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Thursday, May 19, 2005
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Monday, May 23, 2005
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Monday, May 30, 2005
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Friday, June 3, 2005
Saturday, June 4, 2005
Sunday, June 5, 2005
Monday, June 6, 2005
Tuesday, June 7, 2005
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Friday, June 17, 2005
iF yOu NeEd SoMe HeLp To MaKe YoUr SiTe/BlOg CoOl LiKe MiNe("hehehe...;)"), JuZ cLiCk SoMe LiNkS hEre...
Who Links Here
Name Acronym Generator
Your Birthdate: June 18
Your birthday on the 18th day of the month suggests than you are one who can work well with a group, but still remain someone who needs to maintain individual identity.
There is a humanistic or philanthropic approach to business circumstances in which you find yourself.
You may have good executive abilities, as you are very much the organizer and administrator.
You are broad-minded, tolerant and generous; a compassionate person that can inspire others with imaginative ideas.
Some of your feelings may be expressed, but even more of them are apt to be repressed.
There is a lot of drama in your personality and in the way you express yourself to others.
Oddly enough, you don't expect as much in return as you give.
Monday, August 14, 2006
hahaha'ayz... grabeh ka kapoy'z akng kalawasan... nag Fraktiz mi ug sayaw, preparation for our acquitance party this coming Friday Aug. 18 @ 5:00pm..
super ka full charge ako fren na si ian... wlang hiya kau ky gi drained nya akow energy ngetz... pro ok lng kay pra BIBO... yehey bibo!.. toink!
watch out for some picz na ako e post here nxt wk!
Posted at 04:25 pm by dadel
reborning mah blogdrive!... FOR A CHANGE!
guyz & galz... this is it... itz tym to make my blog worthy...
since itz been a long tym that i haven't post here, itz tym to re-born my blog... hehehe...
from now on,this blog is going to be a part of mah life... toink! char lng... hehehe...
pro im serious nah oi... ako na jud ni tarungon aku blog pra sad tzada!
Posted at 09:56 am by dadel
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Compiled by Ho Yi
Friday, Jul 29, 2005,Page 14
As all savvy gossipers know so well, melodramatic love affairs are one of the staple foods showbiz generates and
feeds on. A beautiful celebrity's love life just seems so much more exciting than that of the ordinary person.
Big S is far from an ordinary person. After ending her long-standing relationship with actor Lan Zheng-long (藍正龍 just one month ago, the star has rebounded and reportedly coupled up with Tsai Tsai (仔仔 of F4. Their rumored romance should keep the celebrity shutterbugs happy.
After weeks of speculation, Big S broke the silence at an endorsement event last Saturday, explaining that she and Tsai Tsai are close friends who have been through a lot together. ``Our relationship is on a spiritual level, far beyond the romantic connection most couples have,'' she was quoted as saying in the Apple Daily (蘋果日報. The drama queen did, however, admit the necklace she was wearing was a gift from Tsai Tsai, who has also kept a identical necklace around his neck. Oddly, both parties denied the necklaces were love tokens.
Also being denied is the rumor about Tsai ditching his ex-girlfriend Xu Wei-lun (許瑋倫 in order to be with Big S. Xu was reportedly weepy over the whole situation, but is said to have dumped her ex, Lee Wei (李威, to be with Tsai Tsai a year ago. Lee is said to be interested in getting back with Xu again, but when asked if this was true, the actor told the Great Daily (大成報 ``There are too many people involved, and I really have nothing to do with the whole thing. I'd like to stay away from the whole ordeal as far away as possible.''
The big breakup news of this week is Vivian Hsu (徐若瑄 who has officially waved goodbye to her 12th rumored sweetheart Wu Jian-hao (吳建豪 of F4. Contrary to her normally elusive attitude towards her love life, the 30-year-old beauty blurted out the news at an endorsement event on Sunday. The key reason for the break-up is said to be their long-distance relationship.
Experiencing the influx of stars from Hong Kong, local TV stations have called for support from Hong Kong actors to star in a new generation of soap operas. Once hailed as one of the sexiest men in Asia, Ren Da-hua (任達華 is one of the latest imports. He grabbed the media attention upon arrival by showcasing a line of expensive footwear and outfits fitted to his well-maintained body. Ren said he spent a fortune on clothing and accessories for the role of a fashion designer he will play in the show and ``even declined an invitation to play a part in the new movie from the director of Trainspotting, Danny Boyle who plans to shoot it in September,'' he was quoted as saying in the Great Daily. Pop diva Faye Wang (王菲 was spotted having dinner with a group of friends in Beijing without having a cigarette the whole night, and the Chinese media quickly came to the conclusion that she has quit her bad habit due to her pregnancy. Faye Wang's agent simply replied to the Apple Daily,``Wang has tried to kick the nasty habit quite a few times without any real success. This is just her latest attempt.''
thanks to Taipei Times
credit from tsinoy...
Posted at 03:46 pm by dadel
Real name: Im Yu Jin
Born: November 16, 1972
Height/Weight: 185 cm (6' 1") / 75 kg (165 lbs.)
TV dramas: 3 Leaf Clover (Se-hyung); Oh! Pil-seung and Bong Soon-young (Jae-woong); War of the Roses (Jae-ha); Summer Scent (Jung-jae); Trio (Joon-ki); Who's My Love (Hyun-sik); Pure Heart (Chan-suk); Stock Flower (Seung-jo); Air Force (Hyung-woo); More Than Love (Kang In-tae); In Search of Love (Jae-hyuk)
Awards: KBS Most Popular Actor Award (2001)
Ryu Jin with Chae Rim *hao shuai!!! *
Name: Ryu Jin (Im Yoo Jin)
Ideal Girl: someone smarter than him
Strong Point: Honesty
Alcohol Intake: 1 Soju
Sarangeun A Munah Hana
2001 KBS Yungi Daesang Ingisang
1999 KBS Yungi Daesang Shininsang
1998 SBS Yungi Daesang Shininsang
Posted at 03:34 pm by dadel
Green Rose summary
After a long search, I finally found this summary of the last episode of GR from tsinoy.com.
What happened was shin hyun tae (Edward) started arguing with the president and in a state of anger, shin hyun tae revealed what happened to his father, . he pushed the butler away (the guy dying when JH entered the house) and repeated smashed the president's head on the wall...after that he told jung taek soo to buy thinner and come back. suh jae woo who was on his way back saw this after shin hyun tae left, suh jae woo(Staff of SR) went up to the president and the president begged him to help
but suh said to him: who did this to you? It was you beloved son-in law to be! If you die, and that guy goes to jail, then SR is going to be mine. After that, Lee Jung hyun (jerome lee) came to the house, suh jae woo, who was hiding, saw JH about to save the president and he thought, if the president gets saved, then what's going to happen to me, although i'm sorry to you(to JH), but i cant help it, it's your bad luck, so he decided to knock JH out. jung taek soo threw in the thinner from outside and the fire spread. when suh wanted to run away, he was spotted by jung taek soo. at the end, jung taek soo left JH's fingerprints everywhere and then left. The case is brought to court again and the president testifieshe says it wasnt lee jung hyun (jerome lee)who tried to kill him but it was JH who actually saved him~ when he was asked who the real culprit was, the president did not say it was shin hyun tae~ and just said it was a person that he had never seen before. Credits to em2em...
Posted at 03:17 pm by dadel
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
i really love the story of GREEN ROSE...
sorry pepz but i don't have the complete summary of GREEN ROSE...
