Seen in Jeonju

Archive for May, 2010

JIFF 2010 Wrap-Up

12th May 2010


Below are the figures from the JIFF Press Center and comments from the juries regarding the films they selected to be honored with the top awards.

1. Festival Summary





29 April – 7 May 2010

(9 days total)

30 April – 8 May 2010

(9 days total)


3.1 Billion KRW

3.59 Billion KRW

Number of Screens



Number of Films Screened

208 films from 48 countries

200 films from 40 countries

Seat Occupancy Rate



Number of Seats (Sold)

?Except Outdoor Screenings and Industry Screenings

80,269 (66,913)

91,222 (70,762)

Number of Press (Foreign Media)

793 (108)

828 (121)

Number of Volunteers



Number of Guests


(Domestic 1,753 / Foreign 120)


(Domestic 1,930 / Foreign 131)


2. Award Winners

1) The 11th JIFF AWARDS (A total of 10 awards given along with trophies)





Woosuk Award


Rusudan Pirveli

International Competition

10,000 USD of Cash Prize

and 5,000 USD of

Production Support Fund

JB bank Award (Special Jury Prize)

<Red Dragonflies>

Liao Jiekai

International Competition

7 million KRW

JJ-ST?R Award

<Passerby #3>

Shin Su-won

Korean Feature Film Competition

10 million KRW

Eastar Jet Award

<Frozen Land>

Kim Tae-yong

Korean Short Film Competition

5 million KRW

Best Director Award

<Hard-Boiled Jesus>

 Jung Young-heon

Korean Short Film Competition

3 million KRW

Special Jury Award

<A Brand New Journey>

Kim Hee-jin

Korean Short Film Competition

2 million KRW



Pepe Diokno

Asian Feature


Audience Critic’s Award

<The Boy from Ipanema>

Kim Kih-hoon

Korean Feature Film Competition

2 million KRW

JIFF Audience Award

<Before the Full Moon>

Seo She-chin

International /Korean Feature Film Competition

Sponsored by SONY

Movie Collage Award

<The Boy from Ipanema>

Kim Kih-hoon

Korean Feature Film Competition


theatre release and

marketing support

sponsored by CJ CGV

International Competition: Woosuk Award / JB bank Award (Special Jury Prize)

(Jury: Philip Cheah, Nacer Khemir, Bae Chang-ho, Lav Diaz, Michael Witt)

 The International Competition was extremely rich, and the jury had great difficulty making a final choice between 4 or 5 of the films. We noted a strong neo-realist, quasi-documentary sensibility running through many of the films, and we ultimately selected 2 films for the prizes in which the power and value of fiction shone through.

 The Woosuk Award for Best Film goes to a subtle evocation of the current political predicament facing the Georgian people expressed through the eyes of a young boy: Susa. We felt the director Rusudan Pirveli successfully coaxed a superb performance from her young main actor, and that this was supported by excellent performances throughout, a powerful sense of place, and a beautifully crafted narrative.

 The JBbank Award (Special Jury Prize) goes to a film that we valued above all for its mysterious evocation of Singapore’s disappearing history – both social and personal – and its gentle depiction of innocence and passing youth: Red Dragonflies. We felt that there were moments in this small, relatively low-budget, non-formulaic film by first time director Liao Jiekai that displayed great sensitivity and promise for the future.

Korean Feature Films Competition: JJ-ST?R Award

(Jury: Kong Rithdee, Cho Young-kag, Eric Sasono)

The films in the Korean Competition show the great diversity of Korean independent cinema. The juries were pleased to be able to see the broad spectrum that ranges from narrative films to experimental documentary and crowd-pleasing stories. We saw tough political issues as well as intimate personal drama, while history and the process of filmmaking itself are also the running themes. It was a challenge for us to judge these diverse streams of thought and aesthetics and after a long discussion we’re pleased to derive at our decision. Passerby #3 has a big heart that keeps throbbing, subtly yet clearly. The film is about the struggle of a filmmaker, but also of a mother, and the unique quality of the film is how we sense that the two roles are sometimes so close to each other. Without resorting to cliché, the director gives us a comedy-drama-musical hybrid that is sad, touching and very true.

Korean Short Films Competition: Eastar Jet Award / Best Director Award / Special Jury Award

(Jury: Riccardo Gelli, Vimukthi Jayasundara, Kim Young-nam)

Through the films in the Korean Short Films Competition, we were able to watch not only the current social problems in the Korean society such as family, love, youth, poverty and the reality of working class, but also the innerscape of people trapped in the problematic situation.

