Seen in Jeonju

Archive for September, 2010

Korean Box Office: Sept. 24-26

27th September 2010


The Chuseok holiday proved good for Korean films sending many of the new films into the 1 million viewer category. Cyrano Agency decisively came out on top but the number two position saw two (three films here in Jeonju) in a tight race. A Better Tomorrow and Despicable Me were neck in neck while Troubleshooter, released a week earlier than these other films, put on a good show in Jeonju. Meanwhile, A Man From Nowhere, nearing the end of its top-10 run, quietly passed the 6 million mark making it one of the most-seen movies of this year.

For the movies being released this week, refer to last week’s posting. They are slated to be released on Sept. 30th.

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DVD Releases: Sept. 26-Oct. 2

25th September 2010

old potterdvd

The Old Potter:  I am very happy, and a little surprised, to see this movie getting a DVD release. It heads to the top of my ‘must have’ list and I will be ordering it this week. I have already seen this film several times on tv, but that won’t stop me from enjoying it again. This 1969 film was directed by Choi Ha-won and stars the great Hwang Hae, Yoon Jeong-hee, Nam Koong-won and Heo Jang-kang. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: Ages 15+/ Format: 2.56:1 anamorphic/ Audio: Dolby Digital mono/  Special features: image gallery, production info book/ Region Code: All/ Running time: 95 minutes/ Recommended Price: 15,400 KRW/ Available: September 28

personal tastes

Personal Tastes:  The title listed here is not official, just a translation of the Korean title. I did not find an English name online. Number of discs: 11/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: Ages 15+/ Region Code: 3/ Special Features: Individual interviews with the six lead actors including Son Ye-jin and Lee Min-ho, Interviews with director/producer/writer, making of episodes 1-16, ngs, shooting the opening credits, music video, etc/ Recommended Price: 121,000 KRW/ Available from Oct. 1

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Index of 1971: 181-195

24th September 2010

Here are the next fifteen films produced in Korea in 1971. Click the thumbnail to view the full-sized image. You can also search by director by clicking the tab at the top of the page labeled Movies of the 70s.

1971-181,1971-182,1971-183,1971-184,1971-185, 1971-186, 1971-187, 1971-188, 1971-189, 1971-190, 1971-191, 1971-192,1971-193, 1971-194, 1971-195

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Rainbow Eyes (2007)

22nd September 2010

lposter039231-k2Rainbow Eyes, directed by Yang Yoon-ho and starring Kim Kang-woo, Kim Gyu-ri and Lee Soo-kyeong, is a very frustrating movie. I expected better of Yang. After mulling it over for half a day before writing this, I think I finally found what the problem is. Rainbow Eyes feels old, out of step with the times. You might think I would like that as I seem to spend a lot of time watching older movies and it would be true–if he had managed to capture the feeling of films from the sixties or seventies. But Rainbow Eyes feels like a Korean movie from the early nineties…not the best time for films. The music seems old–like the tinny piano music that would often spring up during emotional scenes in 90s melodramas and soft-porn (which many films from this period were). The camera tricks seemed old and tired, suddenly turning to double vision before or after changing scenes or during points in the movie where graphic gore is being obscured. Worst of all, the attitudes seemed old.  If you are making a movie in which the main chracater is struggling with his sexual identity, you would think it would be more sensitive to his plight and confusion instead of having characters spouting slurs.

Road Movie, King and the Clown and No Regrets had been made in the years just prior to this. Frozen Flower and Antique were just on the horizon. Each of these films dealt wih homosexual romances, often with reluctant or secretive participants, in their own way wih varying results. Western critics and audiences sometimes criticize these films because of the secrecy of the relationships or the fact that these films often end badly for the characters, but those critics are not taking the culture into account. Homosexuality is still considered a mental disease by many and coming out can still destroy careers–just ask actor Hong Seok-cheon. In 2000 his acting career came to a halt when he was outed by a comedian Kim Han-seok on the Seo Se-won talk show. At that time, Hong admited to being in a 3-year relationship with his male lover. Although this part of the talk show was never aired, word spread quickly. Hong’s contracts were cancelled the next day and it became almost impossible for him to get roles. There was a five year stretch where he did not appear in anything.

