Showing posts with label the thieves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the thieves. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

KCN: Korean Films to TIFF, Thieves Still King (08/09-08/15, 2012)

Not an enormous amount of news this week. Toronto has announced some Korean films in its lineup, The Thieves continues its extraordinary box office run and a number of trailers and posters this week.


Three Korean Films Set for Toronto
The Toronto International Film Festival, arguably the world's biggest film event (if not quite as glitzy as Cannes), returns next month and this year a trio of Korean films have been invited. The sophomore effort from Jo Sung-hee (End of Animal; 2010), A Werewolf Boy will screen in the Contemporary World Cinema section along with Juvenile Offender by Kang Ji-kwan and current blockbuster The Thieves from Choi Dong-hun. (Modern Korean Cinema, August 15, 2012)

R2B Presells to 30 Markets
The Rain-starring aviation blockbuster R2B: Return to Base, has presold to 30 territories, including: England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Canada, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Monaco, India, Turkey & Mongolia. The film is a remake of the Korean classic Red Scarf (1964) but by all accounts it seems to fall far more in line with Top Gun (1986). (Modern Korean Cinema, August 15, 2012)

Monday, August 13, 2012

KBO: The Thieves Overcomes The Grand Heist's Grand Opening (08/10-08/12, 2012)

The Thieves Overcomes The Grand Heist's Grand Opening

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 The Thieves 7/25/12 36.60% 1,138,579 9,237,509 801
2 The Grand Heist 8/8/12 30.10% 961,805 1,343,501 694
3 I Am a King 8/8/12 8.30% 271,095 490,594 471
4 The Dark Knight Rises (us) 7/19/12 8.20% 240,450 6,073,570 367
5 Sammy's Adventures 2 (be) 8/1/12 7.10% 218,639 967,254 370
6 Ice Age 5 (us) 7/25/12 3.80% 118,629 1,453,213 271
7 Animals United (ge) 8/8/12 2.50% 86,564 123,247 241
8 Step Up 4 (us) 8/15/12 0.70% 21,029 22,245 90
9 Detective Conan (jp) 7/19/12 0.50% 18,044 499,974 82
10 Horror Stories 7/25/12 0.50% 13,955 315,775 65

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Korean Cinema News (08/02-08/08, 2012)

Finally settling back into the run of things following PiFan. Korean Cinema News is now back to its weekly status.

Not an enormous amount of news this week but The Thieves is still obliterating records at the local box office and there are few festival tidbits in the news.


Korean American Film Festival Commemorates the L.A. Riots
The Korean American Film Festival Los Angeles launches this week, and while it imports several titles from its New York sister festival (including Magic and Loss, with indie star Kiki Sugino, and the portentous-sounding Ultimate Christian Wrestling), its centerpiece is a program of documentaries that focus on the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots. (L.A. Weekly, August 9, 2012)

Actress Ha Becomes Mentor for Future Filmmakers
Renowned actress Ha Ji-won and director Kim Ji-hoon will serve as mentors for the Korea-China youth cultural exchange program “Beijing Toto Laboratory,” scheduled to be held in Beijing’s Kwanggeomun Middle School, Aug. 13 -17. Forty teenagers from Korea and China will participate in making eight films during the five-day program jointly sponsored by CJ CGV and Boys Vanguard of the Chinese Communist Youth Association. (The Korea Herald, August 8, 2012)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

KBO: The Thieves Continues to Smash Records (08/03-08/05, 2012)

The Thieves Continues to Smash Records

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 The Thieves 7/25/12 54.50% 2,002,862 6,877,785 1,092
2 The Dark Knight Rises (us) 7/19/12 17.10% 615,196 5,522,967 630
3 Sammy's Asventures 2 (bl) 8/1/12 10.40% 358,903 549,644 486
4 Ice Age 4 (us) 7/25/12 8.50% 301,481 1,194,354 425
5 The Grand Heist 8/8/12 1.60% 58,736 84,095 160
6 Detective Conan (jp) 7/19/12 1.30% 54,623 459,069 146
7 Rock of Ages (us) 8/2/12 1.30% 48,525 67,444 243
8 Horror Stories 7/25/12 1.30% 48,210 267,632 150
9 Piranha 3DD (us) 8/1/12 1.10% 34,938 58,916 266
10 Doraemon (jp) 7/25/12 0.70% 27,769 141,060 109

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weekly Review Round-up (07/28-08/03, 2012)

It's been a few weeks since the Weekly Review Roundups have been up but I've gone back and added them all now. Lots of PiFan reviews of course and plenty more!

