their loss. Cut to the local morgue, where a weeping couple identify one of the victims as their missing daughter – only to be challenged by the morgue assistant, who claims that the dead woman is, in fact, his lost child. What ensues is an eccentric, stomach-churning musing on capitalist greed, rounded off with a gleefully bitter twist.

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