Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Korean Cinema News (02/23-02/29, 2012)

Bit of slow news week for Korean cinema but some interesting tidbits nonetheless, including some festival news and some new stills, posters and trailers for anticipated films.


KOFIC to Re-open Seoul Media Center
The Korean Film Council is re-opening its media education institute, “Seoul Media Center,” in Chungmuro district in Pil-dong, Seoul, on Thursday, the organization said.  The institute was first established as "Mediact" in 2002 on the fifth floor of the Ilmin Museum of Art building near Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.  (The Korea Herald, February 22, 2012)

Florence Korea Film Fest to open with Always
The 10th Florence Korea Film Fest in Italy has announced it will open with Song Il-gon’s Always, last year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Opening Film.  The festival will screen 32 feature films and 24 shorts during its nine-day run, and close with Kim Ki-duk’s Arirang, which made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year.  (KoBiz, February 24, 2012)

New Kim Ki-duk Film
Director Kim Ki-duk, producer of the film Rough Cut, is creating a second project called Actor's Cut.  In a sequel to Rough Cut, which starred So Ji-sub and Kang Ji-hwan, the new movie is based on the collapse of a popular star actor.  It is expected to express Kim's shocking and unique style.  The distributor for the movie told "TV Report" on February 28th, "The cast hasn't been decided upon yet because we are still in the preparation process".  (, February 28, 2012)

After a bit of a quiet stretch Korean director Kim Ki-duk is returning to the sort of gritty dark drama where he first made his name with the upcoming Pieta.  Jo Min-soo and Lee Jeong-jin star in the director's eighteenth feature.  (Twitch, February 28, 2012)

20th Century Fox to Directly Invest in Korean Film Industry
Film distributor 20th Century Fox has announced its plan to directly invest in the South Korean movie industry.  As the first U.S. major film company to directly enter the South Korean market, Fox will produce five Korean movies, each costing up to five billion won, starting this year.  The movies will be sold around the world through Fox’s own distribution network.  (KBS, February 28, 2012)

Lee OK For Mr. K
Nowhere to Hide (1999) director Lee Myung-se is to direct comedy spy action film Mr. K from next month, his first feature film in five years.  The film will star Seol Gyeong-gu, Moon So-ri, Go Chang-seok and heart-throb Daniel Henney.  The confused identity story sees a spy undercover in a foreign country while his wife, not knowing his disguise, also gets involved.  (FilmBiz Asia, February 29, 2012)

Korean Films in the Hong Kong Film Festival
The 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) has announced their line-up to include five feature-length films from Korea - Choked, Stateless Things, Moving, From Seoul to Varanasi and The Day He Arrives.  HKIFF has also produced and will premiere four short films under the collective title of Beautiful 2012.  Korean director Kim Tae-yong (Late Autumn) joins China’s Gu Changwei, Taiwan’s Tsai Ming-Liang, and Hong Kong’s Ann Hui in this project.  (KoBiZ, February 29, 2012)


E J-Yong Roundtable Interview
Prior to a KCCUK screening of Actresses, acclaimed director E J-Yong sat to down to a group interview with Hangul Celluloid, MiniMiniMovies, London Korea Links and Eastern Kicks.  (Hangul Celluloid, February 23, 2012)


Doomsday Book



Hand in Hand

The Thieves


(Modern Korean Cinema, February 26, 2012)

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. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

March 2012 Korean Releases

This monthly features previews the coming month's attractions in Korean cinema.  All of these monthly posts are available in an archive on the Upcoming Releases page.

March 1

Eighteen and Nineteen
Stateless Things

March 8

Romance Joe
Taking Architect
The Dearest
Sympathy for Us

March 15

Russian Coffee
Fighting Family
The Beat Goes On
Home Sweet Home

March 22 

Planet of Snail
Architecture 101
Hand in Hand

March 29

Over Her Dead Body

Eighteen and Nineteen

Director:  Bae Gwang-soo
Cast:  Yoo Yeon-seok, Baek Jin-hee
Synopsis:  Eighteen and Nineteen chronicles the youthful scandals of Hoya and Seoya, fraternal twins who are going through their last winter before becoming adults.
Release date:  March 1

Stateless Things

Director:  Kim Kyung-mook
Cast:  Lee Paul, Yeom Hyeon-joon, Kim Sae-byeok
Synopsis:  Stateless Things crosscuts between the lives of two young men, one an illegal immigrant from North Korea stuck in dead-end jobs, the other the kept boy of a married businessman stifling in a swanky apartment.
Release date:  March 1

Stateless Things premiered at the Venice Film Festival last September and has received a number of positive notices since that time as well as screenings at many other prestigious events.


