Showing posts with label debut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label debut. Show all posts

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Busan 2013 Review: Thoughtful STEEL COLD WINTER Doesn't Stray from Its Comfort Zone

Part of MKC's coverage of the 18th Busan International Film Festival.

By Pierce Conran

Sometimes, even the most skillfully assembled volley of words can do little to express our feelings or explain our past experiences. There are moments, so great, that they are beyond words or others, so terrible, that could never truly be conveyed with a the help of a dictionary. Throughout modern Korean cinema we've been introduced to characters so badly scarred that they've lost the ability to speak. In Choi Jin-seong's Steel Cold Winter, the young protagonists do speak, but they do so so reluctantly that it's as though they've been robbed of their ability to do so.

A teenage boy moves with his mother to the countryside, while the father remains in Seoul, after he witnesses one of his friends fall to his death. In a quiet snow-covered village where he will ideally get his mind off the incident, he meets a mysterious girl who he becomes attracted to. She lives with her mentally handicapped father until one day he disappears.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Review: Keeping Up the Bad Fight - Ingtoogi: The Battle of Internet Trolls

By Eugene Kwon

When online feuds lead to conflicts in the real world, things can get pretty ugly. During recent years in Korea, certain online users of computer games and texting services have taken their grudge fights to the streets where they mimic K-1 fighters’ moves and engage in a rough brawl. Such conflicts have even gained the term “hyunpi,” a hybrid neologism of Chinese and English characters that stands for “player kill in reality.” All of this might sound ridiculous to most that are unfamiliar with virtual world culture. Who would go through such a long hassle in venting out their online-anger? In the end, it’s just a game, right?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

BIFF 2012: Mai Ratima (마이 라티마) 2012

Part of MKC's coverage of the 17th Busan International Film Festival.

Debut features arrive with a weight of expectation but especially if they come from a major thespian making his first foray behind the camera. Yoo Ji-tae is one of Korea’s most well-known actors, he is a celebrity whose marriage last December was one of 2011’s top entertainment stories. To western audiences he will forever be known as the ageless and dapper antagonist from Oldboy (2003) but he has also impressed in dozens of other features throughout his 15-year career. A handsome and very tall performer, Yoo is perhaps a surprising directorial candidate, especially as few Korean performers transition into that role (the boundaries between Korean film industry professions are starker than Hollywood’s more fluid models). However, Yoo has steadily been earning credibility for himself as a short filmmaker over the past few years.

Mai Ratima, which takes its name from its Thai protagonist, is a film that takes a look at the fate of low-class immigrants in Korea. Hard-hitting and at times whimsical, it is a compelling feature that is thoughtfully constructed and deftly executed if overlong and a little too on-the-nose with its social agenda. Most impressive is Yoo’s engaging mise-en-scene. Saturated in heady hues, beautifully lensed and exquisitely edited, Mai Ratima feels like it is the product of a much more experienced hand, certainly not a rookie offering from a paparazzi magnet.