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Friday, September 27, 2013

New Korean Films: (Too) Close Encounters (2013 Week 35)

Playboy Bong
(아티스트 봉만대)

A producer visits one of his directors on his shooting location in Bali, and is clearly not satisfied with the first scenes shot of that erotic horror film. He then takes the decision to call for help another famous director, Bong Man-dae. But the team gets soon annoyed by the authoritarian leadership of the new director, and his will to picture more nudity stirs up a revolt from the actresses. But hiding in the shadow lays the former director who is just waiting for the right moment to take revenge on the pushy playboy.

Films on challenging shooting of movies seem to be a new thing this year among independent producers. In a concept that reminds Behind the Camera, released earlier this year, Bong Man-dae, who is the director of this film in real life, made a film in which he takes the role of a fake Bong Man-dea making an erotic film. This is exactly how he made his debut in the early 2000s, with erotic films like The Sweet Sex And Love in 2003, before acquiring a wider fame in 2006 with Cinderella. The fact that his new film is based on an unflattering parody of himself is reason enough to keep an eye on it. Also note that the role of the unhappy director was granted to Yim Pil-sung, also known as the director of Antarctic Journal (2005). But dear fans of eroticism, stay assured that you would not be disappointed since this film still managed to get the 18 + rating and the cast include some actresses of TV dramas but also a model spotted by Playboy. The film was relatively well received by Korean critics, and will be distributed by Cidus in more than a hundred theaters in Korea, mainly multiplexes of the big companies.

No trailer.

Private Island
(일탈여행 프라이빗 아일랜드)

Three young women, known as the Three Angels because of their stunning bodies decide to leave together on a summer vacation on the island of Okinawa, Japan. Upon arrival, one of them begins a relationship with a Korean employee working in their hotel, who also shares a strong interest into her friends. Another of these Angels is attracted by a businessman who is staying at the hotel with his wife.

So on a personal level, I cannot say that this film arouses a great interest. I couldn’t even manage to go through the trailer, which just shows that how excited I’m for this kind of movie. Nothing more than a vacation movie with pretty girls laying on the beach and seeking love in a heavenly setting, this dull pitch sounds like one of a video clip of K-pop. It is then a faint surprise when you discover that the director, Han Sang-hui, actually comes from that circle, in which he directed a lot of music videos. He has apparently kept with him some of this background in his filmography, be it in aesthetics (Virgin Snow, 2007) or in theme (Star, 2012). This independent production is of course restricted to an adult public and will only be offered in a few theaters of the capital city, mainly in Lotte’s multiplexes.

Watch the Korean trailer here.

Our Ex-Girlfriends
(우리들의 헤어진 여자 친구)

Jae-hyun is set to return to university and sells sweet potatoes to cover the cost of scolarship. This is how he comes to know one of his regular customers, Hye-ri, a call girl hired by a club in the neighborhood. While walking back home, he surprises her while being mugged. He comes to her rescue and spends the night with her, but when she sees that he left him some money, she decides does not to see him again. Several years later, Jae-hyun is now employed by an insurance company. He sees again Hye-ri, they fall in love and settle together. But over the months, their initial romance wanes as Hye-ri’s past runs after her.

There is virtually no information about this film apart from this summary, and not even the slightest trailer available. This is a first long feature movie for Lee Gwang-ho, and it’s produced by the company Milk Pictures that was very active last month by releasing The Bluff and Young Mother, two films particularly focused on sexuality. So you might expect the same kind of content with this one. The film will be released in only a few theaters, focused on large cities.

Game of Desire
(관음 - 욕망의 유희)

A man walks in a park with his girlfriend when he sees an attractive woman sitting on a bench. Interrupted by a call from a client, he puts an end to his break to return to the laundry shop he manages. Later, he sees the same woman in a street close to his place, trying to get home. He follows her then spies her taking a shower, and finally spends the night with her.

When I threw myself in this long responsibility to present all the new Korean films released this year, I wasn’t expecting I would have to talk so much about erotic films. Do not worry; this is just the season of erotic flicks, and I’ll try to keep this series of articles decent. Like many niche films covered in this section, this will be distributed main through VOD. It is an medium-length film and yet cost 10,000 won, or roughly the price of a ticket in cinema theater. Not sure if it is sufficiently attractive to the public. But Lee Se-he is a director who got specialized in this type of cinema. He has already made this year eight films, and three others will come out soon! We must therefore believe that this kind of products must be quite profitable.

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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