I also wanted to take a moment to say that I will be a little more selective about what appears on WRR from now on. Up until now I've been happy to feature anything on Korean film as long as it was legible but over time I've come across some major outlets that don't always present honest opinions. I'm not here to name and shame but I have removed a few sources from my list that I believe do not respect their audience by giving false opinions for ulterior purposes. Anyway, shouldn't change much going forward!

Thanks for reading and WRR should be back to its weekly status for the foreseeable future.



(Seongyong's Private Place, July 28, 2012)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Korean Cinema News (07/26-08/01, 2012)

Another abbreviated KCN due to PiFan coverage but nonetheless soe important Venice announcements, interviews and box office history in the making!


SICAF 2012: Animation Event in Korea
Local press covering this year's Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Fest (SICAF) frequently touted diversity, among other program elements, as the event's primary commendation. This year marks the sixteenth edition of the annual comics and cartoons showcase, and although animation screened in competition has traditionally come in from all over the globe, the festival's confident mix of emotional, adult films and seasoned children's fare produced a rather unique schedule. SICAF 2012(July 18-22, 2012) concluded last week. (Animation Insider, July 30, 2012)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

KBO: The Thieves Steals First Place in Grand Fashion (07/27-07/29, 2012)

The Thieves Steals First Place in Grand Fashion

Apologies for this abbreviated Box Office Report, all updates were suspended while MKC covered the 16th PiFan.

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 The Thieves 7/25/12 55.30% 2,004,178 2,866,802 1,073
2 The Dark Knight Rises (us) 7/19/12 25.30% 891,004 4,256,255 807
3 Ice Age 4 (us) 7/25/12 10.60% 359,122 470,762 501
4 Horror Stories 7/25/12 2.60% 91,890 141,071 274
5 Deranged 7/5/12 2.00% 75,898 4,411,340 261
6 Detective Conan (jp) 7/19/12 1.70% 72,203 329,882 211
7 Doraeman (jp) 7/25/12 1.10% 45,187 58,340 180
8 The Amazing Spiderman (us) 6/28/12 0.30% 9,572 4,840,651 45
9 Midnight in Paris (us) 7/5/12 0.20% 8,143 293,979 38
10 SeoTaiji Record of the 8th 7/27/12 0.20% 5,326 5,326 1

Friday, July 13, 2012

Weekly Review Round-up (07/09-07/13, 2012)

Lots more NYAFF coverage this week and an early review for incoming blockbuster The Thieves. Next week PiFan gets underway so get ready for plenty of new genre release reviews!


(The Korea Times, July 11, 2012)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 2012 Korean Releases

This monthly features previews the coming month's attractions in Korean cinema. All of these monthly posts are available in an archive on the Upcoming Releases page.

July 5


July 12

Bloody Fight in Iron-Rock Valley
Dangerously Excited
Sex, Lies and Videotape
Two Moons
Venus in Furs

July 19

Tears of the Antarctic
The 5-Million-Dollar Man
Ukelele Love Together

July 25

The Thieves

July 26

Horror Stories

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Korean Cinema News (05/17-05/23, 2012)

Some sales in Cannes this week but not too much else to report though there are some great interviews and a new trailer for incoming summer zombie feature Deranged.  Next week should yield some more Cannes news and hopefully a Korean film will pick up a prize though at this point I don't think they'll get anything in the main competition unless The Taste of Money suddenly received a better welcome than in Korea where it opened last week.


