Jeong-won (late 30s) is a loan shark and gambling addict who realizes, one day, that the work he does makes everyone around him unhappy, after encountering people who he used to know in happier times. Gradually, he ties himself in knots of self-destructive behavior.
Snake & Scorpion is a story about Jeong-won, Yuri, and Bugi. Jeong-won is the boss of a moneylending business, and Yuri works for him.
Jeong-won’s life as a loan shark only brings tragedy to everyone around him. He tries to escape from the situation, but ends up going around in circles. He already seems to know that this cycle will just keep repeating until his eventual death.
Yuri gradually begins to feel the same way, helpless in his life filled with debt and gambling, until by chance he runs into Bugi again. He starts boxing with Bugi, through which he feels a sense of pleasure and freedom that he had totally forgotten.
Through Yuri, Jeong-won also meets Bugi, who he hasn’t seen for about 10 years. Bugi needs money so Jeong-won gives him a job in his office. In return, he hopes Bugi will help him to remember those brief but happy days gone by. But it doesn’t take long before working as a moneylender starts to change Bugi. Jeong-won and Yuri, who felt a glimmer of happiness again, must now face the guilt which they have turned their backs on for too long.
I had been working on a documentary about some acquaintances of mine who are loan sharks. I hoped that their story would not end up in tragedy. I don’t know if I can bring new life to those who are desperate, but I want to give an honest description through a fictional story of people who still have a little hope.
Loans. Something not even to be considered. But, people still borrow money thinking that it won’t be difficult to pay back. They cannot resist the temptation to take out a loan, in spite of harsh experience. After seeing Lee Dongwoo’s third documentary, SAGAL: Snake and Scorpion (Lee Dongwoo, 2022), I was so moved that I asked him to make a fictional movie based on those characters and the director started to write a script, which turned out to be quite different from the documentary version. We’d like to tell a story of people with small dreams, but who cannot believe that they will ever come true.
Lee Dongwoo’s first feature-documentary, No Preparation for Old Age (2016), won Grand Prize at Seoul Independent Film Festival 2016 and the Breakthrough Director Award at Busan Film Critics Association Awards 2017. Self-portrait 2020 (2020) was nominated for the Mecenat Award at Busan International Film Festival 2020, and was invited to International Film Festival Rotterdam 2021 and Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema 2021. The film also received the New Vision Award and Critics’ Award at Muju Film Festival 2021. SAGAL: Snake and Scorpion (2022) was invited to Busan International Film Festival 2022 and International Film Festival Rotterdam 2023. Also, the first album by Lee Dongwoo’s punk band, Slant, was nominated at the Korean Music Awards 2022.
Cho Young Kag produced works such as The King of Pigs (Yeon Sangho, 2011), The Fake (Yeon Sangho, 2013) and Film Adventure (Lee Sang-deok, 2019). He also served as an executive director at Seoul Independent Film Festival from 2002 until 2016.
Since 1998, INDIESTORY has been producing and distributing independent Korean features and short films, both within Korea and in overseas markets.