Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Korean Cinema News (01/12-01/18, 2012)

Lots of great features this week and a few more 2011 wrap-ups.  Also some casting news for Bong Joon-ho's hotly anticipated Snow Piercer, I certainly the Tilda Swinton piece materializes!  Some great trailers and more also featured featured this week.


Korean Cinema 2011: the View from Here
How do you introduce new Korean films to an American audience?  US-based author and curator of film at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries in Washington, DC, Tom VICK shares his views on recent trends he has noticed programming their Korean film festival.  Korea’s film industry produces a deluge of commercial and independent releases.  But recent years have brought a proliferation of young, talented filmmakers with only a film or two under their belts.  (Korean Cinema Today, January 5, 2012)

Director of My Sassy Girl to Take on a More Serious Movie
Korean director Kwak Jae-yong is perhaps best known for his romantic-comedy My Sassy Girl (2001), but he’s decided to try his hand at a more somber story and will take on a film about the so-called “comfort women” of World War II.  The movie, to be called Flower Shoes, will be set from 1930 to 1945 and will detail the experiences of the Korean women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during that time period.  (Joong Ang Daily, January 12, 2012)

New Stills for Ha Ji-won/Bae Doo-na Pic Korea
The first publicity stills have emerged for the upcoming film Korea (aka As One) which pairs Ha Ji-won and Bae Doo-na.  Based on the true story of the victory of the South and North Korean teams at the Chiba International Table Tennis Championships in 1991, Ha Ji-won represents Hyeon Jeong-hwa and Bae Doona represents Lee Boon-hee from the North.  (, January 12, 2012)

Cinema of Embodied Unpleasures
Rowena Santos Aquino takes an in depth look at the body of work of Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk in an engaging three part discussion called 'Spotlight on Contemporary Korean Cinema: Kim Ki-duk' over at Next Projection.

Part I - Filmmaker  (Next Projection, January 11, 2012)
Part II - Mentor  (Next Projection, January 12, 2012)
Part III - Subject: Arirang  (Next Projection, January 13, 2012)

Chris Evans in Negotiations to Star in Bong Joon-ho's Snow Piercer
Bong Joon-ho, one of South Korea's top directors, has not made one bad film so far in his career. In fact, at least two of his feature films, namely Memories of Murder (2003) and The Host (2006), are in my opinion masterpieces of modern cinema.  His last film was the 2009 critical hit Mother.  (Twitch, January 14, 2012)

Multiculturalism a New Theme in Korean Movies
More and more Korean movies, including Pacemaker by director Kim Dal-joong that opens next Thursday, are taking on the theme of multiculturalism that is changing the face of Korean society.  In 2010, one out of every 10 marriages involved a foreign spouse, while the number of children from multicultural families has grown seven-fold from 25,000 in 2006 to 160,000 in 2010.  And this trend is being portrayed more frequently on the silver screen.  (The Chosun Ilbo, January 13, 2012)

The History of Korean Cinema .... on screen
The fact of the matter is, outside of Korea, Korean cinema is still a very 'new' thing. Generally most people may have seen your Oldboy's and My Sassy Girl's but outside of that the earliest film that those in the West will have likely seen would probably be JSA (2000) or Shiri (1999).  This puts Korean cinema in an interesting position of only being around 14 years old (15 using the Korean birthday system!).  For a national cinema so young, it really has come along leaps and bounds, but the more interesting thing is what was it like before this point.  (Tully's Recall, January 14, 2012)

V-I-C-T-O-R-Y! Korean Sports Movies
Anyone who has seen the millions of Koreans flocking to the streets and plazas to cheer on the National Team during World Cup season would probably be aware how much Koreans love sports.  Korea is a highly competitive society where focus, diligent attitude, eagerness for hard work, and teamwork is highly valued; all elements that can be found in sports.  Add pursuit of honor to that mix and you’ve got a perfect combination for grabbing people’s attention.  (The Korea Blog, January 11, 2012)