Korean Movies Sell at Cannes
A number of high-profile pics have sold at Cannes, including the hotly anticipated The Thieves which was bought by firms in China, Hong Kong and Thailand.  The year's biggest local hit to date, Nameless Gangster, also secured distribution in some territories such as Japan, China and Hong Kong in Asia as well as Eastern Europe, Spain and the French-speaking portion of Europe.  So Ji-sub's hitman film A Company Man, which is scheduled to open next month, was sold to Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and French and German-speaking Europe.  The Scent was also taken by a few Asian markets, including Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.  Lastly, Love On-Air, the first wide Korean release of 2012, was sold to Thailand.  (Modern Korean Cinema, May 23, 2012)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Korean Cinema News (03/15-03/21, 2012)

Lots of big sales at the HK Film Market and some interesting casting news.  Also many new trailers and posters this week, including one for the hotly anticipated As One.


'Movie Director' Park Joong-hoon is Now a Writer Too
Park Joong-hoon is currently writing the scenario for his director-debut movie with a professional writer.  He has been officially announcing his debut as a director and the preparation process on his Twitter regularly.  He said on his Twitter, "I have officially started filming. I will put my heart into it".  Previously, he revealed that he was working with a professional writer on the scenario and truthfully revealed the pain and joy in writing out the story.  (, March 14, 20120

Early Works Return to Life at Korean Film Archive
Moviegoers today are accustomed to glossy, high-definition images that indiscriminately reveal slight skin blemishes of actors known for flawless complexions. Bass-heavy, surround-sound audio has also become the norm.  (The Korea Times, March 15, 2012)

Jane Birkin Wants to Work with Director Hong Sang-soo
French actress and singer Jane Birkin talked to Yonhap News ahead of her Korean concert at AX-Korea on March 22.  During the email interview, the chanteuse wondered if she was too old to give acting a go in Korea.  “There’s always a bit of a risk when you start something new, but I think working on a Korean movie would be worth it. The question is though, would Hong Sang-soo want to hire me?” joked Birkin. (Joong Ang Daily, March 16, 2012)

Lost’s Yunjin Kim Gets A Lead In ABC’s Mistresses
Lost alumna Yunjin Kim has landed a lead opposite Rochelle Aytes and Jes Macallan in Mistresses, ABC’s drama recently greenlighted straight to series for a summer 2013 launch.  The soap, written by KJ Steinberg and based on the British format, is described as a provocative drama about four women — three of them played by Kim, Aytes and Macallan — with scandalous romantic lives, caught in storms of excitement and self-discovery, secrecy and betrayal.  (Deadline Hollywood, March 16, 2012)

Buyers Run Off With Showbox's Thieves
The Thieves, a big-budget heist movie, has been a strong seller for integrated South Korean film giant Showbox/Mediaplex Inc.  The company has pre-sold the film to Dream Movie Entertainment Overseas Ltd for Singapore and Malaysia, Queen International Pictures Pte Ltd for Indonesia and Catchplay Inc for Taiwan.  (Film Business Asia, March 18, 2012)

KOFIC Eyes Global Market at H.K. FILMART
Korean Film Council (KOFIC) announced on Monday that it is currently participating in Hong Kong International Film & TV Market (FILMART), to promote local films worldwide and launch more foreign projects in Korea.  The Hong Kong-based event, which kicked off Monday and runs through Thursday, is considered one of the biggest film markets in Asia.  KOFIC said they will have their own lounge, titled “Korean Film Center,” during the event.  (The Korea Herald, March 19, 2012)

Start Date Set and The Host Stars join Bong Joon-ho’s Snow Piercer
A-list director Bong Joon-ho (Mother, 2009) is bringing back a couple of stars from one of his biggest hits, The Host (2006), for his newest project, Snow Piercer, which sounds like quite the large-scale sci-fi/thriller/action venture.  In it, Go Ah-sung (God of Study) and Song Kang-ho team up to play a father-daughter duo, as they did six years ago in The Host.  The film is set to begin shooting on March 26 and expected to run through to July 1.  (dramabeans, March 19, 2012)