Posted at 04:02 pm by dadel
Korean Star : Song Hye Kyo
2004 SBS Full House
2004 SBS Sunshine of Love
2003 KBS All In
2001 MBC Hotelier
2001 SBS Guardian Angel
2000 KBS Host of Music Bank
2000 KBS Autumn in My Heart
1998 SBS Sung Pung Clinic
1998 SBS Na Uh Dae
2000 KBS Photogenic Award
2000 KBS Most Popular Actress Award
1997 SBS Best New Comer Award
1996 First Prize for MTM (Model Talent Management)
Posted at 03:58 pm by dadel
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Posted at 03:48 pm by dadel
"Another Whispering Corridors
movie?" I've been hearing people say. It seems like the series has been going on forever, particularly in that we had Bunshinsaba
last year which, though not officially a part of the series, was set in a girls' high school and may as well have been. This latest installment is called Voice
and, according to tradition, it features a debut director and a young cast of debut actresses. Before watching it, I was wondering if this would be the one that would finally finish off the series... a film so bad that nobody would want to make another. But after walking out of the theater, the thought running through my head is "Keep them coming!" If they're all as good as this one, I'll gladly watch one per summer for the rest of my life.
They're calling it Whispering Corridors 4, but Memento Mori 2 might be a better indication of what to expect. I say that with some trepidation -- at least among a certain group of people (myself included), Memento Mori has acquired legendary status with the passage of time. Voice doesn't reach the same heights and is not going to be remembered as well, but much of it recalls the previous film in mood, while moving in different (but not dissimilar) directions in terms of plot and theme. (Gosh... I hope I haven't just killed the movie by making this comparison)
Voice does not start off well. The opening scene feels a bit flat, and the gruesome death that follows is more silly than gruesome. Yet after a funky opening credits sequence (director Choi Ik-hwan has experience in experimental short films, and it shows) the film sets off slowly but surely in creating a real, breathing cast of characters. The film's central axis is the close friendship between two students Young-eon and Seon-min who suddenly find themselves... er... separated, but still able to communicate. Yet as time goes on, this foundation on which the plot rests starts to become a bit less stable.
The film's strongest sequences are in the middle. Look at any given scene, and the direction feels competent but not exceptional. However the accumulated effect is strong. As the film progresses it also gradually gets more complicated and hard to follow... not quite on the level of A Tale of Two Sisters, but a challenge nonetheless. Like Two Sisters, it loses some steam when it tries to explain everything at the end, but the ending's not bad, all things considered.
This summer's crop of horror films may prove to be a bit of a redemption after last year's disaster. I haven't seen The Red Shoes yet, but based on an early edit The Wig seems extremely well made (I'll comment later after watching the finished version). Don't really know anything about Cello, but even if we only end up with two successes this summer, that will be a respectable record.
UPDATE: New reviews: Kyu Hyun Kim's take on horror film Bunshinsaba (2004), and Adam Hartzell's review of Kim Ji-hyun's low-budget independent film Popee (2002).
2005.06.28: Dueling festivals Korea's festival scene is scheduled for a bit of the bizarre in mid-July when the new people in charge of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) face off against the former organizers of PiFan, who have launched a rival event in Seoul called the Real Fantastic Film Festival. The latter has about one-tenth the budget of the former, but nonetheless they will both run from July 14-23, competing for the same viewers. Kim Hong-joon, the head of RealFanta, says that they scheduled their festival for the exact same time slot in order to draw attention to the structural and political problems over at the Puchon festival. This is not quite the same thing as Slamdance doing its thing in the shadow of Sundance each year -- in this case, there are hurt and angry feelings on both sides, and each festival is out to make the other obsolete. Most of the local film industry, meanwhile (including, most prominently, Park Chan-wook) have announced they will boycott PiFan. For more information about the background to the whole clash, check out some of the earlier entries in this blog.
Before going any further, I'd like to propose we clear away some lexical confusion related to the two events. The problem is, most people strongly associate the word "PiFan" with Kim Hong-joon and the other staff members who have made the festival famous over the past few years. Thus when referring to the event that will take place in Puchon this summer, people invariably add a prefix or suffix to distinguish it from the PiFan of old, for example: "New PiFan" or "PiFan Two". But terms like "New PiFan" are rather slippery: does it mean the old festival staged by the new people in charge, or the new festival staged by the old people who used to be in charge? Therefore I'd like to propose that we call the two events "GoodFanta" and "BadFanta", which is quite clear and easy to keep straight. In saying "BadFanta" I don't intend any hard feelings towards the organizers of the event in Puchon, except perhaps for the mayor of Puchon who genuinely seems to be a bad man. In fact, the word "BadFanta" is perhaps a bit overgenerous, containing as it does a whiff of anti-establishment cool that the festival probably doesn't deserve.
Attending a festival and watching movies is usually a fairly straightforward affair, but this year an entire moral dimension has been added to the proceedings. Am I the equivalent of a strike breaker if I go watch films at BadFanta? Looking over their program, there are quite a few movies that I'd really like to see, including the two opening films Night Watch from Russia and Battle in Heaven from Mexico (which both screen at the same time?!), and retrospectives devoted to Ko Young-nam and Park Chul-soo (which will probably have no subtitles). Though admittedly, attending BadFanta's press conference was not something to inspire confidence. With the main programmer/festival director wondering aloud if films would be canceled last minute and admitting that the event might not even be around next year, it felt a little like watching a plane go down in flames.
There is also the added complication that GoodFanta won't be reserving tickets in advance for the press. That means we'll be competing directly with ordinary Korean film fans for tickets. That's quite a frightening proposition -- this is, after all, the country where 5,000 seats to the PIFF opening night screening are sold out in less than three minutes. GoodFanta's screening rooms at the Art-house Formerly Known as Hollywood Theater seat less than 300 people apiece. Therefore I'm trying to be realistic about my chances of getting into some of those sci-fi films from the Soviet Union and the former communist counties of Eastern Europe, which forms the centerpiece of their program.
Being a journalist, I suppose I can sidestep the moral dilemma of whether or not to attend BadFanta, as I'll be required to write about both events for my job. I'll try to be open-minded, but admittedly my heart lies with GoodFanta. This whole situation makes me think back to high school, when a motivated and inspiring English teacher (a rarity at my school) was dismissed after he started becoming too critical of the school's administration. I was never able to do anything about it back then, and no matter how much I rant and rave on this site now, the old PiFan is not coming back. Still, the actions of the mayor have done a great deal of damage to Korea's cultural/festival scene, and one would like to hope that the old, original PiFan will be mourned properly.
UPDATE: Darcy has written a review of Lee Jeong-cheol's melodrama A Family (2004).
UPDATE: Tom Giammarco has written a review of the early-1990s children's film Hyeong-Rae and the Hulk, while Adam Hartzell has contributed his take on Byun Young-joo's Ardor (2002).
UPDATE: Darcy has written a review of Kim Ki-duk's 12th film The Bow.
2005.06.10: This and That... Gang Hye-jung and Park Hae-il's Rules of Dating opens today, and based on advance ticket sales it looks like it's going to be a big hit. I haven't seen it yet (these days I've lost my info source regarding the schedule for press screenings), but it seems to have captured people's attention mostly for its creative casting. Park Hae-il is usually slotted into nice guy roles (see Scent of Love, My Mother the Mermaid), but his most interesting work has been as characters with a significant dark side (Jealousy is My Middle Name, Memories of Murder). In this latest film he seems to have gone all out as a sleazy English instructor looking for sex.
Gang Hye-jung, meanwhile, is solidifying her status as one of Korea's coolest actresses. Unlike, say, Bae Doona (who seems really popular among non-Koreans, but is generally overlooked at home), Gang's fan base seems to expand more and more by the day. With an image that's harder to pin down than the usual pretty-face actresses that dominate popular films, she functions as an appropriate symbol of something about young, modern Korean women. But what that is, exactly, is hard to say. (Her current popularity is also boosted by the fact that she's dating Cho Seung-woo (Marathon), making them the most hip offscreen couple since Bae Doona/Shin Ha-kyun and Ryoo Seung-beom/Gong Hyo-jin went their separate ways)
It will be interesting to see the fan reaction to Rules of Dating. It's portrayed in its promotional materials as a slightly off-color romantic comedy, but I'm told that the actual film is exactly the opposite: dark, unsettling, realistic. All of which has me intrigued. Other recent news:
* Korea's ratings board has just undergone its latest three-year makeover. Under Korean law, the members of the ratings board are chosen by the the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for three-year terms. The new chair will be Lee Gyeong-soon, the former vice chair who took over for Kim Soo-yong when he resigned in January. However there have been some industry grumblings about the rest of the 15-person board, since it includes some former members of the Performance Ethics Board which oversaw governmental censorship through the mid 1990s. Maybe they've been reformed in the interim.
