Seen in Jeonju

Archive for January, 2010

Invited Pinocchio (1987)

9th January 2010

Originally posted November 13, 2007–High school student Na-yeong comes from a troubled family. Her mother often comes home late and leaves Na-yeong to fend for herself. Her father is frequently drunk and loudly boasts of his time in Vietnam. When her parents are together, there is continuous, sometimes violent, fighting.  Perhaps this is the reason that she seems so withdrawn from her friends in school. While all the other students are socializing between classes, Na-yeong sits alone reading or composing letters. She has developed a crush on singing star Shin Dae-cheol (second from left in the picture above), a singer in the popular hard rock band Shinawe.  In one horribly embarassing moment, a letter she has written to her idol is taken from her and read in the front of the class. But Na-yeong doesn’t really care as long as she knows that her idol, or as she calls him her ‘god’, understands her and possibly even loves her.

Knowing, as rabid fans often due, when her favorite stars birthday is, she makes her way down to the recording studio where she believes he will be with a present for Dae-cheol. She meets the band’s manager who informs her that the singers are not there at the moment. While he is looking at her, the manager is polite, but as soon as he turns his back–not even waiting to be out of earshot–he starts complaining about fanatical fans and wondering out loud where the security is in the building. Although she does not leave the present at that time, Na-yeong receives an invitation to a concert that appears to have been sent by Dae-cheol whom she has written frequently. On the day of the concert, Na-yeong dresses beautifully and prepares to go out to expecting to meet the man she loves from afar.

Invited Pinocchio, (misspelled Pinokio on the box of the newly released DVD, My Beautiful Short Films 3 but accurately spelled in the credits of the film where the original English title is revealed to be Pinocchio Gets An Invitation–why was it changed? I don’ t know), was directed by Oh Seok-geun who would go on to make such films as The 101st Proposal (1991) and Love Is A Crazy Thing (2004). The film is easily understood by anyone who has gone through their teens and developed impossible crushes on celebrities. It features the band Shinawe which was formed in 1986 and continues to play to this day–nearly a third of this film’s 15 minute running time is devoted to footage of an actual concert by the group. 

The film itself is not bad but there is one thing that has kept me wondering. Why is Na-yeong refered to as ‘Pinocchio’?  After thinking about it, I decided that it must be because the heroine does not feel as if she is a real girl.  Her actions at school are wooden and mechanical and the care she puts into her preparations to meet Dae-cheol show how much she really does yearn to be real.  But though Na-yeong is ‘Pinocchio’, it is up to you to watch it to see if Dae-cheol is her ‘Blue Fairy’ that will make her dreams come true.

Posted in 1980s, Review, short films | Comments Off

Doggy Poo (2007)

9th January 2010

Originally posted November 23, 2007–I watched Doggy Poo on Hana tv doggy poolast night– I swear that Hana tv has everything– It has hard to find things like Song Il-gon’s The Magicians and Kim Jin-seong’s Geochilmaru. So if there are so many great options, why am I taking the time to write about a short animation about ..for lack of a better word..a turd.   Well, get all thoughts of South Park (I really hate that show) our of your head. Doggy Poo is as far removed from Mr. Hankey as possible.  This beautifully realized claymation is more inspirational. It feels like a story that might have been told by Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince and never delves into any kind of  ’toilet humor’ which the main character might lead one to expect.  As the poster on the right states, it is a story of self- discovery for little poo as he tries to find a reason for his existance. Although he is ignored by larger life forms and terrorized and instulted by various kinds of birds, Poo finds comfort, and later answers, from various inanimate objects like Clump of Dirt, Fallen Leaf and Dandelion.  Although all of these things, including Poo, are unable to move on their own, the characters are not dull and their expressions more than make up for their lack of movement.

Kwon Oh-seong has done a wonderful job at directing this animation and seems to have taken up the reigns as Korea’s best claymation director. Kwon’s other works include Animal Farm from If You Were Me: Anime Vision and Lucky Seoul. The background he has created for Doggy Poo was painstakingly detailed and very realistic.  If you enjoy books like The Little Prince, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, or Hope For the Flowers, you will also enjoy this 40-minute long movie which reminds us that everything in life has a purpose.