5 Points to Do Right by CJ
US-based Asian entertainment group Right Stuf Inc has struck a deal to handle seven titles from South Korea's CJ Entertainment Inc in North American home entertainment markets.  Titles include Bleak Night (2010), Finding Mr Destiny (2010), Moss (2010), Penny Pinchers, Punch, The Suicide Forecast and Tazza: The High Rollers (2006).  (Film Business Asia, March 19, 2012)

Will Park Chan-wook Go to Cannes With Nicole Kidman?
Will director Park Chan-wook step on the red carpet at Cannes with Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman?  Director Park Chan-wook's Hollywood project Stalker is likely to be submitted in the 65th Cannes International Film Festival that is opening on the 16th of May.  Recent Hollywood reports and movie expert media have been looking positively at the possibilities of Stalker entering Cannes, along with the coming together of a Korean director and famous Hollywood actress.  (, March 20, 2012)


Heartthrob Determined to Go Beyond His Image
More than a decade into his career, Joo Jin-mo, 37, is still considered one of the best-looking faces in Korean cinema. He is also a victim of that image, however, incarnating one virile leading man after another.  Even in his newest film Gabi that opens today, he plays that tough-guy role again.  (The Korea Times, March 13, 2012)


As One (via Naver)



The Scent


Doomsday Book



The Scent

The Thieves


Helpless Repeats at the Expense of Russian Coffee
(Modern Korean Cinema, March 18, 2012)

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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Korean Cinema News (02/23-02/29, 2012)

Bit of slow news week for Korean cinema but some interesting tidbits nonetheless, including some festival news and some new stills, posters and trailers for anticipated films.


KOFIC to Re-open Seoul Media Center
The Korean Film Council is re-opening its media education institute, “Seoul Media Center,” in Chungmuro district in Pil-dong, Seoul, on Thursday, the organization said.  The institute was first established as "Mediact" in 2002 on the fifth floor of the Ilmin Museum of Art building near Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.  (The Korea Herald, February 22, 2012)

Florence Korea Film Fest to open with Always
The 10th Florence Korea Film Fest in Italy has announced it will open with Song Il-gon’s Always, last year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Opening Film.  The festival will screen 32 feature films and 24 shorts during its nine-day run, and close with Kim Ki-duk’s Arirang, which made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year.  (KoBiz, February 24, 2012)

New Kim Ki-duk Film
Director Kim Ki-duk, producer of the film Rough Cut, is creating a second project called Actor's Cut.  In a sequel to Rough Cut, which starred So Ji-sub and Kang Ji-hwan, the new movie is based on the collapse of a popular star actor.  It is expected to express Kim's shocking and unique style.  The distributor for the movie told "TV Report" on February 28th, "The cast hasn't been decided upon yet because we are still in the preparation process".  (, February 28, 2012)

After a bit of a quiet stretch Korean director Kim Ki-duk is returning to the sort of gritty dark drama where he first made his name with the upcoming Pieta.  Jo Min-soo and Lee Jeong-jin star in the director's eighteenth feature.  (Twitch, February 28, 2012)

20th Century Fox to Directly Invest in Korean Film Industry
Film distributor 20th Century Fox has announced its plan to directly invest in the South Korean movie industry.  As the first U.S. major film company to directly enter the South Korean market, Fox will produce five Korean movies, each costing up to five billion won, starting this year.  The movies will be sold around the world through Fox’s own distribution network.  (KBS, February 28, 2012)

Lee OK For Mr. K
Nowhere to Hide (1999) director Lee Myung-se is to direct comedy spy action film Mr. K from next month, his first feature film in five years.  The film will star Seol Gyeong-gu, Moon So-ri, Go Chang-seok and heart-throb Daniel Henney.  The confused identity story sees a spy undercover in a foreign country while his wife, not knowing his disguise, also gets involved.  (FilmBiz Asia, February 29, 2012)

