Friday, November 30, 2012

WKR: Eungyo, Taste of Money and LeeSong Hee-il in the Spotlight (11/24-11/30, 2012)

A number of current releases covered this week, including three films by LeeSong Hee-il as well as writeups the LKFF selection Eungyo, the recently-released Taste of Money, and a pair of favorable reviews from Variety's Maggie Lee.


(Variety, November 25, 2012)

Interview: Director Kong Quee-hyun (U.F.O.) Discusses Stress and Student Life in Korea

Kong Quee-hyun directed his debut U.F.O. last year. His film premiered at the Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival and following a run in Korean theaters earlier this year, the young filmmaker is now getting ready for his next project.

He took the time to talk to MKC about student life in Korea and the realities of low-budget filmmaking in the local industry.

U.F.O. originally featured at last year’s PiFan (Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival) and was eventually released in Korea this May. How did Indiestory, your distributor, come aboard?

I won the CGV movie collage award at the Cinema Digital Seoul film festival, which was the film’s second event. This is a $10,000 cash prize to support the distribution of an independent film. Indiestory saw the film and expressed their interest then which is how they became involved.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

KCN: Festivals Awards and Invitations Glut (12/22-12/28, 2012)

Festival awards for Korean cineastes dominate the news this week as well as the further high profile selections during what has been a banner year for every sector of the Korean film industry.


Fatal Invited to Berlin International Film Festival
Lee Don-ku’s Fatal has officially been invited to the Berlin International Film Festival. Fatal, which debuted in the ‘New Currents’ section of the 17th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), was invited to the ‘Panorama’ section of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival, which is going to take place in February 7th to 17th next year. (KoBiz, November 28, 2012)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

White Night (백야, Baekya) 2012

South Korea’s rapid development over the past 20 years has been nothing short of an economic miracle but, though there’s no denying how far it’s come, not every element of society has progressed at the same breakneck pace. Various elements, particularly as they relate to social change, have stubbornly lagged behind. One such facet is the acceptance of homosexuality. As gay marriage is slowly becoming a part of daily life in various countries in the western world, gay rights are progressing haltingly in Korea. Given the nation’s advances in other areas, this, along with other social problems, seems a little incongruous when compared with the modern image projected through the nation’s media.

Through the prism of a highly developed film industry such as Korea’s, this divide seems that much more vivid. LeeSong Hee-il, Korea’s first openly gay filmmaker, has been busily working away on short films for quite some time but earlier this year he finally unveiled his sophomore feature White Night at the Jeonju International Film Festival, coming six years after his very well-received debut No Regrets

Monday, November 26, 2012

KBO: A Werewolf Boy Claims 4th Win During Crowded Weekend (11/23-11/25, 2012)

A Werewolf Boy Claims 4th Win During Crowded Weekend

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Werewolf Boy 10/31/12 24.80% 550,880 6,015,700 595
2 Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (us) 11/15/12 21.50% 468,965 1,940,783 536
3 Don't Cry Mommy 11/22/12 19.20% 425,916 538,138 444
4 Confession of Murder 11/8/12 15.10% 310,819 2,109,450 382
5 National Security 11/22/12 6.90% 147,759 188,020 310
6 Masquerade 9/13/12 2.80% 62,631 12,064,506 166
7 Rise of the Guardians (us) 11/29/12 2.80% 50,523 56,850 197
8 Iron Bag Man 11/22/12 1.20% 26,250 42,208 119
9 Tone Deaf Clinic 11/29/12 1.20% 25,876 42,251 203
10 Skyfall (us/uk) 10/26/12 1.10% 23,232 2,349,440 122

Friday, November 23, 2012

BIFF 2012 Interview: Stepping Behind the Lens - Yu Ji-tae Discusses His New Career Path

Part of MKC's coverage of the 17th Busan International Film Festival.

One of Korea's most recognizable faces, actor Yu Ji-tae has been at the forefront of the Korean film industry since its renaissance in the late 1990s. He first made a splash in Kim Sang-jin's anarchic Attack the Gas Station (1999). Following his romantic roles in Ditto (2000) and Hur Jin-ho's One Fine Spring Day, Yu switched gears to play the villain in Park Chan-wook's seminal Oldboy (2003), elevating his visibility to a global level along the way.

Though still an active actor, over the last few years Yu has also forged a path for himself as a short filmmaker. At this year's Busan International Film Festival he finally unveiled his acclaimed debut feature Mai Ratima. He kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with MKC about his new role behind the camera and the state of independent filmmaking in Korea.

And yes, he is quite tall...

WKR: New Indie Releases Take Center Stage (11/17-11/23, 2012)

Juvenile Offender and National Security were both released and reviewed this week while Rain's R2B: Return to Base and The Thieves get a few writeups in this week's Weekly Korean Reviews update.


