Barking Dogs Never Bite

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Barking Dogs Never Bite
Barking dogs never bite5.jpg
Barking Dogs Never Bite promotional film poster
Hangul
Revised Romanization Peullandaseu-ui Gae (Flanders-ui Gae)
McCune–Reischauer P'ŭllandasŭ-ŭi (Flanders-ui Gae)
Directed by Bong Joon-ho
Produced by Cha Seung-jae
Written by Bong Joon-ho
Song Ji-ho
Derek Son Tae-woong
Starring Lee Sung-jae
Bae Doona
Music by Jo Seong-woo
Cinematography Jo Yong-gyu
Edited by Lee Eun-soo
Distributed by Cinema Service (South Korea)
Magnolia Pictures (United States)
Release date
  • February 19, 2000 (2000-02-19)
Running time
106 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean

Barking Dogs Never Bite (Korean: 플란다스의 개, also known as A Higher Animal and Dog of Flanders) is a 2000 South Korean dark comedy-drama film. The film's original Korean title is a satirical take on A Dog of Flanders, a European pet story that is very popular in parts of East Asia. It is also the directorial debut of Bong Joon-ho, who would later go on to direct Memories of Murder in 2003, The Host in 2006, and Snowpiercer in 2013.

Barking Dogs Never Bite tells the story of an out-of-work college professor who is irritated by the sound of barking dogs in his apartment building, and eventually resorts to abusing and kidnapping them. Meanwhile, a young woman working at the apartment complex decides to investigate the matter after she starts receiving notices from the tenants about the missing dogs.

Lead actress Bae Doona said that her most memorable scene was in this film, where she is being chased by a homeless man throughout the apartment (interviewed in Kim So-young's documentary Women's History Trilogy (2000–2004)).[1]

United States release rights to the film were acquired by Magnolia Pictures in the late summer of 2009.[2]

Plot[edit]

An unemployed academic Ko Yun-ju lives in an apartment with his pregnant wife Eun-sil. He struggles to maintain his life to become a university professor, and his straining relationship with Eun-sil makes matters worse. He hears loud barking which drives him crazy, and finds an unattended Shih Tzu. He tries to drop the dog from the roof, but is stopped when a Granny comes to dry some radishes there. He goes to the basement and locks the dog in a cabinet.

Park Hyun-nam is an ignorant bookkeeper at the maintenance for the apartment and is friends with a neighboring toy store owner Soon Jang-mi. Hyun-nam wishes to be a famous heroine. A girl goes to Hyun-nam concerning the matter of her missing dog, and they hang posters. Yun-ju hears more barking and finds the Granny whom he met on the roof with a chihuahua, which is the actual source of the noise. Realizing his mistake, he goes to the basement at night to the cabinet for the Shih Tzu and hides when a janitor comes by with a boiling kit. Yun-ju watches in horror as the janitor pulls out the dead Shih Tzu, using it as meat to make a feast for himself.

The next day, Yun-ju sneaks on Granny and steals her dog. Hyun-nam witnesses Yun-ju (in disguise) throw the dog off a roof. Seeing an opportunity to achieve her dream, Hyun-nam chases Yun-ju, but fails to catch him. Her superiors accuse her of being negligent of her work, and she is fired. Hyun-nam shows Granny the chihuahua's body, and she faints from shock and is hospitalized. The janitor takes the chihuahua's body and boils it in the basement to eat. As he goes to retrieve some seasoning, a homeless man living in the disposed laundry smells the meal and tastes it. The janitor comes back, only to discover his food missing.

As Yun-ju still struggles with maintaining the money to be a professor, he discovers Eun-sil has brought home another dog after being fired. Eun-sil shows more affection to the dog than her husband, even naming it "Baby," and treating Yun-ju like a servant. While in the park with Baby, Yun-ju is distracted, and the dog goes missing. When Eun-sil scolds him for losing the dog, Yun-ju finally snaps and accuses her of wasting money. However, she tears up and confesses she paid for the dog with severance money and wanted to use it to help Yun-ju become a professor, leaving him shocked and prompting him to find the pet. Yun-ju goes to Hyun-nam to print and hang posters for the missing dog. Yun-ju begins to give up his search when he learns nobody, not even the dog-eating janitor, has Baby.

As the search continues, Hyun-nam learns that the Granny passed away from the shock of losing her only family. Hyun-nam also receives a letter from Granny saying she can have the dried radishes which were left on the roof (seen at the beginning of the film). As Hyun-nam gathers the radishes, she discovers Baby on the roof, kidnapped by the homeless man with a newfound love for dog meat. She rescues the dog and a chase ensues. Jang-mi arrives and knocks the homeless man out, who is arrested by police, and Hyun-nam brings Baby back to Yun-ju.

Hyun-nam watches a TV broadcast on the missing dogs, but she finds nothing about herself, leaving her distraught that she has neither fame, nor a job. Later that night, Hyun-nam finds Yun-ju on the sidewalk. Yun-ju, overcome with guilt about the trouble he caused, finally confesses that he was the one who killed the dogs. However, Hyun-nam appears to forgive him for this.

Sometime later, Yun-ju is a successful professor and has a lot less trouble with his money and life. The film ends with Hyun-nam and Jang-mi taking a hike in some woods as the credits roll.

Cast[edit]

  • Lee Sung-jae - Ko Yun-ju, a young academic struggling to become a professor.
  • Bae Doona - Park Hyun-nam, an ignorant maintenance worker and bookkeeper for the apartments who aspires to become famous.
  • Kim Ho-jung - Eun-sil, Yun-ju's demanding, pregnant wife who treats him like a servant.
  • Byun Hee-bong - apartment maintenance man, a janitor who steals lost and dead dogs and uses them as meat for midnight snacks.
  • Go Soo-hee - Yoon Jang-mi, a toy store owner and Hyun-nam's friend.
  • Kim Roi-ha - shadow man, a homeless man living in the basement laundry.
  • Kim Jin-goo - Granny, an apartment resident who owns a chihuahua.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hartzell, Adam. "Women's History Trilogy (2000-4)". Koreanfilm.org. Retrieved 2013-09-05.
  2. ^ Saperstein, Pat (31 August 2009). "Magnolia acquires Bong's Mother". Variety. Retrieved 2013-09-05. 

External links[edit]