The 51st Daejong Film Awards – Predictions

The 51st Daejong Awards

The 51st Daejong Awards

Korea’s oldest celebration of film from the pennisula, The Daejong Film Awards, will hold its 51st ceremony on November the 21st at Seoul’s KBS Hall.

As is often the case at the Daejong – often referred to as The Grand Bell – Awards, there are a mixture of overtly obvious winners, strange nominations and even stranger exclusions. The star studded event is always a fascinating tribute to Korean cinema, typically due to the controversy that tends to arise as the popularity of certain films and filmmakers often tend to indicate winners, rather than quality.

This year the issue is again of particular importance. Arguably only two categories – Best Scenario (screenplay) and Best New Director – are competitive, with the latter even more significant as the nominations are debatably better than those in the Best Director category, while the films they have created completely outclass several put forth for Best Film. Furthermore, A Girl Next Door (도희야) only receives 2 nominations, quite shockingly snubbed for Best Actress for Bae Doo-na, Best Scenario and Best Cinematography, despite receiving international acclaim in each regard.

In terms of amount of nominations, The Attorney (변호인) comes out on top with 11 nods, while The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량 -회오리바다) has 10 and A Hard Day (끝까지 간다) and The Pirates (해적: 바다로 간 산적) have 7 each, respectively.

Below are the list of categories and nominations for the 51st Daejong Awards, as well as who we at Hanguk Yeonghwa think should win, and who will most likely be victorious. Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

Best Film

The Admiral (명량)

The Admiral (명량)

The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량 -회오리바다)will probably win

The Attorney (변호인) – should win

A Hard Day (끝까지 간다)

Hope (소원)

Whistle Blower (제보자)

Best Director

A Hard Day (끝까지 간다)

A Hard Day (끝까지 간다)

Kang Hyeong-cheol (강형철) – Tazza 2: The Hidden Card (타짜-신의 손)

Kim Seong-hoon (김성훈) – A Hard Day (끝까지 간다) – should win

Kim Han-min (김한민) – The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량-회오리바다) – will probably win

Lee Joon-ik (이준익) – Hope (소원)

Lim Soon-rye (임순례) – Whistle Blower (제보자)

Best Scenario (screenplay)

The Attorney (변호인)

The Attorney (변호인)

Dong Hee-seon (동희선), Hong Yoon-jeong (홍윤정), Sin Dong-ik (신동익) – Miss Granny (수상한 그녀)

Lee Do-yoon (이도윤) – Confession (aka Good Friends (좋은 친구들)

Lee Su-jin (이수진)  – Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Kim Seong-hoon (김성훈) – A Hard Day (끝까지 간다)

Yang Woo-seok (양우석), Yoon Hyeon-ho (윤현호) – The Attorney (변호인) – should win and will probably win

Best Actor

Whistle Blower (제보자)

Whistle Blower (제보자)

Choi Min-sik (최민식) – The Admiral: Roaring Currents (명량-회오리바다) – will probably win

Jeong Woo-seong (정우성)The Divine Move (신의 한수)

Kang Dong-won (강동원) – KUNDO: Age of the Rampant (군도:민란의 시대)

Park Hae-il (박해일) – Whistle Blower (제보자)

Song Kang-ho (송강호) – The Attorney (변호인) – should win

 Best Actress

Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Cheon Woo-hee (천우희)Han Gong-ju (한공주) – should win

Jeon Do-yeon (전도연)Way Back Home (집으로 가는 길)

Shim Eun-kyoung (심은경)Miss Granny (수상한 그녀) – will probably win

Son Ye-jin (손예진)The Pirates (해적: 바다로 간 산적)

Um Ji-won (엄지원)Hope (소원)

Best Supporting Actor

The Pirates (해적: 바다로 간 산적)

The Pirates (해적)

Lee Kyeong-yeong (이경영) – Whistle Blower (제보자)

Jo Jin-woong (조진웅) – A Hard Day (끝까지 간다)

Kim In-kwon (김인권) – The Divine Move (신의 한수)

Kwak Do-won (곽도원) – The Attorney (변호인) – should win and will probably win

Yoo Hae-jin (유해진) – The Pirates (해적: 바다로 간 산적)

