Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Korean Cinema News (02/02-02/08, 2012)

The big news this week is the announcement of this year's Korean Blogathon which is being presented by cineAWESOME! and New Korean Cinema and will this year be hosted on Modern Korean Cinema and a number of other sites, visit the press release below for more information.


Join Us For ‘Korean Blogathon 2012′
Last year New Korean Cinema played host to the Korean Blogathon – a week which was used to try to shine the spotlight on Korean films and the people who are writing about them online.  The response blew us away – over the seven days many great articles emerged from some brilliant writers and this created some interesting discussions about many varied aspects of Korean film and filmmakers.  It was such a great event that we promised the Blogathon would return…. so here we go!  (New Korean Cinema, February 7, 2012)


Seven Korean Films Invited to 2012 Berlinale
Seven Korean films have been invited to this year’s Berlinale, scheduled for Feb. 9-19.  Among the seven, director Kang Ju-gyu’s 28 billion won war blockbuster My Way and Jeon Kyu-hwan’s drama Varanasi have been invited to the festival’s non-competition “Panorama” section.  (The Korea Herald, February 1, 2012)

More Images From Yim Pil-sung and Kim Ji-woon's The Doomsday Book
Just last week we heard the good news that the omnibus sci-fi project The Doomsday Book was back on its feet after a long hiatus.  The cast includes Kim Gyu-ri, Kim Kang-woo, Ryoo Seung-beom, Cho Youn-hee, Kim Seo-hyung, and Song Sae-byeok.  The film will hit Korean cinemas this Spring and will also screen at EFM in Berlin next week.  (Twitch, February 2, 2012)

'Jang Keun Suk effect!' You’re My Pet Earns 2.4 Million Dollars
Jang Keun Suk showed off his box office power on the Japanese silver screen.  You’re My Pet, which was released in Japan on January 21, earned 2,424,009 dollars by January 29.  The movie ranked ninth in box office receipts in the second week.  (, February 2, 2012)

Korean Film in 2012
The Korean film industry has a lot to offer for the year of 2012. Korean films have been gathering more attention around the world and in the domestic market, as Korean films gain attention and Korean actors and producers take part in more international collaborations.  According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the market share for Korean films was 51.9%, up from 46.5 in 2010 and marking the first time in modern history that Korean moviegoing audiences showed a marked preference for domestic movies.  As well, film exports increased by 14% in 2011.  (IT Times, February 3, 2012)

The cast of Korean director Bong Joon-ho's (The Host) first English-language movie, the post-apocalyptic drama Snow Piercer, was already impressive, but it just got even better.  Captain America: The First Avenger star Chris Evans was the first to sign on, but he was soon joined by two-time Academy Award-nominated actor John Hurt (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton).  Now, the cast has gained another Oscar contender as THR reports Octavia Spencer (The Help) has also joined the cast.  (, February 5, 2012)

Finecut Acquires Hong Sang-soo's Another Country
The South Korean sales company will be screening a promo reel at the upcoming European Film Market.  South Korean company Finecut is handling international sales on Hong Sang-soo’s new film Another Country, starring the award-winning actress Isabelle Huppert. The film was shot in summer last year and is now in post-production.  (Screen Daily, February 6, 2012)

Leafie Launches 108 Media
Toronto-based 108 Media is launching at the Berlin market by acquiring English-language rights to Korean animated title Leafie: A Hen Into the Wild.  Company will focus on worldwide sales and Canadian distribution of films, TV, gaming and mobile content.  Funded by private equity, 108 Media is headed by Abhishek Rastogi, former managing director of Cinesavvy.  (Variety, February 6, 2012)

KOFIC to Support 33 Korean-Foreign Joint Productions in 2012
The Korean Film Council will be supporting 33 Korean-foreign joint production films this year, as well as small-sale production houses and distributors, its officials announced in a press meeting in Myeong-dong, Seoul, Tuesday.  The council kicked off the 2 billion won project for the 33 joint productions on Tuesday by announcing its official call for submissions.  (The Korea Herald, February 7, 2012)

Romantic Heaven Picks Up award at 30th Fajr International Film Festival
The 30th Fajr International Film Festival in Iran bequeathed its best screenplay award went to South Korean film Romantic Heaven by director/writer Jang Jin. (Tehran Times, February 7, 2012)

