Seen in Jeonju

Archive for November, 2012

The 33rd Blue Dragon Awards

28th November 2012

The 2012 edition of the Blue Dragon Film Awards will take place on November 30th. I am listing all the candidates for the major awards in their categories ahead of the festival and will update this post when the results are announced. Care to choose your favorites?

Best Film

best film

Winner: __Pieta_____

Best Director

best director

Winner: ____Jeong Ji-yeong_________

Best Actor

best actor

Winner: _____Choi Min-shik________

Best Actress

best actress

Winner: ____Im Soo-jeong_______

Best Supporting Actor

best supporting actor

Winner: ___Ryu Seung-ryong___

Best Supporting Actress

best supporting actress

Winner: ___Moon Jeong-hee______

Best New Director

best new director

Winner: ____Kim Hong-seon__________

Best New Actress

best new actress

Winner: __Kim Ko-eun__

Best New Actor

best new actor

Winner: ___Jo Jeong-seok__

Other awards:  Best Screenplay: __Nameless Gangster <Yoon Jong-bin>__, Best Cinematography: __Eungyo <Kim Tae-kyeong___, Best Lighting: ____Eungyo <Hong Seung-cheol>_____  Best Music: __Nameless Gangster <Jo Yeong-wook>_ Best Art Direction: ___Masquerade <Oh Hong-seok>_____, Best Short Film: __Night___


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Korean movies opening November 29th

28th November 2012

We have four Korean films opening in theaters this week.
The first is an action film by director Jo Geun-hyeon starring Jin Gu and Han Hye-jin. The title is 26 Years.

Next, we have a comedy starring Park Ha-seon and Yoon Sang-hyeon. It is called Vocal Clinic and is directed by Kim Jin-yeong. (I have also seen this listed as Tone Deaf Clinic, but I hope Vocal Clinic is the one that is picked as the official title. KOBIS doesn’t have an English title listed as of this post)

Knock is a fantasy/horror that has peaked my interest. It is directed by Lee Joo-heon and stars Seo Woo and Kim Hyeon-seong

Finally, there is The Little Thief, a film that seems like it should be an Australain/ Korean co-production but is listed as a Korean movie. It is directed by Christoper Collins and stars Lee Yeong-soo and Madeline Lucre. Oh– the trailer is in English and contains strong language, so if you are watching at the office, turn it down…

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The Goblin’s Club (1986)

26th November 2012

The Goblin’s Club– directed by Park Seung-cheol, Voiced by Ki Eung-do.  Running Time:  60 minutes.  Date of Release: July 20, 1986.

p1In the dead of night, sinister ghost-like figures dance in the darkness on the outskirts of a sleepy village. One by one, the residents of the town extinguish their lights to retire for the night and, as the last light goes out, the waiting spirits make their move. Flowing like water, merging together and dividing again, the spectoral visitors attack each house, frightening the peasants from their slumber. In some cases, the spirits take on a solid form revealing themselves to be purple-skinned monstrosities with horns like a devil and armed to the teeth. In the morning, the villagers find some of the men of the village have gone missing, taken away to wherever these mysterious beings dwell. Night after night this scene plays outself out, leaving the remaining villagers helpless and terrified for their lives.

Cha-dol knows nothing of this. He is far more at home in the woods than in any village. He and his best friend, a talking bear, live free to spar when they want and go where they please. They know nothing of the terrors faced each night by the villagers until a chance encounter with Ibbeun. After rescuing her from some roving bandits, Cha-dol and Bear learn that her father was among the men who disappeared in the middle of the night. Also hearing that the stories of the nocturnal visitations are being attributed to goblins is the Goblin King. He is furious knowing that his subjects would never violate the peace that exists between humankind and his underground race. He sends a party out with a magic, golden club to seek revenge on those perpetrating the reign of terror. Leading the small band of goblins is the Goblin Prince, little more than a boy himself. His inexperience proves to be his undoing as he gets into a fight with Bear. The massive and clumsy animal crushes the Prince who loses the club. While the other goblins are dealing with bear who escapes back to Cha-dol, a watching peasant makes off with the prince’s club.

