Seen in Jeonju

Archive for September, 2012

College Festival <1980>

23rd September 2012

80-027~4College Festival aka Run, Balloon– directed by Kim Eung-cheon. starring Jeon Yeong-rok <as Park Doo-cheol>, Kim Bo-yeon <as Ahn Dal-sook>, Yeo Woon-gye <’Queen Mother’>. Runnning Time:  103 minutes.  Release Date November 8, 1980

There is much fanfare at the train station the day that Doo-cheol is seen off by his rural community.  The hard-working young man succeeded in entering the Department of Law at one of Korea’s top universities and most of his village appears to have turned up to see him off.  As the train approaches, his proud mother gives him one last piece of advice, “Be careful of the women in Seoul and concentrate on your studies.”  This is a piece of advice that the nervous Doo-cheol remembers as he finds the person is the seat next to him is a young lady, also on her way to college. Fortunately, she turns out not to be from Seoul, but from the same southern province as Doo-cheol. Her name is Dal-sook  and the pair hit if off instantly but have to separate when they get to Seoul. Doo-cheol turns down numerous rooms because he wants a place where he can concentrate on his studies.  He finds one such place run by the landlady the students know affectionately as the Queen Mother and the other students living there are in the same major as Doo-cheol.  After passing the drinking test his classmates put him through, Doo-cheol is able to dive into his studies. He makes a positive impression on his professors and proves popular at school. When his university’s spring festival starts, Doo-cheol gets in touch with Dal-sook again and invites her as his date to the festival. The pair seem well matched and even perform a comedic scene from Cyrano de Bergerac together with Dal-sook taking the role of Roxanne.  Seeing that she is living in the dorm at a nearby women’s university, Dal-soon has to leave early. The night atmosphere is different from the day and the exciting music leads Doo-cheol to ask someone to dance with him. However, that fact gets back to Dal-sook and this causes the first of bump in their relationship.  It is far from the last.  Between her parents introducing her to eligible young men, money problems, lack of time that they can meet and just plain, old bad luck, it seems unlikely that the young lovers will wind up together. Will this pure love survive all the temptations and problems of life in Seoul?

Jeon Yeong-rok, the man who would eventually become famous as Dolai, plays the role of earnest Doo-cheol.  Still years away from his action-hero, Jeon was already a popular singer and had released three albums by the time this film was released.  Although he is not seen to sing in this film, one of the frequent songs on the OST may be him.  I am not familar enough with Korean songs of this era to say. Judging by the way they are framed onscreen, I am certain that two of the performances we see at university festival were being performed by singers who were well-known at the time. I have liked Jeon in most movies I have seen him in as he brings a strong, instantly likeable, presence to his films..even if not all the movies he was in are particularly good.

College Festival is not one of the better ones.  That is not to say it was bad, but the problem was it was rambling. The film moves along adding lots and lots of padding to fill out its running time but, all-in-all, nothing much really happens.  The story loses its focus about half-way through and the story shifts from away from the budding romance, which is fairly interesting, to a subplot about a classmate who cannot pay his tuition and treating the landlady to a trip to Jeju Island. The subplotsand their characters–particularly anything involving the classmates– are not at all interesting.  My mind wandered away for this part of the film but was brought back when Doo-cheol and Dal-sook’s story continued. The story would have been better served providing less time on subplots and instead could have given an ending.

We do not see how the film ends. Instead we are given a voice-over as the action freezes. The voice of an uncredited narrator, possibly Director Kim, breaks the fourth wall and asks rhetorically whether it is possible for these two lovers to ever meet eye-to-eye.  We are not given a chance to ponder this question as we are provided with a brief answer. And then the movie ends without ever showing us any more of the story unfold onscreen. 

The voice-over spoils  more than jut denying the viewer the ending. It interrupts the song Run, Balloon from which the film takes its Korean title. The words ‘Run Balloon’ have no meaning in side the story, so the meaning must be found within the lyric of the song. Presumably, viewers at the time would have known the song and the title of the film would be obvious to them. I am not so fortunate.  The KMDb lists the English title of this film as Run, Balloon– the direct translation of the Korean title. Daum Movies lists it as College Festival.  I preferred the latter title although I can find no historical evidence for it. The original posters and ads for this film show an English title and while it seems to have been released on VHS in ‘84, I can find no image of the cover to see if an English title was assigned at that time.

Whatever it is called, the movie is interesting not because of the story, but because of how it is able to show multiple live performances of a variety of music styles from various artists of that decade and starred one of the most popular singers of the time.