Film Unbowed Creates Nationwide Stir on Fair Trial
The Korean film Unbowed has now become the center of attention in Korea, drawing more than 2.5 million viewers since it opened in mid-January.  The film succeeded in reaching out to millions of viewers, as the film focuses on unfair and biased legal procedures.  Although this movie is based on a true story, it has created a stir nationwide on whether or not the plot has been exaggerated or even modified from the actual facts.  (Arirang TV, February 7, 2012)


Lee Myeong-se – “Better and Sweeter”
Award winning films, Nowhere To Hide (1999), Duelist (2005) and M (2007) are amongst those directed by Lee Myeong-se.  In between directing (& writing) these action, fantasy & thriller-noir titles he’s given the world further tales made up of dramas, love stories and comedies.   However, it’s not only the genre-busting he seems to do well it’s also in his filming techniques.   Rarely does a scene pass without some brilliant imagery.   With all this in mind, it’s my reckoning that this down-to-earth and funny guy is more than capable of pulling off his forthcoming feature.   We cover that film and others in our interview together.  Well done, ‘Mister Lee’!  (Mini Mini Movie Review, February 2, 2012)

Back From Near Extinction, Dinosaurs Tromp Through New Film
Dinosaurs once roamed through Korean film, but none were very fierce.  All of the reptiles were shoddy creatures shot with miniature action figures, resulting in unnatural performances and awkward movements.  The lack of technology also allowed these gigantic characters just one facial expression: an angry face with a mouth wide open to reveal a set of threatening, peg-like teeth.  Then, in the late 90’s, dinosaur films did a disappearing act and it looked like they were on their way to extinction.  (Joong Ang Daily, February 3, 2012)

Interview With Director Lee Kwang-kuk
Formerly an assistant director to Hong Sang-soo, Lee Kwang-kuk has struck off on his own to make his feature debut with Romance Joe.  After a world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival, Romance Joe made its international premiere in the Tiger Awards Competition at the recently wrapped International Film Festival Rotterdam.  Lee spoke with Jean Noh ahead of and at the festival about his work.  (KoBiZ, February 6, 2012)


Doomsday Book

Miss Conspirator

Romance Joe


Eighteen and Nineteen

The Taste of Money



(Modern Korean Cinema, February 5, 2011)

Two Korean films emerged as major hits in 2012's Lunar New Year holiday season – Dancing Queen and Unbowed.  The success of Dancing Queen, which sold 2.26 million tickets in its first two weeks on release, was not entirely unexpected.  (KoBiZ, February 3, 2012)

Korean movies are outshining their international counterparts at domestic box offices, according to statistics released recently by the Korean Film Commission, as the top-five most-watched movies at the moment are all homegrown.  (Joong Ang Daily, February 7, 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. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Client (박희순, Eui-roi-in) 2011

There are few things more satisfying than a well-performed and thoughtfully structured courtroom drama.  I for one have pleasantly idled away many a Sunday afternoon whisked away into the heady wood-paneled halls of justice.  The beauty of legal dramas or thrillers is that by way of their conceit they are already confined, for the most part, to one location and as viewers we accept this fact.  More than most genres, with courtroom films we largely know what we’re getting ourselves into.

So what makes these films so popular when they are so constrained by their design?  Their narratives typically do not require the presence of too many characters and often eschew subplots which may otherwise seem contrived.  This makes them quite lean and generally pretty easy to follow and be drawn in by.  For the most part the stories will be determined by the answer to one question: will the case be won or lost?  But the most engaging thing about courtroom dramas is the bitter contest of right vs. wrong.  We are compelled to deliberate over the evidence and arguments presented by both sides (though we are often led by the filmmaker’s guiding hand) which in effect means that our viewing experience sees us living vicariously through the jury represented on screen.  Some of the genre’s best examples are fully aware of this fact and use it to their advantage, such as the slippery and claustrophobic moralizing of Twelve Angry Men (1956).

