Showing posts with label oscar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label oscar. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

KCN: Oscar Shortlist, Festival News and Trailers (08/23-08/29, 2012)

Oscar news this week and a number of festival items, not to mention posters and trailers.


KOFIC Announces Shortlist for 2013 Oscars
A team is being assembled by the Korean Film Council to deliberate over the merits of five recent Korean features hoping to become to next selection to represent the nation in the Foreign-Language Oscar race. This year's contenders include Im Sang-soo's Taste of Money, Hong Sang-soo's In Another Country, Kim Ki-duk's Pieta (which is having its world premiere next month at Venice, the gangster pic Nameless Gangster and Lee Byung-hyun period drama Masquerade, which opens next month in Korea.

Over the past few years there has been some consternation regarding the eventual picks, which have included Crossing (2008), A Barefoot Dream (2010) and The Front Line (2011). Films that seemed to have far better potential have been passed over, such as Lee Chang-dong's Poetry or the popular hit Sunny. This year's crop does not inspire a great deal of confidence (though few have seen the latter two yet) and imagine that 2013 will be another year without a Korean Oscar nominee. To date not a single Korean film has ever been selected. (Modern Korean Cinema, August 29, 2012)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Interview: 'The Front Line' Director Jang Hoon

With three big films under his belt, Jang Hoon is now seen as one of Korea's top directing talents.  His films have met with great success but they have also been critically acclaimed.  His male-centric, dual protagonist narratives explore ambiguous but often familiar territory.  They are films that have highlighted the paradoxical social ills of Korea but they are also engaging thrillers that have attracted droves of spectators to the theatres with their potent mix of wry humour and sharp plotting.

Jang burst out on to the scene in 2008 with Rough Cut, penned and produced by his then mentor Kim Ki-duk, a blistering gangster film that cleverly confuses the lines between the gangster and filmmaking worlds.  As well as being one of the most fascinating genre films to come out of South Korea in recent times, Rough Cut is also a supremely entertaining satire.  His next film was the blockbuster Secret Reunion, starring Song Kang-ho and Kang Dong-won as a former South Korean agent and a North Korean spy who form an unlikely partnership.  Humour plays a big part in Jang's sophomore feature despite its weighty subject matter.  It went on to become the second-highest grossing film of 2010.

Jang's latest is The Front Line, a Korean war film that chronicles the interminable final leg of the battle for Aerok hill as armistice talks dragged on for over a year in the waning days of the struggle.  Shin Ha-kyun and Ko Soo headline a top cast and Jang's impressively made feature was last year's official Korean Oscar submission.

Recently, MKC was able to ask him a few questions courtesy of Cine-Asia to coincide with the recent UK release of The Front Line on DVD and Blu-Ray.  He talks about Lee Chang-dong, cinematography, the division of the Korean peninsula and his new film The Front Line:

1. In terms of structure, The Front Line is quite different from other war films.   How did you and writer Park Sang-yeon choose to approach this?

I came onboard to this project after a draft of the script was completed by writer Park and the producer.  Park and I shared lots of ideas while revising the script and during the pre-production, more plot details were ironed out.

2. Over the last decade a number of high profile Korean war films have been released.   With The Front Line, what were you hoping to add to this impressive group of films?

The film tells the story of how the war ended, whereas many other films start from its beginning.  There is still a long road ahead before peace settles in this peninsula and I wanted to show this movie, especially to younger generations, to allow them to question the historic war and the current North-South relationship.

3. Your last two features have explicitly dealt with the rift on the Korean peninsula, do you find yourself particularly drawn to this subject?

Living in the only divided country in the world, we (Koreans) all have some interest in the relationship between the North and the South.  Being one of them and sharing this common interest, I started to develop this story with that in mind.

4. You have worked with different cinematographers (Kim Woo-hyung, Lee Mo-gae, and Kim Gi-tae) on each of your films, which as a result are quite distinct from one another.   Is this a conscious decision to separate the style of each film and how would you describe your working relationship with your directors of photography?

Due to the different circumstances of previous films, I have worked with three different cinematographers and thanks to their distinctive characteristics I was able to accumulate unique experiences and partnerships.  We had many discussions concerning the most suitable cinematographic style for each film.

5. You made your debut as a director at a time when the future of Korean cinema seemed uncertain.  How do you feel the industry has progressed since then and what do you think the future holds in store for Korean film?

Korean audiences are very adept with the internet and social networks, which have become strong media for films.  How they choose and judge a film has drastically changed.  While many Korean films fared well last year, some blockbusters did not come close to reaching their expected outcomes.  It shows that audiences are not drawn to typical dramas or expensive films anymore and in order to be more successful in this market, we have to keep developing new content and constantly evolve.

6. Would you be able to tell us a little about your future projects?

I don’t have any particular project in mind, yet, but some potential projects are being considered.

7. Finally, could you tell us what your favorite Korean films are?

Personally, I like the films of Lee Chang-dong.  All his films are great and my favorites are Secret Sunshine (2007) and Poetry (2010).

Many thanks to Louise Rivers at Cine-Asia for setting up the interview!

Modern Korean Cinema's review of The Front Line.

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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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Korean Cinema News (12/22-12/28, 2011)

Bit of a slow news week over Christmas but a few great features nonetheless and some interesting tidbits on Cloud Atlas and Lee Myung-se's new film, not to mention more trailers, posters, and box office.

To sum up Korean Cinema News for 2011, I will post a feature of what I felt were the top 10 Korean film stories of the year on New Year's Eve.