Posted in 1980s, Review | 1 Comment »

Movies Opening September 20th

20th September 2012

This week, The Spy opens in theaters. It is a comic-drama starring Kim Myeong-min, Yoo Hae-jin and Yeom Jeong-ah and is directed by Woo Min-ho.

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Angry Young Men (1976)

19th September 2012

Anrgy Young Men.  aka Angry Apple.  Director: Park Ho-tae. Starring Lee Deok-hwa <as Cheong>, Im Ye-jin <as Ah-mi> and Jang Dong-hwi <as Mr. Kang>. Release Date: February 18, 1977. Running TIme: 108 minutes.

76-069~3Left alone after his mother’s untimely death, recent high school graduate Cheong goes off in search of his father whom he learned was alive after a lifetime of believing himself to be fatherless. He tracks his father down to the countryside where he owns an expansive apple orchard. Cheekily jumping the gate when the old caretaker proves to be too slow answering his knocks, Cheong introduces himself to his long-lost parent with high hopes of acceptance and making a new life for himself.  However, suddenly appearing in the living room of a person, claiming to be their son from a relationship nearly two decades in the past is probably not the best way to get started. Cheong father, Mr. Kang, reacts with disbelief and shock.. and not a little bit of fear as he worries how his wife and legitimate son, Jin-woo will react. However, he is convinced that Cheong is telling the truth based on a strong resemblence to a woman Kang had loved long ago, so instead of throwing the boy out onto the street he takes him on as a laborer and asks him to help with the harvest. Cheong is understandably not happy with his small shelter among the apple trees and feels as if he has been rejected and abandoned..and resentment starts to build within him from the moment he first spies his step-brother driving up in a new, red convertible with his soon-to-be bride on his arm. Jin-woo does not know he has a brother and takes an instant dislike to the handsome newcomer, especially when his girlfriend, Ah-mi, seems to be interested in getting to know Cheong better.  After the pair take Jin-woo’s car without his permission, the priviledged young man lashes out and soundly pummels Cheong.  This is not the only time Cheong is beaten up in the few days that he is on the orchard. The foreman does not like him either as he is popular with all the female apple-pluckers and seems to have developed a special bond with Seon, the girl the foreman has been unsuccessfully courting. To complicate matters, Seon was the former lover of Jin-woo from when they were both in high school. After he had gone to Seoul, he changed into a more wordly man and abandoned country-bumpkin Seon in favor of the sophisticated Ah-mi. With all of the injustices Cheong sees around him– a wealthy life of ease with a loving family that he should be a part of, his brother’s callous treatment of women, his unfilled yet growing love for Ah-mi– is it any wonder that Cheong eventually snaps with devesating results for the family at which his anger is directed.

In Korean, the title of this film is shared by another, earlier movie directed by Kim Mook in 1963 and starring Shin Seong-il. The two movies also share the same plot and I had hoped I would be watching the 60s version as I am a Shin fan.  However, a little research would have shown me that the Kim Mook’s film is among those lost at the present and I would be watching the 70s remake. Seeing the cast eased my initial disappointment as this movie starred the fantastic duo of Lee Deok-hwa and Im Ye-jin. This pair led the cast of half of the “Really, Really…” films of the mid-70s. The “Really, Really..” series were among the best of the high-teen dramas and had titles like I Really, Really Like You, I’m Really, Really Sorry, Really, Really Don’t Forget and I Really, Really Have a Dream.  But after the beginning of the movie and Cheong is supposed to have bitterness eating at his very being, I realized that Lee Deok-hwa was not pulling off the role. His image was too positive, too wholesome. Shin Seong-il could take his romantic behavior and good looks and turn himself into a believable monster bent of vengence. The role of Cheong was clearly made for him, not for boyish, innocent Lee Deok-hwa. 

Im Ye-jin was not necessarily miscast in this movie. However, she was wasted in the part of Ah-mi. Ah-mi is merely an accessory who has remarkably few lines.  Had she not been at the height of her popularity when this movie was released, I doubt she would have received second billing. Im was at her best when she was allowed to flash her easy smile and many of her previous characters could simply be described as charming and sweet without being saccharine.  Ah-mi does not have enough character to warrent a description. She allows a man she just met to get beat up twice in her presence for her.. not his actions. She is the one who convinced him to take Jin-woo’s car and she sought Cheong out in the orchard causing the foreman to attack the hapless young man. However, she barely raises an ounce of protest. The character was dull and not worthy of Im.

