Seen in Jeonju

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Movies and Music: Insooni

1st September 2014

I don’t usually do much with music unless it is part of an old television commercial. However, I promised a friend and former co-worker who recently left Korea after many years of living here that I would send K-Pop music videos. But there is much more to K-Pop than Psy (ugh) or Crayon Pop (double ugh…). When possible, I will connect to movies so I can make a post about the videos I am sending here. And I thought that I would start with someone I have deep respect for, the Grande Dame of Korean popular music, Insooni.

Insooni’s real name is Kim In-soon. She was born in April of 1957, but being nearly sixty years old has not slowed her down or diminished her popularity. Given her popularity, I probably heard her songs many times after I arrived in Korea in ‘95, but I did not become really aware of her until the song Higher in 2004 with Jo PD, got her a spot on a music program I was watching. Here it is below:

I initially thought that she was from a Western country but was soon informed that she was in fact Korean. Her mother was Korean and her father was an American. Her mother raised In-soon alone. As a young girl, Insooni faced a great deal of discrimination which caused her to quit school after graduating from middle school. She turned to music for comfort and hope. She joined the girl group The Hee Sisters which debuted in 1978 under her stage name Insooni. Here is an example of The Hee Sister’s early style–before they turned to disco. Insooni is the one in the middle:

If you look for Insooni in recent films, you will only find her in a cameo in The Beast and the Beauty (2005) as a jazz bar singer. However, what most people don’t know is that she had the leading role in a 1982 movie. The film was entitled The Black Woman (1982) and was directed by Kang Dae-seon. black woman poster black woman 1982 In this film, Insooni plays Nan, a woman of mixed birth. She falls in love with Hyeon-seok and the two promise to marry. However, he breaks up with her via letter with little explanation. Hating herself, Nan becomes a prostitute (it was the ’80s.. it happened in Korean films all the time. See Winter Wanderer below) and a very popular one at that. She earns a lot of money by focus her attention on ad executives and getting jobs from them. However, she still misses Hyeon-seok and sets out to find him. When she does, she learns that he has gone blind which was the reason he had left her. She forgives him and the two return to their old home together. But (it’s the 80s.. don’t expect a happy ending) when their friends go to meet them and congratuate them on their reunion, the find the ‘happy’ couple has committed suicide together.

Anyway, that was Insooni’s one and only important movie role. Below is one of her latest music videos, from September 2013, Beautiful Girl

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Index to the 1970s: Director Lee Gyu-woong

24th August 2013

The first three movies listed below belong to three different directors, Lee Eun-soo, Lee Gyu-hwan and Lee Gyu-won. The rest were made by Lee Gyu-woong. To see the rest of the movies made by these directors, click the tab marked ‘the 1970s’ at the tip of the page. You can also click the thumbnails below to see larger images. Unfortunately, The Seven Valid Causes of Divorce is one of about a half dozen movies from this decade that I could find no poster, still, or VHS/DVD image.

leeeunsoo1975 woman detective mary, leegyuhwan1975 troupe of strolling actors, leegyuwon1974 seven valid causes for divorce, leegyuwoong1974 sun rises at night, leegyuwoong1974 unforgettable mothers love, leegyuwoong1975 wife of a eunuch, leegyuwoong1977 stone bell

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8th July 2013

Trailers of REVENGE!!
It’s REVENGE WEEK over at Modern Korean Cinema. When I first heard about RW, I initially thought I would track down some older movies with a revenge-themed plot and write about them, and I still may. However, I was sidetracked by another thought. While trying to locate an appropriate film, I stumbled across a trailer for one of the movies I was considering—Janus, Lady of Fire. In this 1987 film directed by Kim Seong-soo, (not the Kim Seong-soo still directing today), Eun-ji arrives early at a cabin where she will be meeting her soon-to-be husband but is gang-raped while waiting for him. Upon recovering, she sets out to seek out her attackers and kills them one by one in creative ways. However, before dying, one of the rapists confesses that they had been hired by her boyfriend so Eun-ji gets herself a gun and sets out to commit one final killing.

More to come this week! Meanwhile head over to MKC and see what other revenge plots they are revealing!

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More than one Bunshinsaba?

