09 20 Oct '24
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Park Sye-young

The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra (다섯 번째 흉추)

Edition 2022
62' - 2022 - Fantasy, Horror - Dialogue: Korean
Director: Park Sye-young Composer: Han Min-hee With: Park Ji-hyeon, Moon Hye-in, Haam Seo-kyoung
Possibly the strangest film of Film Fest Gent 2022, The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra follows the journey of a mattress fungus in search of love ... This sparkling, restless and unexpectedly wholesome debut is guaranteed to grow a cult following.
The opening of The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra teaches that fungi generally have a very short life span. "But there are always variables." Whether that's the case in love - the ultimate bond - is something that a fungal creature tries to find out for itself in this unprecedented symbiosis between body horror and romance. Born into an abandoned mattress, the fungus longs to be released rather than vegetate. The curious organism travels and grows with them from owner to owner, mainly unhappy couples and lonely souls, feeding off the fifth thoracic vertebra in their spine. Don't let that gory detail keep you from giving this highly idiosyncratic love poem a chance. For his first feature, Korean director Park Sye-young has taken on just about every task, and his inventiveness with an extremely low budget is infectious.
“Heartbreak manifests itself as a vengeful fungus in The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra. Park Sye-young’s imaginative debut feature blends the body horror of early David Cronenberg with the witty eccentricity of Quentin Dupieux and adds its own flavours of melancholy and wistfulness.” - Screen Daily

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Park Sye-young


Han Min-hee


Park Ji-hyeon, Moon Hye-in, Haam Seo-kyoung


Park Sye-young

Director of Photography

Park Sye-young


Park Sye-young


Park Sye-young

More information



Countries of production

South Korea




Park Sye-young
Cashbag (short, 2019), Godspeed (short, 2020), Between the Hotel and City Hall (short, 2020), The Gold Knife (short, 2021), Luxury Staycation (short, 2021), Vertigo (short, 2021), The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra (2022)

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