Perhaps the most important element of any solid and engaging legal thriller is the strength of its characters and by extension the importance of their casting.  Who could ever forget Jimmy Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), or Paul Newman in The Verdict (1982).  Though I’m sure not all will agree, but there’s also much to be said for Tom Cruise’s endearing performance in A Few Good Men (1992).  In considering the recent Korean courtroom drama The Client, the first thing that pops to mind is the charismatic performance of Ha Jeong-woo, who is surely on his way to becoming one of the peninsula’s leading stars.  Though judging by the massive opening of his new film Nameless Gangster this past weekend, he already seems quite close to that distinction.

The premise to The Client is quite simple:  a man returns to his apartment early one morning to find it overrun by police investigating a murder, the victim being his wife.  As all the evidence, albeit circumstantial, points to him, he his immediately hauled away for questioning.  Despite the seeming open-and-shut nature of the case, attorney Kang (Ha Jeong-woo) takes on the defendant Han (Jang Hyeok) as his client.  Kang is a gregarious lawyer, confident in his abilities, and he will do battle with his rival prosecutor Ahn (Park Hee-soon) in the court while also dealing with his client, who seems to be holding something back.

The film sets up a classic did he or didn’t he scenario but rather than linger on this question, it lets it eat away at the edges of the frame as it chooses instead to focus its attention on the contentious and grudgingly respectful battle between the tremendous presence of Kang and the imposing steeliness of Ahn.  In his second outing, Director Sohn Young-sung adroitly handles the pacing, which is taut and even at 123 minutes never lags.  He also exhibits some panache in the mise-en-scene department though modestly holds back as he wisely gives way to the considerable talents of his first-rate cast.

It hardly needed any more confirmation, but The Client should easily qualify Ha Jeong-woo as a major star with the kind of mix of natural charm and good looks that is reminiscent of some of the silver screen’s coolest icons like Paul Newman, or perhaps he’s Korea’s equivalent to Hollywood’s icon-of-the-moment Ryan Gosling.  Either way we’ll be in no short supply of his talents for the foreseeable future as he stars in two film released this month, Nameless Gangster and Love Fiction, and then Ryoo Seung-wan’s big budget spy thriller The Berlin File which is about to start shooting on location in Europe.

Park Hee-soon is somewhat of an anomalous presence in the Korean star system.  He’s handsome and often cast as the leading man but he might be the most intense actor in the country.  He doesn’t display any sense of humor, which adds a rather unsettling but effective tone to his performance as a larger-than life soccer coach in A Barefoot Dream (2010), but it can also be a drag on proceedings that are already bereft of much spirit like last year’s promising but ultimately shallow and turgid The Showdown (2011).  However, he does excel at playing saturnine characters and when employed effectively he can be a formidable presence, such as in Hansel in Gretel (2007).  Sohn is one of those deft hands who knows how to wield his strengths and as prosecutor Park he is an excellent foil to Ha’s outgoing litigator.

The Client is not without its faults.  While more than serviceable, the plot is merely adequate, constantly to-ing and fro-ing with the odd curveball thrown in for good measure.  At the end of the day it offers nothing new in the exhausted setting of the legal thriller.  Nevertheless, it is a satisfying way to divert oneself during the course of a lazy Sunday.

Following the critical and commercial success of The Client and more recently Unbowed, it’s a safe bet to say that Korea will soon greenlight some more high-profile courtroom dramas and if the quality of this effort is anything to go by, these would be a most welcome addition to the ever-versatile Korean film industry’s production slate.


Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-up, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (GMT+1).

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Korean Box Office Update (02/03-02/05, 2012)

Nameless Gangster Leads the Charge as Local Films Clean Out the Competition

Title Release Date Market Share Weekend Total Screens
1 Nameless Gangster 2/2/12 38.90% 917,379 1,092,987 701
2 Unbowed 1/18/12 16.40% 406,646 2,642,340 454
3 Dancing Queen 1/18/12 12.80% 322,688 2,734,699 436
4 Tarbosaurus 3D 1/26/12 11.20% 219,930 662,139 320
5 Papa 2/1/12 7.90% 213,946 292,295 414
6 Happy Feet 2 2/2/12 4.40% 99,405 109,141 312
7 Puss in Boots 1/12/12 3.50% 83,013 2,005,691 247
8 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island 1/19/12 1.40% 36,000 1,119,487 174
9 I Don't Know How She Does It 2/2/12 1.30% 30,324 39,845 165
10 Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol 12/15/11 0.70% 17,438 7,538,551 89

Local films dominated the marketplace this weekend as they took the top 5 spots and an 88% market share, effectively wiping out Hollywood's mark on Korean theaters over the time frame.  Total admissions stood at 2.36 million, a very healthy figure for this time of year.  The chief element of success was a strong variety of enticing projects which have mostly benefited from positive reactions.

