“Life Is But a Dream,” directed by Park, is the first project in Apple’s “Shot on iPhone” marketing campaign that was wholly created, shot, and edited in Korea. (You can watch Park’s film below or here.)
The film tells a strange story that includes both a wedding and a burial by combining martial arts with romance, dark humor, and pansori (판소리), Korea’s traditional musical storytelling approach.
An undertaker digs through an abandoned cemetery to steal a coffin for the burial of “White Marten,” a warrior who died rescuing a hamlet, in the 21-minute film. He accidentally awakens the ghost of an ancient swordsman while digging. When that ghost seeks to reclaim its coffin, it awakens White Marten’s recently deceased spirit: two youthful spirits who are now crossing blades… or emotions? Is it all a dream, or is it all one long night’s dream?
Yoo Hae-jin (the undertaker), Kim Ok-vin (White Marten), and Park Jeong-min (Park Jeong-min) are among the Korean actors in the film (the swordsman).
“Life Is But a Dream” appears to begin as a horror picture, but it quickly transforms into a fantasy, martial arts, rom-com, and musical. In a behind-the-scenes movie published accompanying the film, Park explains, “It’s a story I’ve always wanted to tell. I didn’t think of a certain camera when I was writing it. What’s incredible is that we can turn a tale like this into a film using only an iPhone.”
Park has experience shooting on an iPhone, having worked on “Oldboy,” “Thirst,” “The Handmaiden,” and HBO’s upcoming limited series “The Sympathizer.” On an iPhone 4, he shot “Night Fishing,” a short film that won the Golden Bear for short film at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival in 2011.
The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max were used to film “Life Is But a Dream.” Cinematic mode, macro video, Night Mode, Ultra Wide Camera, Telephoto camera, optical image stabilization, and ProRes video recording were among the features used by the team on the current models of Apple’s flagship phones.
Jang Young-gyu composed the film’s original score. It will run on Apple.com, the Apple TV app, and Apple Music, as well as on broadcast, digital, social, and out-of-home media.