Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Korean Cinema News (11/17-11/23, 2011)

A wealth of fantastic interviews this week and a variety of trailers, features, and festival news items to boot.



Big Budget Movie Yeongasi Begins Filming
Filming for big-budget disaster movie Yeongasi commenced on Sunday, November 13th in Gyeongbuk province in eastern Korea.  The film, inspired by real-life parasites called Yeongasi or "horsehair worms", is top-billed by award-winning actor Kim Myeong-min (Detective K, 2011; Beethoven Virus, 2008), who plays Jae Hyuk, a pharmaceutical agent who struggles to save his family from the epidemic caused by the mutated worms.  (, November 16, 2011)

Veteran Actor Kim Chu-ryeon Found Dead
Actor Kim Chu-ryeon, who starred in classic films including Lovers in the Rain (1976) and Winter Woman (1977), was found dead in his apartment on Tuesday 8th November in an apparent suicide.  (Hanguk Yeonghwa, November 13, 2011)

Two Different Gay Films to Arrive on K-Film Scene
After this year’s success of Miracle of Jongno Street, the nation’s first gay-themed documentary, Korea’s film scene sees the arrival of two very different queer films.  One is the feature debut of So Joon-moon, one of the four gay men featured in director Lee Hyuk-sang’s documentary released in June.  (The Korea Herald, November 17, 2011)

Korean Film Festival Kicks Off at Alhamra
A two-day Korean Film Festival kicked off at Alhamra here on Thursday. The event was organised by Embassy of the Republic of Korea and Lahore Arts Council (Alhamra). A large number of citizens were present at the occasion.  (The Daily Times, November 18, 2011)

Spotlight on Contemporary Korean Cinema: Part 1
Strategically coinciding with the American Film Market and AFI Fest this year, the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles (KOFFLA) organized a three-day spotlight on contemporary Korean cinema, sponsored by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).  The spotlight consisted of a retrospective of young filmmaker-on-the-rise Jang Hun, who now has three feature films under his belt; two debut feature films, Ordinary Days (2010, Inan) and Re-encounter (2010, Min Yong-geun); and one of Lee Chang-dong’s more recent films, the award-winning Secret Sunshine (2007).  (Next Projection, November 17, 2011)

Korea Film Awards Cancelled
Holiday season means awards season, but this year will have one less ceremony with the cancellation of the Korea Film Awards.  Hosted by MBC, the show would have been in its ninth year after being established in 2002, but ran into issues with “sponsorship and other complicated problems.”  (dramabeans, November 13, 2011)

Mark Morris on Lee Man-hee and the Flowering of Korean Film in the 1960s
In order to get a Western perspective on Korean cinema, I visited the Korean Cultural Centre in London in an event which was part of the 2011 London Korean Film Festival, to listen to Dr. Mark Morris speak on the subject (Friday, November 11).  Dr. Morris is from the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Cambridge University.  He normally lectures on Japanese Cultural History, so I was interested in what he thought about Korean cinema.  (London Korea Links, November 21, 2011)

Korean film PUNCH heading for the US
If you’re Stateside, and perhaps just in the mood for something other than gore and things that go bump in the night (you know, those odd occasions) then news that the popular Korean comedy movie Punch, will be punching its way to a U.S theatre near you....may appeal.  CJ entertainment is set to drop it into a nationwide release from Dec 2nd and all the release dates/locations are on the flicks official site.  (, November 18, 2011)

The Crucible sets official English title as Silenced
Korean movie The Crucible has decided on its English title and is being released in North America.
Distributor CJ Entertainment revealed, The Crucible has been released as Silenced in 15 cinemas in major cities in North America.  (, November 20, 2011)

Korean Cinema Today’s November Issue
The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has launched the November issue of the Korean Cinema Today webzine at and it set to launch the iPad version on Nov. 28.  In the November issue, Korean Cinema Today’s top featurelooks at the overseas projects of four leading Korean directors – Park Chan-wook’s Stoker , Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, Kim Jee-woon’s The Last Stand, and Ryoo Seung-wan’s The Berlin File.  (KOBIZ, November 21, 2011)

A Mixed Review for Lee Man-hee, the Classic Film Director for LKFF 2011
Most years, the London Korean Film Festival aims to include some classic films, usually from the 1960s, within its schedule.  This is a valuable feature for UK cinemagoers, some of whom may be of the impression that Korean film started with Shiri. This year Lee Man-hee was featured, with two films: A Day Off (1968) and Assassin (1969).  (London Korean Links, November 20, 2011)

Colin Firth Acknowledges Being 'Approached' for Oldboy
Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth (The King's Speech, 2010; A Single Man, 2008; Love Actually, 2005) acknowledged in an interview with the Moviefone website that he was "approached" to star in Spike Lee's remake of Park Chan-Wook's live-action film Oldboy (2003).  However, he stayed mum on whether he agreed to the role or even if he and the producers are in active discussions.  (animenewsnetwork, November 19, 2011)
With eight feature films and a fair few shorts under his belt, Park has established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the world cinema stage.  He’s a risk-taker, confident enough to throw himself to the wolves knowing that he’ll come out unscathed.  This is, after all, the man whose Berlin Golden Bear-winning short, Night Fishing (2011), was filmed entirely on an iPhone.  Eager to scramble out of his comfort zone, he’s recently launched himself across to Pacific to direct his first English-language film, Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman.  (, November 18, 2011)