Leading the charge was the hotly anticipated Nameless Gangster which did not disappoint, both with its positive notices and supercharged 917,379 opening weekend.  It's no small feat coming so close to the million mark at this time of year but even more encouraging in light of the strong competition from Lunar New Year's leading releases.  It will probably remain strong next weekend, likely taking the crown again but will face stiff competition thereafter following the debut of Howling.

Unbowed slowed a little over 40% in its third weekend, winding up with 406,646 which put it past 2.5 millin admissions.  Dancing Queen was next with 322,688, a 45% drop, it also crossed the 2.5 million mark.  Dancing Queen is still in the lead but Unbowed is likely to pull ahead before too long.  3 million is a guarantee for both but it will be interesting to see if they go further, especially Unbowed.

Tarbosaurus 3D dropped about a third and succeeded in lording over the numerous other children's offerings with its 219,930 take. It looks set to cross the one million mark before long, another feather in Korean animation's cap.

Papa also opened this weekend but was overwhelmed by immense local competition, finding itself lost amongst event pictures.  It pulled in 213,946 viewers in its opening bow and is not likely to improve on that in coming weeks.  Seeing how the slate was shaping up at the beginning of the year, the distributors probably should have considered pushing its release back to a less crowded weekend.

The next three entries in the chart were Hollywood kids movies Happy Feet 2 (99,405), Puss in Boots (83,013), and Journey 2: Mysterious Island (36,000).  Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle I Don't Know How She Does It was a non-starter with 30,324 while Mission Impossible 4 is now winding up its extraordinary run, amassing an additional 17,438.  Its 7,538,551 total is enormous but Transformers 3's chart-topping figure is now soundly out of reach.

The local industry is on a bit of a roll and I am now very curious to see how things will shake up over the next few weekends.  Howling pushed its release date back a week, a wise choice given Nameless Gangster's strong performance especially given the film's similar appeal.  So quick on its heels it might also have overloaded the marketplace, it is now being released February 16.  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The War Horse are opening next weekend but neither stands a chance of knocking Nameless Gangster from its perch.  Korean doc Two Lines will also be bowing in limited release.


The Korean Box Office Update is a weekly feature which provides detailed analysis of film box office sales over the Friday to Sunday period in Korea. It appears every Sunday evening or Monday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-upReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Weekly Review Round-up (01/28-02/03, 2012)

A couple of reviews of current films, including the hotly anticipated Nameless Gangster and lots of reviews for past films this week, including a trio concerning Lee Myeong-se's gorgeous Duelist (2005), which was screened in London with a Q&A from Lee himself as part of the KCCUK's 12 Korean Directors program of 2012.


(, January 28, 2012)

(, January 27, 2012)


(Korean Candy, February 1, 2012)

(Hanguk Yeonghwa, January 28, 2012)

(Twitch, February 2, 2012)

(Hanguk Yeonghwa, February 2, 2012)

(Modern Korean Cinema, January 30, 2012)

(Hanguk Yeonghwa, February 1, 2012)

(Film Business Asia, February 2, 2012)

(Film School Rejects, January 27, 2012)

The Front Line

(Musings From a Twinkie, January 30, 2012)

(Init_Scenes, February 1, 2012)

(Tai's Film Duet, January 28, 2012)

(Otherwhere, February 2, 2012)


DMZ, 1965
(Rainy Day Movies, February 1, 2012)

Duelist, 2005

I'm a Cyborg But That's Okay, 2006

(Drama Beans, January 28, 2012)

(Korean Candy, January 27, 2012)

(Hanguk Yeonghwa, January 30, 2012)

(Korean Candy, February 1, 2012)

Volunteer, 1941
(Seen in Jeonju, January 25, 2012)