Times have changed a little. Hong is working again and movies like the ones listed above are being a little more fair when dealing with their gay characters. However, as I mentioned at the beginning, Rainbow Eyes seems out of date with the trend. True, the bumbling cop who is wrong about everything is the one making the most anti-gay comments and slurs, but he is given an uncomfortable amount of time onscreen to do so. Other characters just turn a deaf ear when he speaks, but someone really needed to put him in his place.

All of the main characters–police, suspects and villains– are masking there secrets and dealing with gender issues and this was a nice touch. Kim Gyu-ri’s character, tough-as-nails Eun-joo, is not gay but she is struggling with the fact that her co-workers treat her like a man and she is masking her love for her partner, Kyeong-yoon.  Her partner, played by Kim Kang-woo, is trying hard to put his past behind him. He was in love with his classmate at an all-boy’s school but is now trying to live a ‘normal’ life and preparing to marry his lover Su-jin. His former lover, Yeong-seo, attempted suicide after enduring multiple rapes while performing his mandatory military service. Failing that, he has opted for a transgender operation that he hopes will let him fit in better with society and its expectations.

It would be a lie to say that I enjoyed this movie, but from an academic standpoint and how it fits into Korean queer cinema (or fails to do so) was interesting.  That is, until the end. Not the end of events for the characters, but the twist ending that appears as the credits start to role. It is very bleak and destroys the sacrifice the characters make for each other and rendering their actions useless and unneccessary. It left me feeling depressed and a little angry. Yang Yoon-ho recently directed Grand Prix which is now in theaters… I will not being seeing it

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Resilience Screening

21st September 2010

The following was in my email this morning. It may be of interest for those of you in Seoul trying to forget the rain.

Special Chuseok Screening of the
documentary film, “Resilience“,
tomorrow Sept 22 at 2pm!

Time & Date: Wednesday, September 22 at 2:00pm
Location: Cinecode Sonje in Art Sonje Center
(near Gyeongbokgung Palace) Jongro-gu, Seoul
Admission: 7,000 KRW (purchase tickets at door)

For directions and more information visit:

Spread the word.
  Additional screenings of Resilience begin on Sept 30 at Cinecode Sonje.  If these screenings do well, more can be added at other theaters and cities thoughout Korea!

Resilience follows the remarkable journey of Myung-ja as she reconnects with her son after 30 years apart. From their initial reunion on Korean television to subsequent meetings and departures, they attempt to build a relationship amidst family betrayal and the legacy of adoption. But with so many obstacles – language, culture, distance, and unspoken loss – can two strangers find a way to become mother and son?

75 min | Subtitled in Korean and English
Directed by Tammy Chu | contact:

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Korean Box Office: Sept. 17-19

20th September 2010


A Better Tomorrow, a remake of the Hong Kong film The Invincibles, took the top spot in the box office this last weekend. However, it was not an easy win. The top three films, which also included Resident Evil 4 (in 3D) and Cyrano Agency, were separated by less than 3 percentage points in the national charts.  I put an asterisk next to the number 4 film, Troubleshooter. Two weeks ago, when listing the films awaiting release, I listed this movie starring Seol Kyeong-gu as Troubleshooter, but last weekend, when it was number on, the Daum Film site was calling it Trapped. As KOFIC had not listed what English name it was going to officially carry, I assumed that Daum had inside knowledge as it is one of the largest search engines in Korea and followed suit when I made the chart last Monday. My mistake. Daum is still listing the film as Trapped, but officially KOFIC is calling it Troubleshooter. While the numbers were a little low this past weekend, that will certainly change this week. The Chuseok holiday begins Tuesday. Most companies have this entire week out. New movies opening this Thursday will be able to take advantage of the holiday as well. These films are listed below.


1. Banga? Banga! (kr)– d. Yoon Sang-hyeon, starring Kim In-gwon, Kim Jeong-tae

2. Eat, Pray, Love (us)– d. Ryan Murphy, starring Julia Roberts, Javer Barden

3. Eight Sentiments (kr)– d. Seong Ji-hye, starring Kim Yeong-ho, Hwang In-yeong

4. Man From Earth (us)– d. Richard Schenkman, starring David Lee Smith, John Billingsley

5. Norwegian Woods (kr)– d. No Jin-soo, starring Jeong Kyeong-ho, Park In-soo

6. Resilience (kr/us)–d. Tammy Chu, starring No Myeong-ja, Brent <documentary>

7. Salinui Kang (kr)– d. Kim Dae-hyeon, starring Kim Da-hyeon, Shin Shin Seong-rok

8. Univited (kr)–d. Lee Eung-il, starring Kim Jin-shik, Won  Kang-yeong

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DVD Releases: Sept. 19-25

19th September 2010

no dvd

No Korean movies are being released on DVD  this week.