Korean Films in the Hong Kong Film Festival
The 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) has announced their line-up to include five feature-length films from Korea - Choked, Stateless Things, Moving, From Seoul to Varanasi and The Day He Arrives.  HKIFF has also produced and will premiere four short films under the collective title of Beautiful 2012.  Korean director Kim Tae-yong (Late Autumn) joins China’s Gu Changwei, Taiwan’s Tsai Ming-Liang, and Hong Kong’s Ann Hui in this project.  (KoBiZ, February 29, 2012)


E J-Yong Roundtable Interview
Prior to a KCCUK screening of Actresses, acclaimed director E J-Yong sat to down to a group interview with Hangul Celluloid, MiniMiniMovies, London Korea Links and Eastern Kicks.  (Hangul Celluloid, February 23, 2012)


Doomsday Book



Hand in Hand

The Thieves


(Modern Korean Cinema, February 26, 2012)

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.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Korean Cinema News (12/08-12/14, 2011)

This week's Korean Cinema News features some casting and festival items as well as a number of substantive features and profiles.  I've revamped the look again as I'm hoping to make the weekly update more interactive, let me know your thoughts or if there are any problems with the new design!

Ryoo Seung-wan's next film, the ten billion won project Berlin has added star Jeon Ji-yeon to its cast.  She will play an interpreter at the North Korean Embassy as well as the wife of Ha Jeong-woo's character, a spy who is shunned by North Korea.  Berlin will also star Han Seok-Kyu, Ryoo Seung-beom, and many more.  (, December 11, 2011)

Pop-opera Star Bocelli to Sing Title Song for My Way
Famed vocalist Andrea Bocelli is set to record the theme song for the upcoming movie My Way.  He will perform "To Find My Way", composed by musical director Lee Dong-joon, whose previous work includes Taegeukgi and IRIS.  (, December 8, 2011)

Catch the 2010 Korean A Better Tomorrow Remake on Netflix Instant
Last year, director Song Hae-sung remade John Woo’s classic A Better Tomorrow (1986), not only did he have Woo's consent but he was also an executive producer.   Recently the film was released on blu-ray and DVD from distributor Well Go USA, but it is now streaming on Netflix Instant in HD.  (City on Fire, December 8, 2011)

Lee Yoon-ki is a humanist.  The refusal by this South Korean director to suggest otherwise can quite understandably be argued as a limitation.  Since narrative films often rely on audience identification, a movie that empathizes with a repressed character and stresses a need for self-expression often doesn’t make for very challenging contemporary cinema.

Korean Film Downunder 2: "Interest & Availability"
Following on from my look at distributions link to genre, I had believed the fact that the level of interest in Korean film in Australia was where it was at due to what was available to people.  Generally films released and readily talked about fit into the crime thriller or horror genres, and this can of course only have limited appeal as its marginalising the audience.  But as stated over at the KOFFIA blog Hungry for Drama, we have seen that comedies and dramas have been some of the favourite films at the festival.  So why hasn't there been a crossover between those that love Korean dramas into watching Korean films?  (Tully's Recall, December 7, 2011)

Lee Sun-mi Wins Woman in Film of the Year
The Woman in Film of the Year Award was designed to encourage and support woman who demonstrate “the most excellent activities of the year.”  This year producer Lee Sun-mi is the 2011 won the award for her work on Detective K: Secret of Virtuous Widow.  Other prize winners included: actresses Song Hye-kyo and Choi Ji-hee, director Han Hye-jin, and producer Um Joo-yeong.  (KOBIZ, December 14, 2011)

Yun Jung-hee was honored with a Best Actress award at the 37th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) Awards for her performance in Poetry.  The film was directed by Lee Chang-dong and stars Yun as a old lady who lives with her grandson and details the changes she goes through after a terrible event occurs.  (KOBIZ, December 13, 2011)

Top Issues in the 2011 Korean Film Industry
From sleeper hits to leading directors shooting abroad, society-changing films and game-changing moves, 2011 has been a surprising year for the Korean film industry.  South Korea’s box office in 2011 had integrity.  Films emerged that were more ambitious than ever with large-scale budgets and marketing campaigns to fit, but cinema-goers were not taken in by it all.  (Korean Cinema Today, December 7, 2011)