Best Supporting Actress

Sea Fog (해무)

Sea Fog (해무)

Han Ye-ri (한예리) – Haemoo (aka Sea Fog (해무) – should win

Jo Yeo-jeong (조여정) – Obsessed (인간중독)

Kim Yeong-ae (김영애) – The Attorney (변호인) – will probably win

Ra Mi-ran (라미란) – Hope (소원)

Yoon Ji-hye (윤지혜) – KUNDO: Age of the Rampant (군도:민란의 시대)

Best New Director

Confession (좋은 친구들)

Confession (좋은 친구들)

Lee Do-yoon (이도윤) – Confession (aka Good Friends (좋은 친구들)

Lee Su-jin (이수진)  – Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Jeong Joo-ri (정주리) – A Girl at My Door (도희야) – should win

Shim Seong-bo (심성보) – Haemoo (aka Sea Fog) (해무) – will probably win

Yang Woo-seok (양우석) – The Attorney (변호인)

Best New Actor

The Divine Move (신의 한수)

The Divine Move (신의 한수)

Ahn Jae-hong (안재홍) – The King of Jokgu (족구왕)

Choi Jin-hyeok (최진혁) – The Divine Move (신의 한수)

Im Si Wan (임시완) – The Attorney (변호인)

Park Yoochun (박유천) – Haemoo (aka Sea Fog (해무) – should win and will probably win

Yeo Jin-goo (여진구) – Hwayi : A Monster Boy (화이 : 괴물을 삼킨 아이)

Best New Actress

A Girl at My Door (도희야)

A Girl at My Door (도희야)

Lee Honey (이하늬) – Tazza 2: The Hidden Card (타짜-신의 손)

Esom (이솜) – Scarlet Innocence (마담 뺑덕)

Lim Ji-yeon (임지연) – Obsessed (인간중독)

Kim Hyang-ki (김향기)Elegant Lies (aka Thread of Lies (우아한 거짓말)

Kim Sae-ron (김새론) – A Girl at My Door (도희야) – should win and will probably win

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Venus Talk (관능의 법칙)

Venus Talk (AKA The Law of Pleasures) (관능의 법칙) gets an English subtitled trailer

Venus Talk  (관능의 법칙)

Venus Talk (관능의 법칙)

Venus Talk  (관능의 법칙), also known as The Law of Pleasures, has finally been given an English subtitled trailer by CJ Entertainment.

The comedy drama stars three of Korean cinema’s most talented actresses – Uhm Jung-hwa (Haeundae, Dancing Queen), Moon So-ri (Oasis, A Good Lawyer’s Wife) and Jo Min-soo (Pieta) – as middle aged women dealing with love, life, and everything in-between. The frank exploration of sex and romance has led to Venus Talk being dubbed ‘The Korean Sex and the City‘, and is certainly a refreshing and welcome addition to an industry that often depicts middle-aged women as domestic stereotypes. The film also stars kpop star BoA in a cameo role. Produced by Myung Films and directed by Kwon Chil-in (Wonderful Radio, Hellcats), the adult comedy is based upon a script by Lee Soo-ah, winner of the Grand Prize at the 1st Lotte Entertainment Script Contest.

Venus Talk is released in Korea this Valentine’s weekend, although no word as of yet on an international release. That said, with the all-star cast and CJ quick to create English subtitles for a trailer, it’s possible to speculate that the film will appear overseas in the near future.

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The entry into the psychedelic classroom is a surrealist nightmare

Hanguk Yeonghwa’s Most Memorable Moments of 2013

Beware – spoilers ahead!

One of the great things about being a fan of Korean cinema is that the industry is continually inventive. Whether in mainstream or independent film, Korean filmmakers constantly generate shocks and thrills aplenty, featuring some truly memorable moments that resonate long after the final credits have rolled.

As the title of this feature implies, 2013 was no exception. Shocking scenes frequently appeared throughout a variety of genres, and here are Hanguk Yeonghwa’s most memorable – disturbing, shocking, or just plain awesome – moments of the year.

Final warning – spoilers ahead!

