A priest telling lies or a devil telling the truth - The Fake examines the nature of religion

Adult Animation ‘The Fake’ (사이비) to get World Premiere at Toronto Film Festival

The Fake (사이비)

The Fake (사이비)

Director Yeun Sang-Ho (연상호), the man behind the highly acclaimed animated drama King of Pigs (돼지의 왕), is to have the world premiere of his latest film at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

The Fake (사이비) is a powerful socio-cultural examination regarding the nature of organised religion. When a man enters a rural community, he discovers the church minister is conning the community for his own nefarious purposes. Indeed, the word ‘사이비’ is quite specifically tied to religion, and roughly translates as ‘religious scam.’

The Fake will be screened under the ‘Vanguard’ program at TIFF, intended as an outlet for provocative and daring films. From the trailer below it’s very clearly a director Yeun film, and if it’s even remotely as insightful – or scathing – as King of Pigs then it’ll be a film to watch out for.

The Fake features the vocal talents of Kwon Hae-hyo (권해효), Oh Jeong-se (오정세), Yang Ik-joon (양익준), and Park Hee-bon (박희본).

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Let Me Out (렛 미 아웃)

Filmmaking Zombie Melodrama ‘Let Me Out’ (렛 미 아웃) Gets Trailer and Release Date

Let Me Out (렛 미 아웃)

Let Me Out (렛 미 아웃)

Let Me Out (렛 미 아웃), an independent film about a precocious film student, is due to be released on August the 15th.

The filmmaking comedy received its debut at last year’s Puchon Fantastic Film Festival before appearing at Dallas, Hawaii, and other international film festivals respectively.

Written and directed by film teachers Kim Chang-rae (김창래) and So Jae-yeong (소재영), the story follows opinionated film student Mu-yeong (Kwon Hyeon-sang (권현상) who routinely criticizes the work of others but has yet to make any impact himself. Mu-yeong crosses the line however when he chides guest visitor and celebrated director Yang Ik-june for his films. Throwing down the gauntlet, director Yang bestows a cash prize upon the student forcing him to prove himself. Mu-yeong decides to film his zombie melodrama Let Me Out, but as he begins gathering his cast and crew including producer/best friend Yong-woon (Han Geun-sup (한근섭) and actress and love interest Ah-yeong (Park Hee-bon (박희본), he quickly discovers that making a film is far from easy.

Let Me Out will also be the first independent Korean film to be released simultaneously in Korea and the US, with Variety’s Richard Kuipers describing it as, “a highly entertaining comedy […] with an infectious let’s-put-on-a-show spirit.” (Variety)

Please see below for the trailer.

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The Flu (감기)

Anticipation for ‘The Flu’ (감기) heats up

The Flu (감기)

The Flu (감기)

Due to be released on August the 15th, promotion for epidemic film The Flu (감기) is heating up.

When an unknown virus hits a city in Korea, the impact is disastrous. With an infection rate of 3.4 persons per second, the disease initially manifests as a skin rash before fatality occurs within 36 hours. Left with little choice the city is locked down and cordoned off, with the inhabitants placed into quarantine camps. Dr. Kim In-hae (Soo-ae (수애) desperately searches for a cure to halt the outbreak, especially as her daughter Mir (Park Min-ha (박민하), and the youngster’s guardian Kang Ji-goo (Jang Hyeok (장혁) are in danger of becoming infected.

The Flu appears to be a much more serious take on the subject than last year’s enjoyable B-movie Deranged (연가시), while the inclusion of quality actors certainly makes the film one to watch out for.

Please see below for the trailer (with English subtitles).

Also, please see below for a trailer introducing the characters within the film. There aren’t any English subtitles, but it features some great scenes from the film and it’s easy to distinguish the roles of the cast.

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Our Sunhi (우리 선희)

‘Our Sunhi’ (우리 순희) gets a Trailer and Invitation to Locarno Film Festival

Our Sunhi (우리 순희)

Our Sunhi (우리 순희)

Director Hong Sang-soo’s (홍상수) latest film Our Sunhi (우리 순희) has been invited to Switzerland’s prestigious Locarno International Film Festival, which is due to commence on the 7th of August.

The film tells the story of Sunhi (Jeong Yu-mi (정유미) who, after graduating with a degree in film, returns to university seeking a letter of recommendation from a professor in order to continue her studies in America. Yet Professor Choi (Kim Sang-joong (김상중) is not simply content to give the letter as he likes her, and attempts to give advice for Sunhi’s future. Complicating matters further, Sunhi meets two other men from her past – film director Moon-soo (Lee Seon-gyoon (이선균) and veteran filmmaker Jae-hak (Jeong Jae-yeong (정재영). As they enter her life once more all three men seemingly can’t control their liking of the young woman, and continue to hang around her acting as mentors.

Our Sunhi  is director Hong’s 15th film, and will feature within the ‘Concorso Internazionale’ program of the festival, where it will also receive its world premiere. Please see below for the trailer, which also has English subtitles.