E-Film Blog
Spaceship Broken


Director:  Byeon Jeong-yoo
Screenwriter:  Byeon Jeong-yoo
Cast:  Lee Seon-gyoon, Kim Min-hee, Jo Seong-ha
Synopsis:  When a woman (Kim Min-hee) disappears overnight.  Her nervous, cartoonist boyfriend (Lee Sun-gyun) searches for her, only to come across some dark secrets.
Release date:  March 8

Judging by the below trailer Helpless could be another solid addition to Korea's crime thriller genre.  Based on the Japanese novel Kasha by author Miyuki Miyabe, known as the Queen of Crime Fiction.


Scene in Korea
The Korea Times
Yonhap News Agency

Romance Joe

Director:  Lee Kwang-kuk
Screenwriter:  Lee Kwang-kuk
Cast:  Kim Yeoung-pil, Shim Dong-mi
Synopsis:   Romance Joe is an assistant director but after an actress commits suicide, he quits his job.  He returns to his hometown after suicidal thoughts begin to creep into his mind.  At home he meet a boy whose mother is in Japan and happens to be his first love.
Release date:  March 8

Romance Joe had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival last October during which it won a Citizen Reviewers' Award and has subsequently been featured in the Seoul Independent Film Festival and the International Film Festival of Rotterdam.  The film is Lee Kwang-kuk's debut as a feature filmmaker after having worked as an assistant director on a number of Hong Sang-soo films.


Director:  Jang Jung-ho
Screenplay:  Jang Jung-ho
Cast:  Mun Jeong-ung, Kim Chang-hwan, Sin Jae-seung, Kim Tae-yoon
Synopsis:  One day, Dong-jo wakes up drunk on a subway on his way to his hometown, where he is to receive an award from an annual spring literary contest.  But then he soon he's lost his bag.  He visits an old friend to borrow money and suddenly his old memories return.
Release date:  March 8

Talking Architect

Director:  Jeong Jae-eun
Synopsis:  A documentary about an architect and his fight to create a better society through architecture.
Release date:  March 8

The Dearest

Director:  Kim Sun-ah, Park He-sui
Screenplay:  Kim Sun-ah, Park He-sui, Shin Hye-jin
Cast:  Hwang Eun-jin, Han Hyo-jeong, Jeong Yoo-jeong, Sang Hyeon-joo
Synopsis:  In-hye and Sun-mi visit their hometown only to discover that their old friend Eun-sil died while giving birth.  While the town is in an uproar over the orphaned child, it is up to In-hye and Sun-mi to look after it.
Release date:  March 8

Sympathy for Us

Director:  Choi Young-seok
Screenplay:  Choi Young-seok
Cast:  Lim Joon-sik, Lim Chae-seon, Kim Sang-ho
Synopsis:  Three friends play a concert at a restaurant in order to  surgically remove a spot on for Yo-da's face.  But after messing up the show, Yo-da takes a job at a deep-sea fishing vessel.
Release date:  March 8


Director:  Kim Joong-hyun
Synopsis:  The story of a family fraying at the seems.
Release date:  March 8

Kim Joong-hyun's first film, previously an assistant director on Family Ties (2006), premiered at Busan in 2011 and has since been showcased at the Seoul Independent Film Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.

Russian Coffee

Director:  Jang Yoon-hyeon
Cast:  Joo Jin-mo, Kim So-yeon, Park Hee-soon, Yoo Seon
Synopsis:  A tale of the attempted assassination of the 26th king of the Joseon Dynasty, King Gojong (Park Hee-soon).  A Russian rifleman and a beautiful barista are tricked into carrying out the hit.
Release date:  March 15

Russian Coffee, which is based on the novel of the same name by Kim Tak-hwan was initially a very big affair, with a 10 billion  budget but after some delays and casting changes the budget was ultimately halved.  The film does still boast an all-star cast and was in production for five months across 16 locations on two continents.