Azooma (공정사회) – Dental Revenge

Disillusioned with patriarchal institutions, the ajumma prepares for her own brand of justice

Disillusioned with patriarchal institutions, the ajumma prepares for her own brand of justice

There have been a number of films in recent years that have explored the serious crime – and soft punishment – of pedophilia in Korean society. Few however can attest to providing such violent revenge as indie thriller Azooma.  Rejected by police as well as the child’s playboy father, the ‘ajumma’ (azooma) enlists the help of local gangsters to abduct the criminal and tie the pervert into a dentist chair. Employing her skills as a dental nurse, the ajumma exacts her bloody and brutal – and incredibly cathartic – vengeance by drilling the teeth to the bone without anesthetic. Even better however is that the surgery belongs to the child’s absent father, allowing mother and daughter to walk away and learn to heal.

Han Gong-ju (한공주) – The Internet Video

Gong-ju's trauma apears on the internet for all to see

Gong-ju’s trauma apears on the internet for all to see

Heartbreaking and tragic, director Lee Su-jin’s break-out film centers on high school student Gong-ju who conceals an extremely traumatic event in her past. While hints continually suggest that she was sexually assaulted, the truth is even worse – she was gang raped by dozens of her peers. The depiction of the event is truly haunting. However, as the film reaches its climax, Gong-ju’s unaware friends finally learn the truth about her suffering as a video of the assault appears on the internet. Unable to move or speak, Gong-ju’s best friend can do nothing but watch in horror.

How to Use Guys with Secret Tips (남자사용설명서) – Dr. Swalski

Colourful Dr. Swalski provides the tips Bo-na needs to move ahead, to great comedic effect

Colourful Dr. Swalski provides the tips Bo-na needs to move ahead, to great comedic effect

One of the most vibrant and enjoyable rom-coms in recent years, How to Use Guys with Secret Tips is brilliantly original largely due to one character – the mysterious Dr. Swalski. In his audacious 1970s apparel, the doctor brilliantly gives advice on how to manipulate men to naive assistant director Choi Bo-na with superb comic timing, even appearing within her life when things don’t quite work out the way they should. With wonderful tongue-in-cheek wit, Dr. Swalski is a fantastic creation from the mind of director Lee Won-seok.

Intruders (조난자들) – The North Korean Spy

Suspicions rise but the culprit comes out of left field

Suspicions rise but the culprit comes out of left field

Director Noh Young-seok’s (노영석) film about a screenwriter seeking solitude in the mountains is a quirky story, with the slow build of suspense brilliantly executed as the murdered bodies begin piling up and suspicions rise. When the survivors find a hidden basement full of victims tensions reach fever-pitch – until a short North Korean spy jumps out of a closet. Simultaneously hilarious and shocking, the spy displays director Noh’s dark-comic sensibilities and adds a surprising element in an otherwise straightforward thriller.

New World (신세계) – Battle Royale

Jeong Cheong viciously battles his way through assassins

Jeong Cheong viciously battles his way through assassins

Through gangster epic New World, Chinese-Korean wiseguy Jeong Cheong – superbly portrayed by actor Hwang Jeong-min – is little more than a loser, a joker more interested in fake goods than in cementing his position within the crime syndicate. That is, until a rival seeks to take him out of the running permanently. Surrounded by assassins, Jeong Cheong displays stunning ferocity as he battles for his life pummeling his adversaries into submission, culminating in a brutal knife fight in an elevator. And in the end, only one man is left standing.

Pascha (파스카) – The Abortion

Ga-eul must learn to endure the pain of loss

Ga-eul must learn to endure the pain of loss

Busan Film Festival winner Pascha depicts the relationship between 40-something screenwriter Ga-eul and her 17 year old lover. The slow-moving indie drama presents their struggles to stay together, particularly after the news that Ga-eul is pregnant. Forced to have abortion by her family, the deeply depressed screenwriter undergoes the procedure. Yet as she leaves, something compels her to turn back and demand to see the remains. The controversial scene has divided critics, but the haunting image resonates long after the credits.

