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Sunday, September 15, 2013

New Korean Films: Hauting Memories, Revenants and Regrets (2013 Week 34)


An unpopular high school student is lead by a band to break into a girl’s place and forced to rape her with them. Ten years later, he finds her by chance at the church. She did not recognize his face, and naturally he doesn’t dare to remind her of this painful memory and thus confess his identity. He seeks at all costs to redeem himself, but when he realizes that she is still overwhelmed by the trauma, he decides to take action by finding the other attackers and confront them.

Lee Donku is a young director who happens to be in the circles of cinema and theater for many years, primarily as an actor. After a few short films, he took his courage in both hands and started writing, producing and directing this independent film, which quickly attracted the attention of festivals. It has been included in the New Currents section of the Busan International Film Festival, a selection that serves as a showcase of Korean cinema for international audience, and then toured festivals worldwide, through Marrakech, Berlin, Seattle and Montreal. This film will get a good distribution, being presented in independent theaters (like Indiespace which owns the distribution rights) as well as in some multiplexe theaters like Lotte and CGV, and it will even reach a few regional towns tha are not often treated, such as Cheongju and Gangneung. But while critics at Cine21 remained skeptical, MKC’s Pierce had considered it to be one of the best discoveries made in Busan last year.

Watch the Korean trailer here or read MKC's review here.

Anti Gas Skin

The very day of the election for the office of Seoul’s mayor, a dangerous serial killer wearing a gas mask is being tracked by four characters, but each of them for very different and personal goals. A police officer believes that his superpowers would allow him to catch the criminal and earn a long-awaited promotion. A candidate for the election received a death-threatened in the likely event that he is getting elected at the end of the day. An U.S. soldier is convinced that his girlfriend is one of the victims of the killer and is resolved to take revenge. Finally, a girl who cannot stand being a werewolf need the killer’s help to end her own life.

Finally! This film has taken three years to finally find the way to the theaters. Yet it is undoubtedly the best-known work to date from Kim Gok and Kim Seon, the insane brothers of Korean cinema. This film has long created the rumor among the festivalgoers since it was shown in 2010 at the Venice International Film Festival, and then in Busan and Tokyo, and the opinions are actually quite divisive They have since had time to make an unfortunate digression at CJ in 2011 with White: The Melody of the Curse (2011) and then return to their true selves by making several short films with their independent company called Goksa. The style of these directors is exuberant and is certainly the main reason for such a late release. As a DVD release seems therefore well compromised, it may well be that now is the very last chance to see this film. Its distribution is still quite good, covering both independent rooms in big cities like Seoul Busan and those in smaller ones like Daegu and Gangneung.

Watch the Korean trailer here.

There Is No Beautiful Farewell
(아름다운 이별은 없다)

A man enters an isolated cabin carrying in his arms a fainted woman. He lays her on the floor, and starts drinking soju while undressing her, and then rapes her. He thinks about the following of circumstances that led him so far.

There is a blatant lack of information on this movie that keeps me tell you much. You probably guessed from reading the synopsis, it is indeed accompanied by a few elements of erotic thriller film. The few images that the trailer shows could make us compare it to a snuff movie, but hopefully there is still enough content to hold 90 minutes of runtime. Lee Sang-hwa had already signed a movie released two years ago, An Uninvited Guest, but remained largely unnoticed by the public and critics. This does not seem to be able to change with it, since it will not be screened except for a few special sessions held this week.

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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