The peasant makes his way home and is attacked by the purple-skinned goblins upon his arrival. Even without knowing how to control the goblin’s weapon, it is powerful enough to send them running. In their efforts to escape, one of the attackers drops something which had come loose in the fight. It turns out to be a mask and their is a human face underneath. The peasant is not clever enough to make the connection, but Cha-dol and his band have been joined by an emissary from the King and the goblin prince. They confront the peasant and he returns the goblin’s property and explains what happens. As he does this, the entire party is attacked once again. The phoney goblins have returned, this time with a powerful witch who is able to transform them into the spirits we saw at the beginning of the film as well as hurl powerful blasts from her hands.  In the ensuing chaos, she steals the magic club, but not before the prince is able to deactivate it so it cannot be used.  She returns it to her master who is kidnapping the villagers to work in an enormous underground cavern containing veins of gold.  The small band of heroes make their way to the hideout and prepare for a life-and-death showdown between the fake goblins, their master, the witch and her equally powerful brother. 

Korean goblins are an interesting lot that have not received very good treatment on the big or small screen. Few movies deal with them and those that do are often very childish. They are often seen in tv shows designed for very young children, often taking the roles of genies and granting wishes for kids while teaching reading or counting. I would like to see a more serious movie about them, especially if it were in the vein of the horror genre. They certainly could fit the bill of a horror movie monster based on appearence with the horns, warts and animal skin clothes. They often carried a large, spiked club which was the source of their power and I believe had the ability to transform themselves into brooms so they would not be detected by humans. While not technically evil, they would take revenge for perceived wrongs and would enact punishment on the wicked. I could definitely see them being used in a horror film set in modern times. Someone needs to get to work on a screenplay right away.

I first learned about Korean goblins through a folk tale. In it, an old man with a hideous goiter was walking through the woods singing when he encountered a goblin. The goblin demanded that the old man give him the secret of such an excellent singing voice. Knowing that goblins are powerful, but not very bright, the old man quickly claimed that the goiter was the source of his vocal prowess.  In an instant, the goblin removed the goiter from the old man and magically attached it to his own neck. The creature then ran away, cackling madly as it thought he had tricked the old man into giving up his prized possession. The old man returned home where his neighbor saw he had been cured. The neighbor also possessed a goiter of large size and wanted to know what had happened. After hearing the story, the second old man ran off into the woods and found the goblins lair. He hid there until the goblins had gathered and then made himself known. He claimed he had another goiter for them that would make them sing beautifully but before any of the goblins could move, the first goblin cried out that they were being deceived as his goiter ‘no longer worked.’ The irrate goblin pulled it from his neck and attached it to the old man. The man was forced to return home, with two goiters instead of one. 

goblins clubThe goblins in The Goblin’s Club are not frightening. The atmospheric beginning is quickly made less frightening when the glowing spirit forms begin dancing and marching like something out of a Betty Boop cartoon. Despite some violence, the movie quickly establishes itself to be for younger viewers. Most Korean animation up to this point in time were made with the target audience of children in mind, so it is not surprising, but the watchability depends on a high degree of tolerance for repetitive scenes and actions and the ability to turn a blind eye to obvious plot holes. By repetitive actions, I do not mean that animation is reused for different scenes– most animations were guilty of that– I am talking about the actions as when Cha-dol gets his hands on a cap of invisiblity made from tiger whiskers and proceeds to stab people in the but with an icepick.  The first time it happens, it is fine albeit a dangerous idea to put in the heads of kids.  However, by the fifth or sixth time it happens.. or the tenth and eleventh.. I was pretty annoyed and wished he would do something a little more creative while invisible.

I was actually surprised to see Cha-dol and Ibbeun.  The two seem to be the same characters as had appeared in Hopi and Chadol Bawi (1967), one of the two sequels to Korea’s first animation Hong Gil-dong.  At least, the names, ages, personalities and time period are the same. However, no other connection to Hong Gil-dong is present in terms of credit to past creators so it could be coincidental. More likely, the writers and artists of Goblin’s Club were using the names with knowledge of the implied connection. Cha-dol and Ibbeun were popular characters in comics and in early animation and both Hong Gil-dong and Hopi and Chadol Bawi film received re-releases during winter and summer vacations throughout the 70s, so audiences would still have been familiar with the characters despite two decades having passed since the height of their popularity.