(Seen in Jeonju, January 19, 2012)

The Weekly Review Round-up is a weekly feature which brings together all available reviews of Korean films in the English language (and sometimes French) that have recently appeared on the internet. It is by no means a comprehensive feature and additions are welcome (email pierceconran [at] gmail [dot] com). It appears every Friday morning (GMT+1) on Modern Korean Cinema. For other weekly features, take a look at Korean Cinema News, and the Korean Box Office UpdateReviews and features on Korean film also appear regularly on the site. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Top 10 Korean Films of 2011

All in all 2011 was a bit of a disappointing year for Korean cinema, at least as far as commercial cinema was concerned.  On the other hand, independent films continued to build on their success of the last few years.  However, I'm not overly worried about the state of the industry because at the end of the day it doesn't produce a huge amount of films and is more susceptible to the ebbs and flows of projects than a larger filmmaking centre like Hollywood.  In any case, 2012 looks to be a much stronger year for Korean film.

For a while I was getting very worried about what my top 10 for the year would like, a month ago I'd only seen four of the films listed here.  Thankfully a number of more recent releases became available and things suddenly started to look a lot better.  That being said, I've seen about 45 films from last year but there's a lot that I haven't had a chance to see yet so this list will likely look quite different six month down the line, and if I feel so inclined perhaps I'll change it!

In the below links are my top 10 Korean films for 2011, followed by honourable mentions and my bottom 5.  The only criteria I go by to consider a film from 2011 is if it was released in Korea during that calendar year.

Korean Cinema News (01/26-02/01, 2012)

NY's Korean Film Festival is back and the KCCUK is holding 12 mini director's retrospectives through 2012 in London, so it's a good time to be a Korean film fan (at least if you live in a major metropolis).  Lots of interviews, including three for Lee Myeung-se, trailers, posters, and box office news this week.  

Don't miss MKC's own feature on How Korean Cinema Fared on 2011's Year-end Lists.


“Should I put the word ‘arrowhead’ in a movie title?” joked a film producer during a recent meeting with the Hankyoreh.  The producer’s company certainly hit their target at the box office.  The follow-up to last year’s hit War of the Arrows, which drew 7.4 million viewers, Unbowed (the Korean title of which translates as Broken Arrow), passed the one million viewer mark just over a week after its debut early this year.  (The Hankyoreh, January 27, 2012)

Kwon Sang-woo Finishes Work on New Action Film with Jackie Chan
Hallyu star Kwon Sang-woo has finished work on the movie 12 Chinese Zodiac Heads with Jackie Chan.  The announcement was made yesterday by the actor’s agency, which also reported that Kwon had returned to Korea just before Lunar New Year.  “Currently, Kwon is taking a well-deserved break and is looking over some movie proposals from China, the United States and other countries,” said a representative from the agency.  (Joong Ang Daily, January 28, 2012)

NYC Happenings: NY Korean Film Festival 2012
Whether it's a full-on retrospective at Japan Society, a centennial celebration of studio giant Nikkatsu, or the annual wackiness of NYAFF, New York is a city never short on cinematic offerings from across East Asia, and that has always included a healthy helping of Korean cinema.  From February 24th - 26th, BAMcinématek and the Korean Society, along with Korean movie giant CJ Entertainment, will be presenting 7 contemporary features, big and small in the 10th edition of the New York Korean Film Festival.  (Twitch, January 30, 2012)

Unbowed, a low-budget South Korean film based on the true story of the so-called “crossbow terror” incident of a college professor, is heating up the local box office, drawing renewed public debate over the 2006 incident.  The movie claimed the No. 2 spot by bringing in more than 1 million viewers at local cinemas as of Wednesday, a week after making a robust debut, the Korean Film Council, a government agency in charge of promoting domestic films, said on Thursday.  (The Korea Herald, January 26, 2012)

Controversial Film on Gangjeong Village Finally Hits Theatres
An independent documentary film titled Jam Docu Gangjeong is finally showing in independent movie theaters 40 days after having been banned by the Korean Film Commission. Pressure from the film industry resulted in the film’s eventual release.  The film was reportedly delayed due to its controversial subject matter and the independent film industry is now calling for a policy reform to prevent the Korean Film Commission from banning films it finds politically objectionable.  (The Hankyoreh, January 26, 2012)

