Seen in Jeonju

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Index of 1970: 181-195

18th April 2010

Here are the next 15 fims produced in Korea in 1970. Click the thumbnails to view the full-sized plates or access the complete list by director through the tab at the top of the page marked Movies of the 70s.


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14th April 2010


I received the below email this morning. Frankly, I was unsure if it was spam or not at first. I actually get a lot of spam promising to boost my visitors–all of which I ignore. But this one seemed different as the site is actually about movies. Plus the custom banner was a nice touch.If I don’t have to do anything more than I am already doing, I see no harm in linking: 

 My name is Ben, a Community Manager with  (If you haven’t heard of us yet, we’re the world’s largest community of movie enthusiasts.)  I really like Seen in Jeonju and wanted to include you in a new program we’re rolling out called Flixster Certified Bloggers.  Here’s what you’ll get for your participation:

  • Traffic & Exposure:  Get exposure to Flixster’s 120M users via a link to your blog in our Certified Blogger directory.
  • Search Engine Recognition:  Flixster will link to your blog, which will provide your pages with a boost in Page Rank, meaning more traffic for you.
  • Featured Blogger Consideration:  Once a month (starting soon), our editors will select, publish, and promote a review written by a Certified Blogger in our directory.
  • Certified Blogger Trophy:  To let your readership know the Flixster Community loves your blog, we’ve also created a custom trophy identifying you as a Certified Blogger.
If you’d like to join us, all we ask is that you post one of the trophies we’ve created for you (attached to this email) on your blog (or just a link back to us at  
Thanks Ben! Glad you like the blog. Things like page rank or visitor count are never things I think about–but I will let Seen In Jeonju be linked if it helps raise the visibity of Korean films even a little.

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Index of 1970: 151-165

4th April 2010

Here are the next 15 movies produced in Korea in 1970. Click the thumbnails below to see the full-sized plate or access the films by director thru the tab at marked Movies of the 70s at the top of the page.


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Housemaid Teaser

24th March 2010

 housemaid still


Haven’t seen the trailer yet for the housemaid? Just clink the link below to watch it on Youtube.  This is just the teaser–there is more to come. But internet reports state that this is already the most-watched movie preview.  The movie is due to be released in May, but the exact date has yet to be set.

Housemaid Teaser Trailer

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Korean Box Office: March 12-14

16th March 2010


Wow–I have been busy. Putting most of my classes in the first two days of the  week may look great on paper, but I didn’t take into the account reality. Oy–I’m exhausted on Monday and Tuesday I can barely walk. However, now I can just sit and catch up with things–starting with the Box Office.  I was very surprised to see From Paris With Love at number two. It is rare that a European movie does well in Korea. Alice in Wonderland managed to defend the number one spot quite handily though, taking in more than 40% of the movie-goers. My prediction, however, is that it will not be able to remain there for a third week as the hardboiled Outlaw and comic Yukhyeolpo Kangdodan (no English name yet) open on Thursday.  Below is a list of what else is coming.


1. Cape No. 7 (taiwan)–d. Te-sheng Wi, starring Van, Chie Tanaka

2. Daybreaker (us/au)– Michael Sprieg, starring Ethan Hawke, William Dafoe

3. An Education (uk)–d. Lone Sherfig, starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard

4. Help Me, Eros(taiwan)– d. Kang-sheng Lee, starring Kang-sheng Lee, Jane Liao

5. The Man Next Door (kr)– d. Jang Dong-hong, starring Yoon Je-moon, Seo Tae-hwa

6. Outlaw (kr)– d. Kim Cheol-min, Shin Jae-hyeok, starring Kam Woo-seong, Jang Shin-yeong

7. Shutter Island (us)– d. Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo

8. Yukhyeolpo Kangdodan (kr)– d. Kang Hye-jin, starring Na Moon-hee, Kim Soo-mi

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Zombies of Korean Film

11th February 2010

the monstrous corpseWhen we think of classic Hollywood monsters the first three that spring to mind for most people are probably Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster and the Wolfman. Prod a little more and maybe names like the Creature from the Black Lagoon or the Mummy come up. Rarely does anyone mention zombies. That is because in the Golden Age of Hollywood films, zombies were deathly dull. Not monsters at all, zombies were usually people who were enthralled against their wills into doing the bidding a master. The earliest feature-length zombie movie was probably White Zombie in 1932. Others early zombie films I remember seeing from that time include Revolt of the Zombies (1936), King of the Zombies (1941) and I Walked with a Zombie (1943). None of these can be considered true horror movies. White Zombie, Revolt and King of the Zombies are action films…(well, ‘action’ might be too generous a term) and I Walked with a Zombie is more of a gothic melodrama. There are some tense scenes in King of the Zombies and I Walked with a Zombie, but they reveal nothing of what would come in the next. <the poster above is for The Monstrous Corpse–Korea’s first zombie film>