Snowpiercer (설국열차) – The Classroom

The entry into the psychedelic classroom is a surrealist nightmare

The entry into the psychedelic classroom is a surrealist nightmare

Director Bong Joon-ho’s epic sci-fi has several noteworthy moments, including the shattering of an iced-arm and discussing how babies taste, but the entry into the disturbingly bizarre school is so surreal it tops them all. After battling through dark and grimy carriages in an extremely bloody and violent revolution, the next door opens to reveal a disneyfied classroom on acid full of psychotic fervour. Alison Pill is phenomenal as the fanatical teacher, while the brainwashed students religiously chant the train driver’s name as if he is a deity. With exceptional work by production designer Ondrej Nekvasil, the classroom is a disturbing reminder of the power of bias education on impressionable minds.

The Terror Live (더 테러 라이브) – The General 

The general's hat is all that remains as Yoon becomes frantic

The general’s hat is all that remains as Yoon becomes frantic

Newsroom drama The Terror Live was a big hit in Korea due to the open and frank exploration of corruption within the social elite, and the exploitation of workers. As reporter Yoon Yeong-hwa (expertly performed by Ha Jeong-woo) converses with the terrorist who destroyed a bridge live on air, a military general comes to the studio and joins the debate. The general rapidly makes the situation worse, goading the terrorist with lies and defamation building unbearable tension until a bomb in the general’s earpiece explodes splattering blood everywhere.  A shocking moment, yet also a victory for exploited workers.

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Jiseul (지슬)

Hanguk Yeonghwa’s Top Ten of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, so it becomes time to discuss the best releases from the Korean film industry from the year.

It’s been quite  year for Korean film. According to the Korean Film Council the industry crossed over the 200 million admissions mark for the first time in history, averaging just over 4 films per person; recently released drama The Attorney (변호인), based on former president Roh Moo-hyun’s early career, broke the box office record for single day admissions in December attracting over 540,000 moviegoers upon opening; Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer (설국열차), the most expensive film in Korean cinema history, was released to critical and commercial acclaim; and Moon Byung-gon’s Safe (세이프) won the short film Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival, the first time the award has been bestowed upon a Korean director.

But back to the issue at hand – the top ten. ‘Best of’ lists always feel somewhat disingenuous as it’s impossible to have seen simply everything to emerge from the industry over the past 12 months. This also unfortunately applies to this particular list, particularly in regards to films released over the past month. So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are some great films that could potentially have been included in the top ten had they been seen – Moebius (뫼비우스)Hope/Wish (소원), Way Back Home (집으로 가는 길), and The Attorney.

However, without further ado, let’s press on with Hanguk Yeonghwa’s Top Ten of 2013:

Joint 1st – Jiseul (지슬)

Jiseul (지슬)

Jiseul (지슬)

While Jiseul premiered at Busan in 2012, it was officially released nationwide in 2013 and for that reason jointly takes the number 1 spot. Director O Muel’s breathtaking film about the 1948 Jeju Island ‘Uprising’ (or rather ‘Massacre’) is one of those rare films that transcends the medium into art. The stunning cinematography is exquisitely captured through the black and white tones, while the realism-inducing long takes convey the atrocities endured by the Islanders with palpable melancholy. Shockingly, Jiseul was not submitted as Korea’s entry for the Academy Awards (with the honour instead going to Juvenile Offender), a presumably political decision due to the negative manner in which the Korean military are portrayed – a genuine shame as Jiseul is one of the best Oscar contenders Korea has produced in quite some time. Nevertheless, director O Muel’s beautifully haunting tribute is an absolute must-see. (See the full review here).

Joint 1st – Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Han Gong-ju (한공주)

Han Gong-ju is without a doubt the best new film of 2013. Staggering powerful, heartbreaking and courageous, the film tells the story of high schooler Gong-ju who is forced to relocate to a new school due to a secretive event in her past. Director Lee Su-jin has crafted an incredible film that wonderfully captures many of the social issues in contemporary Korea, confronting the themes of selfishness and corruption directly and in doing so evokes a maelstrom of emotional resonance. It is no stretch to say that Han Gong-ju is like a raw Lee Chang-dong film, one full of maturity and awareness yet with added indignation. Staggeringly, the film is also director Lee Su-jin’s feature-length directorial debut and, should he continue to helm films of this quality, Korea will have a new auteur in the making.