Korean movie and K-Pop stars united together for a new effort against piracy being led by Gaon Chartcalled the '2012 Good Downloader Campaign'.  Actors Ahn Sung Gi, Park Joong Hoon, Lee Min Jung, Jang Hyuk, and music stars Yoon Do Hyun (YB), Kim Yuna (Jaurim), Yunho (TVXQ), Nickhun (2PM), Sohee (Wonder Girls), as well as Sulli (f(x)) banded together for the campaign during a shoot yesterday, sending the message that pirating movies and music is illegal and wrong.  (allkpop, January 30, 2012)

Film of the Year Awards (Korea Film Reporters Association)

The Korea Film Reporters Association feted Korean cinema in its 3rd Film of the Year Awards last night.  Silenced picked up best film, with the director prize going to Kang Hyung-chul for Sunny.  Meanwhile Kim Yun-seok and Tang Wei were best actor and actress for their respective roles in Punch and Late Autumn.   (AsianMediaWiki, January 31, 2012)

Over on the Otherwhere blog, Alua has kindly transcribed the full 2012 programme for the Korean Film Nights at the KCCUK.  12 Korean directors will be featured with 4 films and a Q&A each month.  It's hard not to be incredibly jealous of anyone living in London right now.  (Otherwhere, January 27, 2012)


In one excruciating scene of Kang Je-kyu’s new movie My Way, Soviet soldiers order two war prisoners of different nationalities to fight to the death, but the Korean one refuses to kill his fellow Japanese captive, who he had known as a rival in sports.  Instead, an unlikely alliance begins to form.  The movie is the most expensive ever made in South Korea, a fictionalized account of the real-life story of how a Korean man ended up fighting for the Germans in World War II and being found by American soldiers at the invasion of Normandy.  (The Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2012)

Thanks to her previous films In Between Days and Treeless Mountain, and a none-more-indie cast featuringPaul Dano and Jena Malone, So Yong Kim's latest For Ellen had to be one of the most anticipated films of the Sundance Film Festival. Forming one half of a power couple of indie cinema (with Bradley Rust Gray, director of The Exploding Girl and the upcoming Jack and Diane), it marks her first time working with more established names and proves to be her most accessible project to date.  (indieWire, January 25, 2012)

To the present day, Lee Myung-se is probably best known for his 1999 film Nowhere To Hide which was the first ever Korean film to be released on DVD in the UK.  Born on August 20th, 1957, his first directorial feature film was Gagman in 1989, and in 1991 he won the Best New Director award at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival for My Love My Bride.  Since then, he has gone on to make a number of iconic films, including Duelist (2005) and M (2007) - as visually stunning as they are narratively interesting.  (Hangul Celluloid, January 26, 2012)

For January’s edition the director in question was Lee Myeong-se in conjunction with his 2005 film Duelist.  Presiding over the event was Dr. Daniel Martin who introduced both the film and the director, giving the history and context to Lee Myeong-se’s illustrious career and auteuristic sensibilities.  (Hanguk Yeonghwa, January 27, 2012)

Taekwondo at the Apollo: Lee Myung-se and the Great Safety vs. Cinema Debate
The ‘Year of the 12 Directors’ idea is a wonderful one—what began as a series of film screenings in the Korean Cultural Centre has become, for 2012, a celebratory mini-series of director retrospectives which promises to roll on from now until December.  On Thursday night, we spent three engaging hours in the pleasant company of director Lee Myung-se, whose 1999 action/police procedural Nowhere to Hide officially opened the 12 Directors programme over three weeks ago.  (New Korean Cinema, January 30, 2012)


2 Lines

Russian Coffee



Doomsday Book


(Modern Korean Cinema, January 30, 2012)

South Korean films enjoyed a 22% growth in revenue last year, according to new data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC).  Nationwide, admissions grew by 8% to 158 million, while box office revenues grew in local currency terms by 7% to ₩1.23 trillion ($1.10 billion).  (Film Business Asia, January 30, 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. 

To keep up with the best in Korean film you can sign up to our RSS Feed, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.