Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Korean Cinema News (05/17-05/23, 2012)

Some sales in Cannes this week but not too much else to report though there are some great interviews and a new trailer for incoming summer zombie feature Deranged.  Next week should yield some more Cannes news and hopefully a Korean film will pick up a prize though at this point I don't think they'll get anything in the main competition unless The Taste of Money suddenly received a better welcome than in Korea where it opened last week.


Korean Movies Sell at Cannes
A number of high-profile pics have sold at Cannes, including the hotly anticipated The Thieves which was bought by firms in China, Hong Kong and Thailand.  The year's biggest local hit to date, Nameless Gangster, also secured distribution in some territories such as Japan, China and Hong Kong in Asia as well as Eastern Europe, Spain and the French-speaking portion of Europe.  So Ji-sub's hitman film A Company Man, which is scheduled to open next month, was sold to Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, and French and German-speaking Europe.  The Scent was also taken by a few Asian markets, including Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.  Lastly, Love On-Air, the first wide Korean release of 2012, was sold to Thailand.  (Modern Korean Cinema, May 23, 2012)

Sky Blue Director Boards 3D Empire of the Ants
Korean production house Mirovision has been screening its first promotional trailers for Empire of the Ants, a $25 million 3D adaptation of Bernard Webber's popular sci-fi novel, to buyers at the Cannes film market.  The book is the first installment of a trilogy so one could imagine that Mirovision is hoping to jumpstart a new franchise.  Kim Moon-saeng, who hasn't made a feature since his 2003 Korean anime Sky Blue, is attached to direct the English-language project which will be adapted by Kim Sae-jung.

The film is set in a near future. Set in the near future, the story tells of a scientist who develop the technology that enables him to speak with ants.  The ants tell him the story the ant empire and Princess Ant 56.  (Modern Korean Cinema, May 23, 2012/Twitch, May 17, 2012)

Doomsday Book Gets Picked Up for Distribution by Well Go USA
The long-gestating Doomsday Book three-part omnibus, from directors Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil, 2010) and Yim Pil-sung (Antarctic Journal, 2005), was finally completed earlier this year before going on limited release in its native Korea last month.  M-Line Distribution has now sold its high-concept feature, which initially went into production in 2006, to Well Go USA for North American distribution.  The project was also sold to Splendid for the German and Benelux markets.  (Modern Korean Cinema, May 23, 2012/Twitch, May 17, 2012)

Korean Film Festival Eyes Global Market
The Asian Film Market of Busan International Film Festival signed an MOU on May 20 with Marché du Film (the largest film market in the world that runs in conjunction with the Cannes Film Festival) to enhance cooperation.  The following day, the Busan International Film Festival signed an MOU with UniFrance Films (the largest organization in charge of distributing and promoting French cinema).  (, May 23, 2012)

Ha Jung-woo, Ha Ji-won Voted Most Popular Movie Stars
Ha Jung-woo and Ha Ji-won have been voted the most popular actor and actress in Korea in an email poll by the Chosun Ilbo and the nation's largest film ticketing site MaxMovie.  Some 25,784 people voted from April 18 to May 5.  The two drew 10.1 and 13.7 percent of the votes respectively.  (The Chosun Ilbo, May 21, 2012)


Isabelle Huppert's South Korean Adventures
The director Hong Sang-soo, who has been called the Rohmer of Korean cinema, turns out his enigmatic human comedies at high speed.  Two years ago, he won the Certain Regard prize with Hahaha (2010).  His latest film, In Another Country, in competition here, is a step into another dimension.  For the first time, he has made a film in English and has gone outside his country to cast the French actress Isabelle Huppert in the lead role.  (The New York Times, May 18, 2012)

Yoon Jung Lee (Interview) – “The Good, The Korean-American, The Noir”
Any Korean film fan, Indiewire reader or Kickstarter funder who doesn’t already know about Yoon Jung Lee, all I can say is…  I guess your internet has been offline for weeks!  But now that you’ve found her, I hope you too find the below interview with yours truly of some help.  It is rather informative and on many levels.  With Yoon Jung Lee’s wealth of experience in the film industry and her expertise as a visual artist, it’s clear to see how she managed to create such an ingenious 25 minute film version of the one and only Remember O Goddess.  (Mini mini movies, May 18, 2012)

Ryu Seung-ryong Moves Beyond Stereotypes
Judging solely by his appearance, Ryu Seung-ryong would appear to be an archetypical masculine actor.  Some of his fans even hesitate to approach him for autographs because he can be so intimidating.  He’s played up this image in a number of movies including The Front Line as an officer of the North Korea’s People’s Army and in War of the Arrows as a general of the Ching Dynasty.  (Joong Ang Daily, May 21, 2012)


Deranged (Teaser)




All About My Wife Takes First Place in Close Finish
(Modern Korean Cinema, May 20, 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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