At any rate, Ms. Lee says that she sees sexual content as causing less potential harm to teenagers than film violence (which I'd tend to agree with). Recently there's been a bit of a quiet revolution in film censorship, with films like Fat Girl and The Dreamers being released in Korea completely uncut (i.e. with big closeups of "problematic" male and female anatomy). The old prohibition on showing genital parts on the big screen seems to be breaking down. Nonetheless, the board still makes it clear that they operate on a subjective basis. Tokyo Decadence was recently rejected again, despite having 6 minutes of footage cut, making one wonder if it will ever be released.
* Korea's DVD companies have come up with a new trick. In contrast to other countries, DVD has been pretty much a bust in Korea up until now, with even the most successful titles only selling 50,000 - 100,000 copies. DVD rentals have become rather popular, however. To encourage people to buy rather than rent, a few DVD companies are purposely downgrading the image quality on rental DVDs, roughly to the level of an ordinary video. Japanese feature Blood and Bones is one example, as well as Ryoo Seung-wan's upcoming Crying Fist. The image quality of the DVD that you can buy in stores, however, will be top-notch. It seems a rather extreme step to take, but the weakness of DVD is probably the single greatest problem facing the film industry in Korea right now.
* Finally, the Pusan International Film Festival recently held an early press conference to unveil the plans of their 10th anniversary edition, to be held from October 6-14. The city of Pusan and the government have chipped in an extra million dollars, on top of the festival's usual $4 million budget, to ensure that #10 is something special. The program is expected to swell to 300 films, and to cope with the expected rush of film fans, the number of screens will be doubled from 16 to 33. With luck, that should put an end to perennial complaints about how hard it is for guests to secure tickets.
Several special sections are being lined up for the main program. One is a collection of new films from Asian directors who have won PIFF's New Currents competition section in the past. Tentatively scheduled are Zhang Ming (Pregnancy), Jia Zhangke (an early version of Still Life), Okuhara Hiroshi (A Blue Automobile), K.N.T. Sastry (My Daughter), Lee Kang-sheng (Help Me), and Alireza Amini (The Riverside). PIFF will also launch a new annual section titled "Remapping of Asian Auteur Cinema", which focuses on Asian auteurs from the past that you or I are unlikely to have ever heard of. This year's three directors are Sohrab Shadid Saless from Iran (1970s), Ratana Pestonji from Thailand (1950s-60s), and Teguh Karya from Indonesia (1970s-80s).
Another big one-time event will be the Asian Pantheon section, which brings together 30 better- and lesser-known masterpieces from the history of Asian cinema. I don't have room to list all 30 here, but here are some samples: The Big Parade (Chen Kaige, China, 1985), The Horse Thief (Zhuangzhuang Tian, China, 1986), Dragon Inn (King Hu, Hong Kong, 1967), The Big City (Satyajit Ray, India, 1955), A River Named Titash (Ritwik Ghatak, India, 1973), The Cow (Dariush Mehrjui, Iran, 1964), Close up (Abbas Kiarostami, Iran, 1990), Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1949), Deep Desire of Gods (Shohei Imamura, Japan, 1968), Floating Clouds (Mikio Naruse, Japan, 1955), Tsogt Taij (M. Luvsanjamts, Mongolia, 1931), Manila: In the Claws of Light (Lino Brocka, Philippines, 1975), The Leopard (Nabil El-Maleh, Syria, 1972), The Terroriser (Edward Yang, Taiwan, 1986), Dust in the Wind (Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taiwan, 1986), Dark Heaven (Ratana Pestonji, Thailand, 1958), Tahir and Zuhre (Nabi Ganiyer, Uzbekistan, 1952). You get the idea... This particular program will also screen at the Busan Cinematheque for two weeks after the festival ends.
The 10th PIFF will also be hosting a special Asian Film Academy for film students from Asia, and will hold seven academic seminars on Korean and Asian cinema. This in addition to the planned retrospective on one of my favorite Korean directors, Lee Man-hee. It's either going to be heaven or hell on earth, I'm not sure which one... Heaven because there's so much to choose from, hell because even with no sleep, you can only choose a tiny portion of what's available.
UPDATE: Paolo Bertolin conducted an interview with Im Sang-soo, director of The President's Last Bang, at the recent Cannes Film Festival. Also, Adam Hartzell has submitted a review of Kim So-young's Women's History Trilogy, which came out on DVD this spring.
UPDATE: Darcy has written a review of Park Chul-soo's Green Chair, which gets its local release on June 10 after screening at various overseas festivals. The Korean Actors and Actresses page has also been given a long-planned facelift and (almost complete) update. New entries were also added for Ha Ji-won and Kwon Sang-woo. Finally, the Bibliography page features new listings on articles by Edward Douglas, George Fasel, Erika Franklin (2), Kim Tae-jong, Jonathan Marlow, Kathleen McHugh and Nancy Abelmann, Sun-young Moon, Nick North (2), Michael Shapiro, Chuck Stephens, and Alison Veneto (2).
UPDATE: Tom Giammarco has contributed a report from the 2005 Jeonju International Film Festival, including an interview with one of Korea's famous festival volunteers.
2005.06.03: Year of the Melodrama? This year appears to be shaping up as a particularly good year for romantic melodramas. In fact, some of the most interesting experimentation in genre this year is likely to come from films billed as "traditional" melodramas. So far we've already had Git ("Feathers in the Wind"), which may have been roundly ignored both in Korea and among major festivals, but which nonetheless ranks as one of the best Korean melodramas of recent years. Park Chul-soo's Green Chair might be considered a melodrama as well, though that's perhaps stretching the definition a bit. Much more is on the way, however.
Much has been written about the casting of star Bae Yong-joon in April Snow (pictured), but somewhat lost amidst all the hype surrounding the actor and the so-called "Korean Wave" is the fact that we're getting another film from Hur Jin-ho, who most recognize as Korea's leading director of melodrama. Hur's debut Christmas in August (1998) ranks as one of the timeless classics of the past ten years, while One Fine Spring Day (2001) represents a further step towards presenting melodrama in a down-to-earth, non-melodramatic fashion. The stars will likely continue to outshine the film itself when it is released across Asia in September, but I for one am quite excited to see what Hur gives us next.
I'm also beside myself with anticipation for You're My Sunshine, the second feature-length work from Park Jin-pyo (Too Young To Die). Starring the inimitable Jeon Do-yeon together with Hwang Jeong-min (A Good Lawyer's Wife), the film depicts a love story between a sex worker who contracts AIDS and the rural laborer who falls in love with her. Park himself is referring to the film as a traditional melodrama, but he says that in order to distinguish it from regular melodramas he hopes to present it "in as honest a way as possible." From another director, I'd consider that a throwaway comment, but I'm sure that Park is preparing something special for us.
Next we have news that Moon Seung-wook, the director of the low-budget science fiction film Nabi (2001), will soon open shooting on a film called Romance. His main actors will be Jo Je-hyun, the title character from Kim Ki-duk's Bad Guy; and Kim Ji-woo, who won much praise for her acting debut in This Charming Girl. I haven't been able to find many details about the plot, but I'm told that this too is a somewhat traditionally-shaped melodrama. Nonetheless, the cast and director alone are cause enough to hope for a high quality film.
Anther interesting title in the works is Sarangni from Jung Ji-woo, the director of Happy End (1999). Being a big fan of the latter film, I was highly looking forward to this new effort, though I've been told to expect something much more commercial than Happy End. Kim Jung-eun, who starred most recently in How To Keep My Love, stars as a woman in her thirties who falls in love with a teenage student. Meanwhile Min Kyu-dong, the co-director of Memento Mori (which was released two weeks after Happy End) is also returning with his second feature. This film, which translates as "The Most Beautiful Week of My Life", focuses on a range of couples of various ages, similar to Love, Actually (though the filmic style is supposed to be different). Eom Jung-hwa, Hwang Jeong-min, Im Chang-jung, and Kim Soo-ro are among the cast. Also adopting a similar structure is Sad Movie, produced by one of Korea's leading talent agencies, and starring pretty much their entire lineup: Jung Woo-sung, Im Soo-jung, Cha Tae-hyun, Yeom Jung-ah, and Shin Min-ah.
