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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

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

Helpless
Romance Joe
Mirage 
Taking Architect
The Dearest
Sympathy for Us
Chocked

March 15

Russian Coffee
Fighting Family
Pink
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.

Reviews:

Anikor
E-Film Blog
Otherwhere
Spaceship Broken
Variety




Helpless


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.

Reviews:

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.




Mirage


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


Choked


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.


Pink


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.



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