Fighting! Family

Director:  Hong Ji-young, Kim Seong-ho, Lee Soo-yeon, Shin Su-won
Cast:  Kim Ji-young, Seon Woo-seon, Lee Myeong-haeng, Jeong In-gi
Synopsis:  An omnibus movie created by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to increase the nation's interest in low birth rates. The four-part story tells us the reality of our society. 
Release date:  March 15

Fighting! Family is a new omnibus feature which will debut in March.


Director:  Jeon Soo-il
Cast:  Lee Seung-yeon, Seo Kap-sook, Kang San-eh, Lee Won-jong
Synopsis:  Pink is rundown bar run by Ok-ryun and the film chronicles the characters that come through it.
Release date:  March 15

Jeon Soo-il, a festival favorite, returns with his 8th feature.

The Beat Goes On

Director:  Byeon Seong-hyeon
Cast:  Bong Tae-gyu, Lee Young-hoon
Synopsis:  Korea's first hiphop film!
Release date:  March 15

Home Sweet Home

Director:  Moon Si-hyun
Cast:  Kim Young-hoon, Yoo Ae-kyung, Kim Jong-soo
Synopsis:  A young man puts his life on the line when he underwrites a friend's debt.  Things go from bad to worse as he must escape debt collectors and gets in with the wrong people.
Release date:  March 15

Home Sweet Home had its world premiere at last year's Puchon International Film Festival.

Planet of Snail

Director:  Yi Seung-jun
Screenwriter:  Jo Young-chan
Synopsis:  Young-Chan is blind and death and goes about life with the aid of his feeling touch.  Soon-Ho suffers from stunted growth after long-ago accident.  They see the beauty in each other and help one another achieve their dreams.
Release date:  March 22

Documentary Planet of Snail premiered at last year's Jeonju Film Festival and has since played at many others.

Introduction of Architecture

Director:  Lee Yong-joo
Screenwriter:  Lee Yong-joo
Cast:  Uhm Tae-woong, Han Ga-in, Lee Je-hoon, Bae Suzy
Synopsis:  An architect (Uhm Tae-woong) is asked to design a house by a former classmate (Han Ga-in).  As the house goes up, the pair fall in love.
Release date:  March 22

I've been very excited about Lee Yong-joo's follow up to the phenomenal Possessed (2009) since it was announced but upon learning that it was a romance film and looking at the trailer below I admit that I'm not as excited as I was.  Lee previously studied architecture which led me to think it might be incorporated in an interesting way here, not sure how it figures in the final product though.  However, the presence of Lee Je-hoon, who was remarkable in last year's Bleak Night and The Front Line, is encouraging.

Hand in Hand

Director:  Choi Jong-tae
Screenwriter:  Choi Jong-tae
Cast:  Joo Hyeon, Ye Soo-jeong, Chae Min-hee, Kim Bong-geun
Synopsis:  Min-ho (Joo Hyeon) and Hee-jeong (Ye Soo-jeong) have been together for 40 years and one day Min-ho has a heart attack.  He survives the crucial moment but the danger is not past.
Release date:  March 22

Over My Dead Body

Director:  Woo Sun-ho
Cast:  Lee Beom-soo, Ryoo Seung-beom
Synopsis:  Hyun-Chul (Lee Beom-soo) is a a researcher who fights against a group attempting to steal core technology from an important semiconductor chip.  That group uses corpses in their crime.  Jin-Woo (Ryoo Seung-beom) is a man who faked a suicide for the insurance money.  Hyun-Chul then unintentionally pulls out the body of Jin-Woo who is pretending to be dead.  This is how their relationship begins...
Release date:  March 29

Filming for Over My Dead Body finished in September and with its high-concept comedy plot and charismatic stars like Lee and Ryoo, could prove to be a springtime hit.

Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-up, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (GMT+1).

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (02/24-02/26, 2012)

Nameless Gangster Fights Back During Close Weekend

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Nameless Gangster 2/2/12 22.10% 353,394 3,987,379 495
2 Howling 2/16/12 19.30% 330,321 1,237,340 467
3 Man On a Ledge (us) 2/22/12 15.70% 260,386 334,604 409
4 Dancing Queen 1/18/12 8.90% 152,620 3,820,406 344
5 Underworld 4 (us) 2/22/12 7.60% 101,695 138,798 343
6 Legends of Valhalla (is) 2/9/12 5.40% 96,310 578,744 293
7 The Iron Lady (uk) 2/23/12 2.90% 47,564 56,386 154
8 Tarbosaurus 3D 1/26/12 3.30% 44,462 958,933 161
9 The Grey (us) 2/16/12 2.50% 41,876 279,309 214
10 Legend of a Rabbit (ch) 2/22/12 2.30% 41,448 58,679 224

It was another nail-biter this past weekend as the top two films battled for first place.   Overall business was down somewhat from last weekend and last year but on the plus side the domestic share remained strong as local films sold two out of every three tickets over the frame.