Love Talk meanwhile will be the second film by Lee Yoon-ki of This Charming Girl fame. The film is set, and will be shot in, the Korean-American community of Los Angeles. Finally, there's My Wedding Campaign, set in Uzbekistan and featuring actress Soo Ae from A Family and Jung Jae-young from Someone Special. The plot supposedly revolves around those schemes that match foreign brides with desperate Korean husbands. I'm a little nervous about this one, but we'll see how it turns out...
UPDATE: Adam conducted interviews with both Park Chul-soo and Byun Young-joo at the recent Far East Film Festival in Udine, Italy.
2005.05.23: Hong Sang-soo's Conte de Cinema Hong Sang-soo's sixth work has wrapped up its screenings at Cannes, and Hong returns to Korea without any awards (with many local news outlets branding him a two-time failure). Whereas his previous film, Woman is the Future of Man provoked outright hostility from mainstream film critics at Cannes the previous year, Conte de Cinema seems to have been more or less ignored by the English speaking press. Partly this may have been because it screened so close to the end of the festival (when everyone was exhausted), and partly it may have been that nobody knew what to say about the film. Although slightly more structured and serious-themed than Woman, it's still an unusual style of filmmaking that hides its creativity beneath layers of self-centered dialogue and passionless sex.
Conte de Cinema (Hong says "there is no English title," so we'll use the French title, which means "Tale of the Cinema") is structured in two parts. As you might expect, each part reflects upon and echoes the other in interesting ways. Actually, the relationship between the two parts is somewhat creative and unexpected, but you can expect that almost all reviews of this film will give it away in the plot summary. I'll avoid mentioning it here, but if you want to watch the film cold, I'd recommend holding off on reading other reviews until after you watch it.
I liked this movie quite a bit. Local critics seem pretty enthused as well: Nam Dong-cheol, the editor of weekly film magazine Cine21, calls it his favorite Hong work to date, and last week's issue has a 13-page spread devoted to the film. Most critics are giving it four stars.
Longtime fans will immediately notice something different about the first story, about a boy who runs into a girl he used to like. (They were unable to start a relationship in the past, we're told, but now they happily hook up for the night) Yes, there is the zoom lens that Hong is using for the first time, which he discussed in interviews while the film was still in production. But even more disconcerting than the zooming in and out is the voiceover narration. At first, it felt hugely out of place, and had me wondering, "What was Hong thinking?" But later on, everything clicks into place.
The humor, of course, is still there, though apparently it failed to register with much of the Cannes crowd. (Local critic Shim Young-seop, in contast, titled her review of the film "A comedy that makes you laugh so hard, tears come out") Yet it also veers unexpectedly into serious themes, i.e. death. The tension between the biting humor and the sobering reminder of one's mortality seems like a new development for Hong.
Last year when I interviewed Hong at Cannes, he said "I'm still negating, I haven't got to the point where I'm over this negation, where I've found these small beliefs that are absolutely affirmative -- something I really believe in and am ready to talk about." The fact that he has called this film his 'second debut' makes me suspect that he has found something positive to work around in this film. Yet in typical Hong fashion, Conte de Cinema doesn't broadcast any clear messages or morals for the viewer to take home. Only after carefully sifting through this work are viewers likely to find the tiny points of affirmation that Hong may -- or may not -- have included. (p.s. newcomers to this director's work are recommended to visit the Hong Sang-soo page.)
UPDATE: Adam has written a review of Kang Je-gyu's debut feature The Gingko Bed, from 1996.
2005.05.11: The Bow's unusual release strategy Tomorrow, Kim Ki-duk's 12th film The Bow screens as the opening film of the Un Certain Regard sidebar section at Cannes. On the same day, however, it will also be released in Korea, and in rather idiosyncratic fashion.
Since Kim easily raised all the money he needed to shoot his $1.2m film from foreign sources, he was able to retain the local distribution rights as well as the copyright for himself. This has a lot of advantages. For example, the production company that made Kim's first film Crocodile has since gone out of business, making it rather difficult to arrange for a DVD release, screenings on cable or pay TV, etc. Kim will never have that problem with The Bow for as long as he is alive.
It also means that Kim has complete control over how his film is marketed and released in Korea. And he's chosen a rather unusual method. With the exception of Bad Guy or possibly The Coast Guard, none of Kim's films have ever done particularly well in Korea. So this time he will open The Bow on only one screen in Seoul and one screen in Busan. (Regional areas will follow later, one screen per city.) He hopes the release to last a long time, though -- he's quoted as saying that if people keep coming, he'd love to have it keep screening until the end of the year. (Perhaps an unlikely scenario)
If he can make this work, it will be a really smart move from an economic perspective. Opening a film on many screens at the same time is quite expensive, since you have to make a new print for each screen. And this is, after all, Kim's own money, so it's in his best interest to make sure that release expenses are kept as low as possible. Being only one screen, it's likely to draw a lot of viewers per show, so the theater owner should be more willing to keep it playing for a long time. Even if Kim doesn't sell as many tickets as he would with a wide release, his profits will be higher.
In my personal opinion, a lot of art films in Korea are released on too many screens, so theater owners replace them with more commercial titles after only a week or two. It would be better to choose a smaller number of screens, in the hopes that they could then play longer. This is especially true for directors like Kim who are famous, and have their own (small) devoted fan base. Even on one screen, even if you don't spend much money on advertising, you're guaranteed a minimum number of viewers. Incidentally, the distributor of Hong Sang-soo's A Tale of the Cinema will also be adopting a similar strategy, offering the film to a small number of theaters in return for a commitment to screen it for a longer time.
The other aspect of Kim's release strategy that is drawing notice is his decision to not hold any advance screenings for the press. Kim is quoted as saying (paraphrased), "I think it's proper for journalists to buy a ticket like anyone else and watch it with regular viewers." Kim is famous for his antagonistic relationship with local critics, but it sounds like he's skipping the press screenings not because he's scared of bad reviews, but because he wants to sell a few extra tickets. In some ways this is Kim's ultimate revenge... Even if they trash his latest film, he'll still be pulling in $7 for each critic who sees it.
UPDATE: Darcy has reviewed Kim Dae-seung's Blood Rain, which opened at the top of the box office this weekend.
2005.05.07: Innocent Steps Despite the steady growth of Korea's star system, it seems that very few actors or actresses can be guaranteed to pull viewers into the theater. Jeon Ji-hyun's follow-up to My Sassy Girl -- horror film The Uninvited -- tanked at the box office, and Jang Dong-gun's fanbase showed little interest in watching him in Kim Ki-duk's The Coast Guard. Korean audiences seem to pay more attention to what a film is about, rather than just who is in it.
One wonders about Moon Geun-young, though. It seems like these days, she could turn a film about stamp collecting into a blockbuster hit. This is unlikely to last forever -- her cute routine is already getting pretty over-exposed in advertisements, and Innocent Steps might be the last time that her charm alone can turn a lame pony into a racehorse -- but this latest film marks another box office success to go along with My Little Bride (2004) and A Tale of Two Sisters (2003). I read some online comments by viewers that said if you take Moon Geun-young out of this latest film, you end up with a heap of garbage, and that pretty much sums it up.