The Goblin’s Club is available on unsubtitled DVD.  If one is interested in the history of Korean animation, then I recommend it as an alternative to the plethora of giant robots and sci-fi based stories that had taken over the animated scene since the late ’60s.

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New Korean DVDs: November 24- December 1

24th November 2012

The last week of November is upon us and December begins next week. Where does time go? This last week of the month brings us just one Korean movie being released onto DVD, though it is one that I am sure many people have been waiting for…

pietaPieta– director Kim Ki-duk, starring Jo Min-soo and Lee Jeong-jin. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: for mature viewers/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 104 minutes plus 36 minute of extras/ Recommended Retail Price: 23,100 KRW/ Available: November 28.

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Trailers for Korean Films Opening November 22

21st November 2012

There are six Korean films slated to open in theaters tomorrow. One of them, an omnibus for 2009 called Sai-eseo, has no trailer or English name. I was able to find an interview with the director and actor at the premiere of the film, but it was not particularly appealing visually and I decided not to post it here. However, the other films all have trailers. Take a look below…

The first film on my list is Turn It Up to Eleven 2: Wild Days in which director Baek Seung-hwa continues following the international tour of the band Galaxy Express…

Then there is Don’t Cry, Mommy directed by Kim Yong-han and starring Yoo Seon and Nam Bo-ra.

For action lovers, All Bark and No Bite will be opening as well. It stars Kim Moo-yeol and Jin Seon-gyu. The film is directed by Jo Byeong-ok

I was surprised when I saw the lead actor’s name in the next film. It is called Woosoossi and stars Choi Soo-jong. Choi was often in romantic comedies in the mid- and late 90s, but I don’t recall seeing him in very much recently. He returns in this film directed by Yoon Hak-ryeol.

Korea has had many dark periods politically in the past hundred years. This next film looks at the mid-1980s and at some unpleasant actions taken in the name of National Security. The film stars Park Won-sang and Lee Kyeong-yeong.

Finally, we have a dra,a that previously screened at the Toronto International Film Festival called Juvenile Offender starring Seo Yeong-joo and Lee Jeong-hyeon.

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New Korean DVDs: November 18-24th, 2012

18th November 2012

Well, I have reactivated the comments in the hopes that the spam bomb that hit me two weeks ago has been taken care of and my inbox won’t be flooded with another ten thousand spam messages.  I will be keeping a close eye on it tonight…


In the meantime, we have several Korean films being released onto DVD for the first time.  Among them is Taste of Money directed by Im Sang-soo and starring Kim Kang-goo and Baek Yoon-shik.  Number of discs: 2/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: For mature viewers/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 115 minutes plus 57 minutes of extras/ Recommended Retail Price: 23,100 KRW/ Available: November 21

The Concubine was directed by Kim Dae-seung and stars Jo Yeo-jeong and Kim Dong-wook.  Number of Discs: 2/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: For mature viewers/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 122 minutes plus 50 minutes on disc 2/ Recommended Retail Price: 27,500 KRW/ Available: November 21.

The comedy, The Grand Heist, will also be released this week.  It was directed by Kim Joo-ho and stars Cha Tae-hyeon and Oh Ji-ho. Number of discs: 2/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: For ages 12 and up/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 121 minutes plus 85 minutes of extras/ Recommended Retail Price: 23,100 KRW/ Available: November 21.


R2B: Return to Base stars Jeong Ji-hoon and Yoo Joon-sang and was directed by Kim Dong-won. Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: For ages 15 and up/ Format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 113 minutes/ Recommended Retail Price: 25,300 KRW/ Available: November 22.

We’re not done yet. We still have The 577 Project starring Kong Hyo-jin and Ha Jeong-woo and directed by Lee Geun-woo.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean and English/ Rating: For ages 15 and up/ Format: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/ Running Time: 99 minutes/ Recommended Retail Price: 25,300KRW/ Available: November 22

Finally there is Wedding Scandal directed by Shin Dong-yeob and starring Kim Min-joon and Kwak Ji-min.  Number of discs: 1/ Subtitles: Korean/ Rating: For ages 15 and up/ Format: 1.85: 1 anamorphic widescreen/ Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0/ Running TIme: 90 minutes plus 12 of extras/ Recommended Retail Price: 22,000 KRW/ Available: November 22.