Unfortunately, the same could be said for this film. Some movies are harder to get through than others..and this one was hard. I am used to Korean melodramas from earlier eras and I have a high tolerance for the occasionally bogged down pacing, but I found it impossible to concentrate on this movie.  It may be because that, once  I knew the actors, I was hoping for something lighter like in their high-teen pairings. Rather than just awkwardly remaking the material of a different decade, director Park should have added something of his stars’ specialty into the script to keep up with the times. As it was, Angry Young Men feels dated and stagnant, making it impossible to recommend should it ever become available.

Posted in 1970s, Review | Comments Off

REC (2011)

18th September 2012

REC: Directed by So Joon-moon. Starring Song Sam-dong <as Song Yeong-joon> and Jo Hye-hoon <as Seo Joon-seok>.  Released November 24, 2011. Running Time: 66 minutes.

REC_포~2Two men spend the night in a motel with the intention to film themselves having sex. They are not doing this in order to make a cheap porn film. Instead they are celebrating their fifth anniversary as a couple and they want something personal to commemorate it with. Yeong-joon is the older of the two, now thirty years old, and he is much more excited about making this movie than the younger Joon-seok, but even the latter begins to enjoy himself as he relaxes more and realizes their movie will not wind up on the internet. The two discuss themselves, their hopes and dreams, their fears about their relationship and interact with each other in many cases as if the camera is not there. However, in more candid moments, we can see glimpses of sadness in one or the other’s eyes and it becomes obvious to the viewer that there is something unspoken happening beneath the surface that the two particiapants sense as well.

The above description is really all there is to REC.  The movie has just two actors and the set for 99 percent of the film consists of the confines of the hotel room.  However, by different positioning of the camera, the scenes never feel cramped or dull. Most of the film is supposed to seem as if one or another of the actors is doing the shooting, which makes perfect sense in context as opposed to people running for their lives while shooting footage a la Cloverfield.  The few times that the camera is not being utilized by one of actors, but by the cinematographer, the film becomes black and white. This only happens near the end when one of the characters removes the disc from the camera and we are forced to see things from the perspective of an outsider instead of through the eyes of the participants. 

The underlying cause of the sadness that becomes evident during the movie?  That should be obvious from re-reading the first paragraph where I state one of the characters is 30. That can only mean one thing. If he isn’t already married, he will be soon.  If he is the eldest son in his family, then remaining single is not a viable option. He would receive pressure from his family to marry .. and to a certain degree, from society as well.  Having an unmarried daughter is an embarrassment. Having an unmarried son is a disgrace. It is the son who is responsible for carrying the family name down to the next generation. It is the eldest son and his family who will take over the duties and traditions of ceremonies honoring deceased ancestors, cleaning off the family tombs and maintaining the family lineage. 

This movie reminded me of a friend I had.  I will simply call him K.  As a student, K confided in me that he was gay. It is easier to confide in me as I am a foreigner and, as such, I am assumed to be more open-minded. It may also have to do with the fact that I was in my mid-thirties at the time and was (am) unmarried.  What he wanted was advice and just someone he could talk to without hiding who he was. I knew he had a lover, but I was never introduced to him. He also had a girlfriend whom he met at church and whom everyone involved expected he would married. After graduating and passing the tests necessary to become a policeman, he got a job. His parents ordered him to marry before starting his new work. About one week before the wedding, he came to see me and spoke about his families. His English was week, but from the phrases he used, I knew he had practiced and checked vocabulary before meeting me. Once we were alone, the first words out of his mouth were, “I loath my wife.” I was a little taken aback and thought I might have misheard ‘loath’ and ‘love’ but he continued that he hated touching her and sharing a bed.  I asked him if he couldn’t call off the wedding to which he replied sadly, “No. I must get married. I have no option.”  I have often thought about him over the years, worried about him, but that was the last time I saw K. He never contacted me again after that.

K’s situation is what we are watching in REC.  One of the characters in the movies states how all gay relationships in Korea are doomed from the start because of the requirement that they must marry. He goes on to state that because of that, one year in a gay relationship has to count as ten years. It is the only way to create the illusion of a lifetime of happiness.