The juries come to select <Frozen Land> of KIM Tae-yong, which successfully portrays the reality nobody wants to see, as the winner of EASTAR JET Award. And the juries select the director of <Hard-Boiled Jesus>, JUNG Young-heon, who proves his directing ability with an excellent photography, as the winner of Best Director Award. Last, we select <A Brand New Journey> of KIM Hee-jin, which successfully captured the emotion of a girl who can’t come a field trip due to poverty with delicately well-rounded details, as the winner of Special Jury Award.

 NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award

(Jury: Seo Hyun-seok, Ranjanee Ratnavibhushana, Sakano Yuka)

It was certainly exciting to see such a wide spectrum of styles and viewpoints, but the level of artistic accomplishments displayed by each work is hardly inspiring.  Although the amount of work and devotion displayed in each film is admirable in general, most films suffer from the lack of originality.  Somewhat derivative and often too compromising, the styles that many emerging directors pursued neither displayed innovation nor questioned the very mechanisms of the cinematic language.

 We selected “Clash” as the most accomplished piece of work based on its daring treatment of its subjects as well as space.  Although the theme of the film could have very easily flattened the film and his approach is vulnerable to clichés indeed, the handling of the camera demonstrates many great potentials of the digital cinema.  Authentic and passionate, “Clash” nearly pushes the parameters of the digital imaging.

Korean Feature Films Competition: Audience Critics’ Award

(Jury: Yang Bit-na, Oh Mi-na, Jeong In-jong, Hyun Sol-ip)

 A total of 8 Korean films in the Korean Feature Film Competition show diverse views and the excellent visual quality and they were good enough to promise a brighter future of Korean cinema. And we could divide the films into two distinguishing categories of films focusing on the innerscape of a person and films examining the social problem.

Among the films, <Metamorphosis> of LEE Sam-chil delivers the feeling of deprivation of the young generation with uniquely employing the first person view. And <Before the Full Moon> of SEO She-chin successfully drew sympathy of the audience by approaching a social issue in a microscopic way.

 It was difficult for us to select just one film because each film has its own significant meaning. After a long discussion, we came to select <The Boy from Ipanema> of KIM Ki-hoon, which examines a new interpretation of time in the melodrama genre with an outstanding visual, as the winner of Audience Critics’ Award 2010.

The director KIM Ki-hoon well expressed a portrait of the youth wavering before the memories of the past and the present, and love and farewell. So, we are looking forward to seeing his next work. Congratulations.

+++++++++++  EDIT ++++++++++++++++++++

I just want to apologize if this post looks strange–on my home computer , which has a very wide monitor, it looks fine. On my office computer, there is an empty space above the photo that I can’t get rid of…

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Korea Box Office: May 7-9

9th May 2010


This weeks box office results have arrived and once again, Ironman 2 dominates while Blades of Blood continues to perform well. Best Seller and Korea 1% fluctuated as to which film was in third place regionally with Best Seller coming out on top.  The larger differences however, come in the lower tiers of the box office charts. Across the nation, some older animations opened to celebrate Children’s Day on May 5th which is why Nocturna, from last year, wound up in the 10th place spot in Jeonju. Sunshine Barry and the Disco Worms found it’s way back into the charts in the province just south of here. In many provinces, Solar 123–a recently remastered animation from 1982 created by the same director who made Robot Taekwon V– placed as high as 8th in the box office.  However, due to its size, it is Seoul that drives the national list and there that classic film ranked 48th.  In Jeonju, Restoration resurfaced into the top ten. Since January, this documentary has been hovering just outside the top ten. Seven or eight weeks ago, it managed to land at number 8 and appeared on the charts for a couple of weeks before disappearing. While these small films and re-releases squeaked their way into the box office, HaHaHa was nowhere to be seen outside of the large cities. In Seoul it ranked at number 8, but in most other places it was either outside of the top ten or was not released. In fact, the film was only released on 25 screens–13 of which were in Seoul, 3 in Incheon and 2 in Busan. The question now though is ‘What will happen this weekend?’ The Housemaid is opening on May 13th. Will it be able to take on the still-strong Ironman?  I am leaning towards ‘yes’ and have plans to see it on opening day. Below is what else is opening this Thursday…


1. Geunyeo-ege (kr)–d. Kim Seong-ho, starring Lee Woo-seong, Jo Seong-ha <I have just seen on Daum that the English name will be She Came From…>

