Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Review: Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer Delivers the Goods

Cinema is a medium of motion and if anyone understands this, it appears to be Bong Joon-ho, whose visionary new work is a demented and stunning thrillride. In his first production outside his native South Korea, Bong has delivered his most ambitious project yet, and proves more than capable of handling an international, multilingual cast and a large budget.

New Korean Films: Showbox Is Going All Bananas (2013 Week 29)

Mr. Go
(미스터 고)

A director of a circus troupe in China dies leaving all his inheritance to his daughter, Weiwei, 15. Among the menagerie is a gorilla named Ling Ling with which the director often played baseball and who seems to possess great playing abilities. A South Korean recruiter hears the rumor and rushes to China to hire the gorilla along with Weiwei as a coach in a team of the South Korean professional league. Very soon, Ling Ling becomes a celebrity in the sporting world, which does not take long to attract the lusts of several opposing teams.

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Korean Films: Strong Women (2013 Week 30)

The Ring of Life

A boxer with promising talent has failed every time to qualify for the Olympics and eventually attempts suicide by self-immolation. Disabled but still alive, he devotes himself to being a coach and dreams of training the very first Olympic champion in women’s boxing. A 28 years-old scientist, who works in the most prestigious university in the country, stands as a candidate to him for a career change, while she has just successfully passed the official exams for civil service.

Korean Box Office: Red 2 Fends of The Wolverine in Week 2

Following a burst of activity in June and early July, the Korean box office has been down a little down (though still strong) these past few weeks as we brace ourselves for what should be an enormous August. 2.56 million tickets were sold over the frame, down one sixth from last year. Meanwhile the local market was 26%, only marginally higher than this weekend last year, which stood at 20%.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

New Korean Films: The Quest For Independence (2013 Week 28)

Big Good

Hyeong-geun is nearly 20 years old and has just finished his college entrance exams, but now he is looking for independence. While his mother is travelling, he’s entrusted to keep their apartment in order for a few weeks, but instead takes the opportunity to offer for rent a room adjacent to his mother's store. With his friends, a writer, a musician and a university student, they encounter many candidates while seeking an apartment for themselves .

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Revenge Week: Conclusion

Part of MKC's Revenge Week (July 8-14, 2013).

All good things must come to an end, and after nine days (roughly a week) and 30 articles, Revenge Week is winding up on MKC. It's been a great journey and I would like to thank everyone who contributed and of course all of you that have visited the site this week. It wouldn't have been possible without you.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Revenge Week: Reader's Top 10 Korean Revenge Films

Part of MKC's Revenge Week (July 8-14, 2013).

We began Revenge Week with the MKC's Top 10 Korean Revenge Films and now as the feature comes to an end, here is the Top 10, as voted by you! Thanks to all who took part and if you leave a comment with your favorites, we may still just include them in the list. ;)

Revenge Week: Hell Hath No Fury... Part II - Diary of June

Part of MKC's Revenge Week (July 8-14, 2013).

By Paul Quinn, founder of the excellent Hangul Celluloid.

Shortly after being teamed up to work together, veteran Seoul police detective Ja-young (Shin Eun-kyung) and rookie cop Dong-wook (Eric Moon) are assigned to investigate the death of a high school student who is thought to have committed suicide. An autopsy is performed, revealing a small, pill-like capsule inside the boy's body which contains a scrap of paper from a diary, with the details of a previous murder (of another high school student) written on it. When a similar capsule is also found in that victim's body, Ja-young and Dong-wook realise that both boys were, in fact, murdered by a serial killer and, convinced that the writer of the diary is the perpetrator, they set out to track him down. The only problem is, he too is dead...

Revenge Week: MKC Thought Leaders' Corner (July 2013)

Part of MKC's Revenge Week (July 8-14, 2013).

Revenge Week has been a great success and though it's nearly over there are still a few voices to be heard. Read on to learn what the experts had to say about Korean cinema's most popular export.

To what would you attribute the prominence of revenge films in Korean cinema?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Revenge Week: Hell Hath No Fury... Part I

Part of MKC's Revenge Week (July 8-14, 2013).

By Paul Quinn, founder of the excellent Hangul Celluloid.

Ask almost anyone with even a vague knowledge of Korean cinema about continually prevalent K-film genres or themes and at some point in their response they'll likely mention more than one example from a near plethora of Korean revenge thrillers and cinematic tales of bloody retribution. While any discussion of genre predominance is of course multi-faceted, the fact that a country's cinema can almost not fail to be influenced by its nation's psyche - inherently reflecting trials and tribulations faced nationally - to my mind speaks volumes about the origin of Korean cinema's regular and ongoing use of revenge narratives: By its very definition, revenge comes as a direct response to wrongs suffered, oppression and/or repression and with Korea historically having had to endure not only decades of occupation by Japan - during which time repeated efforts were made by the Japanese to completely eradicate Korea as a nationality, including the banning of Korean language films from 1942 until 1945, when Korean independence was finally secured - but also subsequent years of stringent cinematic constraints and censorship instigated by the Korean government itself, the revenge genre has since provided opportunities for filmmakers to produce searing entertainment at the same time as, perhaps subconsciously, allowing a kind of audience catharsis by way of indulgence in fictional tales of vengeance and retribution where no national revenge could or would ever be sought in reality.

Revenge Week: Filmic Self-reflexivity and Revenge in Park Chan-wook’s Cut (2004) - Part II

Part of MKC's Revenge Week (July 8-14, 2013).

By Rowena Santos Aquino

Continuing the collapse of the boundaries between filmmaking and real life, when the director comes to, he finds his hands tied behind his back and cinched at the waist with a red band to curtail his movement and his wife gagged and her seated body woven into the piano as if condemned to play the instrument for all eternity. But as a shot reveals, what looks to be their home, where the unnamed avenger first appears, is actually the film set used at the beginning of the film. Who is the director and who is the actor now?

Revenge Week: Recent “Women's Revenge” Films and The Curious Case of Bedevilled

Part of MKC's Revenge Week (July 8-14, 2013).

By Kyu Hyun Kim, Associate Professor at UC Davis and contributor.

Revenge is a mostly human behavior (I am loath to call it “uniquely” human: who knows, maybe there really is a killer whale like Orca, who chased and eventually knocked Richard Harris' brain all over an Arctic glacier, because the latter killed his pregnant mate. No idea what movie I am referencing? Can’t say I blame ya). Animals retaliate but do not dwell on the feelings of resentment, the sense that an injustice was done to them, the way humans do. An ant colony fights back when it is invaded by other colonies. However, when they lose a territorial war, they either get exterminated or absorbed into the winning side's community: there are no “buts” about the outcome. I doubt a soldier ant goes after the queen ant of the invading colony in a suicide mission of avenging her own queen, or deaths of her sister larvae.