Recorder Exam wins DGA Student Filmmaker Award
Korean filmmaker Bora Kim-s The Recorder Exam won the Directors Guild of America (DGA) award for Best Woman Student Filmmaker in the East Region.  A 28-minute short film, The Recorder Exam follows a nine-year-old girl as she learns to play the recorder for a test.  The film portrays the contradictions in Korean society in 1988, conflict between family members, and the girl’s inner development.  (KOBIZ, November 16, 2011)

Rotterdam Claims Asian Trio
A trio of Asian films are among the first five films announced for competition at the upcoming International Film Festival Rotterdam (25 Jan – 5 Feb 2012).  It includes the festival's first 3-D film in competition, A Fish, also a first feature, by South Korea's Park Hong-min.  The film, an absurdist tale about a man seeking his shaman wife, first played in last month's Busan International Film Festival.
 (Film Business Asia, November 21, 2011)

CGV has recently opened two brand new multiplexes equipped with IOSONO’s 3D sound systems.  CGV Cheongdam Cinecity and CGV Yeongdeungpo become the flagship theaters for CGV’s 3D cinema sound.  (Iosono Sound, November 15, 2011)

Opening Gala + K-pop Concert, London Korean Film Festival 2011
A video of the opening proceedings of the recently wrapped London Korean Film Festival, which included a SHINee concert and a War of the Arrows screening. (, November 18, 2011)

Kim Ki-duk's Arirang and Amen Both to Come Out Soon
Kim Ki-duk's Arirang and Amen are being released side by side.  This special event, which is being held at Cinecube in Seoul, will go on for two weeks from December 8th to the 21st.  (, November 22, 2011)

Cinema Nouveau Welcomes the Korean Film Festival
As the only dedicated ‘Art House’ movie complex in South Africa, Cinema Nouveau will screen independent, alternative and art cinema content from cultures all across the world. As such, Cinema Nouveau presents the 'Korean Film Festival', releasing exclusively at the Brooklyn Cinema Nouveau on 28 November and the V&A Cinema Nouveau on 5 December.  (, November 22, 2011)

South Korea’s Silenced Speak
South Korea’s patriarchal society has often pressured victims of sexual crimes to keep quiet.  But a blockbuster movie revealing the abuse of children could help change this.  (The Diplomat, November 22, 2011)


LKFF: Ryoo Seung-wan Interview
Since the release of his first feature film, Die Bad, in 2000, Ryoo Seung-wan has regularly been referred to as the "Action Kid" of Korean Cinema.  However, though a number of his subsequent features could generally be described as action films, that description ultimately does the director and his work rather a dis-service.  (Hangul Celluloid, November 18, 2011)

Listening to Korean Cinema: Podcast Without Honor and Humanity
Launched in early 2011 Podcast Without Honor and Humanity hasn’t even celebrated its first anniversary but having reached its 39th episode has managed to spawn more episodes than some podcasts produce in two or three years.  A consistently entertaining show which has the occasional guest-host but is often helmed solely by self-effacing host Jake Feltner (aka Jake McHugeLarge), Podcast Without Honor and Humanity provides a knowledgeable perspective on Asian cinema in a manner which manages to be both accessible and – on occasion – is unashamedly geeky.  (New Korean Cinema, November 21, 2011)
In just a little over a decade, Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho has achieved no mean feat: with the most minimal filmography among his filmmaker colleagues – only four feature films – he has made his mark as one of the most exciting, articulate, and multifaceted directors, not only of his generation but of contemporary world filmmakers today. (asia pacific arts, November 18, 2011)

Yunjeong Kim, Director of International Sales, Finecut
It’s been 11 years since Yunjeong Kim at Finecut, a Seoul-based film company specializing in overseas sales and financing, has joined the Korean film industry.  From her earlier days at Cineclick Asia to her current title as the Director of International Sales, Kim still enjoys every bit of her job discovering new films.  KOBIZ caught up with Kim after her recent trip to the American Film Market(AFM).  (KOBIZ, November 18, 2011)

Animation Is the Future: Yeun Sang-ho
It is a bright Wednesday morning in Seoul, and a man wearing a pair of thick-framed glasses walks into the quiet cafe near Hongdae.  In spite of his toned-down manner and geek-like vibe, director Yeun Sang-ho cannot hide the twinkle of excitement in his eyes.  (The Korea Herald, November 21, 2011)

Honorary BIFF Chief Awaits His Film Debut
He is soft-spoken, extremely polite and remembers your name only after a quick phone call.  Meet Kim Dong-ho, the founding director of Busan International Film Festival and one of the pioneer figures in the Korean film industry.  (The Korea Herald, November 23, 2011)




(Modern Korean Cinema, November 21, 2011)

Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

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