The 37th Seoul Independent Film Festival Opens
The 37th Seoul Independent Film Festival (SIFF) opened yesterday with Myselves, a documentary project film shot by actresses Boo Ji-young, Kim Kkot-bee, Yang Eun-yong, and Seo Young-ju.  The festival runs Dec. 8 – 16 at the CGV Apgujeong multiplex in Seoul.  All four actresses were on hand at the opening ceremony along with filmmakers such as Yang Ik-june.  (KOBIZ, December 9, 2011)

Bittersweet Life: Korean Cinema's Secret Popularity in the UK
Ask any cine-literate film-goer, critic, blogger, or tweeter in the UK about Korean cinema and you’ll be greeted with an enthusiastic response.  They will talk of the Hallyu period of the past decade, a wealth of some of the most creative and interesting film-making in the world.  They will speak with passion about Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk and Bong Joon-ho.  (Korean Cinema Today, November 29, 2011)
After six months of shooting around the world, in location such as Macau, Hong Kong, Busan, and Seoul, Choi Dong-hoon's highly anticipated fourth feature finally wrapped production on December 7 at the W Seoul – Walkerhill Hotel.  The Thieves stars Kim Yun-seok, Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-jae, Jeon Ji-hyun, and POh Dal-su.  (KOBIZ, December 9, 2011)

Virtual Hallyu: Korean Cinema of the Global Era
Kyung Hyun Kim’s Virtual Hallyu seeks to redress what the author sees as an imbalance in recent English-language surveys of Korean cinema.  As Kim, an Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literature at the University of California, Irvine, points out, the few works available in English – such as Jinhee Choi’s recent The South Korean Film Renaissance – generally assess the Korean film industry and other external aspects of Korea’s film boom of the mid-1990s and early-2000s.  That is, they explore the how and why of the rapid expansion of Korean films in the domestic marketplace and the rise in stature of the filmmakers and the industry abroad.  (Cineaste, December 2011)

Last month, Gerwin Tamsma made his annual visit to Seoul in search of new films for the next International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR).  In between screenings, meetings, and an impromptu dinner he kindly threw for festival alumni, the friendly, outspoken programmer met with Jean Noh for a quick interview.  (Korean Cinema Today, December 7, 2011)

Park Jung-bum Recalls Making of The Journals of Musan
Clad in blue jeans and a grey hoodie, director Park Jung-bum looks nothing like the North Korean defector he played in his award-sweeping feature debut, The Journals of Musan.  He no longer has the character’s bowl-cut, nor does he have that sluggish gait.  (The Korea Herald, December 12, 2011)

South Korean Cinema Hoarding Artist Yearns for 'Good Old Days'
Hoarding artist Paek Chun-tae's 40-year career painting cinema billboards came to an early end in the 2000s, but his work is now featured in an exhibition that will run through the end of this month.  Like many other hoarding artists, he lost his job in the 2000s as many old-style movie theaters were driven out by multiplex cinemas.  (Yonhap News, December 8, 2011)


Nameless Gangster





(Modern Korean Cinema, December 12, 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.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jopok Week: Conclusion and Korean Gangster Films on the Horizon

Kang Ji-hwan and So Ji-sub in Rough Cut (2008)

The gangster film has been a staple since the early days of cinema.  It's heady, larger-than-life blend of action, drama, and thriller tropes as well as the myriad of themes it can explore, makes it a natural fit for the silver screen.  Throughout the last century the genre has travelled across the globe, peaking in different places at different times.  For the last 15 years, one of the most prolific producers of gangster pictures has been Korea:  arguably it has been the most successful.  In their home market, Korean gangster films have enjoyed unprecedented and sustained popularity though the genre has changed in the industry over time.  