2. The Housemaid (kr)–d. Im Sang-soo, starring Jeon Do-yeon, Lee Jeong-jae

3. Poetry (kr)–d. Lee Chang-dong, starring Yoon Jeong-hee, Lee Da-wit

4. Rassvet(ru/ch)–d. Vitali Mansky, starring Vitali Mansky <documentary>

5.Robin Hood (us)– d. Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett

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DVD Releases: May 8-15

9th May 2010


joomoonjinAvailable from May 10th is Joomoojin. Never heard of it? It is the story of beautiful young lodge owner facing finacial disaster because her lodge is rumored to  be haunted. Instead of a terrifying ghost, she finds a young man living as a ghost on her property.  The subtitles on this DVD are in Korean only. The movie is rated for ages 12+, formated as letterbox 4:3 and has Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The disk is coded for region 3 and is 96 minutes long.  The special feature on this release consists solely of a trailer.  The recommended price is 23,500 KRW.

noodle roadNoodle Road is a documentary that is now available on two disks. The documentary consists of 4 parts all looking at various aspects of the lowly noodle and the economic effect it has had on Asia. The disks are subtitled in English and Korean, is formated in 16:9 and has Dolby 2.0 sound. The disks have a going price of 39,000 KRW and are available from May 12th.

attack the gas station 2Attack the Gas Station 2–The sequel of the 1999 hit comedy maybe did not really live up to expectations but it may be of interest to fans Jo Han-seol. The movie is rated for ages 15+ .  Its DVD is a single disk release with Korean and English subtitles. It is formated in 2.35:1 widescreen and has Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.  The scant extras include 35minutes of the making of the film, 3 minutes of shooting the poster and a 1-minute trailer. The current recommended price of this DVD is 25,300 KRW.  If iterested, you can buy it on May 13th.

swallow the sunSwallow the Sun vol.1–This SBS-Tv drama aired late last year and it was one of the few recent dramas that I watched all the way through. This DVD collection has 9 disks.  Since it says vol. 1, I assume there is a volume 2 on the way. However, the information I received does not state which episodes are included here. The DVD is subtitled in English and it is formated in 16:9 and has Dolby 2.0 sound. It is coded for regions 1,3,4,and 5.  You can buy it on May 13th for a recommended price of 99,000 KRW.

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Index of 1970: 211-229

8th May 2010

Here are the remainder of the movies produced in Korea in 1970.  That year is now complete. To see the images, click the thumbnails or access the films by director via the tab at the top of the page marked Movies of the 70s.  Next up–1971.


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Castaway on the Moon (2009) receives top prize

4th May 2010


I received the press release shown below in my email this morning and wanted to share it with you. Congratulations to the makers of Castaway on the Moon and to the organizers of the Udine Far East Film Festival who have done an outstanding job in creating a venue for Asian films in Europe.

The Korean masterpiece Castaway On The Moon triumphs at the Audience Awards 2010!

UDINE – A time of success for Far East Film 2010. And if talking about a record-edition is almost a tradition by now, talking about it for twelve consecutive years is truly something else: it really is a record within a record, both on the level of pure success as well as regarding the continuity of the culture and planning.

The figures? Here they are: the Udinese festival, again this year, has surpassed the threshold of 50,000 spectators, between the two venues of Teatro Nuovo and Visionario, gathering a very high number of European and International visitors despite the inconveniences caused by the unpronounceable Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökul. Around ten countries were affected: from the United States to Spain, and as far north as Norway.

The figures speak for themselves: the bookshop sold more than 1600 items (amongst books, t-shirts, posters, DVDs), the official website ( attracted a total of 50,000 visitors throughout the month of April and the official fan-page on Facebook ( reached 4400 members.

A record-breaking edition, and not only because of the extraordinary programme formed largely by first-time previews, but also for the excellent quality of it, certified by names and titles already registered in the golden book of new Asian cinema! A cinema that, according to the Audience Award votes, has seen South Korea triumph with Lee Hey-jun’s bizarre masterpiece Castaway On The Moon: almost a  a perfect scoring, as had occurred the previous year with Departures, with a star rating of 4.70 (5 is the highest possible score on the voting card!) They then paid honour to the efforts of Japan and Indonesia, with a high score (4.34 and 4.33) for the second and third-place runners up: Hideo Sakaki’s irresistible Accidental Kidnapper and the poetic The Dreamer from Riri Riza (already the winner of a bronze medal in 2009 for Rainbow Troops). The jury of the accredited Black Dragon voted Castaway On The Moon in at number 1, whilst the readers of, voting directly online, preferred the Japanese Bandage

First in line in the group of major international cinematographical events, Far East Film is a unique festival, away from the inner workings of power and strong in its sole and clear vocation: a passion for the popular culture of the Extreme Orient.