A Class Apart: Why Im Sang-soo Loses to Kim Ki-young in the Battle of The Housemaids
Hong Nguyen takes a look at the two versions of The Housemaid.  The original from 1960 by Kim Ki-young and the remake which cam 50 years later at the hands of Im Sang-soo.  (London Korea Links, January 16, 2012)

Lee Chang-dong’s Poetry Set for Release in Japan
Korean auteur director Lee Chang-dong’s film Poetry is set for release in Japan on Feb. 11, 2012.  The Cannes Best Screenplay Award-winning film will be distributed by KinoEye Japan and Siglo, which released the film’s Japanese poster and trailer today.  The film’s Japanese title translates to “Poetry: Agnes’ Song”.  (KoBiz, January 16, 2012)

CJ CGV Opens Two More Vietnam Multiplexes
Leading South Korean exhibitor CJ CGV has opened two more multiplexes in Vietnam, bringing their total to nine cinemas with 69 screens in the country.   The two multiplexes are in the center of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi with two 3D screens each.  The Ho Chi Minh City cinema has eight screens while the Hanoi cinema has seven.   (KoBiz, January 16, 2012)

Romance Joe to Compete at Rotterdam Tiger Awards
This year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) has announced the complete line-up for its Tiger Awards Competition.   The 15-film selection includes Korean director Lee Kwang-kuk’s Romance Joe, which will make its international premiere.   Park Hong-min’s A Fish was announced earlier on as the competition’s first 3D film ever.   (KoBiz, January 12, 2012)

Tilda Swinton to Join Snow Piercer
Tilda Swinton is in talks to join post-apocalyptic thriller Snow Piercer.  The feature is based on the French comic Le Transperceneige created by Jean-Marc Rochette and is South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s first foray into English language film.  Snow Piercer’s plot follows a group that is traveling by train together in a future ice age.  (, January 18, 2012)

New Thai Film Fest Set to Open with Always
The first edition of Thailand's Hua Hin Film Fest is set to bow Jan. 26 with the screening of South Korean pic Always, followed by the unspooling of 50 movies over four days.   (Chicago Tribune, January 17, 2012)

The director of Treeless Mountain is back with her third feature, an American independent produciton starring Paul Dano as a young rock musician whose divorce from his wife (Jena Malone) triggers a desire to bond with the 6-year-old daughter he's never really known.  (The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2012)


Interview With Director Kim Kyung-mook
One of the Korean independent film community’s most remarkable young directors, Kim Kyung-mook made his feature debut with the unconventional Faceless Things (2005). He broadened his sights with A Cheonggyecheon Dog (2008) and has most recently been doing the film festival rounds with his third feature Stateless Things. The film debuted at the Venice Film Festival’s Orrizonti competition and is set to screen in the upcoming Rotterdam film festival’s Spectrum section.  The film is about people who have no place to stay.  How did Kim come to take such an interest in these people? He met with Korean Cinema Today to tell us.  (KoBiz, January 16, 2012)

Park Hee-gon was in his last year of high school in May 1987 when he, like thousands of other South Koreans, watched a baseball game that became legendary.  The game between the Lotte Giants and Haitai Tigers was a pitchers’ duel that lasted for 15 innings before officials called it a draw.  The pitchers – Lotte’s Choi Dong-won and Haitai’s Sun Dong-yeol – had squared off before but both were near the end of their careers and fans knew it would be the last time they faced each other.  (The Wall Street Journal, January 17, 2012)


2 Lines

Introduction of Architecture

Love Fiction

War of the Arrows



(Modern Korean Cinema, January 15, 2012)

Although the number crunchers in Hollywood estimate that US theatrical admissions sank to their lowest level since 1995, things were not so gloomy in Korea.  With an estimated 160 million tickets sold (more precise figures will become available at a later date), it appears that Korea has approached or broken the modern-day record for admissions.  (Korean Cinema Today, January 14, 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. 

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