27th June 2013

Bunshinsaba 2012 Bunshinsaba 2 Back in July 2012, I wrote a review of Ahn Byeog-ki’s 2004 film, Bunshinsaba. The very first sentence of the review, for those of you who do not wish to click the link, was “If… I could choose any recent movie I wished to remake, it would be Bunshinsaba.” Earlier today, I was looking at the selections for the Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival and saw that there will be a movie screened, directed by Ahn Byeong-ki, called Bunshinsaba 2. The movie, however, is not listed as a Korean-made film. Instead it was produced in China. A quick check of Ahn filmography revealed that he had directed another film in China a year early, that one entitled Bunshinsaba. Was it a remake of the Korean film that Ahn had made nearly a decade earlier? It turns out that the answer is ‘No.’ I tracked down the 2012 Bunshinsaba and have watched about half of it before writing this post.. I will be going back to viewing it soon. The new Bunshinsaba is completely unrelated. Instead of the story taking place in a high school with a tortured ghost possessing young women and causing them to set themselves on fire, the new movies have an entirely different premise. It is about a mother running from what may seems like an abusive relationship.. although at this point in the film I am beginning to question just how much I can believe of the main character’s memories and stories. She takes her young son with her to get him away from his father and they move into an old colonial style house owned by a friend deep in a forest. However, strange things begin happening almost immediately upon their arrival and her son forms a bizarre attachment to an ugly, scowling doll he finds in the garden. It soon becomes apparent to the woman that her son is not himself and the doll keeps turning up in the strangest places. At the point I am at in the film now, the doll is actually quite threatening… Of course, the movie is entirely in Chinese.. and has Chinese subtitles.. so I will not be writing a detailed review of a film I can’t understand. It is not a bad movie, but as yet has not really tread any new ground.
Judging by the image on the poster of Bunshinsaba 2, it will be using the ghost that has been appearing in the 2012 story. Below are the trailers for Bunshinaba (2012) and Bunshinsaba 2 (2013) both by director Ahn Byeong-ki

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Trailers for Korean films opening January 17

15th January 2013

There will be three Korean movies opening in theaters this week. One is a comedy that has been in the works and delayed since 2008. It has the English name of Horny Family and stars Kim Seung-woo and Lee Mi-sook. It was directed by Park Bo-sang. However, I cannot find any trailer to this film nor does it have a website I can direct you to… I don’t expect too much from this film…

So the first trailer I have is for a drama called BED directed by Park Cheol-soo and starring Jang Hyeok-jin and Lee Min-ah.

And then there is the Korean-Chinese-Japanese co-production of Speed Angels directed by Chinese director Jingle Ma and starring Wei Tang and Han Jae-seok.

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Home for the Holidays

18th December 2012

The semester is finished, final grades are entered and the holiday season is here. That means it is time for my annual 3-week visit to the USA.  In a few minutes, I will go into Jeonju to get a shuttle bus to the airport– 4 hours.. After waiting a couple of hours in Incheon, I will fly for 12 or 13 hours to Detroit where I wait some more for my flight to Providence.  With all the waiting, it takes me more than 24 hours to get there, but then I can relax for a while.  During that time, posting will be spotty, if at all.  For some reason, my family does not appreciate when I spend time working on the computer when I am visiting…  But I will be back in January and I will catch up with posting then.  See you soon!vacation

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Computer Problems…

27th August 2012

7807I am experiencing some technical problems with my laptop.. such as the disappearance of the number ‘NINE’ on both the keyboard and the number pad on the side, a constantly sticking ’s’ and ‘w’ that makes typing very slow, and the fact that my ‘print screen’ key refuses to work. Normally, I would simply type my posts at work, but with the new semester starting next week and the new language center I made for the university ready to start accepting students, I have been busy whenever I have stepped into my office.  I guess I will have to buy a new laptop… I will be posting regularly again as soon as possible… hopefully within this week


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New Korean DVDs: August 19-25

20th August 2012

no dvd

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Index of Korean Films of the 1970s: Kim Jeong-hyeon

15th August 2012

Kim Jeong-hyeon was born on July 4th, 1942 in Jinju where he completed his education at the middle school level. He had one be involved with movies but without education or connections it seemed hopeless. He was considered to be good-looking so he attempted to audition as an actor, but failed. Instead, he wound up with a job as a cameraman and later an assistant director. From on site experience, he received the training he needed to become a director. 1976 was the year he debuted with If You Cry, You Are a Fool. However, he only made a handful of movies and the last film credited to him was in 1985.  He passed away on October 5, 2009.

His two films from the 1970s are depicted below. Click the thumbnail to view a full-sized image.  You can also view information for other films from this decade by clicking the tab at the top of the page marked ‘the 1970s’ 

kimjeonghyeon1976-- ifyoucry ,    kimjeonghyeon1979--thirdhangangbridge

Coming up next: Kim Jeong-yong

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New Films Opening This Week: August 16

14th August 2012

This week we have the opening of what started as a remake of Shin Sang-ok’s classic film Red Muffler.  The movie went through several name changes but is now called R2B which is shorthand for Return to Base.  It is directed by Kim Dong-won and stars the singer Rain (real name Jeong Ji-hoon) in the lead role alongside Yoo Joon-sang and Shin Se-kyeong. 


We also have the Total Recall remake as well as Carnage (fr), Cold Fish (jp), Dragon Eyes (us), Step Up 4 (us), and Intercepter (ru). Usually, new movies in Korea open on a Thursday but about half of the films listed here opened a day earlier because of the holdiay.. and R2B opened two days ealier than usual.

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