In Innocent Steps she plays an ethnic Korean woman from China who comes to Seoul to participate in a "dance sport" competition (in Korea, the words "ballroom dancing" conjure up a rather negative image, and so people don't use that term). Soon we learn, however, that there's been a bit of trickery going on, and she actually doesn't know a thing about dancing. That leaves us the last 90 minutes of the film to watch her transform into an amazing dancer, fall in love with her dance partner, and lose her Chinese accent. (Actually the film deviates a little from the standard generic plotline, but the result is more annoyance than anything else)
To be honest, this movie suffers greatly from the fact that it keeps reminding you of Failan (2001)... for much of the running time I was feeling nostalgic for that much better film. Although Moon Geun-young has obviously put a lot of work into this role, and her dancing was rather good, the unbearably stupid sideplots involving other characters keep stealing screen time from her. We never even really get to see the knock-em-dead dance sequence that you'd expect at the end, unless you count the footage screened over the ending credits. All in all, I felt pretty cheated out of my 8000 won. And finally, this is yet ANOTHER Korean film that makes use of those awful CGI-generated fireflies. Please, make it stop!
UPDATE: Adam has contributed a review of Yang Yoon-ho's martial-arts biopic Fighter in the Wind (2004).
UPDATE: Darcy has added a review of Kim Jee-woon's Cannes-bound A Bittersweet Life (2005).
2005.05.04: Hong Sang-soo's Conte de Cinema added to Cannes competition The sixth film by Korean director Hong Sang-soo has been named as a late addition to the competition section at Cannes. This is the second year in a row that Hong will compete at Cannes, following the less-than-enthusiastic reception of his fifth film, Woman is the Future of Man. Conte de Cinema is structured in two parts, reflecting its Korean title which can mean either "a story about the (movie) theater" or "in front of the theater". I believe the official English title of this film is A Tale of the Cinema, a direct translation of the French title, but at this point Hong's production company is using the transliteration Keuk Jang Jeon as the title (according to the official transliteration system it would be "Geuk-jang-jeon").
Hong is reportedly calling this his "second debut", and for the first time he makes extensive and obvious use of a zoom lens. The film stars Kim Sang-gyeong (Turning Gate), Eom Ji-won (The Scarlet Letter), and Lee Ki-woo (The Classic).
UPDATE: Kyu Hyun's choice for worst Korean movie of 2004 is the Japanese-financed DMZ by Lee Kyu-hyung.
UPDATE: Kyu Hyun has written a review of the horror-comedy To Catch a Virgin Ghost (2004), and in addition a new page has been launched for films made between 1945 and 1959, with reviews of Hometown of the Heart (1949) by Adam and Money (1958) by Darcy.
2005.04.28: Korean films at Cannes It's that time of year again. Cannes has announced the selections for its latest edition, and in contrast to last year, no Korean films have been selected for the prestigious competition section. However, a total of five feature films and one short film will screen in other sections of the festival. Two of the films in particular should draw a fair amount of attention: Kim Ki-duk's 12th film, The Bow, was selected as the opening film of the Un Certain Regard sidebar section, and Kim Jee-woon's action-noir film A Bittersweet Life will receive an out of competition screening in the Official Selection. As an Official Selection film, Kim Jee-woon and his star Lee Byung-heon will be able to walk the red carpet at the festival's main theater.
Meanwhile, the Critics Week section will feature the oddly titled Chinese-Korean co-production Grain In Ear by Zhang Lu. The film tells the story of a Korean-Chinese woman living in rural China who sells kimchi for a living. I've seen this film, and it's really quite impressive... Slowly-paced for much of its running time, it packs a strong punch at the end.
Two more films screen in the Directors' Fortnight section: Im Sang-soo's controversial The President's Last Bang, and Ryoo Seung-wan's Crying Fist. Finally, the Cinefondation section for film students will screen Shim Min-young's 15-minute film Walk On a Little More.
All of these directors will be attending Cannes for the very first time, so with luck this will give their films some publicity and help them to disseminate along the festival circuit. (I won't be going to Cannes this year, so there won't be any festival reports, at least from me...)
Posted at 03:12 pm by dadel
(Writeups by Tom Giammarco
and Darcy Paquet)
WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL. Based on a popular stage play by Jang Jin, this film is set in a remote mountain village during the Korean War. The life of the villagers is turned upside down when soldiers from the North and South end up stranded and living in their community. To top things off, an American fighter pilot's plane crashes nearby, so he ends up joining them. Starring Shin Ha-kyun (Save the Green Planet), Jeong Jae-young (Someone Special), and Kang Hye-jung (Old Boy), this $8 million film will mark the feature debut of Park Kwang-hyun, who directed My Nike in the No Comment omnibus collection from 2002. It is scheduled to reach theaters on August 4.
THE WIG. ("Gabal") The director of the award-winning short Bread And Milk is preparing his feature-length debut. In it, Chae Min-seo (Champion) is Su-hyeon a girl suffering from cancer and Yu Seon (The Univited) plays her sister Ji-hyeon. Due to the treatments to fight her malignant cancer, Su-hyeon loses all of her hair. She takes to wearing a wig, although she cannot remember who gave it to her, to cover her baldness but the evil hairpiece begins to cause Su-hyeon to change. This horror movie is a Corea Entertainment film and will be released by CJ Entertainment on August 12.
BIG SCENE. ("Baksu-chilttae ddeonara") A copywriter is killed in an upscale hotel, and the case is assigned to detective Choi Yeon-gi. However, Choi soon discovers that a television crew looking for higher viewer ratings has decided to try to solve the case for themselves. With the crew broadcasting every development in the case on national TV, Choi has to try to save face and solve the crime before the TV crew does. A film by Jang Jin, one of Korea's most talented comic directors, based on his own play, and starring Cha Seung-won and Shin Ha-kyun. Scheduled for an August 12 release.
EMPRESS CHUNG. ("Wanghu-simcheong") An animated film by Nelson Shin that was co-produced between North and South Korea. Making use of North Korea's experienced animators (as have other countries from Europe), Shin has adapted the famous Korean folk tale of Shimchung, who sacrifices herself to save her blind father. Shin is famous in Korea for having created Korea's largest animation outsourcing company, which has done the drawings for many famous US animated works including The Simpsons. Empress Chung will mark the first instance of a roughly simultaneous release in North and South Korea. The northern version will be recorded in Pyongyang dialect by famous local actors. It will be released in North Korea in six theaters on August 15 and in South Korea on August 12.
CELLO. "At different times and in different places, one family who have all listened to a particular piece of music, die gruesome deaths." That quote is a translation of the original one-line plot synopsis I saw for Lee Woo-cheol's debut film. No doubt that the bright spot of this film will be the appearance of actress Lee Hyeon-ah (Woman Is The Future Of Man, The Scarlet Letter...) in the lead role. The only other cast member listed currently is newcomer Park Da-an. The film will grace theaters on August 18.
SHORT TIME. ("Yidaero, jugeul sun eopta") Lee Beom-su (Mr Gam's Victory) has taken on the part of the title character in a new comedy. Directed by first-time director Lee Yeon-eun, this project also involves the talents of experienced comedians Choi Sung-guk (Sex Is Zero) and Son Hyun-joo (Two Guys). It is the tale of police officer Lee Dae-ro who is a hero in the eyes of his 8-year-old daughter, Hyeon-ji (Byeon Ju-hyeon) but in reality is a dishonest and violent cop. Other cast members include Oh Ji-hye (Christmas In August) and Kang Seong-yeon (TV drama KAIST). This movie will be released on August 18.
THE CRESCENT MOON. ("Choseungdal-gwa bambae") A film by veteran director Jang Kil-soo (Silver Stallion) about a young boy who lives with his grandmother in a seaside village. One day his mother suddenly appears and drops off his younger sister. This low budget film stars Lee Yo-seob, Han Ye-rin, Kang Boo-ja, and popular TV actress Jang Seo-hee. Although this film screened at the Montreal World Film Festival a couple years ago, it is only getting its commercial release this year on August 25.
DUELIST. ("Hyeongsa") Lee Myung-Se is returning to directing movies after taking a break following his 1999 success, Nowhere To Hide. Set during the Chosun Dynasty, his latest film will be an action movie starring Ha Ji-won (Love So Divine, Phone) as Nam-sun and recently popular Kang Dong-won (Too Beautiful To Lie, Romance Of Their Own) as the mysterious 'Sad Eyes.' Bringing some solid experience to the cast will be veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki. Duelist, a Production M movie, began filming on November 30, 2004 and is currently scheduled for a September 9 release.
