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Thirst (2009) at Union South Marquee

February 24 @ 9:30 pm - 11:45 pm

In a white room lit by fluorescent lights, Tae-Ju (Kim Ok-bin) feeds on an unsuspecting victim while her paralyzed mother-in-law (Kim Hae-sook) watches to their left.

In a white room, Tae-Ju (Kim Ok-bin) feeds on an unsuspecting victim while her paralyzed mother-in-law (Kim Hae-sook) watches.

Blending eroticism, horror, and black comedy, Thirst (2009) is a twist-filled take on the vampire genre from South Korean director Park Chan-wook. Much like his recent Decision To Leave (2022), Park packs his thematic obsessions and ambitious visual style into a hallucinatory tale of doomed love.

Suffering from a crisis of faith, Catholic priest Sang-Hyun (Song Kang-ho) volunteers for a medical experiment in an effort to find a cure for a deadly virus. Miraculously surviving thanks to a blood transfusion, Sang-Hyun becomes a faith-healer figure, but he begins to experience mysterious symptoms—heightened senses, carnal urges, and an allergy to sunlight—that can only be eased by drinking human blood.

Leaving the church, Sang-Hyun begins a smoldering affair with Tae-Ju (Kim Ok-bin), the wife of a childhood friend. When Tae-Ju convinces him to murder her husband and turn her into a vampire, the lovers find themselves in a hell of their own making, tormented by guilt, deception, and the ghost of her husband.

Avoiding the gothic genre trappings, Park instead draws from his Catholic upbringing and Émile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin as source material. A halfway point between Park’s breakout Vengeance Trilogy (2002-2005) and his later, more psychological works like The Handmaiden (2016), Thirst at times feels overstuffed with ideas. But it remains brimming with Park’s signature, dazzling visuals, tonal shifts, and shocking violence. The film verges dramatically between blood-soaked supernatural horror, torrid romance, and moments of unexpected slapstick. Audacious and excessive, it’s a bold genre experiment from one of modern cinema’s most idiosyncratic minds.

Ian Adcock


February 24
9:30 pm - 11:45 pm
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The Marquee Cinema
1308 W Dayton St #245
Madison, WI 53715 United States
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(608) 890-3000
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