Seen in Jeonju

Archive for September, 2010

Don’t Step Out of the House (2008)

11th September 2010

dont step out of the houseI received Nice Shorts yesterday. Nice Shorts is a collection of short films from 2008 and 2009. It consists of 4 movies, Shall We Take a Walk?, Girl, Mates and the longest short on the disc,pictured on the right, Don’t Step Out of the House. I originally bought the movie for Mates.  I had seen it previously at the Jeonju International Film Festival a year or two ago and remember it being very good. My opinion of it has not changed.  When I first saw Shall We Take a Walk? I thought it was a nice, sweet movie.  But after mulling it over for the past twenty-four before writing this, I have a somewhat different opinion of it. Frankly, it was too sweet. If I want to see something like that, all I have to do is turn on KBS tv at 5 or 6 when elementary school kids are watching television. It feels the directors are slightly childish–and that is from a man who watched Vectorman (1999) this week. Again, it is a nice movie–but I won’t remember it in a month. Hong Seong-hoon’s film, Girl, I could have done without all together. I am over movies trying to make abortion an issue. I was annoyed with both characters- the girl is completely unlikable and the father of her boyfriend is written poorly. He could have been a sympathetic figure–a failed father trying to seeing  a second chance in his unborn grandchild which is what his motive probably was–but it does not come across that way at all. Don’t Step Out of the House, however, is excellent. It alone is worth the price of the DVD.

In the movie, a five year old girl and her slightly older brother are alone in their house. The girl is playing dress up and the boy is trying to finish his homework before his tutor comes. Their house is very dirty and the children also seem as if they have been properly taken care of for a while. We soon start getting hints that something is not quite right. Some of these hints don’t raise red flags at first–like the boy quickly turning off the tv when his sister comes into the room or his earasing and re-writing of his homework so many times that the paper has almost worn through. Gradually the hints we are given of something is wrong become more ominous. It is not merely that their father is not coming back and they are running out of food, which is bad enough. Instead we are led to believe that there is something very wrong and there is a very concrete reason why the children should not open the door.

Eventually though, the kind-hearted nature of the children means that they do open the door to someone who claims he wants a drink of water. He is then joined by his friends. The atmosphere of the film takes on the feeling of a true horror movie as the tension builds around the unpredictable strangers. One, his face blackened as though overly exposed to a tanning lamp, is clearly the leader of the three and says that they may go hunting later. In Seoul?  One of his companions face is red and scarred as if he were recently burned and all his hair is missing. He is subject to sudden boughts of violence and then nearly overwhelmed by his guilt. The third is nearly blind and his corrective lenses are shattered. He displays the tendencies of a pedaphile and makes some hair-raising comments to the young five-year old girl that she does not understand, though her brother is quick to get between them. The horror builds as we learn  what has happened beyond the walls of their basement apartment and what exactly it is that the men have come for. Believe me, whatever you are thinking is probably wrong. This is one of the most innovative, creative and satisfying films I have seen in a while.

Director Jo Seong-hee has crafted an exceptional, albiet dark, tale and I really look forward to seeing what else he can do. I see that he is currently working on a feature length fantasy/horror film entitled End of Animal starring Park Hae-il. No release date on the project, but it is one that I will be anticipating. I think this new director will be capable of some great work in the future.

Posted in 2000s, Review, short films | Comments Off

Index of 1971: 151-165

10th September 2010

With classes starting in earnest, it has been a busy week. I have not had much time where I could post here.  I don’t have that many classes, but I have been meeting with returning students–I miss them during vacations– plus I have been in the middle of planning a large language exchange program. But it is the weekend now. I can work on the blog and watch movies ’til my eyes fall out.  And I have a lot to watch including the Lee Man-hee Boxset that came today with the collection of short films called Nice Shorts.  But for now, here are the next 15 films produced in Korea in 1971, Click the thumbnail to see a full-sized image. These can aslo be accessed by director through the tab at the top of the page marked Movies of the 70s.