Nameless Gangster came out on top in the end with 353,394, its third chart-topping performance in four weeks.  Even more good news is that the film will cross the four million mark on Monday and stands a a good chance of reaching another benchmark.  It will face some competition in the coming weeks, mostly from more Korean releases, but things will get harder in March as new Hollywood male-skewing blockbusters will enter the marketplace.

Howling was a close number two with 330,321 but this represented an unimpressive 40% drop which, for a second weekend, typically means that the picture hasn't caught on.  The film is well past the one million mark and will likely cross two before too long but is unlikely to go any further.   Given the film's positive notices it's hard to see why the film didn't follow the success of the very recent Korean hits but perhaps that's just it.  Too many local films found a big audience in a short time frame, which no one expected, making it difficult for even a solid release such as this one to squeeze out similar numbers.

Hollywood thriller Man On a Ledge opened with a decent 260,386 but will likely tumble down a few flights come next weekend.

Dancing Queen slipped another spot for 152,620 but was only off 15%.  At this rate it will become the second release of the year to cross the four million mark within a week, after Nameless Gangster beats it to the milestone by a few days.   A great performance though soon it will have to make way for new local products readying for release.

Underworld 4 barely registered with a 101,695 opening weekend but this comes as no surprise given that the franchise has not previously met with much success on the peninsula.

Icelandic animation Legends of Valhalla: Thor continued its unlikely run as it added another 96,310 to its modestly successful total.

Meryl Streep's The Iron Lady opened with 47,564, not too bad considering such a film would have limited appeal in Korea.

Korean animation Tarbosaurus 3D dropped another spot and nearly 40% for 44,462 but it looks set to become only the second Korean animation, after last year's Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild, to cross the one million admissions mark domestically.

Liam Neeson vehicle The Grey crumbled in its sophomore weekend, falling four rungs and losing 70% of its business for a tepid 41,876 take.  The action pic is unlikely to register in the top 10 for a third weekend.

Chinese animation Legend of a Rabbit was a no-go as it debuted in tenth place with 41,448.   Too many animation films lately meant that this one never really stood a chance.

Unbowed just missed the top 10 with 35,842 as it crossed 3.4 million admissions.

Next week's major release is the Ha Jung-woo and Kong Hyo-jin romcom Love Fiction.  Ha is already riding high with Nameless Gangster and will likely end up as the lead of next weekend's top two films.   The question is how well will his latest fare?   I'm betting it will do quite well, perhaps pulling in over 500,000 admissions.


The Korean Box Office Update is a weekly feature which provides detailed analysis of film box office sales over the Friday to Sunday period in Korea. It appears every Sunday evening or Monday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekly Review Round-up (02/18-02/24, 2012)

A boatload of reviews for War of the Arrows, which was recently released on DVD/Blu-ray in the US, and The Front Line, which is getting its homevideo release in the UK on Monday.  Plenty more, including an early review for March thriller Helpless.


(SBS, February 22, 2012)

(Yonhap News Agency, February 24, 2012)


(Init_Scenes, February 20, 2012)

(Init_Scenes, February 17, 2012)

(Korean Grindhouse, February 20, 2012)

(Gwangju Blog, February 15, 2012)

(TV Bomb, February 23, 2012)

The Front Line

The Unjust

(The Movie Blog, February 24, 2012)

War of the Arrows


(Init_Scenes, February 19, 2012)

Bad Buy, 2001
(Hanguk Yeonghwa, February 17, 2012)

(Korean Candy, February 20, 2012)

Humming, 2007
(Hanguk Yeonghwa, February 18, 2012)

Save the Green Planet, 2003
(Modern Korean Cinema, February 20, 2012)

(Rainy Day Movies, February 20, 2012)

(Hanguk Yeonghwa, February 19, 2012)

