Thursday, May 22, 2014

News: A GIRL AT MY DOOR acquired by UK's Peccadillo Pictures

By Hieu Chau

After an impressive showing at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, July Jung’s film, A Girl At My Door (Doheeya), has been picked up by independent UK distributor Peccadillo Pictures, according to Screen Daily.

Competing in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes, the film stars MKC favourite Bae Doo-na and Kim Sae-ron, with acclaimed auteur Lee Chang-dong serving as producer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cannes 2014 Review: A HARD DAY Is Easy-to-Love Genre Cinema

By Pierce Conran

If you feel that tough genre fare in Korea has been spinning its wheels of late, you're not alone. While generally well made, the élan of yesteryear's hardboiled Korean thrillers has recently been replaced by a growing sense of familiarity and an alarming whiff of complacency. There have been exceptions, but by and large those have come from name directors afforded more creative freedom in an industry dominated by financiers unwilling to give new talent much autonomy. Things started to look a little better last year with the release of Cold Eyes and Hide and Seek and bucking the trend once more is A Hard Day, a terrific new mid-level genre offering that was invited to the Director's Fortnight sidebar at Cannes this year.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cannes 2014 Review: A GIRL AT MY DOOR Is Korean Cinema At Its Finest

By Pierce Conran

Screening in the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section this year is A Girl at My Door, a film that is so well-wrought that one can't help but be swept up in its artistry, which effortlessly plunges us into an intellectual reverie. The film features the return of Bae Doo-na, following back-to-back Hollywood blockbusters, and teenage actress Kim Sae-ron. It also boasts Lee Chang-dong as a producer, whose influence over the film will not go unnoticed.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: Lee Jang-ho's Mysterious and Magnificent THE MAN WITH THREE COFFINS

By Pierce Conran

Though oppressed by Chung Doo-hwan's administration throughout much of the decade, the Korean film industry was nevertheless able to produce some remarkable films in the 1980s. However, for all their social gravitas and literary refinement, rarely was it the case that films from this period were praised for their technical achievements. Classics from this time such as The Ball Shot by a Midget (1981), The Oldest Son (1985) and Chilsu and Mansu (1988) shone a sober and somber light on the nation's dark social realities but few sought to experiment with the medium. However, this past Sunday, following a special screening at the Korean Film Archive (KOFA), I discovered that within all the weighty and poignant films of the era, there were indeed some people attempting to redefine the boundaries of cinema.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: Strong Scenes Doth Not a Narrative Make in Genre-Hopping COMMITMENT

By Pierce Conran

Following on from this year's Secretly Greatly, another action-drama featuring Korean idols playing young North Korean spies who stay undercover in the south only to be targeted by their homeland, Commitment announces itself as a medley of genres, as commonly witnessed in commercial Korean film. Both works hail from Korean studio Showbox, but while Secretly Greatly starts out as a neighborhood comedy-drama, this new effort reserves its opening beats strictly for the thriller genre.

After his father's failed mission in the South, Myung-hoon and his sister are sent to a prison camp in North Korea. Accepting his own mission as an undercover spy to protect his sister from further harm, Myung-hoon infiltrates the south, where he poses as a high school student. He ends up helping a bullied girl in his school while going out interrogating people to learn what happened to his father during his free time. Soon his government learns what he is up to and sends someone to kill him.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Review: Bat-Swinging Gorilla Feature MR GO Is Hit and Miss

By John A. Riley

The premise of Mr Go is that a trained gorilla from China becomes a major league baseball star in South Korea. On paper, this sounds like one of the parodic Troy McLure vehicles from The Simpsons. Mr. Go does indeed paint in broad strokes, seeking wide appeal. It’s a rare Korean film, and is also a co-production with China.