Seen in Jeonju

Archive for May, 2010

DVD Releases: May 30-June 5

30th May 2010

lovers vanished

LOVERS VANISHED– Available for purchase from June 2 is the two-disk version of Lovers Vanished.  The first disk will contain the movie with optional commentary by director Jo Chang-ho and actors Kim Nam-gil, Hwangwoo Seul-hye et al. The second disk has chapter headings such as ‘False Start’, ‘Their Secret’, ‘Fearless Love’, Cut Scenes, Music Video, Image Gallery, Trailer. The film is rated for ages 18+, has English and Korean subtitles and is coded for Region 3. The film is formated as 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and will have a recommended price of 22,000 KRW.

mammoths of korea MAMMOTHS OF KOREA– This three disk set was a documentary that recently aired over EBS-TV. I watched it (don’t laugh) but frankly found the computer animation to be sub-par. The similar series from the Discovery Channel a few years ago were much better.  The disks are each 50 minutes long. The first disk introduces the animals of the Eocene and follows a pack of CGI mammoths and the birth of Mammu.  In the second disk, Mammu is now an adult migrating around Korea eventually giving birth herself.  The third disk shows how animators recreated that epoch and drew the mammoths as well as an examination of fossil elephant relatives. This documentary is for all ages, has no subtitles of any language, has Dolby sound, and is coded for Region 3.  The set will go for about 39,000 KRW.

will it snow

WILL IT SNOW ON CHRISTMAS?– I had not heard of this drama starring Ko Soo and Han Ye-seul, but it is now being released as a six-disk set.  The information the I received about the DVD is scant.  There are no subtitles, is formatted as 16:9 widescreen, has 2.0 Dolby Digital sound, and is coded for Regions 3,4,5.  The only other thing I know is the suggested price– 86,000 KRW. It will be available June 4th.

Incidently, last week I had reported that Actresses would be released. The date waspushed back to next week (but I am sure you can pre-order it from whereever you shop ^^)

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Index of 1971: 31-45

30th May 2010

Here are the next 15 films produced in Korea in 1971.  Click the thumbnail to view the full-sized plate or you can access the films by director at via the tab at the top of the page marked Movies of the 70s.


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Director Kwak Ji-gyun

29th May 2010

kwak ji-gyunThe movie industry was saddened this week at the apparent suicide of Director Kwak Ji-gyun. Born in Daejeon, Kwak’s real name wa Kwak Jeong-gyun but he altered it slightly after he began working in the film industry following his graduation from the Deparment of Film at the Seoul Arts College. He began working immediately after finishing school as an assistant director for Kim Soo-yong (The Loneliness of the Journey, 1978), Jo Moon-jin (When Sadness Takes Over,1978), Im Kwon-taek (So Close Yet So Far, 1978; Divine Bow, 1979; No Glory, 1979; Tomorrow and Tomorrow, 1979; Mrs. Spectacular, 1980; Tears of the Idol, 1981; Mandara, 1981), Choi Seong-ryong (As Firm As Stone, 1983) and Bae Chang-ho (Deep Blue Night, 1984).

With such mentors, perhaps it is no surprise that when Kwak was finally given a chance to direct his own film, it turned out to be his most successful. A Wanderer in Winter (1986) was Kwak’s debut film and it remains as the movie associated with his name.  He followed this with The Home of Two Women  (1987), Long After That (1989), Wound (1989), Portrait of Youth (1990), The Woman who Wouldn’t Divorce (1992), Rosy Days (1994), Deep Sadness (1997), Plum Blossoms (1998) and Fly High (2006). Several of these are readily available on DVD.

According to his brother, Kwak had been deeply depressed. Fly High failed miserably in the box office–less than 300,000 people saw it in the theaters and he was unable to secure another opportunity to direct. According to news, Kwak was unmarried and seemingly quite lonely. He opted to take his own life through carbon monoxide poisoning and left a short not which, when translated, states:  “I have no work and I am suffering so much.” He left that note with a 100-page autobiography.  He died on May 25, 2010.

