Park’s “Life Is But a Dream” is the first project in Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” marketing campaign to be produced, shot and edited entirely in Korea. (Watch Park’s film below or at this link.)
The film blends martial arts with romance, dark comedy and pansori (판소리) — Korea’s traditional musical storytelling technique — to tell a surreal tale featuring both a wedding and a funeral.
In the 21-minute movie, an undertaker digs up an abandoned grave to steal a coffin for the burial of “White Marten,” a warrior who had died saving a village. While digging, he accidentally awakens the ghost of an ancient swordsman. When that ghost tries to take back its coffin, it, in turn, rouses the recently deceased spirit of White Marten: two ghosts who died young and are now crossing blades… or emotions? Or is it all just one long night’s dream?
The film’s Korean cast includes Yoo Hae-jin (the undertaker), Kim Ok-vin (White Marten), and Park Jeong-min (the swordsman).
“’Life Is But a Dream’ seemingly starts as a horror film then slowly reveals itself to be a mix of fantasy, martial arts, rom-com and musical. It’s a story that I’ve always wanted to tell,” Park says in a behind-the-scenes clip released alongside the film. “A specific camera didn’t come to mind when I wrote it. What’s amazing is that we can capture such a story into a film with iPhone.”
Park, whose credits include “Oldboy,” “Thirst,” “The Handmaiden” and HBO’s upcoming limited series “The Sympathizer,” has experience shooting on an iPhone. In 2011, he shot a short film, “Night Fishing,” on an iPhone 4, which won the Golden Bear for short film at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival.
“Life Is But a Dream” was shot on iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The team employed several features of the latest models of Apple’s flagship phones, including Cinematic mode, macro video, Night Mode, Ultra Wide camera, Telephoto camera, optical image stabilization and ProRes video recording.
The film features original music by Jang Young-gyu. It will appear on broadcast, digital, social and out-of-home media, as well as on apple.com, the Apple TV app and Apple Music.
Watch Park Chan-wook’s “Life Is But a Dream”: