Often when we go to a multiplex theatre we’re faced with a choice, “Should I see the most recent blockbuster in 3D or save the extra couple bucks?” and we are left with varying results. Eschewing that trend is Park Hong-min’s A Fish, a stimulating independent 3D film that uses technology to amplify its story rather than as a marketing ploy.
Jeon-hyuk is a professor who has hired a private detective to find his missing wife. The investigation leads him to Jindo Island, where his wife is rumored to have become a mudang (female shaman)—a medium between the human and spirit worlds. In his search for his wife, Jeon-hyuk tries to unravel the mystery of her disappearance while navigating the strange island town she has supposedly settled in.
In A Fish, director Park explores the relationship between our world and the world of the spirits through his labyrinthine narrative and existential interstitials. Boats, and the islands of Jindo, are the meeting places of these worlds, represented by the land and the sea. It is Park’s use of the 3D medium, however, that makes the film unique. Though A Fish employs some of the requisite 3D tricks we’ve come to expect, Park specifically uses the format to convey a sense of the uncanny, to give us a gateway to an exploration of the spirit world. Shot on a slim budget but skillfully incorporating modern technology, this exciting film begins to scratch the surface of what is possible with 3D cinema—that it can help drive narrative storytelling to new heights instead of being a mere sideshow.