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Korean Box Office: May 21-23

25th May 2010



1. And When Did You Last See Your Father? (us)– d.Anand Tucker, starring Colin Firth, Jim Broadbent

2. Bloody Shake (kr)– d. Kim Ji-yong, starring Jeon Hye-jin, Geum Dong-hyeon

3. Date Night (us)– d. Shawn Levy, starring Steve Carell, Tina Fey

4. Godfather (us)– d. Francis Coppola, starring Marlin Brando, Al Pacino

5. Nae Namjaui Sooni (kr)–d. Kim Ho-joon, starring Park Hae-mi, Shin Yi

6. On The Pitch (kr)–d. Gye Yoon-shik, starring Lee Seong-jae, Kang Seong-jin

7. Prince of Persia (us)– d. Mike Newell, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton

8. Read My Lips (kr)– d. Yoon Seong-ho, starring Hwang Je-seung, Park Hyeok-kwon

9. Single Men (us)– d. Tim Ford, starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore

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Index of 1971: 16-30

23rd May 2010

Here are the next 15 films produced in Korea in 1971.  Click the thumbnail to see the complete, full-sized image. You can also access the films by the director through the tab marked ‘Movies of the 70s’ at the top of the page.


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DVD Releases: May 23-29

22nd May 2010

beetlesThis has been quite a busy week and I have not had much time for movie-related things.  The semester is coming to an end in a couple of weeks, I have a lot of reports to grade and exams to prepare…and the overnight trip to the beach with students to ‘relax’ before exams had the opposite effect on me–though the students enjoyed it. Now I am scrambling to catch up.  But I always have time for new DVDs!  There are several movies and a tv drama that will be available for purchase this week.  Pictured left is BEETLES–and independent film from 2007. This is a single, All-Regions disk.  The movie has English and Korean subtitles, Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, is formated in 16:9 widescreen and is rated for ages 15+.  The dvd has a recommended price of 19,800 KRW.

god of study

THE GOD OF STUDY is what the Korean title of this KBS drama translates into. This was a 12-episode mini-series that aired earlier in 2010.  It starred Kim Soo-ro and Bae Doo-na as teachers giving special instructions to students in danger of failing their college entrance exams and was based on the Japanese manga Dragon Sakura. The DVD release contains 7 disks, a 52-page book called ‘How to Study’ and a poster signed by the cast. The episodes are subtitled in English, have Dolby Digital Stereo sound and are formated in 19:9 Anamorphic Widescreen. The drama itself is rated for ages 15+ and there are 110 minutes of extras which include unaired scenes and the making of the story.  The recommended price on this drama is 88,000 KRW.

one day on the road

Next we have a box set containing two documentaries, A DAY ON THE ROAD and FAREWELL. These are both very disturbing documentaries about animals and how wildlife is being lost in their interactions with humans.  The former looks at Korean wildlife through roadkill. The second looks at the role and limitations of zoos. These documentaries are rated for all-ages but I would recommend caution and avoid showing them to young children.  The films are subtitled in English and Korean, have Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, are formated in 4:3 full screen and are a total of 285 minutes including extras. These extras include more than a 100 minutes of interviews, footage of the cast with wild animals, a look at animal trackers and an critical look at the pros and cons of zoos. This set also comes with a book called ‘Teachers Guide’ as can be seen in the image above, but I have no information on its contents or what language(s) it is in. The recommended price for these All-Region disks is 42,000 KRW.

actressesOne of the best things being released this week is the film ACTRESSES (left) on May 26th. It is the latest film from director Lee Je-yong with an all-star cast including Yoon Yeo-jeong, Ko Hyeon-jeong, Choi Ji-woo,  and Lee Mi-sook. This is a two-disk release. Disk one is the film and disk two  is 104 minutes of special features including a group interview, director/cast commentary, deleted scenes and other extras. The movie is rated 12+ and the disks are formated in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen, has optional Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 sound and have English and Korean subtitles (at least on the film if not on the extras).  Not enough? The box also contains a 12-page booklet.  Actresses has a recommended price of 22,000 KRW.

fair loveFAIR LOVE stars the experienced and talented Ahn Seong-gi playing the role of a man falling in love with a much younger woman (Lee Ha-na). The DVD is a no-frills single disk release. It is subtitled in English and Korean, rated for 12+, formated in 1:85:1 anamorophic widescreenand has Dolby Digital 2.0. The movie has a recommended price of 25,000 KRW.

