Upcoming Releases - September

My Brilliant Life (Sep 3)

Director - E J-yong
Cast - Gang Dong-won, Song Hye-kyo, Jo Seong-mok, Baek Il-seob, Lee Sung-min, Kim Kap-soo
Writer - Kim Ae-ran (novel) / E J-yong (script)
Genre - Melodrama
Running Time - 117 mins
Korean Title - 두근두근 내 인생 / Doogeundoogeun Nae Insaeng
Distribution - United Pictures (foreign) / CJ Entertainment (domestic)
Production - Zip Cinema

Synopsis - Two young parents raise their 16-year-old son, who is diagnosed with a rare genetic defect that causes him to age very rapidly.

Notes - One of the two major Chuseok releases this year, My Brilliant Life marks the commercial return of auteur E J-yong. With two big, attractive stars and a very melodramatic premise, the film is poised to do well and early word has been positive. Film is being called a classy tearjerker.

Tazza: The Hidden Card (Sep 3)

Director - Kang Hyeong-cheol
Cast - Choi Seung-hyun (T.O.P.), Shin Se-kyung, Kim Yun-seok, Kim In-gwon, Yu Hae-jin, Kwak Do-won, Lee Kyoung-young, Lee Ha-nui, Oh Jung-se
Writer - Heo Yeong-man (original comic) / Kang Hyeong-cheol (script)
Producer - Lee Han-dae
Genre - Thriller
Running Time - 147 mins
Korean Title - 타짜-신의 손 / Tazza - Sinui Son
Distribution - Lotte Entertainment
Production - Sidus Pictures

Synopsis - Ham Dae-gil, the nephew of Go-ni, the protagonist from the original Tazza, becomes involved in Seoul's gambling underworld.

Notes - One of the major Chuseok releases this year, Tazza: The Hidden Card follows eight years on from the enormously successful original, which was directed by Choi Dong-hoon. Taking the reigns this time is hitmaker Kang Hyeong-cheol (Scandal Makers, 2008; Sunny, 2011). With strong supporting players, a stylish mise-en-scene and the ever-alluring gambling underworld, this sequel should do brisk business.

Golden Chariot in the Sky (Sep 4) 

Director - O Muel
Cast - Lee Kyung-joon, Kim Dong-ho, Mun Seok-bum, Yang Jeong-won
Writer - O Muel
Genre - Music / Drama
Running Time - 84 mins
Korean Title - 하늘의  황급마차/ Haneului Hwangkeubmacha
Distribution -  Finecut (foreign) / Jinjin Pictures (domestic)
Production - Japari Film / Human Rights Commission of Korea

Snyopsis - Ppong Ddol tries to pursue his dream of forming a band by bringing eight people together to create Golden Chariot, named after a shabby orange cart. While the band experiences some inner conflict, he also meets with his brothers, the eldest of which is dying of cancer and wants his three siblings to go on a trip together.

Notes - With his fifth feature, Jeju Island filmmaker O Muel returns to lighter fare following the artistic Jeju Massacre film Jiseul (2012), which was a major hit on the festival circuit. Golden Chariot in the Sky premiered at the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival and served as the opening film of the Jecheon Intl. Music and Film Festival.

Hill of Freedom (Sep 4)

Director - Hong Sangsoo
Cast - Kase Ryu, Moon So-ri, Seo Young-hwa, Youn Yuh-jung, Jung Eun-chae, Kang Hye-jung
Writer - Hong Sangsoo
Producer - Kim Kyoung-hee
Genre - Comedy / Drama
Running Time - 67 mins
Korean Title - 자유의 언덕 / Jayooui Eondeok
Distribution - Finecut (foreign)
Production - Jeonwonsa Film Co.

Synopsis - A Japanese man travels to Korea to reconnect with an old flame, meeting many people on the way.

Notes - The 16th feature from the prolific Hong Sangsoo, Hill of Freedom will have its world premiere at the Venice Intl. Film Festival before moving on to the Toronto Intl. Film Festival. The film is also Hong's shortest, at a svelte 67 minutes.

A Record of Sweet Murder (Sep 11)

Director - Shiraishi Koji
Cast - Yeon Je-wook, Kim Kkotbi, Yonemura Ryotaro, Aoi Tsukasa
Writer - Shiraishi Koji
Producers - Kino Yoshi, Choi Yu-ri
Genre - Thriller
Running Time - 107 mins
Korean Title - 원컷-어느 친절한 살인자의 기록 / Wonkeot-Eoneu Chinjeolhan Salinjaui Girok
Distribution - Mountain Pictures
Production - Zoa Films

Synopsis - A man held in a mental hospital for serial murders escapes and seeks out his childhood friend turned reporter. He asks her to meet him somewhere with a Japanese cameraman. She could never imagine what she was about to discover.

