Seen in Jeonju

Archive for February, 2011

Korean Box Office: Feb. 11-13

14th February 2011


Detective K managed to not only survive some potentially strong competition from new movies but to dominate and remain firmly in the number one spot for a third week in a row with Rapunzel as its closest rival. Interestingly, the lower half of the box office chart was comprised mostly of films that have not been officially released yet; 127 Hours, Aideul…, and Geudaereul Saranghabnida. The latter two films have not yet received English titles but I am particularly interested in Aideul…   It is based on the real life disappearance of five young boys who went off to catch frogs in the woods outside of Daegu and never returned. A film was made about the incident in 1990, but at the time no one knew if the children were alive or dead.  Four or five years ago, the remains of the children were found, apparently moved from wherever they had been hidden earlier, with clear evidence of foul play. The fact that they were moved and re-buried is pretty convincing evidence that the killer is still out there. I expect that film will do quite well but it is hard to predict with 16 other films being released on the same day. They are all listed below.


1. Aideul… (kr)– d. Lee Gyu-man, starring Park Yong-woo, Ryu Seung-ryong

2. Atashin’chi (jp)– d. Tetsuo Yasumi, voiced by Kumiko Watanbe, Fumiko Orikasa

3. Confessions (jp)– d. Tetsuya Nakashima, starring Takako Matsu, Masaki Okada

4. Geudaereul Saranghabnida (kr)– d. Choo Chang-min, starring Lee Soon-jae, Yoon So-jeong

5. Late Autumn (kr)– d. Kim Tae-yong, starring Hyeon Bin, Wei Tang

6. Lourdes (au)– d. Jessica Hausner, starring Sylvie Testud, Lea Seydoux

7. Mechanic (us)– d. Simon West, starring Jason Statham, Ben Foster

8. Miyoko (jp)– d. Yoshifumi Tsubota, starring Kenji Mizuhashi, Marie Machida

9. Mongol (de)– d. Sergei Bodrov, starring Tadanobu Asano, Honglei Sun

10. 127 Hours (us)– d. Danny Boyle, starring James Franco, Kate Mara

11. Paris 36 (fr)– d. Christophe Barratier, starring Geraud Jugnot, Clovis Cornillac

12. Re-Encounter (kr)– d. Min Yong-geun, starring Yoo Da-in, Yoo Yeon-seok

13. Soul Kitchen (de)– d. Fatih Akin, starring Moritz Bleibtreu, Birol Unel

14. Super Monkey Returns (kr)– d. Shin Dong-yeob, starring Kim Byeong-man, Ham Min-gwan

15. Tundra (kr)– d. Kim Jong-il, Jang Kyeong-soo, starring Lee Yong-taek, Kim Tae-jeong <documentary>

16. Unknown (us)– d. James Collet-Serra, starring Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger

17. Whisper (us)– d. Stewart Hendler, starring Josh Holloway, Sarah Collins

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New DVD Releases: Feb. 13-19

13th February 2011

We seem to be making up for the last two weeks where no new DVDs were released. This coming week will see 8 new DVDs– two dramas and six movies. The dramas are listed at the end of this post.

man from nowhere dvd

THE MAN FROM NOWHERE–  d. Lee Jeong-beom, starring Won Bin, Kim Se-ron  Number of discs: 2/ Subtitles: English, Korean/ Rating: ages 18+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 119 min./ Special Features: Two commentary tracks on disc 1, disc two extras include The Making, Filming of Scenes (golf course, nightclub bathroom, etc), stunts, music video, trailers/ Recommended Price: 27,500 KRW/ Available: Feb. 17

rolling home

ROLLING HOME ON A BULL (pictured above left)– d. Im Soon-rye, starring Kong Hyo-jin, Kim Yeong-pil. Director Im has become one of my favorite filmmakers and I have been looking forward to seeing this movie which did not get much play in theaters. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English, Korean/ Rating: ages 15+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 111 min./ Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: Feb. 16

GRAND PRIX (pictured above right)– d. Yang Yoon-ho, starring Kim Tae-hee,Yang Dong-geun. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English, Korean/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital: 5.1/ Extras: Making, OST, Poster photo shoot, trailers/ Running Time: 109 min./ Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: Feb. 16


CYRANO AGENCY (pictured above left)– d. Kim Hyeon-seok, starring Uhm Tae-yeong, Lee Min-jeong  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English, Korean/ Rating: ages 12+/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 121 min./ Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: Feb. 18