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Korean Box Office: May 14-16

18th May 2010


The Housemaid made it into the first slot of the box office ranks this past weekend. Perhaps that is not surprising to many of us but it is actually a greater feat than it sounds.  No, not because of Ironman 2 or Robin Hood, both of which offered tough competition. It is because of the films rating. Being labeled (rightfully) 18+, cut its audience potential –high school students make up a major portion of movie-goers. The other new Korean film that had accompanied The Housemaid to Cannes, Poetry, did not fair as well–opening at number 7. What is new this week?  See below…


1. Fine, Totally Fine (jp)– d. Yosuke Fujita, starring Yosiyosi Arakawa, Yoshiro Kimura

2. How to Train your Dragon (us)– d. Dean Deblois, starring Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler www.???????.kr

3. Nae Ggangpae Gateun Aein (kr) — d. Kim Kwang-shik, starring Park Joong-hoon, Jeong Yoo-mi <no English title listed yet but the Korean title translates as My Gangster-like Lover>

4. Nightmare on Elm Street (us)– d. Samuel Bayer, starring Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara

5. Tokyo Taxi (kr/jp)– d. Kim Tae-shik, starring Masasi Yamada, Hajime Yamazaki

6. Yeohang (kr)– d. Bae Chang-ho, starring Kim Yoo-mi, Park Sang-gyu <no English title listed-but the name translates at The Trip>

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DVD Releases: May 16-22

16th May 2010

korean war There is only one Korean movie being released on DVD this week–and technically its not a movie.  It is entitled Korea War: 60th Anniversary Special.  It’s only 41 minutes long, is formated in 4:3 full screen, has Dolby 2.0 sound and is rated for all ages. The dvd is coded for All-Region–BUT there are no English subtitles. This single disk dvd will be released on May 20th with a recommended price of 13,200 KRW.

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Index of 1971: 1-15

16th May 2010

This is the start of the films produced in Korea in 1971. Just click the thumbnails below to see the full sized image with information on the film. Or, if you are searching for a particular director, just click the tab at the top of the page marked Movies of the 70s.


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The Housemaid (2010)

13th May 2010


After months of waiting, The Housemaid starring Jeon Do-yeon and Lee Jeong-gae has finally arrived in theaters. I am happy to report that it was worth the wait.  I am also happy to say that this version of the 1960 film, is more than an updated rehash. There have been many recent remakes of classic films such as King Kong, The Poseiden Adventure, The Exorcist, etc., where the only differences between the original and the new lie in flashier special effects. While the new Housemaid maintains some of the character motives and events found Kim Ki-yeong’s story, director Im Sang-soo adds some new characters, heightens some of the existing motivations to new levels and does away with many parts that are associated with the original. Looking for rats popping out of cupboards? Then go back and watch the 60s version. Im doesn’t put a single rodent in this movie–although their absense is more than made up for by the presence of several especially vile human rats.

One of the biggest differences for me between the 2010 and 1960 versions is in the reversal of where my sympathies fell. In the 1960s movie, I was horrified by the actions of the maid as played by Lee Eun-shim. She was odd right from the beginning and there would have been no way that I would have hired her to work for me, let alone live in my house. The moment she caught that first rat and her strange behavior then would have made me fire her long before she could be shown where the rat poison was kept.  But Jeon Do-yeon’s character, Eun-yi, is not like that at all. There is an innocence about her and I found myself rooting for her throughout the film.

Perhaps I was rooting for her because all the other characters are so despicable. The master of the house, Hoon, is far removed from Kim Jin-gyu’s indecisive and emasculated Dong-shik from 1960. Everything and everyone in the house belong to him. The entire house is a reflection of his ego and it seem built to fit his needs. It certainly has no place for the children he professes to love. His wife, Hae-ra, is addicted to the luxury but matches Dong-shik’s wife only in that regard. While the latter worked herself into a stupor trying to earn more money, Hae-ra has never done anything for herself. Even everyday acts, such as washing her hair, are handled by her maids.

One of those maids is a character not found in the 60s version. Yoon Yeo-jeong plays the senior housekeeper/cook who sees everything and knows all the secrets of the household. Yoon does an excellent job in this role and I think she deserves a Best Supporting Actress award for her performance. Another new character is Hae-ra’s mother. She oozes ambition and greed and will stop at nothing to ensure her daughters place as Hoon’s wife is secure thus cementing her own status vicariously. This woman is evil –and she is both horrifying and fascinating to watch in action.

I won’t say too much more about the movie as it just opened today, but I do have to comment on the set. That house was a work of art and is almost a character itself. But I found myself being drawn to objects in the house–especially the lights. I kept thinking throughout the movie, “Where can I buy those __________?” And that chandelier! When I got hope I dd a quick internet search and found that articles had already been written about it (namely how much it cost). The price was  tens of thousands (USD)—Oh well, it was too big for my house anyway…

The Housemaid is in theaters now in Korea as well as playing at Cannes.  It is an excellent film from its opening to the bizarrely beautiful final scene. It is a ‘must-see’. Watch it.

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