Dapper dresser and Third Window Films founder Adam Torel is an important figure for English speaking Asian cinema fans. His company has been responsible for bringing many important contemporary Asian titles to the West. Filmmakers like Sion Sono, Shinya Tsukamoto, Lee Chang-dong, and many more have had their films released by Torel’s company, a brand that has carefully curated a catalogue of future classics and the occasional curio. Of course with all that said it has been a long while since Third Window had any Korean films on their release slate.
In a multi-part 2010 interview with Twitch writer J Hurtado, Torel when questioned about his company’s shift away from Korean cinema stated:
“I moved away from the Korean film scene as I felt it was moving away from my own tastes…I loved Korean cinema as I felt they were making their films for the Korean market and the tastes of their audience, but as Korean cinema became more and more popular in the West and Japan they started to make too many films for other markets. As their popularity grew, their budgets grew and so did their asking prices, but it wasn't the high costs that put me off as much (though of course that was an issue), it was the fact they started making their films more for the international market instead of their own. “
Three years after that interview Third Window in 2013 has begun to shift their attention back towards Korean cinema. A few months ago, a press release by the company announced that they were releasing the dysfunctional family drama Boomerang Family and the screwball drama How to Use Guys with Secret Tips, both films with a tentative January 2014 release date. And if that wasn’t enough to whet Korean films fans in the U.K. it was recently posted on Twitch that Third Window Films would be releasing three more critically acclaimed Korean pictures.
The first, Pluto, is a dark high school drama by Shin Su-won. For those curious about this release a review of the film can be found on the MKC site and also for those who followed us during our Revenge Week feature earlier this year the film may sound familiar due to the fact that it made our Top 10 Revenge Films list. Continuing on this theme of troubled teens the second film being put out by Third Window, Bleak Night (2011), is the debut feature of then 29 year-old writer and director Yoon Sung-hyun. Blending very unassuming visuals and featuring a stripped-down acting style the picture is a slow-burn drama that doesn’t offer simplistic explanations to its characters motivations. The final Korean film to be released by Torel’s company is the mockumentary Behind the Camera by E J-yong whose earlier picture Dasepo Naughty Girls (2006) was released by Third Window Films during its first year in business. Featuring several famous Korean actresses the film lampoons the industry and the star system in Korea. The picture is a treat for diehard fans of Korean cinema.
With five films being planned for release next year it’s safe to say that Adam Torel and Third Window Films is paying careful attention to what’s coming out in Korea and here’s hoping they can release more of our favorites.