1971-151, 1971-152, 1971-153, 1971-154, 1971-155, 1971-156, 1971-157, 1971-158, 1971-159, 1971-160, 1971-161, 1971-162, 1971-163, 1971-164, 1971-165

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Korean Box Office: September 3-5

6th September 2010


The Man From Nowhere managed to hang on to the number one spot for yet another week bringing its total number of viewers to over 5 million.  Inception also gained over five million viewers and rose three places in the national box office while dropping an equal amount here in Jeonju. Bedeviled, a film I was looking forward to, wound up not opening anywhere in the North Jeolla Province so I was unable to see it. Nor could I have seen it if I went to Daejeon–about an hour or an hour and a half away. I would have had to gone down to Gwangju to watch it. Bedeviled opened on just 76 screens nationwide. 33 of these were in Seoul and 21 were in Busan. In Seoul, the movie ranked 9th but in Busan, Bedeviled ranked 4th. I feel they missed their bet not opening the movie here. I think it would have done well.   Next week, even The Man From Nowhere is likely to drop down one tier as Troubleshooter opens in theaters. Details of this and other movies coming this week are below.


1. Borrowers (jp)– d. Hiromasa Yonebayashi, voiced by Ryunosuke Kamiki, Kirin Kiki www.arrietty/

2. Don’t Cry for Me Sudan (kr)–d. Ku Soo-hwan, starring Lee Tae-seok <documentary>

3. Earth Women (kr)– d. Kwon Woo-jeong, starring So Hee-joo, Kang Seon-hee <documentary>

4. Nodame Kantabine (jp)– d. Hideki Takeuchi, starring Juri Ueno, Hiroshi Tamaki

5. Troubleshooter (kr)– d. Kwak Hyeok-jae, starring Seol Keong-gu, Lee Jeong-jin

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DVD Releases: September 5-11

4th September 2010

I have to break a promise I made to myself.  I had told myself this past week that I should not buy any more DVDs this month.  I already received to large orders. This was because the online dvd site I usually use was not carrying two things I really wanted–the Romantic Comedy Collection of the 1950s and the Yoo Ji-Tae Collection of short films. However another site was, so I registered and ordered them from there. Then I figured, while I was on the site why not look around and see what else they offer that I don’t have.  I found 16 other things I wanted. They included things I had been looking for like Kim Soo-yong’s A Seaside Village (1965) and I Will Survive (1993), things I had forgotten existed like Plastic Tree (2003) and Quick Man (2000) and some things I was interested in seeing for the actors who were debuting or simply very young at the time Vectorman (1999)–Kim Seong-soo’s debut and Emergency Measure 19 (2002) which stars many popular singers of the time who have gone on the other things. BUT I had forgotten that this was the week that the Lee Man-hee Box Set was due to be released. That is one that I absolutely MUST buy.

lee manhee

Lee Man-Hee Box Set (4 discs)–Subtitles:  English, Japanese & Korean/ Rating: ages 15+/ Format: 2.37:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital Mono/ Region Code: 3/ Special Feaures: Booklet containing information on the films in Korean and English, optional commentary (more below), documentary on Lee Man-hee, image gallery/Running time: 372 minutes (total)/ Recommended Price: 49,500 KRW/ Availability: September 6–  This set contains the films The Marines Who Never Returned (1963) with optional comments by director Choi Jae-hoon and Cine21 reporter Ju Seong-cheol; Black Hair (1964)–comments by director Park Chan-wook and film critic Kim Yeong-jin; Holiday (1968) with comments by director/critic Jeong Seong-il; Assassin (1969) with comments by director Oh Seung-wook and Ju Seong-cheol.


Restoration (2 disc)– This film hovered around the lower tiers of the box office for months after its release–unusual for any film but especially for a documentary. Restoration is a religious documenary about Israel and Palestine with narration by KBS announcer Park Ji-yoon.  The first disc in this set is the film, the second is the OST. Subtitles: Korean & English/ Rating: ages 12+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, 2.0/ Running time: 94 minutes (movie), 42 minutes OST/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Availability: September 9

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