APRIL SNOW ("Wechul") Plans are already set to release this film not only in Korea, but simultaneously in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia as well. Negotiations are also underway with the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and China. While director Hur Jin-ho has already proved himself with One Fine Spring Day, the real draw for this film has been the casting of superstar Bae Yong-joon as the lead. His co-stars include Son Ye-jin (The Classic), Ryu Seung-su (Mr Gam's Victory) and Im Sang-hyo (I Believe In Jazz). Filming began in early February and the film will be ready for release in September. It is being produced by Blue Storm and distribution is being handled by a very happy Show East. Scheduled for a September 9 release.
TYPHOON. ("Taepung") Riding high on his popularity following his role in Taegukgi, Jang Dong-gun is prepared to pit himself against Lee Jung-jae (Oh Brothers) in a new film from director Kwak Kyeong-taek, the director of Friend and Champion. Exiled from North Korea, but with a fanatic hatred for South Korea, Jang's character, Myeong-shin, turns to naval piracy but his plans for revenge could result in deaths across both Koreas. Lee Jung-jae plays Se-jong, a navy seal who must stop the pirate from turning terrorist. Filming began at the beginning of September 2004 and took place in Busan, Thailand and Vladivostok. Expect this movie in theaters on December 23.
CHEUNGYEON. (literally, "Blue Sparrow") Sorum's director Yoon Jong-chan has started recreating the story of Korea's first woman pilot, Park Kyeong-won (1901-1933). Jang Jin-yeong (Singles) has been cast in the lead. Her love interest will be played by Kim Ju-hyeok (Singles, Mr. Handy) and Yu Min will be playing a talented, but arrogant, Japanese pilot. Filming started on March 29, 2004 in LA, Korea, Japan and China. This film has been delayed far beyond expectations, but there are plans to release it this fall.
SA-KWA. ("Sagwa") Kang Yi-kwon, the assistant director of Memento Mori and Three Friends has been given the opportunity by Chungeorahm Films to direct a feature length drama starring the great Moon So-ri. The story follows the relationship between Hyeong-jeong (Moon So-ri), recovering from a difficult breakup, and Sang-hwan (Kim Tae-woo). The Korean title "Sagwa" can be interpreted as either "apology" or "apple." The movie was originally scheduled for a May release, but this has now been pushed back.
MUDEUNG SANTAJAN, PARK HEUNG-SUK. (formerly "The Brother" or "Hyeong") Here's a name I haven't seen in a while. Park Woo-sang is returning as a director after his last film in 1997, KK Family List, flopped. Director Park has been directing films since the early 70's and is well known for his low-budget action flix like Chinatown 2, My Name Is Twin Bridges, and Don't Ask Where I'm Going. His latest movie stars Ko Ju-won, Kim Gyu-ri (Libera Me, Nightmare), Lee Jong-su (Phone, RU Ready), Lee Jae-eun (Jakarta, Segimal), Jang Tae-seong (Jail Breakers, Kick the Moon), Choi Seong-wook (Sex Is Zero) and Jo Dal-hwan (Sex Is Zero, My Boss My Hero). He has some actors this time, lets see if he can make a movie. This film continues to have its release delayed.
THE BIG SCENE. ("Baksu-chilttae tteonara") The director of Guns And Talks and the critically acclaimed Someone Special, Jang Jin, has prepared a new comedy/mystery. Produced by Another Sunday, the film stars the comedic talents of Cha Seung-won (Ghost House, Teacher Mr Kim...) and the dramatic ability of Shin Ha-gyun (Save The Green Planet, My Brother...). In this film, the police rush against time to solve a murder while television broadcasts make their investigation a prime-time show. Also involved in this project are Shin Gu (2009 Lost Memories, Foul King...), stage actor Ryu Seung-yong, and Park Jeong-ah (Madeleine). The current release date for this feature is August 12.
LOVE HOUSE. A film in which the initial plot synopsis sounds something like the 1996 movie Channel 69, an internet porno site operating out of LA, hires a young couple with connections to the Korean mafia. This movie is written and directed by graduate of the London Film School, Kim Pan-su, who had previously made his mark with two short films in 2001, Sleep Tight My Baby and Whispers In The Wind. The cast includes Park Sang-wook (Mr Butterfly, Another Public Enemy...), Ahn Gyu-ryeon, Jo Dong-hyeok (Hypnotized), Lee Seon-jin (A Moment To Remember) and Kim Byeol. This is an LJ Films production and will be released sometime at the end of 2005.
MR SOCRATES. Choi Jin-won, director of Family (the 2002 movie, not the one from 2004) and writer of Shit Up, has united with Courage Films and Ozone Films to create his second feature film. This one is an action/crime movie centering around an obnoxious police investigator who demonstrates no understanding of human relationships and no concern for anyone's feelings. Kim Rae-won (My Little Bride, ...ing) plays the main character 'Ku Dong-hyeok' and he is joined by Kang Shin-il (Silmido, Public Enemy...), Lee Jong-hyeok (Shin Seok-gi Blues...), Oh Kwang-rok (Oldboy, Spring Bears Love...) and Yun Tae-yeong (Dream Of A Warrior). Audiences can expect this film in theaters in October 2005.
SHADOWLESS SWORD. ("Muyeong Geom") Taewon Entertainment is producing a tragedy in which the greatest swordsman living along the coastal area stands as the last line of defense in the protection of the king. The film is being directed by Kim Yeong-joon who directed, five years ago, the movie Bicheonmoo, sometimes called "The Flying Warriors". Listed first in the credits, Lee Seo-jin is playing the king of the coastal town. Although his last movie credit was the notorious Ghost Taxi, Lee has gained a degree of respectability with his TV work such as Damo and Firebird. Yun So-yi (Arahan), Shin Hyun-joon (Bichunmoo), and Kim Ki-yeong round out the cast. The film, which is co-financed by New Line Cinema, is scheduled to be released in Korea in December 2005, with New Line then releasing it worldwide in 2006.
BATTLE BOYS. Director Park Yeong-cheol is debuting with his first feature length film. His only previous work of note was a short film in 2000 called Dacapo. But Season Entertainment has contracted him to shoot a youth-drama full of passion and breakdancing. The cast consists of Jang Solmaro, Uhm Seong-mo (Taegukgi) and Lee Ju-yeon. Although the information I have claims the movie will be released in June, that seems very unlikely since the same page also claims that filming is 50% complete as of mid-May. A more realistic estimate of its release would be late summer or early fall.
CLOSE TO YOU. ("Sarangni") Popular comic actress Kim Jeong-eun of How To Keep My Love has been cast in a new melodrama in which a thirty-something year old woman falls in love with a 17-year old boy. The director of the film is Jeong Ji-woo. His last film prior to this year was Happy End (1999), but he has recently directed A Boy With A Knapsack for If You Were Me 2. The boy will be played by Lee Tae-seong who had a small role in Mr Gam's Victory but who is primarily known for his work in commercials. The film is being produced by Cinema Service and will be released in August.
DAISY. Daisy is sure to spark interest among fans of Korean film. The movie is being directed by Hong Kong filmmaker, Andrew Lau Wai Keung of the Infernal Affairs series and it stars Jeon Ji-hyun (My Sassy Girl), Jung Woo-sung (Musa), Simon Yam (Moving Targets), Lee Sung-jae (Public Enemy), and Cheon Ho-jin (The Big Swindle). It's an urban melodrama action of a woman, the police detective she loves and a killer from whom there is no escape. Daisy is being produced by iFilm and may be completed for release this coming November.