It is true that the situation of gays and lesbians has improved in the last few decades. When I first came to Korea in 1995, it was a common practice for listeners to put their fingers in their mouths and simulate gagging whenever someone mentioned the word ‘gay’ ..or at that time ‘homo’ (a term I thankfully no longer hear).  There was another story I heard from a student at the time about her younger brother. ‘J’ told me that when her brother was in high school, he was caught in a compromising position with another male student. His family sent him to a doctor who in turn institutionalized the young man in a mental hospital where he received some sort of therapy. The result was that whenever a man went to reach for him such as to shake hands, he would cringe and scream.

We are a long way from those days, but LGBT individuals in Korea still face an uphill battle to be recognized as equals in Korea.  Movies play a part in helping to mainstream differences and work towards acceptance and/or tolerance. However, because of its rating due to incidental frontal male nudity and the frankness in the discussion of same sex relations, REC can only have a very limited audience.  It is a shame, because the story being told is both beautiful and heartbreaking–one character secretly expressing his true love and gratitude while the other secretly knowing that what they have is over.

Posted in 2010s, Review | 4 Comments »

DVDs avalaible this week: September 16-22

16th September 2012

architecture 101

Architecture 101– directed by Lee Yong-joo and starring Uhm Tae-woong and Han Ga-in.  Number of discs: 2 plus four postcards and a 32-page storyboard book/  Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 12/ Format: 2.35:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 117 minutes plus extras on the second disc/ Recommended Price: 27,500 KRW/ Available: September Nineteenth

runway copRunway Cop– directed by Shin Tae-ra, starring Kang Ji-wan and Seong Yoo-ri.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 110 minutes/ Recommended Price:  25,300 KRW/ Available: September 20th.

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Zero Woman <1979>

16th September 2012

Zero Woman:  Directed by Byeon Jang-ho.  Starring Ko Eun-ah <as Jeong-hee>, Nam Goong-won <as Dr. Kang>, and Yoo Ji-in <as Na-mi>- released September 1, 1979– Running time: 98 minutes

79-008~2Dr. Kang is a professor and researcher passionate about studying the effects of pollution and intent on contributing to reducing it for the sake of the future of life on the planet. However, while his passion for his work is obvious, he is less adept at showing passion for his wife Jeong-hee.  She is an intense, lonely woman whose loneliness, suspicions and inability to navigate through the pitfalls of life are slowly driving her insane. When we first meet her, she is a danger to herself, walking down the center lane of a six-lane highway. She slowly evolves into a danger to others, shooting at the caged birds the professor keeps scattered around the house and then attacking Na-mi, the beautiful graduate student that Dr. Kang brings into their home to help his wife.  Na-mi becomes the focus of her frustration and madness largely because of justifiable jealousy. Dr Kang spends far too much time with his student in a way that cannot really be interpretted as purely innocent although both would deny their is any attraction, initially at least. It is clear that their is some relationshiop developing that goes beyond mentor and student and in fact does cross the line at the height of a horrific thunderstorm that drive Na-mi into Kang’s arms in fear.  Their night of passion causes both participants to feel a degree a guilt. Na-mi leaves for a short time, uncharacteristically without Dr. Kang, to spend time with a fellow grad student whom she knows likes her.  Kang takes his wife on a trip to the country and they spend time in an isolated villa accessible only by boat.  Unfortuanately, their time there is spoiled by the arrival of Na-mi. She and Kang express their feelings for each other with Jeong-hee overhearing all and this causes the already unstable woman to fall irreversibily into a murderous psychosis with Na-mi and her husband as her targets.

While the theme of this movie, anti-pollution, is driven home at several points in the film including the end when an Anti-Pollution Parade marches by the mental hospital where Jeong-hee is incarcerated–the participants carrying signs like “Pollution is the Enemy of Humanity” or “Protect the Environment for a Bright Future” – I think that director Byeon needs to lay the blame where it truly belongs, at the feet of Dr Kang and Na-mi.  Despite Kang’s rambling lectures and beakers of colored liquid proving his ’science,’ at no point does he convince me that Jeong-hee’s problem stems from the environment. Rather it seems to stem from the fact that she is lonely and feels isolated.  These feelings are exasperated by the amount of time Kang actively avoids his wife and refuses to sleep with her using his research as an excuse.  And while he is too busy to spend more than five minutes in the ame room with his wife, he is more than willing to spend time with Na-mi, playing ping-pong, accompanying her to the grocery store and taking her fishing. I was finding Jeong-hee’s suspicions perfectly justified. However, there is no justifying her subsequent actions. Those were just driven by madness..