monstrous corpse 2What was to come was George Romero’s horror masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead (1968). Up until that point, zombies had been under the control of one master—throughout the 50s that master was often an alien controlling the actions of its victims. However, the zombies in Romero’s film were under no such control and, unlike most of their predecessors, they were actually corpses. The only purpose these creatures seemed to have was to feed on the living and this grotesque image is what most other filmmakers would draw from when making future zombie films.  <zombie attack from The Monstrous Corpse>

During that same period in Korean cinema, there was nary a zombie to be found. Oh, there were some ghosts –and some of these seemed solid enough like they could be walking corpses—but they always had a purpose and that was usually related to avenging a crime against themselves or protecting their still-living loved ones. Mind-controlled zombies or wandering cadavers were nowhere to be found.—at least in film. There were of course traditional tales that have beings that appear zombie-ish. I had seen one of these dramatized on Legends of the Hometown back in 1995 or ’96. In that tale, a woman is told by a monk that in order to save her sick husband’s life, she must dig up a grave in the dead of night, cut of the corpse’s leg and prepare a soup for her husband using the stolen limb. That night, she heads off into the woods to a forgotten grave and manages to accomplish the gruesome task. However, as soon as she has finished removing its leg, the corpse sits up and screams at her, “My leg! Give me my leg!” Instead of doing what the undead creatures demands, she blindly dashes away only to find the decomposed monstrosity scrambling and, even worse, hopping after her shouting for its leg the entire time.

That episode of Legends of the Hometown terrified me…and I loved it! I don’t really care for the modern, fast moving zombies we have today in the recent remakes of Romero’s Living Dead movies or in 28 Days Later. I prefer my zombies to shuffle…or hop… slowly and inexorably closer. I think they are so much more frightening that way. I guess that is why I was also a fan of the ‘Gangshi’. Gangshi are another zombie-like undead who are usually depicted dressed in traditional Chinese garb. They move with their arms extended out in front of them and jump from place to place with their feet firmly together. They can often be found in Hong Kong films especially in the 70s and 80s and would make their way into Korean cinema as well.

monstrous corpse1But before Korean directors first employed gangshi, the first zombies had finally debuted on screen. In 1980, Director Kang Beom-gu helmed the production of The Monstrous Corpse—a misnomer in the English title as there are more than one. Much like Romero’s version of the walking dead, Kang’s zombies rose from the dead by some outside source theorized in the film to be from some ultrasonic sound. However, viewers who have seen both films claim that The Monstrous Corpse was more heavily influenced by the Italian film Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974) especially in terms of the amount of onscreen gore. Kang’s film was released on VHS in the late 80s but has not made it to DVD and is extremely difficult to find. <pictured is a zombie from The Monstrous Corpse>

smart little gangshiZombies were also hard to find after that although their counterparts, the gangshi, became quite prolific in the late 80s and early 90s but in unexpected places—children’s films and comedies. Oddly, these undead creatures against whom heroes battled in many Hong Kong horror/action films were suddenly the stars of movies and the heroes themselves. This is due entirely the Hong Kong series of films known in English as Mr. Vampire which started in 1985. Now, I know, the title says Mr. Vampire—but they are a form of undead much more like zombies than the western idea of vampires. Anyway, between 1988 and 1999 there were five movies featuring the appearance of gangshi such as The Smart Little Gangshi (1988) and The Gangshi Training Center (1988), but in all but one of them, they were the heroes of the piece fighting against evil magicians or even aliens. As fast as they arose though, gangshi also quickly disappeared from Korean productions. <image: gangshi parade in The Smart Little Gangshi>

zombies of dark forestKorean zombies would not appear in a feature film again until 2006 when Dark Forest was made. I wrote a brief review of that film several years ago for this site but will sum it up by saying the film was disappointing for many reasons. And it didn’t have to be. The premise of the film was quite good and how the zombies were created was something rather unusual in a good way. Unfortunately, the director didn’t go any deeper with why the dead were coming back to life in that one forest and instead gave us a mess of a slasher film that most people will have no interest in viewing. <image–zombie of Dark Forest>

This brings us to 2010 and the reason I am writing this article. On February 18, The Neighbor Zombie will be released. The film is about a zombie plague in Seoul where a vaccine has turned its recipients into the living dead. Does it sound like a great film? Well, maybe but I will definitely see it regardless as it represents a sub-genre that has rarely been used in the  hundred years of Korean cinema.