A true celebration of cinema that doesn’t establish hierarchies between the popular and elite showings: from all angles, it finds the support of a very motivated and faithful public made up of journalists, critics, cinema students (an increasing number this year, with the presence of France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and England), experts, people working in the field, and mostly, those who love the cinematographical dream of the Far East. And already, talk of the thirteenth edition has begun: bring on 2011!

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Korean Box Office: April 30-May 2

3rd May 2010


Not surprisingly, Iron Man 2 topped last weekend’s box office and has been getting some very good reviews. Next on the list is Gooreumeul Beoseonan Dalcheoreom, now known in English as Blades of Blood–a very different title that is very different from its Korean name. Daehan Mingook 1% is not officially opening until May 5, a holiday in Korea, but its test release had it landing in the middle regions of the box office lists. This film has not yet been assigned an English name. Also opening this week is Ha Ha Ha, a new film by director Hong Sang-soo. However, Hong’s films are rarely box office successes–I do not expect it to give a strong showing. Other new releases can be seen below…


1. Brothers (us)–Jim Sheridan, starring Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal

2. City of Crane (kr)– Moon Seung-ok, starring Mabub Alum, Yoo Ye-jin <documentary>

3. Daehan Mingook 1% (kr)– Jo Myeong-nam, starring Son Byeong-ho, Im Won-hee

4. Feast of Love (us)– Robert Benton, starring Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear

5. First Love (kr)– Park Beom-hoon, starring Lee Cheong-ha, Kim Seong-gon

6. Ha Ha Ha (kr)– Hong Sang-soo, starring Kim Sang-kyeong, Yoo Joon-sang

7. I Know You Know (uk)– Justin Kerrigan, starring Robert Carlyle, Arron Fuller

8. One Night Stand (kr)– Min Yong-gyun, Lee Yoo-rim, Jang Hoon, starring Lee Joo-seung, Jang Ri-woo

9. Romasanta (sp/uk)– Paco Plaza, starring Julian Sands, Elsa Pataky (released in Korea as The Hunter)

10. Song of Sparrows (iran)– Majid Majidi, starring MohammadAmirNaji

11. Toy Story 2, 3-D (us)– Lee Unkrich, starring Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

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DVD Releases: May 2-7

2nd May 2010

kim dong-won collection

KIM DONG-WON COLLECTION:  First up of the films being released this week onto DVD is this amazing collection by one of the premiere documentary filmmakers in Korea. Most of his films deal with pressing social issues at the pertaining to the years they were made. This set contains 14 movies on 4 disks plus a 48 page book introducing the movies and the career of the director. On disk 1 you get James’ May (1986), Sanggyedong Olympic (1988), Standing on the Edge of Death (1990), God Saw that It Was Good (1991), People of Haengdang Dong (1994),People in the Media (1995).  Disk 2 holds We’ll Be Ok (1995), 6 Days in Myeongdong (1887), People of Haengdang Dong 2 (1999).  Disk 3 has One Man (2001), Tekken’s Family (2001), Jongro A Venue, Winter (2005), 63 Years On (2008).  The fourth and final disk contains Repatriation– a film I had been waiting for a re-release.  The set has Korean & English subtitles, is formatted in 4:3 Full Screen NTSC, has Dolby Digital 2.0 sound and is recommended for ages 12+. The total running time is 726 minutes and the disks are ALL-Region.  You can purchase this from May 7th and the suggested price is 68,000 KRW.

angel men

ANJELS:  Next up is an SBS-TV drama that I know very little about.  There was no English title available.  The title at the beginning of this paragraph is from the official homepage address.  This is a 10-disk set containing the entire 16 episodes of the drama. These are found on disks 1-8. Disk 9 contains the making of the film and the tenth disk contains deleted scenes with titles such as ‘The Milkman’s Telephone Date.” Finally there are commentaries and interviews available by Director Hong Seong-chang and lead actors Jang Geun-seok, Park Shin-hye, Lee Hong-gi and JangYong-hwa. There is also the OST, Music Video, Parody Scenes and so on. The disks have English subtitles, are 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, have Dolby Digital 2.0 sound and are for ages 15+. The are coded for regions 3,4,5 and 6, are available from May 7 and have a recommended price tag of 99,000 KRW.

secretSECRET:  A film starring Cha Seung-won is now available as you read this. It is only 1 disk but has many extras including The Making of the film, Character Profiles, Deleted Scenes and trailers. The movie is formated as 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, as Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound, and is rated for ages 18+.  This is a region 3 release and it goes for a recommended price of 25,300 KRW.