Jeong-hee proves herself an excellent shot with a rifle during the second bout of madness we are witness to. Not only does she shoot out the windows in her husband’s study and take pot shots at some of the ever-present caged birds, she threatens the housekeeper with the business end of the gun as well.  Surprisingly, the loyal housekeeper does not quit on the spot. Even more surprising, there are no consequences to this rampage. It simply is business as usual in the house and the incident is not mentioned by any of the characters. Her attacks on Na-mi are more creative, such as filling her bad with lab rats, and more brazen, like when she sliced up Na-mi’s shoulders with her wedding ring during a massage. Despite her tendency to be homicidal, Jeong-hee is actually a very simpathetic character.  Na-mi is less so.

Na-mi starts of her relationship with Kang as a bizarre father-figure fixations that later blossoms into a full-fledged affair. It is more than a little creepy and undoubtedly inappropriate..not only because he is married, but she is also his student. Na-mi chalks Jeong-hee’s crazy antics against her up to the older woman’s mental state and never considers for a minute that she may be contributing to Jeong-hee’s growing insanity.  She could have very well simply walked away after the night of passion in the storm with Dr. Kang that she knew was wrong, but she comes running back to him in a very short period of time –going so far as to track down where Kang and his wife went for vacation– and confessing how much she missed him. The neediness of Na-mi and the reasons for her initial attraction to Kang borderline, to me, underscore the fact that Jeong-hee is not the only person in this film with psychological issues.

Kang himself is not free of blame nor clear of madness, although his madness takes a different form than the other characters. If this were another sort of movie, Kang would have been a mad scientist.  His home and office are filled with beakers of impossibly colored liquids that movie scientists often mix at random for purposes of bringing monsters to life or some such thing.  During a massive thunderstorm, he throws open the windows of his home cackling at the power of the storm. And his house is filled with every kind of animal you can think of, both alived and stuffed.  In cages he has the usual..such as wrens, canaries and squirrels.  Later, you start noticing more unusual things such as peacocks, the beautiful, native hoopoe and those green and red snakes that I see once in a while on the campus where I work..<and I just learned they are poisonous!> Posed stuffed around his home are deer, ferrets, owls and the heads of boars.  I could easily see him experimenting on these or making plans to add Na-mi to his collection– he doesn’t of course– the movie chooses to villainize only Jeong-hee.

Poor Jeong-hee.  Kang cheats on her with Na-mi, twice physically and throughout the film on an emotional level.  However, the one time she turns to someone for comfort– when both her husband and Na-mi left her alone on the island home with no way off– the music and lighting unite to villainize her and, before she can do more than unbutton the short of the man–her gardener– whom she has invited into her bedroom, she is caught in the act by Na-mi.  The look of horror on Na-mi’s face infuriated me. Who is she to judge considering what she had already done with Jeong-hee’s husband?  Why does the film treat her action so much worse than when Kang and Na-mi are both guilty of it as well?  Of course, I know why.. a double-standard often exists in these films and this is just one more example.

I had mentioned the music in the paragraph above as it plays a large role in setting the tone, but I had to wonder about it. Had I just been listening to the soundtrack, especially at the beginning of the movie, I would have thought I was in for a horror film. It is a familar tune that I associate with horror/sci-fi of the ’60s where some alien protoplasm or a severed hand is creeping across the floor towards and unsuspecting victim.  At the beginning of the film, it plays as we get a fish-eyed view of a street from the windshield of a moving car.  It does a lot towards letting you know that on some level, this will be a horror movie.

Zero Woman is not available on DVD, not even an unsubtitled one.  I was able to see it on television with my internt TV provider. If it is ever available, it is one I recommend seeing.

Posted in 1970s, Review | Comments Off

New DVDs: August Twenty-Ninth to September 14th

9th September 2012

I will try to catch up with all the Korean DVD releases I missed over the past couple of weeks and include the new DVDs coming available this week. As I am at home and using my ailing computer, whenever the number ‘Nine’ appears, I will simply type ‘N’ instead. I’ll start with the films that were released on DVD at the end of August.

come low unto us   march of fools   loveable

Come Low Unto Us– a film from ‘81 directed by Lee Jang-ho and starring Lee Yeong-ho and Shin Seong-il.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 4:3 / Audio: Dolby Digital Mono/ Running Time: 102 minutes/ Recommended Price: 16,500 KRW/ Available: August twenty-ninth

March of Fools — I am assuming this is theater-released, heavily censored version.  One of the most famous films of the ’70s, it was realeased in ‘75 and was directed by Ha Gil-jong and stars Yoon Moon-seob and Lee Yeong-ok.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 4:3/ Audio: Dolby Digital Mono/ Running Time: 105 minutes/ Recommended Price: 16,500 KRW/ Available: August twenty-ninth.