TRY TO REMEMBER (pictured above right)– d. Im Jin-pyeong, starring Park Jae-jeong, Yoon So-yi (First screening was at the Pucheon Internation Fantastic Film Festival prior to its general theater release last November)  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English, Korean/ Rating: ages 12+/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 100 min./ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: Feb. 18

secret romanceSecret Romance (pictured right)– d. Kwon Chil-in, starring Jeong Chan, Kim Hong-soo, Han Soo-yeon, Choo Ja-hyeon  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: English, Korean/ Rating: ages 18+/ Format: 4:3 letterbox/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 114 min. / Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: Feb. 16


DAEMANG (pictured above left)– An excellent SBS-TV drama that managed to hold my attention throughout its entire run. I liked the story and most of the characters (aside from the fact it featured the worst child actor I have ever seen–the kid doesn’t blink and is very creepy)  Starring Jang Hyeok, Jo Han-seong, Son Ye-jin and Lee Yo-won.  Number of discs: 9/ Subtitles: English/ Rating: ages 15+/Format: 4:3 letterbox/ Audio: Dolby Digitial 2.0/ Region Codes: 1,3,4,5/ Recommended Price: 110,000 KRW/ Available: Feb. 14

YEOKJEONUI YEOWANG Vol. 1 (pictured above right) – I can’t find an English title for this–’Yeokjeon’ usually refers to coming from behind to win, ‘Yeowang’ means ‘queen’–Anyway, this MBC drama just finished a few months ago. It starred Kim Nam-joo (who also co-directed with Jeong Dae-yoon), Jeong Joon-ho and Park Shi-hoo.  Number of discs: 6/ Subtitles: NO SUBTITLES/ Rating: ages 15+/ Format: 4:3 letterbox/ Audio: Dolby Digital: 2.0/ Region Code: 3/ Special Features: Extra episode (50 min.), NG’s (30 min.)/ Recommended Price: 77,000 KRW/ Available: Feb. 18

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Index of 1973: 46-60

11th February 2011

I have now typed in all the names of Korean movies released between 1970 through January, 2011 and 1919-1940 as can be seen through the tabs above. I will start the 1950s sometime this weekend.  For now though, here are the next 15 movies released in Korea in 1973. Click to enlarge the image. These can also be searched by director by clicking on the tab marked ‘The 1970s’ at the top of this page.

73-046, 73-047, 73-048, 73-049,73-050, 73-051, 73-052, 73-053, 73-054, 73-055, 73-056, 73-057, 73-058, 73-059, 73-060

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Love and Hate (1969)

8th February 2011

love and hateThis past weekend, EBS aired director Ko Yeong-nam’s Love and Hate from 1969. Before watching it, I took a glance at the website for the Korean Film Archives to see what they had to say about it. I also looked at the English version of the page and this is what it gave for a plot synopsis:  —  The two brothers are poor, but happy. But their relationship starts to fall apart as they learn that they love the same woman, Young-a. The younger brother pours anger on his brother, but the older brother decides to give up her love. The younger brother looks back his past, trying to ask his brother’s forgiveness. But on his way to see his brother, the older brother dies of a car crash. Young-a encourages her old lover.  — Grammar aside, there are several problems with that synopsis. Namely, only the first two sentences actually happen as described.  It’s a good thing that the Korean version of the KOFA website is much more accurate. It is also a good thing that I watched the whole movie and can describe it here in full. I am not going to worry about spoilers in the following review.. this movie is unlikely to see a subtitled DVD release in my lifetime…

The movie opens with wealthy Yeong-ah (played by Yoon Jeong-hee) walking home from college one dark night when she is harassed by a motorcycle gain. They threatenly approach her but she is rescued from danger by a mysterious stranger who arrives in a nick of time. The stranger and his chauffer make short work of the ne’er-do-wells leaving Yeong-ah grateful and suitably impressed. When they next meet, Yeong-(Never-Wears-the-Same-Coat-Twice)-ah agrees to accompany him on a date and proceeds to fall head-over-heels in love with him. She learns his name is Yoon Tae-yeong (actor Baek Yeong-min)…but that is the only truthful thing she learns from him. Everything else he tells her about his past, his family and his wealth is a lie. His car, his clothes and even his shoes are all borrowed from various friends. Yeong-ah was presented proof of this from one of her friends who was suspicious of Tae-yeong from the start and had him checked out. She leads Yeong-ah to Tae-yeong’s hovel in a small shanty town just behind the glistening new buildings of Seoul. On their next date, Yeong-ah mercilessly and very publically berates Tae-yeong and proceeds to dump him, telling him to make something of himself.