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Goodbye, Shanghai (1934)

1st May 2010

goodbye shanghaiAnother movie I recently saw at the 11th Jeonju International Film Festival showed a rare look at the age of silent films in Korea. This film was discovered a few years ago in Shanghai–a quick search through Daum revealed that it was found back in 1997. Why are we just hearing about it now? Well, the good folks at KOFA have been restoring it and adding English captions–not that it needs many, being a silent film and all. But the end result is worth the wait. We have nearly the complete film. The article I read about its discovery stated that 8 of the 11 reels had been recovered. After watching the film, I can say that these missing parts are from the beginning of the movie. But, while it would have been nice to know the relationship of some of characters–especially in the big house where the main character is visiting/living–it is quite easy to catch up with the action. There is a little part missing at the end where former sea navigator Whang is reading the newspaper and sees the final fate of his girlfriend.  My guess is there is only about two minutes missing there–unfortunately, these two minutes explain the end.  It was lucky we had a representative from KOFA there to explain to us what we missed and the ending of the film based on the script.

The story is about the life of beautiful, virtuous Bairu, a school teacher from a small village, who has come to Shanghai to stay at her aunt’s home and make money. On the way over, she met a handsome sailor named Whang and the two fall in love.  Otherwise, while staying with her aunt, Bairu seems rather lonely. She doesn’t really fit in with her wealthy relatives chic friends and the high society they live in.  And I have to say, I was surprised at society in Shanghai as depicted in the film. The fashions, the buildings, the electric trolleys–it looked absolutely beautiful.

Unfortunately, this beautiful society did have it seedy side. For example, the ambitious starlet intent on sleeping her way to the top or the sinister Dr. Lee.  Lee is a womanizer who will stoop at nothing to get what he wants even as he is in the midst of planning his wedding. Lee sees the innocent Bairu as a challenge, one that he seems sure to lose. However, Bairu comes down with something and her aunt sends her off to Lee’s clinic by rickshaw where the doctor gets her on his examination table, gives her an injection to make her sleep, and then rapes her.  I admit to being very surprised by this scene. The doctor removes his patients blouse and bra revealing her breasts–I was never expected nudity in a pre-70s Korean film.

Bairu is devestated but keeps what happened to her a secret…until she realizes that she is pregnant. Then she strikes off on her own.  First she attempts to find her sailor but discovers that he was responsible for an accident at sea and was fired. Not knowing where to find him, Bairu accepts a position as a dance hostess–where she once more meets hated Dr. Lee, now married. She does not tell him though that he has a son. Until the baby becomes seriously ill…

Dr. Lee is played as absolute evil and actor Feiguang He. The man steals every scene he is in with his leering looks.  When I first saw him, I had to look twice–he looked so much like Errol Flynn with his pencil mustache and hair slicked back. I was also happy to see that he was not the kind of rapist who would later be seen in Korean films of the 60’s where a woman is forced to have sex and then falls in love with her attacker. Bairu hates Lee with a passion and at first cannot even bring herself to touch her child because she sees Lee’s face in him.

Bairu is played by the extremely talented Lingyu Ruan. Ruan had gained fame in Asia a year or two earlier when she starred in the film Goddess about a goddess who takes to the streets to work as a prostitute. Unfortunately, Ruan was not free from scandals in her real life and tragically chose to end her own life while she was in her early twenties.

Director Jeong Gi-tak was born in Pyeongyang but studied in Shanghai. He returned to Korea and appeared in Lee Gyeong-son’s film The Pioneer (1925).  He continued to work as an actor and then producer, forming Jeong Gi-tak Productions. But, in the thirties, it became almost impossible for most Koreans to make movies under Japanese rule so Jeong packed up and moved to Shanghai to direct films.  He made about ten films there until the Chinese army invaded in 1936.  Shortly thereafter, he disappeared. There were many theories about what happened to him. Apparently, he drowned while at the beach with a kisaeng. However, there was some dispute at the time as to whether it was an accidental drowning or if it was suicide.

The running time is 81 minutes and it follows the typical style of silent films of the era–several minutes of action with minimum word cards that come up once in awhile with important dialogue. The restoration work is fantastic considering the age of the film and I would snatch it up in a minute if it were ever to be released on DVD.  It may be on DVD later, but before then it will screen at KOFA on May 9th. If you are in Seoul, I urge you to go watch it!

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Index of 1970: 196-210

1st May 2010

Here are the next 15 movies produced in Korea in 1970. Click the thumbnail to view the full-sized image. You can also view them by listed by director through the tab marked ‘Movies of the 70s’ at the top of this page.


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