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Saturday, May 11, 2013

New Korean Films: Local Studios Fight for Second Place (2013 Week 19)

Boomerang Family

Following the recent commercial failure of his debut film, a 48 year-old director, In-mo, has no choice but to return to live with his mother. He meets up his older brother, Han-mo, who has never left home and is still not working. But their younger sister, Mi-yeon, was just divorced from her second husband and is coming with her teenage daughter to spend a few weeks with her mother, until the formalities of her upcoming third wedding are settled. All of them will try to coexist as they did during their childhood, but their respective personal comfort has now become much more pervasive than before.

It has been a long time since we got to see the release of a new family comedy. In fact, if my memory can be trusted, it would go back to the beginning of this year to find another one, Miracle in Cell Number 7. That film has garnered great profits; I can understand the reluctance of CJ Entertainment to release this new movie earlier. Especially since it seems to be such an important horse race in which the company put a lot to impose itself this year. The story is based on a novel published in 2010 by Cheon Myeong-kwan, a former screenwriter, entitled "Aging Family" (the literal translation of the title of the film). With Park Hae-il (The Host, Eungyo), Yoon Je-moon (Dangerously Excited and more recently Fists of Legend) and Kong Hyo-jin (Crush and Blush, Love Fiction) there are enough well-known faces to attract a diverse audience. The marketing campaign also focuses on this aspect, since all the different trailers and posters that I've seen are trying to sell to the audience the names of the three main actors (and not the characters) and the conflicts they generate. However, the most interesting clue to the quality of the film comes from the name of the director, Song Hae-sung. He has not made ​​many movies since his debut in 1999 (six), but two of them are frequently cited as favorite by Korean films lovers: Failan (2001) and Maundy Thursday (2006). Unfortunately, critics from Cine21 have already destroyed the hope of a new major film as the journalists expressed contrasting opinions.

Watch the Korea trailer here.

Hard to Say
(말로는 힘들어)

A girl proposes to the boy she secretly loves to meet her on a playground on a sunny summer day. She has decided to confess her love on that day, but is having trouble expressing in words what the heart feels. While she cannot keep herself quiet, she invites her friend in her own imaginary world.

Spring is yet barely in Korea, but summer is already finding its way to the cinema theater with this cute 25 minute short film that Indiestory is presenting this weekend in its own independent theater, the IndieSpace in Jongno, Seoul. However, it should not go unnoticed among lovers of Korean cinema, as it is the new film by Lee Kwang-Kuk. He is a former assistant of Hong Sang-soo since 2005, and began as a director in 2011 with Romance Joe, a film that was soon noticed by critics and has traveled to many festivals in Europe and North America. In fact, all the performers in this movie already appeared briefly in Romance Joe. The extremely simple trailer exudes a natural ambiance and a shared intimacy with the characters, which seems to differentiate this film from Romance Joe with its complex formal construction. It is in any case likely that this film will follow the same fate as its predecessor, so don’t be surprised if you see it in the program of a foreign film festival.

Watch the Korean trailer here.

New Korean Films is a weekly feature which provide an in-depth look at new local releases in Korea. For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Korean Reviews, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (Korean Standard Time). Reviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

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