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Elysium <2003>

17th November 2012

Elysium– Directed by Kwon Jae-woong. Voiced by Kim Jang , Kim Jeong-ah , and Lee Jae-yeong — Running Time: 75 minutes, Released in theaters: August 15, 2003>

77185The Earth in the year 2113 is a very different place than now. The world has a space fleet and meets with ambassadors from other planets. Sentient robots are commonplace and anti-gravity cars and motorcycles are available to everyone.  Some things, however, remain the same. Pizza deliveries still occur <in under thirty minutes or less> and sporting events remain popular.  The sporting event of the day is Turbo Pinball Racing where contestants on custom designed hover bikes speed through an trecherous course that looks for all the world like a cross between a roller-coaster and a titanic pinball machine. To win this race is young Van’s dream. He works in a pizzeria as a delivery boy and prides himself on his speed and ability to handle his bike in traffic. He is also in love with the beautiful Lydia, a dancer, who is fully supportive of boyfriend’s ambition.

At the same time that Van is preparing for his big day, two seemingly unrelated events take place.  The first is the mysterious circumstances involving the death and disappearance of research team at the South Pole who were sent to investigate reports of a living fossil in a chamber beneath the ice. The other event is the destruction of a spaceship carrying Amabassador Yaspe of the planet Elysium on a peaceful mission to meet with Earth officials. His ship was destroyed by the very space station he was attempting to dock with. The Elysium are quick to respond and completely destroy the station and declare war on the Earth without ever learning that some outside force had taken control of the station and caused the weapon systems to fire on the ambassador. 

The attack occurs just as Van is about to win the Turbo Pinball race. Fiery death rains down from the sky as the Elysium call for the end of the human race for the violent ways.  Millions die in the initial attack and even more fall as the aliens send swarms of spider robots and elite warriors wearing giant robot suits of armor to elimate the survivors.  The humans that were not killed in the initial strikes are forced to live in underground shelters while the Earth Defense fights a losing battle against the attackers. Van and Lydia take shelter in one such place, but as time passes, Lydia starts to pine for the sun prompting the pair to risk a trip to a grassy hillside where they used to date.  Unfortunately, their timing was bad and they are caught in the crossfire between the armies of Earth and Elysium. Kronos, wearing the armor of a giant warrior, takes aim and kills the fleeing young woman leading to a change in gentle Van. In mourning and bearing a deep hatred for the Elysium, especially Kronos, he joins the resisting forces. However, in what seems to be his first mission, his entire squad is wiped out except for Van who is saved at last minute by first Nix, a platinum-haired beauty from Elysium and then the mysterious Son-ra who teleports Van to her base beneath the sands of a wasteland. There, Van joins Paul and Christopher as part of Son-ra’s last line of defense to keep the powerful Triad Weapon out of the hands of General Necros of the Elysium.

I have no doubt at all in my mind that the creators of this film were hoping for it to evolve into a television series. One of the reasons I say this is, despite the resolution of the main conflict, a purpose is set up for the Four Knights of the Triad to remain together. But the other reason I believe they hoped it continued was the fact that so little time was spent on some pretty major characters, Christopher and Son-ra in particular. We know virtually nothing about Christopher except that he was an officer in Earth’s spacefleet before the attack by the powerful aliens ever occured. We know even less about Son-ra. It would seem that she is of the Elysium which would explain her advanced technology, knowledge of Nekros– the leader of the Elysium forces– and her apparently long life beneath the sands.  But we have no idea when she came to our world or under what circumstances. It looks as if she could have been there for thousands of years.

Paul gets a little more attention, primarily because he is the identification figure for the target audience.  He is very young, just on the borderline of becoming a teenager. And he is extremely headstrong and aggressive for his age. No reason is given for his desire to constantly fight but it seems far more than simple rage. His companion, the robot Oz, keeps a tally of his win loss records and we learn that before the Earth was ever under attack, Paul had been in nearly 2000 fights and won the vast majority of them. Since Son-ra speaks of her knights as being ‘Chosen’ –beings who possess the necessary DNA to unlock their own giant robot armors– I have to assume the fighting is something built into his genes that speaks of genetic manipulation by the ‘good’ branch of the Elysium. Oh, speaking of Oz, he is the mandatory annoying and/or cowardly sidekick that animated heroes often seemed to have. Robot Taekwon V had Tin Can Robot, He-Man had that little magician, the Thundercats had Snarf, and many versions of the Power Rangers have some kind of goofy robot that makes comments only a three-year old would find funny.  Oz was formerly a robotic vaccuum cleaner, but Paul’s mother upgraded it to house and advanced super-computer. She should have done a better job with the programming though.