(Modern Korean Cinema, November 20, 2012)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

KCN: Korean Films Sell 100 Million Tickets in 2012 + New Footage for The Host 2 (11/15-11/21, 2012)

Korean film industry hits yet another major milestone in 2012 while some footage for the long-awaited sequel to The Host (2006) drops out of nowhere. However, outside of these items and a number of small festival tidbits, it wasn't a big week for Korean film news.


First Horrific Footage for The Host 2
No beating around the bush here! A clip of the long-awaited Korean horror flick The Host 2 goes straight for the jugular with the hungry creature wrecking havoc upon an unsuspecting family, tearing up on a moving truck, and then chasing two innocent children for a quick snack. Oh my, I wouldn't want to be in the shoes of these kids when the shit hits the fan. (Twitch, November 20, 2012)

Korean Films Draw Over 100 Million Viewers This Year
Korean movies have drawn over 100 million viewers in 2012. The Korean Film Council on Monday said the number of people watching Korean films this year totaled 99.61 million as of Sunday. "Since at least 200,000 people on average watch Korean movies on a weekday, the 100-million mark will be reached on Tuesday," a council spokesman said. (The Chosun Ilbo, November 20, 2012)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BIFF 2012: El Condor Pasa (콘돌은 날아간다, Kondoleun Nalaganda) 2012

Part of MKC's coverage of the 17th Busan International Film Festival.

A regular staple at the Busan Film Festival, Jeon Soo-il is a local filmmaker whose body of work has steadily brought him acclaim and accolades from around the world. He is not as famous as some of the more prominent arthouse Korean filmmakers but nonetheless he is an important figure from Korea’s independent film scene.

Now on his seventh feature, Jeon Soo-il’s style, which has always been unique but malleable, has of late, become more concrete. Last year’s Pink (also a Busan Film Festival selection) was a small breakthrough for him, earning him more recognition than his previous works. Though not an easy film (none of his works are), Pink was much more accessible, due in large part to the careful and gorgeous visual aesthetic through which he carved his narrative. With its muted, earthy color palette, and deliberate compositions, which emphasized the distance between the story’s various protagonists, his film, despite its frequent silences and stillness, teemed with life.

Monday, November 19, 2012

KBO: Werewolf Boy Fights Off Twilight For Third Win (11/16-11/18, 2012)

Werewolf Boy Fights Off Twilight For Third Win

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Werewolf Boy 10/31/12 34.40% 901,842 5,093,692 678
2 Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (us) 11/15/12 34.60% 880,700 1,080,756 665
3 Confession of Murder 11/8/12 17.20% 416,119 1,538,341 388
4 Code Name: Jackal 11/15/12 4.10% 109,017 141,284 301
5 Masquerade 9/13/12 3.80% 98,383 11,933,678 283
6 Skyfall (us/uk) 10/26/12 2.70% 69,181 2,285,115 239
7 Sinister (us) 11/15/12 1.10% 26,386 33,809 183
8 Upside Down (us) 11/8/12 0.40% 11,328 169,384 107
9 Jungle Emperor Leo (jp) 11/8/12 0.30% 9,984 38,984 56
10 Brave (us) 9/27/12 0.20% 5,424 1,228,682 34

Sunday, November 18, 2012

KOFA Treasures: Kim Soo-yong's The Seaside Village (갯마을, Gaenmaeul) 1965

Ongoing series on classic Korean film recently made available for free and with English subtitles on Youtube courtesy of the Korean Film Archive.

During this year's 14th Udine Far Easy Film Festival I had the great privilege and pleasure of attending Darcy Paquet’s 1970s Korean cinema retrospective. As it turns out, among the ten features presented, some of my favorites were island dramas.  The three that were programmed (Iodo, 1977; Splendid Outing, 1978; and The Divine Bow, 1979) were fascinating works that were both quasi-horrors and compelling films about women, which highlighted their marginalized roles in society.  Characters in these films, especially women, were either transplanted to remote fishing islands, which for them became sites of horror, or grew up there without ever leaving, any attempts at escape doomed from the outset.

Kim Soo-young was behind Splendid Outing, a film that shares an enormous amount in common with Bedevilled (2010), to the point where it would not surprise me if it was actually the blueprint for Jang Chul-soo’s incendiary film. However, long before that, Kim made The Seaside Village, a stunning and deeply textured work from 1960s Korean cinema, which dabbles in some taboos that would likely not have been tolerated by the government at the time.

Friday, November 16, 2012

WKR: Current Korean Hits, LKFF and Classic Film Reviews (11/10-11/16, 2012)

Lots of reviews in from the LKFF and more than classic films reviewed than usual, thanks in large part to a big new update on


(Hanguk Yeonghwa, November 12, 2012)

(Screen Daily, November 9, 2012)

(oriental nightmares, November 12, 2012)