Bae Doo Na’s Hollywood Debut Piece Wraps Filming
After an 18-week shoot, Bae Doo-na has wrapped filming of the highly anticipated adaptation of David Mitchell's time-jumping opus Cloud Atlas.  The film is directoed by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski Brothers and Bae stars in one of its six stories, set in a futuristic Seoul.  Tom Hanks, Hugh Grant and Halle Berry also appear as leads.  (eNewsWorld, December 27, 2011)

The English-language Arirang TV network has produced three works as part of its annual film project which were shot in Bucheon, Pohang, and Gwangju.  Each of the writer-directors, Kim In-sik, Lee Sang-woo, and Kim Young-bin, shot their pieces in just two weeks.  (The Korea Herald, December 22, 2011)

Film Therapy Institute Names Punch as Year’s Most Healing
Runaway hit Punch has been named the most healing motion picture of the year at the Korea Institute of Film Application (KIFA) annual Healing Cinema Best 10 event.  A relatively novel technique in the field of psychotherapy, cinema therapy involves therapists who prescribe films to their patients.  Advocates of the technique say that watching films with relatable life themes and subject matter can alleviate patients’ mental distress.  (Joong Ang Daily, December 23, 2011)

The Unlikely Survival Story of Korean Cinema
Korean cinema hasn’t always been as dynamic and acclaimed as it is today. Along the way, Korean filmmakers have had to overcome Japanese colonial oppression, wartime destruction, authoritarian censorship and competition with Hollywood blockbusters.   (10 Magazine, December 2011)

Top & Flop 2011
Ki Mun, the lead editor over at AsianMediaWiki guests posts on Wildgrounds with a look at the best and most disappointing films of 2011.  A lot of independent Korean films made the cut!  (Wildgrounds, December 23, 2011)

Local Films Foray Into Chinese Market
The past year has seen Korean cinema on an upward climb from the recession that hit the industry hard in the mid-2000s, particularly as homespun works made successful debuts in the Chinese box office and more experimental mid-budget films drew crowds domestically.  In the early 2000s, few Korean movies enjoyed wide releases in large neighboring Asian markets such as Japan. In September, however, The Man From Nowhere, a 2010 crime drama, made successful box office debuts not only in Japan but also in China, one of the world’s fastest growing markets.  (The Korea Times, December 26, 2011)

On December 15, new action-comedy Miss Conspirator wrapped shooting.  The film stars Ko Hyun-jung and is directed by Park Chul-kwan who previously brought the successful gangster comedy Hi Dharma (2001) to the screen.  The film, which has been presold by 9ers Entertainment to Thailand's STG is set to be released in the first half of 2012.  Next Entertainment World, better known as N.E.W., is releasing the film in South Korea.  (KOBIZ, December 26, 2011)

Witness the Seoul of the Future in New Cloud Atlas Concept Art
The upcoming big screen adaptation of David Mitchell's sprawling, time hopping novel Cloud Atlas has been much in the news over the last year thanks to its high profile cast, directing team and the unusual manner of its creation.  The picture is being shot simultaneously by two separate film crews – one directed by Tom Tykwer, the other by the Wachowskis - with cast members each playing multiple characters in multiple time periods.  (Twitch, December 27, 2011)

Palm Springs Fest to Screen The Front Line
The upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will screen South Korea’s Oscar submission The Front Line in its Awards Buzz section.  The section will feature 40 of the 63 official submissions the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category.  The 40 films were selected by festival programmers as the strongest entries in this year’s race.  The 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival will run Jan. 5 – 16.  (KOBIZ, December 26, 2011)

Daniel Henney Will Play His First Villain in Lee Myeong-se's Mr. K
Daniel Henney's new challenge will be to make his debut as a terrorist villain in 'master of mise-en-scène' Lee Myeong-se's new film, Mr. K. The action blockbuster will also star Seol Kyeong-gu and Moon So-ri as a couple.  As associate of Henney told TV Report on December 26th, "Henney has been cast in a stylish role for famous director Lee Myeong-se's new film" and "He will appear as a terrorist that clashes with Seol Kyeong-gu over secret information, showing a side of himself we've never seen before".  (, December 26, 2011)

Busan calls For Submissions to Ties That Bind
The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) / Asian Project Market (APM) has made a call for submissions for the 2012 Ties That Bind – Asia / Europe Producers Workshop.  In its fourth edition, the workshop is held in partnership with EAVE, the Udine Fareast Film Festival, and Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) Audiovisual Fund.  (KOBIZ, December 26, 2011)

Cinemart Selects Jang Cheol-soo’s Service for People
The Rotterdam film festival’s co-production market CineMart has selected Korean director Jang Cheol-soo’s project Service for People for its upcoming 29th edition.  CineMart ultimately chose a total of 36 projects from 465 entries.  The finalists will be presented to 850 potential co-financiers, Jan. 29 – Feb 1.  Director Jang Cheol-soo made his feature debut with the much-lauded thriller Bedevilled in 2010 at the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week.  The film won the Puchon Choice Award at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) as well as the Audience Award and the Best Actress Award at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas.  (KOBIZ, December 23, 2011)


Having recently appeared at several international festivals, Through Korean Cinema will appear on DVD in 2012.  Director Leonardo Cinieri Lombroso was kind enough to answer some questions about his work – to explain how and why he decided to explore this subject and what his future plans are for further examining the work of Korean filmmakers…  (New Korean Cinema, December 21, 2011)


Jesus Hospital

Love Fiction

Never Ending Story

Tarbosaurus 3D



Tom Cruise's MI4 Scales Over My Way for Surprise Top Spot
(Modern Korean Cinema, December 26, 2011)

Korean Cinema News is a weekly feature which provides wide-ranging news coverage on Korean cinema, including but not limited to: features; festival news; interviews; industry news; trailers; posters; and box office. It appears every Wednesday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.