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If You Were Me: Anime Vision (2005)

9th January 2010

if you were me anime visionOriginally posted February 6, 2008–The If You Were Me series which has been produced by the National Human Rights Commision now consists of four sets of films. The first was produced in 2003 and featured top directors Park Chan-wook, Im Soon-rye and Park Kwang-su. The second set, produced in 2005, included shorts by directors Ryu Seung-wan and Jang Jin among its number and the most recent collection had works by the indie directors No Dong-seok, Hong Ki-seon and the Kim Brothers. However, the animated installment of If You Were Me took a different stance. Only one director is readily recognizable–Lee Seong-kang who made My Beautiful Girl Mari, Texture of Skin and Yobi the Five-Tailed Fox. The stories, as one might suspect, feature much of the same themes that have already been covered in the earlier films. But in the format of animation, the directors are free to have their characters undergo impossible situations as well as making it visually appealing to viewers of all ages. 

The films included in this set Day Dream (Yoo Jin-hee), Animal Farm (Kwon Oh-seong), At Her House (Kim Joon, Park Yoon-kyeong, Lee Jin-seok, Jang Hyeong-yoon, Jeong Yeon-joo), The Flesh and Bone (Lee Ae-rim aka Amy Lee), The Bicycle Trip (Lee Seong-kang) and Be a Human Being (Park Jae-dong).

In my opinion, the best of these both visually and storywise, are Day Dream, The Flesh and Bone and Be a Human Being. Day Dream is about a young girl without fingers or feet sleeping happily next to her father safe from a world that does not want to understand her or accept someone so obviously different into its midst. This is the only story of the six short films that impacted me strongly.  In fact, it is such a powerful story that I would have saved it for last rather than putting it first in order.

The Flesh and Bone is the story that takes up back generations as we look at the ancestry of a woman with ‘bad genes’ and is thus born lacking the looks that society aspires to. This is driven home by her trip to the streets where we see factories turning out women with perfect, but identical, bodies and men engrossed with building their muscles. Be a Human Being takes a unique look at the problem with education systems that try to impose its own form of success.

I would say that the weakest of the collection is At Her House. I am not sure why it took five directors to make it. Least interesting story and art style.

If You Were Me: Anime Vision was released on a Region 3 DVD, but it is not easy to come by.

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Korean Box Office: January 1-3

6th January 2010

Well, I am back in Rhode Island after a week in Texas and I have one thing to say–Never again will I fly on Continental!!  5 of the six flights I was booked on were late to take off by an hour or more–one time because they overbooked the flight and were looking to kick off 25 people and another time because they had a change of flight crew but could not locate the new flight attendent and later her paperwork!

Anyway–here is the box office from the New Year weekend and what is opening for this coming week.

Title-percent of box office–change in position–number of tickets sold to date

National Box Office Results:

1.  Avatar (us)–41.5%–(-)–6,623,833// 2.  Woochi (kr)–28.2%–(-)–3,646,400//  3.  Sherlock Holmes (us/uk)–12.7%–(-)–1,584,640//  4. Nine (us)–6.8% (new)–335,249//  5. Alvin and the Chimpunks (us)–6.7%–(+3)–346,004// 6. Pocket Monster Movie (jp)–1.7%–(-1)–255,706//  7. Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (us)–1.3%–(-3)–441,789// 8.  Management (us)–0.2% –(new)–7,642//  9.  Into the Great Silence (gr)–0.1%–(new)–29,532//  10. 2012 (us)–0.1%–(-1)–5,383,431

Jeonju Box Office Results:

1. Avatar 43.8%   2. Woochi 29.5%   3. Sherlock Holmes 11.1%   4. Alvin and the Chipmunks 7.4%  5. Nine 4.9%  6. Pocket Monster Movie 2.3%  7. Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus 0.9%  8. Law Abiding Citizen (us)–801,757–ranked 12th nationally   9. Girlfriends (kr)–104,151–ranked 16th nationally  10. N/A

Coming this week to Korean Theaters:

A. Abbaga Yeojareul Johahae (kr)–Lee Kwang-jae, starring Lee Na-yeong, Kim Ji-seok  (No English title yet but the Korean title translates as ‘Father Likes Women’)

B.. Astro Boy (hk/us/jp)–d. Savid Bowers, starring Freddy Highmore, Nicholas Cage

C. Fair Love (kr)–d. Shin Yeon-shik, starring Ahn Seong-gi, Lee Ha-na

D. Little Ashes (uk)–d. Paul Morrison, starring Robert Pattinson, Javier Baltman

E. No Mercy (kr)–d. Kim Hyeong-joon, starring seol Kyeong-gu, Ryu Seung-beom

F. Paranormal Activity (us)–Oren Pell, starring Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

G. Wedding Dress (kr)–d. Kwon Hyeong-jin, starring Song Yoon-ah, Kim Hang-gi

Once I am back in Korea, I will be able to concentrate on this site (and planning classes)  School doesn’t start until March 1 so I will have enough time to catch up with everything!

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