14990Robots in the future can lie directly when asked a question, even one posed to them by their owner. Oz’s ability to lie to perceived enemies is not surprising especially if Paul’s mother had designed Oz to protect her son. However, Oz also lies to Paul’s mother and hides the fact that Paul is going to the Turbo Races — an activity that his mother had deemed to dangerous for her son to attend. Oz also frequently has self-doubt and appears to be more than able to act autonomously, as do all the robots in the movie.  I found myself questioning just who was in charge of the world–humans or robots?  In the pizza parlor, the robots do all the cooking under the supervision of a human manager, however a human does the dangerous work of delivering the pizzas. The Pinball Races are manned by humans and the fiery, explosive crashes imply fatalities. However the announcers at the sporting event are robots, excitedly cheering on the violence.

It seems like the world is a very violent place.  But what of the Elysium?  These aliens, in the name of peace, announce a genocide. They do not want the planet to surrender or to give up its violent ways. They opt to kill every man, woman and child alive to make the galaxy a safer place. Of course, they are being tricked by the evil General Nekros but the fact remains that is a rather extreme retaliation for the death of their ambassador. Nix and Kronos, are given some depth of character as they begin questioning orders, but both are guilty of killing unarmed innocents before their change of heart starts to take root.  I also appreciated that not everything worked out in a predictable fashion in the conflict. For example, Van desires vengeance on Kronos for killing Lydia, however fate has other plans for Kronos that denies Van the chance he seeks.

As far as production values go, Elysium is a mixed bag. In places, the animation is excellent, especially in scenes where Nekros becomes active. In other places, like the general motions of the humanoid characters, it seems stiff and unrealistic. Of course, I am looking at it ten years after its release and computer animation has made unbelievable leaps in that time, so I am not going to be too critical of that. I am a little critical of the English subtitles, however. Spellings were inconsistent.. I really have no idea if the machine was actually called a  Triad or a Triod.  Also, some major characters like Son-ra and Lykros go unnamed until the credits. We are told the name of characters who have one line before dying or disappearing from the story like Kudos and Stacy, but we have no idea what the of the woman who founded the Four Knights was called until the end credits roll.

Elysium is a movie that would have benefited from a little more time tacked on to its short running time to give us more information on the background of the characters and the world they live in. As it was, it was impossible to become emotionally invested. On the other hand, the length of the film does manage to keep the plot moving and the film is never dull despite some childish moments. I may be in a minority complaining about these as the DVD box proudly proclaims that this film opened in ten European countries and won an ‘Audience Favorite’ award in Russia. According to Daum, Elysium is now being remade as a live-action film in the USA directed by Neill Blomkamp <District Nine> and starring Matt Damon and Jodi Foster to be released in 2013.

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Trailers for Korean films opening November 15, 2012

14th November 2012

We will have our choice from among 6 new movies opening this coming weekend although, taking into consideration some of the short running times and the topics of the films, several may be limited releases or in theaters catering to arthouse films.

The first trailer you will see however, is anything but arthouse. Codename: Jackal stars Song Ji-hyo and Kim Jae-joong. It is directed by Bae Hyeong-joon.

The next film does not yet have an English title, but its Korean moniker is pronounced Soomokjang. It stars Lee Yeong-ah and On Ju-won. This horror/thriller was directed by Park Gwang-choon.

White Night is also opening this Thursday. This film has received great reviews at film festivals. It is directed by Leesong Hee-il and stars Won Tae-hee and Lee Yi-kyeong.

According to Daum Movies, but not listed on Kobis, two other queer themed featurettes will also be released this week, both by director Leesong Hee-il is called Suddenly Last Summer and stars Kim Yeong-jae and Han Joo-won.

The other is Going South, starring Kim Jae-heung and Jeon Shin-hwan.

