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. 

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