(Hangul Celluloid, February 19, 2012)

(Hanguk Yeonghwa, February 22, 2012)

Windstruck, 2004
(The Asian Flicks, February 22, 2012)

The Weekly Review Round-up is a weekly feature which brings together all available reviews of Korean films in the English language (and sometimes French) that have recently appeared on the internet. It is by no means a comprehensive feature and additions are welcome (email pierceconran [at] gmail [dot] com). It appears every Friday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News, and the Korean Box Office UpdateReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fest Preview: New York Korean Film Festival 2012

(by Peter Gutiérrez)

It’s probably a testament to the output and quality of the Korean film industry that here in New York we’re gearing up for NYKFF 2012 a scant five months after the similar Yeonghwa: Korean Film Today series, also a project of The Korea Society.

With this tenth edition of the fest, the programmers have, as in years past, done a terrific job of showing off Korea’s startling range of populist cinema.  The lineup itself may not be vast, with only seven titles screening over three days, but the accessible mix of genres and styles makes the event perfect for both newbies and veteran fans who want to catch some rare big-screen presentations of several recent hits.  Here’s a quick rundown of all that lies in store…


Forget about the "chick flick" vibe as reflected in the poster, title, and maybe any plot summary you've read of this film – or maybe don't forget about it but instead allow any preconceived notions about the themes and tone of your typical chick flick simply to melt away.  Yes, the maudlin, cancer-patient set-up is not promising, but fortunately most of the runtime is devoted to extended flashbacks of a very winning group of young actresses... and mostly they're just involved in a series of engaging confrontations with a rival pack of school girls.  One of these occurs against a backdrop of a full-scale political riot, and soon becomes exhilarating in the way that only the best set pieces can.  Consistently humorous, Sunny is pure, unaffected fun; so good and so refreshing that it made me recall why I love Korean cinema in the first place.

The Servant

At first it may seem a bit odd to showcase a 2010 film that’s been readily available to North American audiences via Netflix Instant since last year, but such an opinion would ignore the chief reason to see Kim Dae-woo’s grand romance: its overwhelming, practically swoon-inducing, visual beauty.  Indeed, the combined efforts of art direction, cinematography, and costume design to achieve unforgettably vivid images projected in a larger-than-life format should provide sufficient motivation to travel to Brooklyn – or anywhere else.  For better or worse, though, its sheer gorgeousness may be The Servant’s main virtue despite its many moments of disarming comedy and a few effective shocks.  Retelling “The Tale of Chunhyang” with a mix of period intrigue and modern-day bluntness, especially when it comes to matters sexual, certainly increases the potential audience for such a film but the uneasy meshing of tones and sensibilities didn’t always work for me.  More importantly, the film only partly strikes the air of high tragedy it’s aiming for – although it could be that I’m judging it a bit unfairly by comparing it to similar Korean films of the past decade: in my experience Hollywood romances are seldom this ambitious and thoughtful.


With a delicious air of slow-building menace and mystery, punctuated with sudden jolts of violence, Moss consistently delivers in the chills-and-thrills department.  Ultimately, however, its climax (after two and half hours) lacks the majestic, perhaps mind-bending, revelations we’ve been expecting, whether spiritual in nature per the film’s themes or simply on the order of a deeply satisfying plot twist.  Still, there are ample pleasures to be had here.  Jeong Jae-young memorably plays the same character in both a young, abrasive, and corrupt version and as an older, still corrupt, but vastly smoother incarnation that recalls John Huston in Chinatown (1974)… except Huston wasn’t acting 30 years beyond his actual age.  All in all, though, I much prefer the following film, made by pretty much the same creative team, in terms of providing a rewarding cinematic experience.


I'm not big on feel-good movies, to put it mildly, and sports flicks have an annoying tendency to be formulaic, but this one really stands out from the crowd.  Jeong Jae-young, one of my favorite Korean actors, nails the lead role as a disgraced ballplayer but to his credit does not overshadow the fine supporting cast.  Kudos to director Kang Woo-suk for pulling this off as well as all the tonal shifts that a dramedy of this type demands – that Kang is at the same time showing off his own impressive versatility after the dark, usually urban films that have earned him so much box office success probably goes without saying.  Rhymes with: the 2011 Oscar-nominated American documentary Undefeated.