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A Dangerous Man (1966)

2nd February 2010

dangerous manI watched a couple of movies this weekend from the sixties that I had not seen before. The first was Shin Sang-ok’s 1963 Romance Gray (or as the KMDB calls it ‘Love Affair’–but since the title is already in English, I am not sure why the created another name for it)   With the exception of one camara technique he employed where the characters made their pleas and arguements by speaking directly into the camera, I found the movie to be rather disappointing. I was mostly disappointed with this movie because of the plot which portrayed the wives as horrible people because they left their husbands who were having affairs with more sympathetic mistresses.

However, I the next movie I watched I found to be much better in every regard. That movie was A Dangerous Man directed by Jeong Chang-hwa.  Director Jeong has about 50 movies to his name and even more that he produced. His directing career lasted from 1953 to 1977 but in the late 60s his movies were, at first co-productions with the Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest productions companies out of Hong Kong. Throughout most of the 70s he worked almost exclusively for those Hong Kong studios and seems to have relocated there as records indicate that he won third place in the 1975 Hong Kong Yacht Race and was honored by the Hong Kong Film Archives.  But in 1966, when A Dangerous Man was made and released, Jeong was working soley for Korean studios. Glancing through a list of his films, none of them jump out at me as being particularly famous however, if A Dangerous Man is any indication of the quality of his work then I want to see more.

The basic plot revolves around Deok-tae (Shin Seong-il) who lives with his older sister Ok-joo (Moon Jeong-sook).  Ok-joo has supported and raised her brother after the death of their parents and plays the role of mother and sister to him and, for his part, Deok-tae is very protective of her. Ok-joo falls in love with a gangster named Mr. Min (Heo Jang-kang) and the two date several times before he tells her that he was only seeing her for fun and dumps her when she starts talking marriage.  Pregnant, Ok-joo sees no option but to have an abortion. Naturally upset, she tells her brother what has happened to her and he, already something of a lowlife, hatches an absolutely evil plan for revenge which involves Min’s younger sister Yeong-ah played by Moon Hee.

I cannot stress enough just how evil Deok-tae’s plan is and yet, somehow, even as he is looking somewhat maniacal while plotting and carrying out his plan, I found myself both loathing and rooting for him. I don’t know exactly how that happened but the writing and Shin’s acting combine to make a complex character out of Deok-tae.  Although Shin Seong-il was certainly overworked, when he likes his role and is in his element, his acting is excellent. We learn early on that he is crude when, at a concert, he throws popcorn at the piano soloist (although I have to admit, I found that to be pretty funny). However, he later proves himself to be much worse than just ill-mannered and commits a crime that should have landed him in jail…if Yeong-ah could have been convinced to tell anyone. But Yeong-ah genuinely loves him and is willing to ignore all his faults—including finding him in bed with the loose cabaret girl (played brilliantly by Choi Ji-hee–I wish her character had more of a role because she steals the scenes whenever she appears).

If I had one complaint about it it would be that I was often comparing it to Early Rain and Barefoot Youth where Shin Seong-il plays similar characters. It was also similar to Early Rain, also from 1966,  in that much of the rest of the cast from that movie were playing similar characters here as well–Moon Hee in love with a man that is no good for her, Twist Kim as his comic buddy. But as I like both Early Rain and Barefoot Youth–that is not much of a complaint.

I have just mentioned about the basic plot of the movie, there is much more to it that I do not wish to spoil. Although it is not on DVD, it ought to be.   I would buy this film in a hearbeat if it ever became available.

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21st January 2010

dvd orderAs I mentioned earlier in the week, I was recently forced to find a new supplier of DVD to feed my addiction after Madmad closed its e-doors as of January 11th.  A brief search led me to DVDKorea ( where I was very impressed with the selection.  They had many things I had been looking for such as Looking for Bruce Lee and the remaining two films of the Dokgotak series. They also had many films that I formerly owned on VHS but had not yet replaced such as Quiet Family and Phantom Submarine.  All in all, I clicked about a hundred titles to place them on reserve and from that list ordered 26 titles. 

On the plus side, the order arrived within twenty-four after I sent payment.  But there was a large drawback.  Only 23 titles  were in the box which lacked an invoice.  Missing were the films Gosu from 1997 which I know very little about, a three-disk box set featuring the films of director Min Byeong-hoon (Flight of the Bee, Let’s Not Cry and Pruning the Grapevine) and Korean Short Animated Films vol.2.  Checking the website, they do state those films have not yet been sent, so I guess I can expect them eventually.