2nd – Pluto (명왕성)

Pluto (명왕성)

Pluto (명왕성)

Director Shin Su-won proves her win at Cannes for Circle Line (순환선) was no fluke with the release of the masterful Pluto. A former teacher before her venture into filmmaking, director Shin deftly employs her knowledge of the insanely-competitive Korean education system in exploring how students can become increasingly amoral in the bid for perfect grades  and an all-important university placement. What makes Pluto so special is not only the examination of corruption within the system but also the character development as Joon – wonderfully acted by Lee David – gradually succumbs to violent ambition. (See the full review here).

3rd – My Place (마이 플레이스)

My Place (마이 플레이스)

My Place (마이 플레이스)

The best kind of documentaries are the ones that serve to enlighten, yet director Park Moon-chil goes one better with My Place in that he too is on a quest for knowledge. Initially believing that his sister is somewhat irresponsible for wishing to be a single-parent, director Park attempts to understand his sibling by investigating her past, which in turn leads to startling discoveries about his entire family. Through exploring cultural and generational differences as well as revealing – and attempting to heal – family trauma, My Place is a wonderful testament to family and forces audiences to address how well they know their own relatives. (See the full review here).

4th – Snowpiercer (설국열차)

Snowpiercer (설국열차)

Snowpiercer (설국열차)

A pulse-pounding thrill-ride from start to finish, Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer is a momentous sci-fi epic. Based on the French comic Le Transperceneige, the film depicts a world devoid of life due to global warming with the last remnants of humanity hurtling around the world on the perpetually moving train ‘snowpiercer.’ What makes the film so fascinating is the manner in which  the class system is explored, examining the nature of revolution, the brainwashing inherent in education, as well as the potent symbolism laced throughout – particularly from Tilda Swinton’s brilliant channeling of Margaret Thatcher as the villainous Mason. Snowpiercer is also a triumph of production design, and ranks among the best science fiction films to emerge from the industry. (See the full review here).

5th – The Fake (사이비)

The Fake (사이비)

The Fake (사이비)

Brutally intense and profoundly disturbing, The Fake is a phenomenal indictment of the fraud that exists within society. The Korean title ‘Saibi’ is specific to religion, and potent symbolism abounds; the looming threat of a flood sends the local populace into a religious fervour as they compete for the ‘limited’ places in heaven. Interestingly director Yeon Sang-ho marries such weighty material with the generic conventions of the western, and the result is extraordinary – should the audience align with the fraudulent man of God, or the truthful-yet-devilish western anti-hero? (See the full review here).

6th – New World (신세계)

New World (신세계)

New World (신세계)

Taking a cue from Coppola’s The Godfather, director Park Hoon-jeong’s gangster epic New World is among the best examples of the genre in recent memory. As a screenwriter on I Saw The Devil and The Unjust director Park has experience in weaving bloodthirsty thrillers, and his vision in constructing a tale of vengeful gangsters attempting to fill a power vacuum is brilliant. The double-crosses and Infernal Affairs-esque clashes between men on both sides of the law are made all the more powerful with the stunning cinematography and visual finesse. (See here for the full review).

7th – Cold Eyes (감시자들)

Cold Eyes (감시자들)

Cold Eyes (감시자들)

A remake of Hong Kong action-noir Eye in the Sky, Cold Eyes is a vastly different adaptation set in the shimmering metropolis of Seoul. The slick thriller is incredibly entertaining not only for the great pacing and exhilarating cat-and-mouse chase sequences, but also for the wonderful casting. Han Hyo-joo, so often relegated to being a pretty love interest, is excellent as the bold, smart and independent rookie, while Jeong Woo-seong is great as the steely and manipulative villain. (See here for the full review).

8th – The Berlin File (베를린)

The Berlin File (베를린)

The Berlin File (베를린)

The Berlin File marks a genuine stage in evolution for director Ryoo Seung-wan. His previous films have typically been highly entertaining action-thrillers often serving to revere classic sequences of yesteryear; however with The Berlin File the high-octane set-pieces, kinetic camera movement and rapid editing combine to create his most exhilarating film to date. With an all-star cast featuring Ha Jeong-woo, Jeon Ji-hyeon, Han Seok-kyu and Ryoo Seung-beom, The Berlin File is one of 2013’s great genre films. (See here for the full review).