PAILMYEONG HAN GIL-SOO. Based on the true story of Korea's first known double agent Han Gil-soo who, in the early 1940's, infiltrated the Japanese military command and learned of plans to bomb Pearl Harbor. He then made a desperate bid to bring that knowledge to the attention of the US navy. Helming this thriller/action film is director Lee In-soo making his first feature film. Taking the lead role as Han is Ahn Jae-mo (Humanist). The movie will also star Im Yu-jin (Reversal Of Fortune), veteran actor Han In-soo (The Secrets Of Heaven), Ko Jeong-il (Our Twisted Hero), and Seo Mi-yeong. The film is near completion but two months are needed to finish the computer graphics of the Pearl Harbor scenes so it is estimated that this Triumph Pictures film will be ready for release sometime in July.
WEDDING CAMPAIGN. ("Naui gyeolhon wonjeonggi") Someone Special's Jeong Jae-yeong and Yu Jun-sang of Tell Me Something co-star in a new romantic/comedy that involves two lonely men from a rural villages, who are desperate to marry, travelling to Uzbekistan to interview a possible bride played by Soo Ae (A Family). Hwang Byeong-guk is directing. Back in 1997, Hwang had created a forty-minute featurette called I Met A Korean In Japan. This Tube Pictures production will be released in November 2005.
BBALGAN SANTA. One of the screenwriters of JSA and Two North Korean Guys, Jeong Seong-san, once again turns his eyes north of the border and directs a new comedy/drama about North Korea with a holiday twist. Having never celebrated Christmas, chaos follows after presents are dropped into North Korea. The movie stars Kim Hwa-yeong, Lee Jae-min and Park Eun-bin. Although no release date has been set, it seems safe to assume that this Yeonghwasa Saem film will be ready in time for the holiday season.
BEAST AND THE BEAUTY. ("Yasuwa minyeo") CO Films has selected Lee Gye-byeok, a first-time director, the oversee the latest film starring top star Ryu Seung-beom (Crying Fist). The film is a romantic comedy in which Ryu's character Ku Dong-geon has fallen in love with the beautiful Hae-ju (Shin Min-a of A Bittersweet Life). The problem is Gu's looks are somewhat average and their relationship is threatened when a handsome rival (played by Kim Kang-woo of Springtime) makes his move. Also appearing in the film is Ahn Sang-tae, a popular comedian from KBS2's Gag Concert and who recently made a guest appearance in Little Brother. This movie will be released in November 2005.
MARRYING THE MAFIA 2. ("Gamunui yeonggwang 2") The sequel to Jeong Heung-su's surprise box office hit in 2002. This time though, the director is Jeong Yong-gi who previously gave us The Doll Master. In this movie, Shin Hyun-joon (Face) plays the third son of a powerful family who is under heavy pressure to find the perfect wife. He believes that he has finally succeeded in that task, but his family may be shocked to learn that she is the daughter of a district attorney. Oh! Lala Sisters' Kim Won-hee co-stars and this Taewon Entertainment comedy also features Kim Su-mi (Mr. Gam's Victory), Tak Jae-hun (Everybody Has Secrets), Lim Hyeong-jun (The Doll Master), and Shin Yi (To Catch A Virgin Ghost).
8WOLUI ILYOILDEUL. A director of several short films, including God and Dreams Come True? Lee Jin-woo is about to launch his first feature length film in conjuction with the production company, Indiestory. The movie stars Yang Eun-yong (KT), Im Hyeong-guk (Quick Service, Debtor and other short films) and Oh Jeong-se (Red Eye, Into The Mirror...) When a woman falls into a coma following a car accident, her husband flips through her journal and learns that she has been writing about another man. Filled with jealousy, he sets about trying to find him. Filming should finish up long before its scheduled opening at the Seoul Independent Film Festival in December. A general release is planned after that event.
THE WINDMILL PALM FOREST. ("Jongryeonamu Sup") Yu Sang-wook is making a comeback after seven years of not directing films. His last film, Mystery of the Cube was back in 1998 and prior to that he directed to other horror/thrillers, Piano Man and Absolute Love. Perhaps trying to break away from the horror genre, Yu has entered the realm of melodrama with his new feature. It is the story of a man telling the tale of his one true love to a woman whom he recently dated. He relates his story while the two are riding a bus to the east coast. The man is played by Kim Min-jong (Romantic Assassin, Mr Butterfly...) and his lovers, past and present, are played by Kim Yu-mi (Phone, Doll Master...). Other cast members include Jo Eun-suk (Plastic Tree, Naked Being...), Lee Ah-hyeon (TV actress) and Lee Kyeong-yeong (Again, Maria and the Inn...). For further plot information, visit www.windmillpalm.net where you can read the screenplay, up to scene 72, in English. A Cham and Jonathan Yu Film Company production. This has been selected as the closing film of the 2005 Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan).
POLICE STORY. ("Kangryeok 3Ban") Unit 3 of the Division of Violent Crimes is known for its passion, drive and the tight bonds of friendship among its members. However, with the poorest arrest record on the force, everyone is surprised when they are assigned to take down the largest, most dangerous criminal organization in the city. This is the plot of the debut feature from the assistant director of Break Out, Son Hee-chang. Cast in this action film are Kim Min-joon (A Letter From Mars), Heo Jun-ho (Silmido, Libera Me...), Jang Hang-seon (Mr Gam's Victory, Ghost House...) and Nam Sang-mi (She's On Duty, Spy Girl...). This Cinenet Production will be released in September 2005.
NUNBUSHIN HARU. The production company Indiestory has enlisted three young directors to create an omnibus describing interaction among individuals of Korean and Japanese heritage. Director Kim Sang-ho (Into The Mirror) is filming "Bomulseom" in which a Japanese woman goes to Jeju Island to find the remains of her grandfather. Kim Jong-kwan, a director of short films including Tell Her I Love Her is making "Eomma Chaja Sammalri" and Min Dong-hyeon (Eraser Wrestling...) is directing the romantic story of two people from different countries meeting at the airport in "Gonghang Namnyeo". This digital omnibus project will be released in theaters October 2005.
PRINCESS AURORA. (working title) ("Aurora gongju") Actress Pang Eun-jin, who the press dubbed the 'Korean Jodi Foster' for her work in movies like Address Unknown and 301/302, will now be trying her hand at directing with this new project from East Film. It's the story of a woman, played by Uhm Jung-hwa (Singles, Mr Handy) who finds herself being drawn into the mystery surrounding a series of unexplained killings. Moon Seong-geun is also involved in the project, taking the part of Detective Oh who is leading the homicide investigation. Filming should wrap up by the end of June and the film is expected to be released this October.
CHODAE. A new thriller is currently being filmed featuring the talents of Chae Hee, most recently seen as the silent 'houseguest' in 3-Iron, and Seong Hyeon-ah of The Scarlet Letter. The movie is being helmed by Jeong Heung-sun, returning after the dismal failure of My Wife Is A Gangster 2. Perhaps the performance of that movie is what led director Jeong to hint that he was hoping to get away from comedies and was excited when he read the script of Chodae, calling it a 'nearly perfect suspense/thriller.' Filming began at snowy Yongpyeong Ski Resort in mid-March and this Gamun Cinema movie will be released into theaters at the beginning of August.
DIFFERENT ROMANCE. ("Gwang-shik-i dongsaeng Gwang-tae") Kim Hyeon-seok, director of YMCA Baseball Team and assistant director of The Isle, is currently directing a new romantic comedy. The story examines the different styles of dating between timid Gwang-shik (Kim Ju-hyeok of Mr Handy), who cannot tell the woman he loves that he loves her, and his younger brother Gwang-tae (Bong Tae-gyu of A Good Lawyer's Wife) who cannot settle for just loving one woman. Taking the roles of the female leads are Lee Yo-won (Take Care Of My Cat) and Kim Ah-jung (Who's Got The Tape). This movie from MK Pictures will be released sometime in the summer of 2005.
TEXTURE OF SKIN. ("Salgyeol") Lee Sung-gang, the director of the award-winning animated film My Beautiful Girl, Mari, has made his first live-action film. Texture of Skin focuses on a photographer who restarts an affair with his ex-lover, who is now married. At the same time, he finds himself having visions of the woman who lived in his apartment in the past. Co-produced by Sodom Production and East Film, and sold internationally by Mirovision, this film is scheduled to be complete in mid-2005.