I think I was spoiled with the quality of service I had experienced while a customer of Madmad.  If films were going to take longer to send, it was always posted right on the order site.  If a movie or two were going to be late, they would send an email to inform me.  An invoice was always included with my orders and in most cases a freebee was included (which was how I acquired movies like Oh! Brothers and the Hi Dharma series).

I guess will wait and see how long it takes them to complete more order before I decide whether or not to continue using this company.  I may have to shop around a little more…

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List of Film Festivals in Korea

9th January 2010

Originally posted July 1, 2009–For being a relatively small country, Korea has a lot of film festivals. Of course, most people have heard of the big three, Pusan, Jeonju and PiFan but I seem to be hearing about a new festival every month–or learning about ones I did not know existed, and I got to wondering just how many film festivals there are in Korea. A quick search on the Korean search engine Naver revealed 95, but a closer inspection showed that was not the actual number. Many of the ones listed were just one-shot events or had folded a few years ago. Some were film awards and others were events held at a certain art theater. However, the list is still quite long. If you are coming to Korea pretty much any time of year, you are likely to be able to attend a film festival. Here is the list of current festivals below. I may have missed some and I have included three others that I am not sure are still running, but it is accurate for the most part.

Seoul Independent Documentary Festival (usually March. Not held this year?)

International Women’s Festival in Seoul (April 9-16)

Jeonju International Film Festival (April 30-May  8th)

Busan Asian Short Film Festival (May 5-13)

Green Film Festival in Seoul (May 21-26)

Seoul LGBT Film Festival (aka Korean Queer Film Festival) (May 30-June 7)

Human Rights Film Festival (June 11-14)

Mise-en-Scene’s Genre Film Festival (June 24-30)

Seoul International Film Festival (usually held in June, but not this year)

Seoul International Youth Film Festival (July 9-15)

Pucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (July 16-26)

Migrant Worker Film Festival (July 17-19)

Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (Aug. 13-18)

Busan International Kid’s Film Festival (August 14-18)

Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival (August 20-26)

Chungmuro International Film Festival (August 24-Sept. 1)

Jeju Film Festival (late August)

Corean Network Film Festival (late August)

KBS Premiere Picture Festival (late August/early Sept)

Experimental Film and Video Festival in Seoul (Sept. 10-16)

Indie Anifest (Sept. 17-22)

Persons with Disabilities Film Festival (Sept. 21-25)

Seoul International Extreme Short Image & Film Festival (Sept. 23-27)

Seoul Christianity Film Festival (late Sept.)

EBS International Documentary Festival (late Sept)

Sogang Film Festival  (late Sept.)

Jeonbuk International Film & Video Festival (Oct.)

Pusan International Film Festival (Oct. 8-16)

Korea Youth Film Festival (Oct. 11-15)

Seoul International Family Film Festival (Oct. 28-Nov.3)

Megabox European Movie Festival (late October)

Korea Youth Film Festival (late Oct/early Nov.)

Asiana International Short Film Festival (Nov. 5-10)

Daejeon Independent Film & Video Festival (mid-Nov)

Daegu Independent Short Film Festival (mid/late Novemeber)

International College Peace Film Festival (late Nov.) –currently has website problems

Pink Film Festival (November–unclear if this is continuing this year)

Sth Lotte Cinema Art Film Festival (November)

Megabox Japanese Film Festival (November)

Made In Busan: Independent Film Festival (late Nov/early Dec)

Seoul Independent Film Festival (December)

Gwangju International Film Festival (December)

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Housemaid Update

24th December 2009

There have been further updates on the cast on the upcoming remake of the classic Korean film The Housemaid.  Several months ago it was announced that Jeon Do-yeon would be playing the title role under the direction of Im Sang-soo. On December 24, the male lead was finally cast.  Lee Jeong-jae (Oh! Brothers, Typhoon) will be playing Dong-shik, the man who lets the crazed maid destroy his family. 

It was also announced by the production company MiroVision on December 16 that Seo woo, of many tv dramas and the recent movie Paju, will play Hae-ra in the film.  Filming begins during the last week of this month.

On an unrelated note–I may be unable to post for the next week.  I will be meeting a former student/friend on the day after Christmas in Providence and fo with him to College Station, Texas. He was recently accepted into the graduate program at Texas A&M and I will be helping him find an apartment, settle in and, if possible, travel to the Gulf of Mexico.  I will return to Rhode Island on January 2 and catch up on some posting then. 

So, in the meantime, Happy New Year!

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