Notes - A Japanese-Korean co-production that premiered at the Puchon Intl. Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan).

The Wicked (Sep 11)

Director - Yoo Young-seon
Cast - Park Joo-hee, Na Soo-yoon, Lee Mi-so, Sin Ye-jin
Writer - Yoo Young-seon
Cinematographer - Lee Jin-keun
Editors - Kim Mi-yeong, Lee Yong-hee
Genre - Horror
Running Time - 91 mins
Korean Title - 마녀 / Manyeo
Distribution - M-Line (foreign) / CGV Movie Collage (domestic)
Production- Blue Whale Film Company

Synopsis - A young worker is harassed by her employer. One day she is told to finish a project by the end of the day, and told, as a joke that if she fails to do so, she should forfeit her finger. In turn the young worker asks that her boss do the same if she finishes in time. When she gets it done, her boss, as well as her co-workers, begin to learn how serious this disturbed girl really is.

Notes - Though completed last year, the film premiered at the Jeonju Intl. Film Festival this May. One of the yearly non-descript summer Korean horror offerings.

Toxic Desire: Attraction (Sep 11) 

Director - Yoon Yeo-chang
Cast - Hong Gyeong-in, Kim Seon-yeong
Genre - Mystery / Thriller
Running Time - 91mins
Korean Title - 욕망의 독: 중독 / Yokmanui Dok: Joongdok
Distribution - Amuse Entertainment
Production - Mania 22

Synopsis - Psychiatrist Joon-sang leads a pained life, as he grapples with his wife's suicide following a rape. He meets Ji-soo, who tells her that every man she's ever loved has died. Meanwhile, a detective is investigating her in a recent murder case.

Wrestling (Sep 11)

Director - Kim Ho-joon
Cast - Choi Seong-gook, Song Eun-chae, Han Na-kyeong
Genre - Romantic comedy
Running Time - 85 mins
Korean Title - 레쓰링 / Lesseuling
Distribution - BoXoo Entertainment
Production - Ireland Pictures

Synopsis - A comedy about a professor and his female student.

One for All, All for One (Sep 18) 

Director - Park Don-sa, Park Sa-yu
Cast - Moon Jeong-hee (narration)
Genre - Documentary
Running Time - 107 mins
Korean Title - 60만번의 트라이 / 60Manbeonui Teurai
Distribution - Indiestory
Production - Komapress (Japan) / Sansoo Ventures (Korea)

Synopsis - A documentary about the Osaka Korea School rugby team, a sports team that perseveres in spite of racial discrimination.

Notes - This Korea-Japanese co-production debuted at the Jeonju Intl. Film Festival

The Plan (Sep 18)

Director - Park Chang-jin
Cast - Shin Eun-kyung, Lee Ki-young, Oh In-hye, Kang Ji-sub
Writer - Lee Ji-hyun
Genre - Thriller
Korean Title - 설계 / Seolkye
Distribution - Pop Entertainment
Production - Yool

Synopsis - Se-hee is a ruthless loan shark who leaves no stone unturned when seeking her money back, but if she feels the collateral is more valuable she finds a way to prevent clients form paying her back. When her backer and the normal man she yearns for are taking away by someone, she realizes that everything is at stake.

Zombie School (Sep 25)

Director - Kim Seok-jung
Cast - Baek Seo-bin, Kim Seung-hwan, Ha Eun-seol, Park Jae-hoon
Genre - Comedy / Horror
Running Time - 90 mins
Korean Title - 좀비스쿨 / Jombiseukool
Distributor - BoXoo Entertainment
Production - Peter Pan Pictures

Synopsis - A peaceful school descends into a nightmare when dead pigs, buried after a foot and mouth scare, come back to life, turning the teachers they bite into zombies. The students must now defend themselves against the zombie teacher horde.

Notes - Premiered at the Puchon Intl. Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan).

Splendid But Sad Days (Sep)

Director - Lee Hong-ki
Producer - Lee Seok-won
Genre - Documentary
Running Time - 64 mins
Korean Title - 순천 / Sooncheon
Distribution - Indieplug
Production - Ricky Film

Synopsis - An old woman works on a fishing boat day in day out, while her good-for-nothing husband leeches off of her.

Notes - Premiered at Busan International Film Festival

Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-up, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (GMT+1).

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