What the haughty Yeong-ah does not know is that Tae-yeong shares his hovel with his older brother played by Kim Jin-gyu. The older brother is not given a name. At work, he is called Mr. Yoon so I will simply refer to him as Yoon.  By amazing coincidence, Yoon happens to work in a company owned by Yeong-ah’s father. When she sees him for the first time, she is immediately attracted to him and his character. She soon finds herself meeting him whenever she has the chance, even to go so far as to follow him out of the city and surprising him with a sweater as a gift while he is doing a safety in one of her father’s plants. Rather than call her a stalker and take out a restraining order, Yoon, who up to now has been resisting her advances, finally comes to accept her love.

But Yeong-ah is not the only one who knows how to stalk in this story. Tae-yeong soon finds out that his girlfriend-for-a-day is now seeing his brother, flies into a rage and leaves his hovel without telling anyone where he is going. Yoon, feeling guilty, tries to stop seeing Yeong-ah. However, the young woman is persistant and convinces Yoon to let her into his house so they can talk–and that is naturally the day that Tae-yeong had decided to come home. Angry again, the brothers part.

Yoon quits his job and starts working construction, but his inexperience is evident. He has difficulty working in high places and takes a tumble from the staging of a building landing him in the hospital. Tae-yeong’s friend informs him of what happened to his older brother and Tae-yeong, without thinking, rushes to be at his brother’s side…only to rush headlong into the path of an oncoming car. He dies in the hospital with Yoon and Yeong-ah wordlessly looking on. Then Yeong-ah simply leaves and one gets the feeling that the pair’s relationship is over for good.

This is a fairly typical ’60s melodrama with all the hysterics and waterworks that are expected to be in dramas of that time. It is features another thing often found in films from the late 60s and even more often in the early 70s–proud shots of industrialization. Korea was rapidly recovering from war earning Seoul the nickname of ‘The Miracle on the Han.’  Some of the romantic scenes in this film are set against backdrops that we would not really find so enchanting in this day and age such as when Yoon and Yeong-ah are talking on a hill overlooking billowing smoke stacks of a factory.

Again, this film is not likely to be one that most people will be able to see as it is unlikely to be released on DVD or in any subtitled format. However, I appreciate the effort EBS and other channels put broadcasting films that would be difficult for me to see otherwise. Next week, they plan to air the Shim Woo-seob comedy Wrong Target from 1968. If I get a chance to see it, I will write about it here,


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Korean Box Office: February 4-6

7th February 2011


The long holiday helped boost theater attendance this past weekend but did not cause any shift at all in the box office ranks from last week.  One of the changes is that the number one movie is now being called Detective K whereas last week I listed it under its romanized Korean title Joseon Myeongtam Jeong.  Also, Rapunzel was able to secure a place for itself at the bottom of the chart even though it has not officially opened yet. That opening is coming this week.  The box office totals here in Jeonju were slightly different than the national totals. Here Pyeongyang Seong  (which, next time I refer to it will be called Battlefield Heroes as it was just assigned an English title as I was preparing this) was in the number 2 spot with 21.6% and Gulliver’s Travels was number 3 with 20.6%.  Listed below are the films opening this coming week.


1. Igor (us)– d. Anthony Leondis, voiced by John Cusack, Steven Buscemi

2. No Strings Attached (us) — d. Ivan Reitman, starring Ashton Kutcher, Natalie Portman www.???????.kr

3. O’Horton (norway)– d. Bent Hamer, starring Baard Owe, Girta Norby

4. Paris 36 (fr)– d. Christophe Barratier, starring Gerard Jgnot, Clovis Cornillac

5. Rapunzel (us)– d. Nathan Greno, voiced by Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi

6. Sanctum (us)– d. Allister Grierson, starring Richerd Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield

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DVD Releases: February 6-12

5th February 2011

no dvd

The above picture is accurate, there are no new Korean DVDs scheduled for this week. BUT there are three DVDs getting re-released. If you missed buying Mother, The Servant or The Good, The Bad and The Weird when they first came out, you will have another chance. The 2-disc versions will be available again as of February 8th.