9th – How to Use Guys with Secret Tips (남자사용설명서)

How to Use Guys with Secret Tips (남자사용설명서)

How to Use Guys with Secret Tips (남자사용설명서)

2013 was full of cliched and generic rom-coms – which made How to Use Guys with Secret Tips even more refreshing. Criminally under-seen due to a release date alongside Miracle in Cell No. 7 and New World, director Lee Won-seok’s debut is simply bursting with colour, vitality, inventiveness, and most importantly – brains. Spinning the cliches upside down, director Lee continually pokes fun at modern masculinity as well as highlighting the sexism that exists in contemporary Korea in a uniquely humourous fashion, combining to produce one of the most enjoyable and downright fun rom-coms in quite some time. (See here for the full review).

10th – Lebanon Emotion (레바논 감정)

Lebanon Emotion (레바논 감정)

Lebanon Emotion (레바논 감정)

Premiering at the Jeonju International Film Festival, director Jung Young-heon’s Lebanon Emotion was far and away the most interesting and engaging drama to appear. Initially a potent tale of grief and despair, the film transforms into an otherworldly story of togetherness, revenge, and danger. Director Jung’s history as a cinematographer is apparent in every scene, featuring gorgeously haunting landscapes alongside some great character development and quirky humour. Bizarrely missing out on the top prize at JIFF, Lebanon Emotion was rewarded at Moscow by scooping the best director award, and he is certainly a talent to watch. (See here for the full review.)

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Fasten Your Seatbelt (롤러코스터)

Ha Jeong-woo’s Directorial Debut ‘Fasten Your Seatbelt’ gets Trailer and BIFF Premiere

Fasten Your Seatbelt (롤러코스터)

Fasten Your Seatbelt (롤러코스터)

Superstar Ha Jeong-woo (하정우) has decided to take a step behind the camera as both writer and director for his latest project, with his debut arriving in the form of comedy Fasten Your Seatbelt (롤러코스터).

The film follows a group of misfits on a flight from Tokyo to Gimpo Airport and the comedic events that occur when the plane enters the path of a typhoon. The mismatched characters – including a hallyu pop star, a monk, a photographer, as well as other passengers and crew – must all try to work together despite their certainty that the flight will end in disaster.

Fasten Your Seatbelt is due to premiere at the 2013 18th Busan International Film Festival under the ‘Korean Cinema Today – Panorama’ category. Please see below for the trailer.

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Rough Play (배우는 배우다)

Rough Play (배우는 배우다) to Receive World Premiere at Busan

Rough Play (배우는 배우다)

Rough Play (배우는 배우다)

Rough Play (배우는 배우다), the latest film by director Shin Yeon-shick, is due to receive its world premiere at the 8th Busan International Film Festival in October.

The drama is based on an idea by renowned director Kim Ki-duk, and acts as a companion piece or sequel of sorts to Jang Hoon’s Rough Cut (영화는 영화다), also from the mind of director Kim. Whereas Rough Cut blurred the lines between the film world and the real world, Rough Play looks set to focus more on the actors and the psychological disturbances that occur due to life in the spotlight.

Rough Play is also notable or casting Kpop idol Lee Joon from MBLAQ in the lead role. Director Kim and his proteges are no strangers to employing young and popular stars in demanding roles, and Lee Joon’s status will undoubtedly help in procuring a wider audience.

Furthermore, Rough Play is not only director Shin’s fourth film but also his fourth invitation to BIFF following A Great Actor (좋은 배우) (2005), A Fair Love (페어 러브) (2009), and The Russian Novel (러시안 소설) (2012), a quite remarkable achievement.

Please see below for the trailer.

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No Breathing

Lee Jong-suk (이종석) Starring ‘No Breathing’ (노브레싱) gets a Trailer

No Breathing

No Breathing

Sports drama No Breathing (노브레싱) is readying for release on October 31st.

