Monday, August 12, 2013

New Korean Films: Indie Films Never Die (2013 Week 32)

Oldmen Never Die

Ji-hoon went to the countryside to live with his grandfather to discharge him of farm work, but also to make sure to make a good impression to get a large share of his inheritance, thinking that he may die very soon. But it's been three years since Ji-hoon gets exhausted every day, and his grandfather seems instead to rejuvenate with each passing day. After taking a long-awaited break for a day spent in Seoul, he returns to the village and comes upon a young woman standing in front of his place who claims to be his grandfather’s girlfriend.

The releases of this week are very lean, which is understandable when you have in front of these films the unprecedented and enviable success that Snowpiercer is currently experiencing. While waiting for the arrival next week of another highly anticipated blockbuster, you’ll have to be content with this small independent production, recently presented during the Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan). This film comes from Whang Cheol-min, a director in his fifties who despite his age is not widely known. He studied filmmaking in Berlin and his best known film is Moscow made in 2009. This movie is going to experience a very restricted distribution, probably due to the fact it is has been rated for mature audiences, with only eight theaters spread between Seoul, Busan, Daegu and Daejeon.

Watch the Korean trailer here.

Love in Korea
(러브 인 코리아)

Mahbub Alam receives one day an international call from his hometown in Bangladesh. He learns that a Bangladeshi film-crew will soon come around in South Korea and that they would need his help to accompany them, specifically for his familiarity with the country and the milieu of Korean cinema. He accepts with pleasure, and brings these young filmmakers to all the landmarks in Seoul that they intended to show in their film and even helps them during the shootings. On the third day, however, the team has gone without having finished the shooting schedule. Mahbub goes to Bangladesh to try to find them back and to understand what happened.

If you’ve followed the energetic South-Korean independent cinema of the past five years, you must have noticed the emergence of the issue of immigration from South Asia, with some films like Where is Ronny (2009), Bandhobi (2009) and The City of Crane (2009). Mahbub Alam arrived in Korea in 1999 and has just starred in each of these mentioned films, becoming some kind of the unavoidable actor that producers call first when they need someone to take the role of an immigrant character. This documentary is an opportunity to discover much more about his life, his keen interest in film (he has directed three short films) and the situation of Bangladeshis in South-Korea. The film is available in six theaters, only in the suburbs of Seoul.

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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