Showing posts with label kim yoon-jin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kim yoon-jin. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

BIFF 2012: Azooma (공정사회, Gongjeongsahwi) 2012

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

When exploring Korean cinema, you can’t go very far without bumping into a revenge thriller. Park Chan-wook’s ‘Vengeance’ trilogy and Kim Jee-woon’s A Bittersweet Life (2005) are just a few of the more high profile examples. However, of late, this sub-genre has become increasingly popular among independent filmmakers looking to make their mark in the industry. The format seems to supersede horror, sci-fi and other genres as the low-budget debut of choice. The results, however, have been very mixed.

From a narrative standpoint, revenge flicks are rather easy to construct though putting together one that stands out becomes a more complicated task. Azooma, a new offering featuring a female protagonist, doesn’t take great pains to present us with an original story. Instead, it experiments with structure by cutting up a very standard revenge plot and rearranging it. A potentially interesting idea, the execution is sadly undermined by the underdeveloped story, which no matter what way it is sequenced, is bereft of any surprises. Any attempt to feed us new information through a fractured chronology falls flat, as we can already assume it all ahead of its revelation.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Neighbors (이웃사람, Yiwootsaram) 2012

Recently, the prevalence of ensemble casts in Korean cinema has been on the rise. It could mean a few things. For one, it’s a sign of a healthy industry with a large production slate and a wide pool of talent. Secondly, it could also be a result of the dwindling fortunes of star-driven features at the box office. Studios may feel safer investing in a film with an array of stars capable of drawing in multiple demographics, especially when reliable properties such as Song Kang-ho (Howling, 2012) and So Ji-sub (Always, 2011) are no longer capable of securing a film a profit.

Last month, The Thieves showed how powerful an impact a well-assembled cast can make on the box office. It is currently the second highest-grossing Korean film of all time and may well ascend to first place (as of this writing held by 2006’s The Host) within the next few weeks. While it had many selling points, first and foremost was its glitzy performers. What then is the appeal of an ensemble cast? From a marketing standpoint it means that a potential viewer is far more likely to see someone that he or she likes in a longer list of stars but perhaps even more enticing is the appeal of the interaction between high-profile cast members who often sport defined on-screen personas.