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Index of 1971: 166-180

18th September 2010

Here are the next 15 films produced in Korea in 1971.  Click the thumbnail to see the full-sized image and information for each movie. These and more films can be accessed through the tab at the top of the page marked Movies of the 70s.

1971-166, 1971-167, 1971-168, 1971-169, 1971-170, 1971-171, 1971-172, 1971-173, 1971-174, 1971-175, 1971-176, 1971-177, 1971-178, 1971-179, 1971-180

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Korean Box Office: Sept. 10-12

13th September 2010


This week, two new films topped the box office charts as Man From Nowhere finally gave way. Trapped, starring Seol Kyeong-gu and the Japanese anime The Borrowers landed in first and second place respectively. Cyrano Agency and Quiz King had test runs before their opening date (hence being marked with ‘n/a’) and managed to do quite well.

The Chuseok Holiday is next week and this is usually a busy time for movie theaters. Perhaps even more so this year as the holiday will be much longer for most people. The university I work at cancelled the sandwich days so effectively we have a ten day holiday starting next Friday. Expect figures to run much higher than on usual weekends. The new films that will be in theaters during Chuseok are listed below in alphabetical order.


1. Cats & Dogs 2 (us)– d. Brad Peyton–starring James Marsden, Nick Nolte

2. Cyrano Agency (kr)– d. Kim Hyeon-seok–starring Uhm Tae-woong, Lee Min-jeong

3. Despicable Me (us)– d. Pierre Coffin–voiced by Steve Carell, Jason Segel <opening in Korea as Super Bad>

4. Enlightenmnet Film (kr)–d. Park Dong-hoon–starring Jeong Seung-gil, Kim Ji-in

5. Grand Prix (kr)– d. Yang Yoon-ho– starring Kim Tae-hee, Yang Dong-geun

6. Mujeokja (kr)– d. Song Hae-seong– starring Joo Jin-mo, Song Seung-hyeon

7. Oki’s Movie (kr)– d. Hong Sang-soo–starring Lee Seon-gyun, Jeong Yoo-mi

8. Quiz King (kr)– d. Jang Jin– starring Kim Soo-ro, Han Jae-seok

9. Resident Evil 4 (us)– d. Paul Anderson–starring Milla Jovoich, Wentworth Miller

10. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (th)– d. Apichatpong Weerasethakul– starring Sakda Kaewbuadee, Jenjira Pongpas  <opening in Korea as Uncle Boonmee>

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DVD Releases: Sept. 12-18

12th September 2010

Two items that may be of interest are being released onto DVD this coming week, the remake of the 1960 classic The Housemaid and a documentary about Korea’s figure-skating champion, Kim Yeon-ah-(who’s name on the video box is spelled Kim Yu-na… is that how she spells it in English? That doesn’t give the right pronunciation…)

housemaid dvd

The Housemaid (2-discs)– Although this movie failed to live up to expectations, I still recommend it. It is beautifully shot and an interesting story with a thought provoking ending. The only problem this film really suffered from was marketing itself as a remake of Kim Ki-yeong’s original Housemaid made in 1960. The films are so different that people, including myself, were disappointed. However, as its own movie, it is quite good and well worth watching.   DVD stats– Subtitles: English & Korean/ Rating: ages 18+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, disc 2–4:3 full screen;16:9 full screen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, disc 2-Dolby Digital 2.0/Special Features: 2 sets of optional commentaries–set 1: Director Im Sang-soo, actors Jeon Do-yeon, Lee Jeong-jae, Yoon Yeo-jeong, set 2: Director Im Sang-soo, critic Na Da-eun; pre-production, adaptation for modern times, making, character profiles, at the Cannes Films Festival, NGs, trailers, music video/ Running time: movie-107 minutes, extras 76 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300/ Available: September 14 


Hip Korea: Kim Yu-NaSubtitles: English/ Rating: All ages/ Region Code: all regions/ Disc 1: Happy Skater/ Disc 2: All about Kim Yun-ah/ Recommended Price: 33,000 KRW/ Available: September 15-

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