Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Korean Cinema News (06/07-06/13, 2012)

Some festival news this week, including for PiFan which I am happy to announce that MKC will be covering on site this year!  Also some big summer trailers and a pair of great interviews this week.


PiFan's Network of Asian Fantastic Films Selects Indonesia for Spotlight
Well this is a pretty neat and interesting development, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival's (PiFan) Network of Asian Fantastic Films (NAFF) has selected Indonesia as for its spotlight this year.  Following Taiwan, China, Singapore and Japan, this is a major boon for Indonesian cinema and likely has something to do with the added exposure afforded by the phenomenal success of last year's The Raid.  NAFF seeks to promote genre film in Asian cinema and they selected the country based on their belief that it is "a rising Mecca of Asian genre films", hearty praise from the continent's biggest fantastic film festival.  Here is a little more info on the 5 projects that have been chosen from NAFF's own press release:

Project Spotlight: Indonesia presents various film genres, from crime mystery to authentic horror.  The selection conveys not only faithful genre convention, but also characteristic features based on solid Indonesian tradition. Lucky Kuswandi, the director of highly acclaimed film Madam X from PiFan 2011, is bringing his new project Curious Grandma: The Murder of Annet Van Houten. The selection also includes Blue Blood by Billy Christian of Hysteria-fame, a gothic, vampire tale of love and basing it on Indonesian history, and Beautiful Beast by Paul Agusta, inspired by a classic Indonesian horror film. Sidi Saleh, who is a renowned cinematographer of Edwin's Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly and Postcards From The Zoo, is bringing a psychological thriller Trauma, while Natta Nazyra Noer, the director of a documentary Working Girl, is bringing a hardcore slasher Homestay.

The event will be held from July 22-25 this year and I for one am very excited to check it out!  (Modern Korean Cinema, June 13, 2012/Twitch, June 11, 2012)

Korean Doc Planet of Snail to Screen in UK
This year's International Film Festival Documentary Amsterdam (IFDA) winner for Best Feature-Length Documentary will be getting a release at London's ICA theater courtesy of Dogwoof starting on June 22.  Lee Seung-jun's Planet of Snail has been having a strong festival run and needless to say this is a rare opportunity to catch a Korean documentary on the big screen.  In addition, Lee will be in attendance on June 23 for a special Q&A screening!

While the story does sound quite melodramatic and brings to mind a number of sentimental Korean films, the country's documentaries have proven to be very effective works that illuminate their subjects with respect and grace, such as 2009's wonderful Old Partner. Catch it if you can!  (Modern Korean Cinema, June 13, 2012/Twitch, June 11, 2012)

Toronto Gets a Shiny New Korean Film Festival at the End of the Month!
Yet another Korean film festival is getting underway in Toronto this summer from June 22 to July 1!  There was already one earlier this year, however it was more of a glorified showcase for CJ entertainment's output over the last year.  This time around lucky Canadian viewers get a full cross section of Korean genre and arthouse cinema.

Aside from a few new titles like Invasion of Alien Bikini, Planet of Snail and Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild, the majority of the selection features film from the last decade or so and given the variety and the high quality of the titles, this event is well-positioned as a intro to anyone interested in dipping into the cinema from the Land of the Morning Calm.  A great opportunity to discover one of the world's most vibrant film industries!  For more details, check out  (Modern Korean Cinema, July 13, 2012/Twitch, July 13, 2012)

My Way to Get Full DVD/Blu-ray Treatment from Well Go USA on July 24
Korea's most extravagant production ever, the big budget WWII film My Way from director Kang Je-gyu (Taegukgi, 2004) will be finding its own way to American home theaters this summer as it gets ready for a July 24 release.  The film will be available on both DVD and Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA.  My Way, starring Jang Dong-gun, Joe Odagiri and Fan Bingbing, tells the story of two rival Olympic marathon runners who fight for Japan at the start of World War II.  (Modern Korean Cinema, Jule 13, 2012)


Lee Je-hoon Evolves
No one on Korea’s film scene has been busier than actor Lee Je-hoon in the last few months.  The 28-year-old actor has been involved with two movies and one drama since last year.  One of the movies, Architecture 101, in which Lee played a shy university student who suffers heartbreak over his first love, turned out to be a huge box office triumph after its release in March.

Lee, who swept best rookie actor prizes last year for his performance as the emotionally vulnerable high school student in director Yoon Sung-hyun’s indie drama Bleak Night (2011), rose to stardom with the commercial first-love flick.  (The Korea Herald, June 11, 2012)

Director Min Kyu-dong Says It’s All About Communication
The film All About My Wife centers on the struggles of marriage, a topic often broached by Korean rom-coms. Yet, while the plot may seem typical, the turnout has been extraordinary.

The director of the film, Min Kyu-dong, 42, made his directorial debut with the horror film Memento Mori in 1999. Since then, Min became well known for producing films that delve into human psyche, most notably in All For Love (2005) and The Last Blossom (2011).  (Joong Ang Daily, June 11, 2012)


The Thieves (Main Trailer)

The Grand Heist (Main Trailer)

Two Moons (Teaser)


(Modern Korean Cinema, June 10, 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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