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Dream (2008)

2nd February 2011

dreamA man who has never been able to get over his girlfriend leaving him, is suffering from strange, realistic dreams. In one of these dreams, he accidently causes an accident while driving down an otherwise empty street. Upon awakening, he rushes to the site only to discover that the car he had forced into a pole is really there and police are on the scene. Examing nearby cameras for clues, the police are able to get a good look at the driver of the car. It is not the man at all, but a young woman. Confused, the man overhears the woman’s address on the police radio and goes to her house as she is being picked up for taking part in a hit-and-run. She vehemently denies any such thing, saying that she was asleep while the man springs out of the car and tries to take blame for the accident despite all evidence to the contrary. Both are hauled off to the police station for questioning. It is learned that the woman is under psychiatric care to treat her sleepwalking which has grown progressively worse in the last two weeks. The psychiatrist, more of a dream therapist, theorizes that the man, Jin, and the woman, Ran, are connect by being ‘polar oppostites.’  In his dreams, Jin is trying desperately to meet his former lover. In her life, Ran is trying her best to avoid her ex-lover, a man she despises. However, when Jin sleeps, Ran unconsciously acts out his dreams and as he dreams of his ex-lover, Ran is forced to visit her former boyfriend and do with him what Jin wants to do with his girlfriend.   The psychiatrist suggests that the two become lovers themselves and the dreams may stop, but both refuse and the next 90 minutes of the movie are filled with the pair trying to stay awake and what happens when they fail.

The plot may sound a little strange, but the strangest thing for me in the first ten minutes of the story was not the plot. Rather it was the language. Jin is played by Japanese actor Joe Odagiri and he is not given any lines in Korean at all. He speaks Japanese the entire time. The other characters are all speaking Korean, but everyone understands each other perfectly. This underscored the fantasy and dream-like nature of the ‘real-life’ portions of the film. Both he, and actress Lee Na-yeong, do a good job with what they are given. Unfortunately, not everything they are given is very good and there are enormous gaps in logic. I am not talking about how illogical the explanation of these characters connection is. I am talking about how the characters deal with the situation.  For example, when you want to stay awake, which one of these things might you do?  A) Drink coffee    B) Watch tv   C) Exercise    D) Stab yourself repeatedly with a chisel.    If you have seen any Kim Ki-duk movies, you can guess the answer.

I have nothing against violence in movies. I actually liked most of Kim’s earlier works (like Crocodile, The Isle and, my favorite, Address Unknown) because they were so raw and hard to watch. But here, like many of Kim’s latter films, the violence seemed forced and completely illogical. It was almost like the director added it just because it was what he feels people expect from his films.

There was something that I did like in this movie. Somewhere in the middle is a scene that I think the entire film was based around. In it, a couple is arguing. They start out as Jin and Ran’s former lovers in a fight that it growing in intensity. Then suddenly, the actors in the scene change so that it is Jin and his former girlfriend fighting. It changes again so we see Ran and her ex-lover in the arguement. One more change, and it is Jin and Ran themselves before the actors return to the original pair with Jin and Ran looking on. It is a very well done scene and it leaves a lot of questions about what we just saw. Who was really in this scene?  Was it Jin’s memory of the fight that caused his girlfriend to leave him? Was it Ran’s memory explaining why she hates her ex-lover so much. Or was it actually the two exes fighting with each other as they now seem to be in a relationship. This scene is the best part of the film and provides a lot of food for thought.

The rest of the movie does not live up to this scene, particularly the end which does not seem to have a lot of thought put into it. In fact, the lackluster ending makes this movie difficult for me to recommend. It is a mediocre attempt by a director who has proven himself to be capable of so much more.

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Index of 1973: 31-45

1st February 2011

Here are the next fifteen movies produced in Korea in 1973. Click the thumbnail to view the full sized image You can also see these images by clicking the tab marked ‘The 1970s’ at the top of this page. 

You might have noticed that I have added other decades to the top of the page as well. Unfortunately, they are not falling in chronological order.  Instead, they are in the order I created the page.  I can arrange them correctly on the adminstration page, but it does not change the main page.  I could copy the information in each page, delete the page and repost it by pasting the information back in while recreating the pages in the correct order, but then I will lose all the links already set up on the 1970s page.  I am not willing to do that, so I guess I just have to accept them being our of order…

73-031, 73-032, 73-033, 73-034, 73-035, 73-036, 73-037, 73-038, 73-039, 73-040, 73-041, 73-042, 73-043, 73-044, 73-045

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