Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Korean Cinema News (02/09-02/15, 2012)

Some good features this week and lots of news from the Berlin Film Festival as foreign rights to hot Korean films are getting snatched up.  Lots more news, trailers, interviews, and posters as well.


Finecut Unveils Another Film by Hong
South Korean sales company Finecut Co Ltd has released the first images from In Another Country, the new Hong Sang-soo film that it is representing.  The film is the South Korean debut of leading French actress Isabelle Huppert.  She plays three characters each with the same name who each visit the same seaside town and meet the same local residents.  The rest of the cast, including Yu Jun-san, are South Korean, but much of the dialogue is in English.  (Film Business Asia, February 15, 2012)
The Korea Media Rating Board (KMRB) denied the poster for the movie Gabi for the reason that Kim Min-hee's topless pose is too raunchy.  Therefore, this poster can't be used in theaters or promotional uses.  There have been other cases where posters like these have been denied.  One it has been refused, the production has to go through the process of editing the poster and getting it re-examined by the KMRB.  The posters are usually denied because they are too erotic. 2009 movie Thirst by Park Chan-wook was denied because it was too erotic and was only passed when the KMRB re-examined it after editing.  (, February 8, 2012)

Full Lineup for the 10th New York Korean Film Festival (NYKFF) @ BAM Rose Cinema
This year's New York Korean Film Festival will take place at BAM in Brooklyn and the whole lineup is now available, featuring great films released over the past year including The Servant and Sunny. (BAM, February 8, 2012)

Popular Korean Films Reflecting Social Issues
Korean movies that tackle social issues head on have recently become the center of attention in the country.  They not only portray reality, but also provoke discussions.  Arirang News correspondent Park Ji-won analyzes two films that are now screening here in Korea, which are now raising questions about Korea's political and legal conditions.  (arirang, February 8, 2012)

Korea’s Most Anticipated Films of 2012
With the start of the new year, the Korean film industry looks to its brightest prospects. Kang Byeong-jin of Korean Cinema Today profiles eight highly anticipated films of 2012, including Ghost Sweeper, The Thieves, Korea, Howling, The Tower, The Masquerade King, and Hoogoong: Jaewang-eui chub.  (Korean Cinema Today, February 7, 2012)

Tom Giammarco considers the history of sport in Korean film over on Seen in Jeonju.  (Seen in Jeonju, February 5, 2012)

From Korea With Love
Bangkok-based writer and critic Kong Rithdee looks at the influence of Korean moving images in Thailand and gauges the depth of the Korean Wave.  In late January, So Ji-sub and Han Hyo-ju walked down the red carpet at HuaHin International Film Festival, the inaugural edition of the cinefest held in Thailand’s popular resort town.  (Korean Cinema Today, February 6, 2012)

Finecut Launches Sales on Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta
Seoul-based sales agent Finecut has picked up international rights to Pieta, the latest film from prolific Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk.  Scheduled to start shooting this month, the film tells the story of a cruel loan shark, who believes he doesn’t have any family or loved ones, so has no need to fear when committing brutal acts.  But one day a mysterious woman appears in his life claiming to be his mother.  (Screen Daily, February 10, 2012)

Finecut Adds Grand Heist, Ghost Sweepers to Berlin Slate
Seoul-based sales company Finecut has picked up two new Korean genre films – $10m period action adventure The Grand Heist, and $5m comic action horror Ghost Sweepers.  (Screen Daily, February 9, 2012)

Berlin 2012: Universal Pictures International Inks Multi-Territory Pact for My Way
Universal Pictures International Entertainment has taken multiple territories for the Korean war epic My Way, which has its world premiere Friday night at the Berlin international film festival.  UPIE snagged rights in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand for the film, a World War II epic directed by Kang Je-Kyu and featuring Asian stars Odagiri Joe, Jang Dong-gun and Fan Bingbing.  (The Hollywood Reporter, February 10, 2012)

Korea’s M-Line Opens Doomsday Book
Korea’s M-Line Distribution is launching sales on the sci-fi drama Doomsday Book, co-directed by Kim Jee-woon and Yim Pil-sung, at the EFM.  The $5m film comprises three short stories – the first about a robot achieving enlightenment, the second about a zombie invasion and the third about a meteor wiping out mankind.  (Screen Daily, February 11, 2012)

Korean Movies Reflecting Social Issues Fly High at the Box Office
Dancing Queen, a comedy about a middle-aged married couple who each pursue their lost dreams, and Unbowed, a low-budget courtroom drama based on a true story, have both broken the 3-million mark of viewers in less than a month of their release.  According to data compiled by the Korean Film Council, Dancing Queen and Unbowed attracted 3.09 million and 3 million viewers, respectively, as of Saturday since their release on Jan. 18.  (The Korea Times, February 12, 2012)

Drama Producer Son Committed Suicide Jan. 21
Hit drama maker Son Moon-kwon committed suicide last month, a local daily recently reported.  Family members told the Sports Chosun that Son hung himself Jan. 21 from a staircase at his house in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province.  He was 40 years old. Son was married to famed script writer Im Seong-han, 52.  (, February 13, 2012)

Shout! Factory Takes Korean Creature Feature Sector 7
Shout! Factory announced today a multi-year agreement with CJ E&M, the leading film distribution and production company in Korea, to be the exclusive North American home entertainment distributor for two widely popular Korean motion pictures, including the creature feature Sector 7.  (Shock Till You Drop, February 14, 2012)


Director Kim Joong-hyeon
Ahead of its international premiere in the Berlinale Forum, director Kim Joong-hyeon talks about his debut feature film Choked with Kim Seong-hoon.  A low-budget film made at the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), Kim Joong-hyeon’s Choked deals with economic troubles and the dissolution of the family in contemporary Korean society.  The film made its world premiere in the Busan International Film Festival’s New Currents competition and is due for an international premiere in the Berlinale Forum section.  (Korean Cinema Today, February 3, 2012)

Lee Na-young Faces Tough Challenge on New Movie
Actress Lee Na-young's latest film Howling, which will be released next Thursday, sees her take on the role of a rookie cop investigating a series of murders by a mysterious wolf-like creature.  In this action-thriller, Lee flexes her muscles as a hard-nosed police detective and even rides a motorcycle.  "This film had so many enticing factors. First of all, I wanted to play a part with many action scenes.  Veteran actor Song Kang-ho was already cast, so I had an even stronger interest in it when I read the script," said Lee.  (The Chosun Ilbo, February 11, 2012)


Eighteen, Nineteen

Introduction to Architecture

Russian Coffee


Planet of Snail

Russian Coffee

Stateless Things


(Modern Korean Cinema, February 12, 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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