I’m rounding my assessment up from a fail to a mere disappointment simply because, for my money, Song Kang-ho is one of the world's great stars and carries several scenes just by waiting a beat and then smiling.  To a certain degree one can overlook the empty glossiness of production and equally shallow sentimentalism – those often come with the territory if one is expecting a multi-genre, popcorn-fueled blockbuster.  In other words, I would have been very happy with another Secret Reunion (2010).  Of course it's fine that here we have a romantic subtext instead of bromantic one, but what's not fine is how undercooked it is and how anemic the action scenes are on top of that.  As an example of how neither angle works, I submit this image: an undeniably cute and appealing Shin Se-kyung takes aim with a high-powered rifle but then director Lee Hyun-seung has her gently bite her lower lip in hesitation.  If you feel this sort of thing adds extra dimension to female characters or more heft to dramatic tension, knock yourself out, but I found Hindsight hard to take seriously after this point.  The same was true following two scenes in which the leads separately endure the kind of physical assault that would land the rest of us in traction but from which they bounce back so quickly that it's as if the characters themselves had stunt doubles.


Quick is a film that doesn't take itself very seriously and all the ingredients are there for a heady summer cocktail of speed, flash and pyrotechnics but at the end of the day it's just too much.  The story is cluttered and there are too many ingredients thrown in to please any and all comers, such as k-pop, gangsters, biker gangs, youth violence, washboard abs, scantily clad women, inefficient police, romance and of course melodrama.  However, one you thing you can almost always count on with Korean films is strong production values and true to form director Jo Beom-goo's team is no slouch in the SFX department. At the end of the day this comedy-action film has a little something for everyone but perhaps not enough for anyone.  (Pierce Conran)

Late Autumn

A second remake of the classic Lee Man-hui film of 1966, following one from 1981, and not to be confused with Yasujiro Ozu's 1960 film of the same name, Late Autumn is the third feature from the excellent Kim Tae-yong, who previously helmed Memento Mori (1999) and Family Ties (2006).  The film stars Chinese beauty Tang Wei as an imprisoned woman on a three-day furlough to attend her mother's funeral in Seattle and Korean heartthrob Hyun Bin as a man on the run.  The film kicked off a long series of international film festival engagements in Toronto and has subsequently been featured at Busan, Berlin, Jeonju, London, Hong Kong, and many more.  It has also been awarded several times, most notably by the same jury that gave its top prize to Poetry at the Fribourg International Film Festival last March.  (Pierce Conran)

Peter Gutiérrez writes for Twitch and School Library Journal, and can be counted on for too-frequent film and pop culture updates on Twitter via @Peter_Gutierrez.

Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-up, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (GMT+1).

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Korean Cinema News (02/16-02/22, 2012)

It's a very good week to be a Korean cinema fan with numerous big announcements including Classic Korean film channel on YouTube, the release of KOFIC's free 2011 Korean Cinema book and the announcement of the 2012 East Winds Symposium and Festival which I am thrilled to say to say I will be presenting at.  Lots more news, interviews, trailer, posters, and box office as usual.


There’s been a big news story this week for anyone interested in classic Korean cinema: the Korean film Archive (KOFA) have announced a partnership with Google which will deliver a Video On Demand service through YouTube of seventy classic Korean films, ranging from 1949 to 1996 – seven of which will be of HD quality.  The answer to the big question is – yes – all of the films will have English subtitles.  (New Korean Cinema, February 18, 2012)
(Modern Korean Cinema, February 21, 2012)

Every year, the Korean Film Council compiles an exhaustive book on Korean cinema, with analysis of the year and profiles for every film released during that time.  It's a very useful resource and must for any Korean cinema fan, the 2011 edition is available to download for free now!
(KoBiZ, Febraury 2012)


Daisy Entertainment Launches Sales with Taste of Money
South Korean company Daisy Entertainment, better known for their foreign film imports and increasingly visible distribution arm Cinergy, has launched international sales on director Im Sang-soo’s upcoming The Taste of Money.  From the director of Cannes competition film The Housemaid (2010), The Taste of Money stars veteran actress Youn Yuh-jung, who also played a supporting role in the former film.  (KoBiZ, February 9, 2012)