One of the aspects that was most discussed this week (chiefly by Connor McMorran and Darcy Paquet) was the Korean gangster comedy, which reached an early high in 2001, when six of the top 10 films of the year were mobster themed features.  Much was said about the reasons for their enormous success as well as the inherent flaws within the sub-genre which lead in part to its early demise.  They eventually receded from the marquees near the end of the decade.  While the odd one is still made today, they do not attract near the same audiences as they did.

Kim Yun-seok in The Yellow Sea (2010)

Darker thrillers with gangster tropes may not have had the same dominance as their comedy counterparts had in certain parts of the last decade but their prevalence and popularity has remained constant throughout the resurgence of Korean cinema.  They have been used as a template to explore the changing landscape and society of Korea as it has become a developed nation and also as a means to consider questions regarding the Korean male in modern times.  In her piece, Rowena Santos Aquino gave us a lot to think about regarding masculinity and beauty in 'jopok' films.

A lot of ground has been covered during 'Jopok Week' and I am absolutely thrilled about the positive response that the many reviews, features, and analyses have received.  Including these closing comments, 17 articles have been published as part of Jopok Week, totaling an enormous 22,500 words.

Cha In-pyo in Mokpo, Gangster's Paradise (2003)

I want to express my sincere gratitude to Connor McMorran, Rowena Santos Aquino, Kieran Tully, and Darcy Paquet who contributed such wonderful pieces on various aspects of Korean gangster cinema.  A huge thank you is also in order for every one of you that took part in, or helped promote the features through umpteen tweets, likes, follows, shares, subscribes, or comments on the various social media platforms.  And of course none of this would have been possible without you, the reader, so thank you so much for taking the time to visit!

After the success of this week, I am keen to do a similar feature in the near future.  Perhaps we can take a look at horror or melodrama in Korean cinema next, or even expand on 'Jopok Week' a year down the line.  I hope you will join me when the next feature does get underway and if you any ideas or would like to collaborate on something, do not hesitate to get in touch (pierceconran [at] gmail [dot] com)!  

I will leave you with a recap of this week's articles and a taste of what's to come for 'jopok' films in 2012:

(by Kieran Tully)


Too Many Villains

The debut film from Kim Harry, who was previously an assistant director on Ha Yu's brilliant A Dirty Carnival (2006), will be released next week in Korea and I think it looks fantastic.  In Too Many Villains, Kim Joon-bae plays an ex-gang member trying to gain custody of his daughter.  Kim is a veteran and has been exceptional in a number of small roles including Romantic Heaven (2011) and last year's Moss but judging by the trailer, this may be a big break for him and I hope it will be.  His look, swagger, and especially his voice feel spot on for this type of role.  I have a good feeling about this one and I hope I get a chance to see it early in 2012.  One of my must-sees for next year!

Nameless Gangster

Yoon Jong-bin's third film (he's still only 32) is a gangster tale set in the early 90s starring Choi Min-sik (Oldboy, 2003; I Saw the Devil, 2010) and Ha Jung-woo (The Chaser, 2008; The Yellow Sea, 2010).  Nameless Gangster has a great look and feel to it and Choi, a consummate actor, seems to have completely immersed himself in the role.  There have been a number of great stills relying on the evocative force of the production design and costumes, which works for me.  Comedy looks to be part of the mix but this is a far cry from the gangster comedies we've been discussing this week.  The trailer looks promising and this is one the films I'm most curious about in 2012. 

The Thieves

Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jeong-jae, Oh Dal-su, and Jeon Ji-hyeon in The Thieves

Choi Dong-hoon's fourth feature has blockbuster written all over it.  The big cast features Kim Yun-seok, Kim Hye-soo, Jeon Ji-hyeon (aka Gianna Jun), Lee Jeong-jae, and Oh Dal-su, and the production was pan-asian and included shoots in Macau.  The Thieves (formerly known as The Professionals) is Choi's third film dealing with professional thieves/gamblers and while no trailers or posters have been revealed yet, the pedigree looks strong.  Kim Yun-seok is on such a roll that it's hard to imagine that he won't bring it home again here.

Kim Yun-seok in The Thieves

That's it for 'Jopok Week', hope you've enjoyed it and thanks again!

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