The film, about two rivals who compete in a swimming tournament in the name of love, features some prominent young stars from both the film/tv and Kpop worlds. Popular film/tv actor Lee Jong-suk and Superstar K winner Seo In-guk headline the sporting film, with their shirtless appearances on the poster and within the trailer (below) already sending their young fans into something of a frenzy.

They will be joined by more Kpop stars in the form of Girls’ Generation’s Yuri, as well as Ayoung (Dal Shabet) and Shin Min-chul (T-Max). Their lack of appearance within the teaser trailer already has fans clamouring for the full trailer, most citing the desire to see Yuri.

The film is clearly squarely aimed at younger audiences, who have made their presence at cinemas keenly felt particularly after their dedicated support of spy-comedy Secretly, Greatly (은밀하게 위대하게).

Please see below for the teaser trailer.

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Hope (소원)

Promotion Gears Up For Director Lee Joon-ik’s ‘So-won’ (소원)

Wish (소원)

Wish (소원)

Despite directing an producing an array of impression films including The King and the Clown, Radio Star, and Sunny, director Lee Joon-ik (이준익) announced his retirement from commercial film making in 2010 due to the box office failure of Battlefield Heroes.

Luckily for audiences however the key word is ‘commercial’, as director Lee has finished filming his comeback film, the modestly budgeted So-won (소원). The film tells the story of youngster So-won – which also means ‘wish’ in Korean – who is violently assaulted, and how her and her family struggle to overcome the trauma together.

It’s extremely potent and sensitive material, joining the ranks of Silenced, Azooma, and Don’t Cry Mommy as another high profile exploration of crimes against children.

So-won, which also features the incredibly talented Sol Kyeong-gu as the girl’s father, will arrive in cinemas in early October. Please see below for the trailer.

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The hysterical mother severs her son's penis, sparking a chain of events

Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius (뫼비우스) – His Most Controversial Film to Date?

Kim Ki-duk's Moebius (뫼비우스)

Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius (뫼비우스)

No stranger to controversy, director Kim Ki-duk’s latest film Moebius (뫼비우스) appears to be pushing more boundaries than ever before. Billed as his most controversial film to date, sexual thriller Moebius explores the themes of incest, genital dismemberment, and dark sado-masochistic desires within a family unit, employing the director’s trademark silent characterisation in emphasising the severity of their actions.

The story depicts a mother (Lee Eun-woo (이은우) who, sick of her husband’s (Jo Jae-hyeon (조재현) constant infidelities, plots her own unique brand of revenge. However the conflict dramatically backfires upon their son (Seo Yeong-joo (서영주), with the resulting shame forcing the mother into exile. While the father and son attempt to build their relationship once again, their lives are once again thrown into turmoil when the mother returns, sparking a dramatic chain of events towards an even darker path.

The poster for Moebius reveals disturbing imagery

The poster for Moebius reveals disturbing imagery

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Moebius was initially rejected by The Korean Media Rating Board upon submission, bestowing a ‘restricted’ rating upon the film. Yet as there are no cinemas in Korea that are licensed to screen ‘restricted’ rated films, the decision effectively meant that director Kim’s latest could not be released domestically. In a statement the Board explained, “The story and contents of the movie are highly violent, terrifying and harmful to underage audiences. The unethical and unsocial expressions of sexual activity between immediate family members make it only suitable for screening in limited theaters”. However, after director Kim edited several of the more controversial scenes from the film, Moebius was finally approved for domestic release, which should occur sometime in early September.

Interestingly such issues have not effected director Kim’s reputation abroad, as the film has been selected by both Venice and Toronto for their respective film festivals. Kim’s Pieta was the big winner at last year’s Venice Film Festival, scooping the highly coveted ‘Golden Lion’ award for best film, while this year’s Moebius will be screened as part of the ‘Out of Competition’ category. Toronto Film Festival are due to screen the film under their ‘Masters’ program, describing the film as bearing, “the clear mark of Kim’s singular genius. It’s a modern Greek tragedy bordering on psychological thriller, a pitchblack comedy, a crazy-weird depiction of pain-induced pleasure.”

Love him or loathe him, Kim Ki-duk’s films are consistently fascinating. Audiences will be able to form their own opinions regarding Moebius in early September. Please see below for the trailer.

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