Loveable– Directed by Park Cheol-soon, starring Yoo Hae-jeong, Komg Song-il. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for all ages/ Format: 1.85:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.0/ Running Time: 86 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: August 31

scent   true taste show   too many villains

The Scent– directed by Kim Hyeon-joong and starring Park Hee-soon and Park Shi-yeon.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for mature audiences/ Format: 2.35:1 / Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 118 minutes/ Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: September 5.

True Taste Show– a documentary by Kim Jae-hwan and narrated by Park Na-rim.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: for ages 12+/ Format: 16:N/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running TIme: 70 minutes/ Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: September 6.

Too Many Villains– Directed by Kim Hee-gon and starring Kim Joon-bae and Song Ji-eun.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for mature audiences/ Format: 16:N/ Audio: Do;by Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 76 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: September 7

tears of the antarctic   venus in furs   dangerously excited

Tears in the Antarctic– a documentary by directors Kim Ji-man, Kim Je-jeong and Jo Seong-hyeon. Number of discs: 3 plus a 40-page photo book/ Subtitles: None/ Rating: for all ages/ Format: 16:N/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 367 minutes/ Recommended Price: 3N,600 KRW/ Available: September 10

Venus in Furs– directed by Song Ye-seob, starring Seo Jeong and Moon Jong-won.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: for mature viewers/ Format: 2.35:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital Stereo/ Running Time: 83 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: September 11.

Dangerously Excited– directed by Ku Ja-hong, starring Yoon Je-moon and Song Ha-yoon.  Number of discs: 2/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for all ages/ Format: 2.35:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 101 minutes + 3N minutes of extras/ Recommended Price: 23,100 KRW/ Available: September 12

miss conspirator   king of pigs   M2012083043534

Miss Conspirator– directed by Park Cheol-gwan, starring Ko Hyeon-jeong and Yoo Hae-jin.  Number of discs: 2/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 2.35:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 115 minutes + 61 minutes of extras/ Recommended Price: 23,100 KRW/ Available: September 12

King of Pigs– directed by Yeon Sang-ho, voiced by Yang Ik-joon and Oh Jeong-se.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for mature viewers/ Format: 1.85:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: N6 minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: September 13.

In Another Country– directed by Hong Sang-soo, starring Lee Jae-beom and Isabella Hubbert.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for mature viewers/ Format: 1.85:1/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 8N minutes/ Recommended Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: September 14.

chasing the ghost soundI had reviewed this film last year on this site and at the time I wrote I did not imagine this film would be released on an English -subbed DVD as unravelling the mystery hinges on unscrambling Korean syllables. I guess I have to eat my words because here it is.  I also mentioned in my review that I spent 40 minutes watching the film– the DVD is 62 minutes.. I wonder what I missed?  I guess I have to buy the DVD to find out.  Chasing the Ghost Sound is directed by Yoo Joon-seok and stars Jeong Ui-soon and Kim Wan-geun.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for ages 15+/ Format: 16:N/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running Time: 62 minutes/ Recommended Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: September 14.

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New Movies Opening September 6

4th September 2012

There are three new Korean films opening for this coming weekend.  The first is a film called GRAPE CANDY.. and the trailer I found has English subtitles.  It is directed by Kim Hee-jeong and stars Park Jin-hee and Park Ji-yoon.

Then there is a comedy entitled WEDDING SCANDAL with Kim Min-joon and Kwak Ji-min

And finally, there is the new Kim Ki-duk movie, PIETA


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Box Office: August 31-September 2

3rd September 2012

First, let me start off by saying that I am still having computer problems.  However, I got around it this week by typing an ‘N’ any time have have to type the number ‘nine.’  I will endeavor to keep up from this point and try to get back to posting regularly. 

Second, I had an absolutely terrible week last week with two typhoons hitting North Jeolla Province head on.  The first was a terrifying experience.  Nearly all the windows in the apartments around me lost their windows– not just the glass, but the entire frames.  I was certain my windows were going to go too from the way they were bending and shaking, but I was lucky. Others were not so lucky.  A man just at the apartments just down the street when the container box that had been converted into a guard house was blown into him.  Huge trees down takeing wires with them, ninety percent of the local fruit crops ruined and 40 percent of the fish farms were a complete loss.  I hope never to go through a storm like that again…


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