Finally, we have The Winter of the Year was Warm, directed by Jo Seong-gyu and starring Ye Ji-won and Kim Tae-woo.

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New Korean DVDs November 11-17

11th November 2012

no dvd

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The Sun Rises At Night <1974>

9th November 2012

The Sun Rises at Night– Directed by Lee Gyu-woong.  Starring Yang Jeong-hwa <as Yeong-rim>, Kim Jin <as Woo-yeong> and Nam Goong-won <as Hyeong-jae>. Running Time: 93 minutes.  Originally released on August 9, 1974.

leegyuwoong sunrisesatnightFull of confidence and courage, a recent highschool graduate arrives in Seoul from the countryside with nothing more than her transcripts and a letter of acceptance to a prestigious university.  Having nowhere to go does not bother her as she approaches an art professor and places herself in his hands.  While she does take the first step in asking him to buy her dinner, which she wolves down greedily, the teacher, Hyeong-jae, makes arrangements to set her up with her own apartment. Of course, there is a catch. Yeong-rim is asked to model for him twice a week.  Yeong-rim sees no danger in this and thinks nothing of the fact that the much older man lets himself into her apartment anytime he wants. She is so trusting and comfortable with him that she has no problem with walking around in front of him wrapped in nothing more than a towel and, judging from the portraits we see on display, she has posed in the nude for him. It is clear from her words, actions and body language, she views Hyeong-jae as a daughter views a father. Hyeong-jae’s motives and feelings, however, are extremely questionable…

Aside for her apartment arrangement, Yeong-rim has a very normal life as university student. She has become close to her classmate and excels in her studies. She frequents coffee shops and does volunteer work on the side. In the course of these events, she even has time for her friends to set her up on a date with Woo-yeong. After a rough start, the two eventually hit it off and become an official couple.  The realization that his project has a boyfriend closer to Yeong-rim’s age– otherwise known as half Hyeong-jae’s age– does not sit well with him. He does his best to sabotage the budding relationship by forcing Yeong-rim to miss her first all-day date with Woo-yeong, but at the first opportunity, she makes it up to him.

Witnessing the young couple walking down the street arm-in-arm drives Hyeong-jae to drink and brood.  As his mood becomes darker and more self-absorbed, he convinces himself that he has fallen in love with Yeong-rim. He once again lets himself into her apartment, this time startling her because of the his hardened demeanor and the lateness of the hour. She has good reason to fear him as he proceeds to attack her while confessing his ‘love.’  Despite her struggles, Yeong-rim is no match for the heavy-set Hyeong-jae and she is soon overpowered and raped. It is a crushing blow to the formerly carefree young woman and she wanders around for hours in the dead of a rainy night. She is filled with self-destructive thoughts and feels that she has become ‘filled with darkness’ and is now a ‘fallen’ woman. 

Collapsing on the street, Yeong-rim is taken in by a kindly prostitute. Even though she does not tell her rescuer what has recently transpired, the other woman guesses and gives some sage advice which gives Yeong-rim the hope she needs to go on with her life and to dismiss the other thoughts she had on punishing herself, either by suicide or by turning to prositution as she is ‘runined’ for a decent marriage. She attempts to go through her daily routines are difficult however, as she has told no one what has happened. Her former light-heartedness is gone and her friends are finding her hard to be around. Her boyfriend too is very confused. Yeong-rim clearly needs him and she does her best to reach out to him in a limited fashion, but she quickly pulls away from him when he tries to become closer and shudders or jumps whenever there he touches her.  His solution is to introduce her to his family and propose marriage.

Yeong-rim goes along with his plans with reservations. She still feels she is no longer worthy of the love of such an innocent and sincere young man. Also, making matters worse, the art teacher is looking for her and asks her friends to arrange a meeting between himself and Yeong-rim.  Is there anyway to make that situation more uncomfortable for the poor girl? Yes! The rapist brings along his wife who wants to confront Yeong-rim about what seems to be an affair between the two. Oddly, Hyeong-jae leaves the two women to talk alone he sits at a different table and smugly smokes. He strongly dislikes his wife and, even though they live together, he snidely mentions that he has had nothing to do with her for the past ten years. He seems to believe that his wife will leave him after talking with Yeong-rim and he is just smug enough where he may believe that the young college student will become his now that, traditionally, she has limited options and if his wife is out of the way.  He may even feel that Yeong-rim will not relate the actual events out of shame. However, he is mistaken. Yeong-rim opens up to Hyeong-jae’s wife and relates events exactly as they happened and the older woman is sympathetic. The two women actually wind up meeting again when Yeong-rim and Woo-yeong meet Woo-yeong’s mother at a coffee shop and we see that the mother and Hyeong-jae’s wife are close friends. However, out of pity and respect for Yeong-rim, her secret is kept.