Lotte Announces New Jung Ji-woo Film
Major Korean investor and distributor Lotte Entertainment has announced Happy End (1999) director Jung Ji-woo’s upcoming film Eungyo (working title) at the European Film Market (EFM).  The film is currently in post-production.  Based on Park Bum-shin’s bestselling novel of the same title, Eungyo follows a 70-year-old poet who has an affair with a high school student and is inspired to write a book about her.  However, his best student, jealous of the relationship, steals this work.  The film stars Park Hae-il as the poet.  Park was most recently in War of the Arrows.   (KoBiz, February 10, 2012)

Lotte Sells Arrows in Berlin
South Korea’s Lotte Entertainment has done a raft of deals on Kim Han-min’s period action film War of the Arrows, including to Showgate for Japan.  Starring Park Hae-il as a man out to save his sister and her fiancé from Northern invaders, the film was the biggest domestic film hit in Korea last year.  With 7.46 million admissions, it was second only to Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which took 7.79 million admissions.  (KoBiZ, February 14, 2012)

M-Line Launches Doomsday Book at EFM
South Korean film sales company M-Line Distribution has launched pre-sales on science fiction drama Doomsday Book, co-directed by Kim Jee-woon and Yim Pil-sung, according to the Screen International market daily at the European Film Market (EFM) in Berlin.  Budgeted at US$5m, is made up of three short stories.  (KoBiZ, February 15, 2012)

Annyeong Mate! Sydney Says Hello, Again, to Cinema on the Park
Every Thursday evening between April and December last year, people lined up on Elizabeth Street in Sydney to see what has been one of the steady driving forces behind the popularity of Korean culture -- movies.  When the Korean Cultural Office launched the inaugural "Cinema on the Park" program last year, organizers just wanted to give the locals a taste of Korea.  After drawing more than 1,000 attendees, the event is back this year, kicking off a season that will last until the end of June.  (The Korea Times, February 17, 2012)

Second Film Preservation Center Due By 2014
South Korea plans to establish a second site for preserving and restoring homegrown films by 2014, since the existing location in Seoul is already overflowing with materials, the national film archive said Friday.  The Korean Film Archive said during a news conference in Seoul that it will construct the second preservation center on land in the publishing town in Paju, some 50 kilometers northwest of Seoul, with a total budget of 33 billion won ($29 million).  (The Korea Herald, February 17, 2012)

Korean Films at Deauville Asian Film Festival
The 14th Deauville Asian Film Festival in France has unveiled their line-up this year to include Jang Hui-cheol’s Beautiful Miss Jin and Jeon Soo-il’s Pink from theRepublic of Korea.  A drama/comedy set around Busan’s busy Dong-rae station, director Jang Hui-cheol’s Beautiful Miss Jin previously debutedat last year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in the Korean Cinema Today – Vision section.  (KoBiZ, February 17, 2012)

My Way to Open Terracotta Far East Film Festival
Terracotta is London's premier celebration of the film and culture of the Far East. With a stunning line-up of films hand-picked from the best of the region, encompassing diverse genres from comedy to drama to horror and everything in between, an unbeatable programme of exclusive cast and crew Q&As, intro's and masterclasses and fabulous public parties the Terracotta Far East Film Festival really does have something for everybody.  (Terracotta Film Festival, February 21, 2012)

Private Equity Funds Invest in Korean Films, Real Estate
Private equity funds have increased their holdings in real estate assets and projects related to the boom of the Korean Wave data showed Tuesday.  According to the Korea Financial Investment Association, the country’s entire fund market estimated at 311.1 trillion won ($276.9 billion), with the share of private equity funds rising fast.  (The Korea Herald, February 21 2012)

The South Korean Film Industry in 2011
Made to support and promote South Korean films, the KOFIC has published this detailed overview of the year 2011*, trying to analyze trends & numbers.  Quite an interesting reading, here are some of the highlights.  (Wildgrounds, February 21, 2012)


Lee Myung-se: Special Q&A Screening

Interview With Critic and Beijing Film Academy Professor Hao Jian
Film critic and Beijing Film Academy professor Hao Jian has written and talked about what he considers the little-known, real start of the Korean Wave in China.  At the International Film Festival Rotterdam while serving on the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) award jury, he spoke to Jean Noh about it and his thoughts on Korea-China cooperation.  (KoBiZ, February 20, 2012)


The Beat Goes On



Introduction to Architecture

Over My Dead Body

Planet of Snail


(Modern Korean Cinema, February 19, 2012)

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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