The Peter Pan Formula

Director: Cho Chang-ho

Institute History

  • 2006 Sundance Film Festival


Korea's Cho Chang-ho displays an original sensibility and talent in this debut feature, The Peter Pan Formula, which elevates the perennial coming-of-age story into a refreshing take on adolescent dreams and desire. Because Cho has worked with the Korean master of innovation, Kim Ki-duk, viewers expect surprises, and Cho fulfills these expectations as he constructs a world where a lonely teen must deal with his mother's attempted suicide, his absent father, financial pressures, and his obsessed swimming coach. On top of all that, his hormonal fantasies about his next-door neighbor and his subsequent involvement with her daughter only partially prepare us for a film that spins off into imaginary realms and subplots at will.

But that's all part of the invigorating energy of a film experience that skips from genre to Freudian metaphor, from blunt sexual escapades to quirky humor and resolutions. Cho's artistic command of filmmaking is aptly displayed. His actors and visual style are in tune with his vision. Now he simply needs to find an audience willing to take the leaps required by this combination of familiar teenage angst and edgy artistic storytelling.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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