The strain of keeping such a painful secret gnaws at Yeong-rim until she decides to reveal to her boyfriend what happened. Taking him to a hotel room, she tells him her situation and why she has changed so much in recent weeks. Woo-yeong’s reaction is despicable, yet not unexpected if one has watched many old Korean movies. The young man who seconds ago was smitten with Yeong-rim, now finds her disgusting and strikes her across the face, knocking her to the floor before storming out of the hotel.  To her credit, Yeong-rim does not immediately collapse in grief over losing him. Instead, she summons her strength and trudges back to her apartment….

…Only to find Hyeong-jae waiting in the dark for her!  He now claims her as his property and proceeds to attack her again.  Yeong-rim cries out this time and struggles more vigourously than before, but it is to no avail…or is it?  Their struggles have brought them to the living room. Yeong-rim is thrown onto the sofa but, just out of reach, there is a large kitchen knife she was using to peal apples. Things happen fast and the next thing Yeong-rim knows, Hyeong-jae is lying dead with the knife plunged deep into his back.

Yeong-rim is carted off to prison and a trial and even she cannot say for sure whether she murdered her rapist in self-defense.  There are other suspects after all including the possibility that Woo-yeong had a change of heart and followed her back home and witness what happened. Or was there someone else who decided to help Yeong-rim and who may reveal him/herself in time to save her from a life of imprisonment?

The Sun Rises At Night is interesting as it challenges the notion frequently seen in older Korean movies where a woman who has lost her innocence is no longer fit for marriage. I can’t tell you how many movies I have seen where someone is raped and then is either forced to live with her attacker as husband and wife or else falls in love with the man who raped her. And it is not confined to older movies as the otherwise excellent Oasis pulled out that same old trope.  Here, Yeong-rim makes a conscious choice not to follow the paths of her cinematic predecesors and she elects instead to go on with her life.  Her confession to Woo-yeong is not an admission of guilt, but rather a way to both unburden herself of the tragedy she experienced and as an explanation as to why she does not want him to touch her even though she claims to love him. Her resignation to his immediate and violent reaction is a sign that she was not expecting him to understand her problems and lend his support in her recovery.  Although drained at that point, we know from her behaviour previously that Yeong-rim will not give up even though the man professing to love her seems to have abandoned her without a second thought.

The story telling technique, while not uncommon, was handled well. The story starts in the present, switches into an extended flashback that comprises most of the movie, and then returns to the present. The start of the film is actually when Yeong-rim and Hyeong-jae’s wife meet and former tells the entire story which we get to watch unfold.  This explains the confusion I felt at the opening five or ten minutes where characters just come in and out without introduction. It felt as if I had walked in on the middle of the film and, because there are no intros, I think that is exactly what happened. The movie feels as if it were filmed with time flowing in the standard, lateral motion but then the director decided to cut the story and insert the beginning portion in the middle for the flashback. The feeling of not knowing what is going on or who the characters are quickly passes as Yeong-rim relates the events up to that point and I appreciated the director trying something a little more creative like that.

The print of the movie I watched on Hana TV was in rather poor condition.  The lighting especially was a problem and even viewing the bright, outdoor scenes is like watching a movie wearing sunglasses. There is also a problem with how the reels of the film flow together. At three or four times during the film, the reels changed and we are treated to watching upside-down numbers count backwards from four. And at one point in the movie, visuals cut out altogether and we are left with looking at a white screen while various characters recite their lines. Fortunately, the effect does not last long.

Just a quick note– the video box image depicted at the top of this review manages to get the name of the film wrong in Korean.  It is written 밤에 뜨는 태양.  However, the name of the title of the film is actually 밤에도 뜨는 태양. Oh well, no one is perfect…

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