TIME BETWEEN THE DOG AND WOLF. ("Gae-wa neukdae sai-ui shigan") Jeon Soo-il, director of the independent films Wind Echoing in my Being, The Bird That Stops in the Air, and My Right to Ravage Myself, returns with his fourth major work. A filmmaker returns to his hometown after twenty years, and gets to know a woman who is looking for her lost sibling. The film's title comes from a French expression referring to the moment after sunset when it is too dark to tell whether the animal in front of your eyes is a dog or a wolf. Starring An Kil-gang and Kim Seon-jae, this film was completed in spring 2005.
RUNNING WILD. ("Yasu") A lot of faith is being shown in Kim Seong-su, the man who was the assistant director of Failan and Trio. (Not to be confused with the director of Musa, who has the same name) He is being entrusted by Popcorn Films with a big-budget movie that is already being called a blockbuster. Part of that reason has to do with the cast which includes Kwon Sang-woo (Love So Divine) and Yu Ji-tae (Oldboy). Kwon Sang-woo will be taking on a very different role than what he has done in the past. This time he is playing a tough, short-tempered cop who has teamed up with a by-the-books lawyer (Yu) to take down a vicious ring of organzied criminals. This movie also stars Yu Dong-geun (Marrying The Mafia) and will hit the theaters in December.
SAD MOVIE. Some of Korea's most popular stars are pooling their collective talent and appearing in this iFilm 'omnibus' of melodramatic stories that early reports indicate will be, as the title indicates, quite moving as we watch several couples struggle with their relationships. The director leading the cast is Kwon Jong-gwan (S-Diary), returning for his second feature film. The impressive cast includes Jung Woo-sung (Mutt Boy), Im Su-jeong (A Tale Of Two Sisters), Cha Tae-hyeon (My Sassy Girl), Yeom Jeong-ah (The Big Swindle), Shin Min-ah (A Bittersweet Life), Son Tae-yeong (Ghost House) and Lee Ki-woo (The Classic). The film started cranking in mid-April and will be released in the autumn.
YOU'RE MY SUNSHINE. ("Neoneun Nae Unmyeong") Park Jin-pyo, director of Too Young To Die has convinced top star Jeon Do-yeon to sign on to star in his next film. Ms Jeon takes the role of Eun-ha, a sex worker who contracts AIDS. Hwang Jeong-min (A Good Lawyer's Wife) co-stars as Seok-jung, Eun-ha's sincere and committed love interest. While no release date has been set of this film by b.o.m. productions, it will open sometime in the fall of 2005.
NAESAENGAE GAJANG AREUMDAWOON ILJUIL. Memento Mori's director, Min Kyu-dong has begun making a film inspired by the US/UK co-production Love Actually.... He has cast Lim Chang-jung (Jakarta), Uhm Jeong-hwa (Singles), Kim Su-ro (Dance With The Wind) and Ju Hyun (A Family) in the primary roles. The film follows the ups and downs in the relationships of six couples, ranging in age from their teens through their sixties, as they fall in and out of love. Director Min's second feature-length film is being produced by Doosaboo Films.
HOST & GUEST. ("Bangmungaek, juin-doeda") This feature debut by Shin Dong-il, who saw his short film The Holy Family screen at the Cannes Film Festival several years back, tells the story of a part time film lecturer who has recently divorced his wife. Shot for just $170,000, it stars Kim Jae-rok and Kang Ji-hwan. Produced by LJ Film.
GEOCHILMARU - THE SHOWDOWN. ("Geochilmaru") A low-budget action film shot on digital video about eight masters in various martial arts who are summoned to a secluded mountain area for a competition. The winner of the competition will then go on to battle the mysterious host of the event, who is known only as Geochilmaru. Featuring singer Kim C, this feature is complete and will be released in the fall by Sponge, a small distributor of foreign films that is moving into local production.
YOON BAND PROJECT. ("Yoon Do-hyun Band Project") Kim Tae-yong, one half of the directing duo behind Memento Mori, returns with this rock documentary about a popular Korean rock band that tours Europe. A glimpse of the Yoon Band's daily lives and the challenges they face as they move from city to city. Produced by Sponge, and scheduled for an October release.
MOMMY, DEAREST. ("Eomma eolgul yeppeunneyo") The talented Moon So-ri (Oasis) is once again proving herself to be the most versatile actress in Korea and is almost unrecognizable in her role in a film directed by Park Heung-shik (My Mother The Mermaid). This bittersweet film, described as being sad but laced with a warm humor, focuses on the violent times following the death of President Park Jung-hee in 1979 as seen through the eyes of a young man in middle school. The cast includes Lee Jae-eung (The President's Barber) and Yun Jin-seo (Mr Gam's Victory, Oldboy). This Bluestorm film will be released sometime in spring 2005.
WAY TO GO, ROSE. The third feature film by arthouse director Kim Eung-su (Desire) is, unexpectedly, a comedy. Starring Kim Tae-hoon and Choi Ban-ya, the film tells the story of a married couple who try re-igniting their sex life on their second anniversary, only to end up in an argument about the wife's former boyfriend that leads to their divorce. Two years after their divorce, they meet again to try to make sense of what has happened to their lives. A co-production between Kim Eungsu Film and Jowoo Film.
LOVE IS A CRAZY THING. ("Yeonae-neun michin jishida") From Sidus Pictures, the production company behind Marriage is a Crazy Thing, although this film appears to have a completely different storyline, cast and crew. Actress Jeon Mi-seon (who played Song Kang-ho's girlfriend in Memories of Murder, and Han Suk-kyu's old flame in Christmas in August) will take on her first lead role after 16 years in the movies, playing a housewife working part-time in a "phone room" who discovers a new hope for life after entering into an affair. Debut director Oh Seok-geun takes the megaphone.
AACHI & SSIPAK. An animated film from director Joe Bum-jin about a futuristic world powered entirely by human feces. With the government anxious to control this sole, important source of energy, they install special sensors on its citizens' anuses to monitor production, while controlling the populace by distributing addictive popsicles. This quirky feature animation has already been pre-sold to multiple countries, and MTV has licensed rights to create an animated series on the same theme and characters. This film is now reportedly completed.
DRAGON WARS. Directed by Shim Hyung-rae (Yongary, Tirano's Claws). In modern-day LA, something huge is waking beneath the city. Imoogi is stirring and waiting to destroy civilization but the key to defeating him lies 500 years in the past. Odd that in its very well developed homepage, a lot of detail is given to the various CGI monsters, but not a single mention is made of the human cast... This film finished shooting in late 2004, and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2005.
Release Date Not Scheduled Yet
ROAD. ("Gil") A movie from director Bae Chang-ho (My Heart, Last Witness, Deep Blue Night...) and starring Bae Chang-ho. Director Bae has appeared as an actor in two movies previously: Gagman and Love Story, and here he plays a wandering blacksmith who meets up with a young woman who brings back memories of his past. A product of Lee Shin Productions, the film is complete and is waiting for its premiere. It screened as the Closing Film of the 2004 Gwangju International Film Festival in September.
STAR RUNNER. Kim Hyun-ju and Oh Geon-ho (TV's Meteor Garden) are united under the direction of Lee In-hang (a Hong Kong director working under the name of Daniel Lee who recently directed Fighter Blue). In this film, a woman goes to Hong Kong to teach Korean and falls in love with one of her students who dreams of being a kickboxing champion. This film has already been released in Hong Kong, and is waiting for a Korean release.
WINTER STORY. ("Gyeol iyagi") Director Shin Sang-ok, who has been directing movies since the early 1950s including such classics as Romance Papa, Youth '75, and Pulgasari, returns with a new drama of a man suffering from senility. As his condition worsens, his relationships with his family deteriorates as well, especially the relationship with his daughter-in-law. Starring veteran actor Shin Gu (whose recent works include YMCA Baseball Team and Christmas in August) and Kim Ji-suk. Status: Finished, but waiting for release.
Posted at 03:09 pm by dadel