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Original director Lee Myeong-se and the cast of The Spy:Mr. K

Action/comedy ‘The Spy’ (스파이) gets a trailer

Original director Lee Myeong-se and the cast of The Spy:Mr. K

Original director Lee Myeong-se and the cast of The Spy/Mr. K

Superstars Seol Kyeong-gu (설경구) and Moon So-ri (문소리) are again teaming up for the big screen, this time with Daniel Henney (다니엘 헤니) for an action/comedy tentatively titled The Spy: Undercover Operation (스파이/협상종결자). 

The film – initially called Mr. K – has been in development for quite some time and has been surrounded in controversy, chiefly due to the very public disagreements between original director Lee Myeong-se (이명세) and the production team, whose visions for the blockbuster apparently differed wildly. Director Lee, whose credits include M (엠) and Duelist (형사), is an excellent filmmaker and one of the few genuine auteurs working within the Korean film industry today, however it was always something of an odd choice to have such an artistically-minded person at the helm of a big summer film. With director Lee’s departure, new director Lee Seung-joon (이승준), who was the assistant director on action film Quick (퀵) was brought on board, and now finally a trailer has arrived.

The Spy: Undercover Operation sees top Korean spy Kim Cheol-su (Seol Kyeong-gu) on a mission to solve a terrorist attack that occurs in Seoul, with the investigation taking him to Thailand. Yet being the best has meant neglecting his flight attendant wife Young-hee (Moon So-ri), putting a strain on the relationship. However while undercover in Bangkok, Cheol-su spots his wife with handsome rival Ryan (Daniel Henney) and begins to go against orders to discover what his wife is up to.

It’s quite a departure for the Seol/Moon team-up that brought audiences powerhouse performances in Oasis (오아시스) and Peppermint Candy (박하사탕). Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Spike Lee's Oldboy

Oldboy vs. Oldboy – Spike Lee’s (red band) Trailer Hits the Web

Spike Lee's Oldboy

Spike Lee’s Oldboy

When it was announced several years ago that Park Chan-wook‘s classic revenge thriller Oldboy was getting the American remake treatment, the number one question on the lips of Asian cinema fans was, “Why?” However as it languished in development hell as directors and actors came and went, it seemed – thankfully – that director Park’s film would remain untouched.

That is until Spike Lee came on board to helm the remake, with Josh Brolin in the role so wonderfully inhabited by Choi Min-sik in the original. The collective sighs and repeated, “Not again,” where almost audible over the internet, while the uninspired poster (see right) did little to assuage fan anxiety.

However, with the release of the red band trailer – which features plenty of violence, gore, and sexual nudity – the film doesn’t appear to be the terrible mess most feared. While it obviously lacks originality and Park Chan-wook’s incredible stylisation, Spike Lee’s version appears to be a well-made and solid effort, with certain sequences appearing more of an homage than as a direct rip-off. Check out the trailer below to see for yourself, and if you have an opinion sound off in the comments section below.

And just for good measure, here’s the trailer for the 2003 original.

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The 49th Daejong Film Awards

The 49th Daejong Film Awards – 2012

The 49th Daejong Film Awards

The 49th Daejong Film Awards

Wow. If ever the term ‘whitewash’ was applicable to an awards ceremony, then the 49th Daejong Film Awards held in Yeouido on October 30th, was it. Period drama Masquerade (광해, 왕이 된 남자) received an astonishing 15 awards – out of a possible 22 – on the night, winning in every category in which it was nominated.

Critics were quick to point out that such a sweeping victory made the Film Award ceremony meaningless, and that with so many high quality productions released such as The Thieves (도둑들), A Muse (은교), Pieta (피에타) and Architecture 101 (건축학개론), it was unfair. Yet, even when taking such claims into consideration, it is difficult to argue against the decisions made by the judges. Masquerade is a sumptuous period drama utilizing the exquisite traditional clothes of the Joseon dynasty as well as historical locations which virtually guaranteed the technical awards, while the performances of the central cast have received incredible critical acclaim. As such, the drama won Best Film, Best Director for Choo Chang-min, Best Actor for Lee Byeong-heon, Best Supporting Actor for Ryoo Seung-ryeong, Best Screenplay for Hwang Jo-yoon, as well as a host of production awards.

Yet it wasn’t entirely Masquerade‘s night, as the Best Actress award went to Pieta star Jo Min-soo while Best Supporting Actress went to Kim Hae-sook  for The Thieves. Best New Actor went to Kim Seong-gyoon for his role in Neighbors (이웃사람), while her stunning turn as a high school student in A Muse earned Kim Go-eun the Best New Actress award. Best New Director went to Choi Jong-tae for Hand in Hand (해로).

For the full list of nominees and victors, please visit Asian Wikipedia here.

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King Gwang-hae becomes increasingly paranoid as attempts against his life are made

Masquerade (광해, 왕이 된 남자) English subtitled premiere in Yongsan

The promotional stand for Masquerade (광해, 왕이 된 남자)

The promotional stand for Masquerade (광해, 왕이 된 남자)

On September the 10th in Yongsan, a special English subtitled premiere was held for soon-to-be released period drama Masquerade (광해, 왕이 된 남자). A special stand was placed in the foyer of CGV cinema to promote the event, which featured posters and large displays of images from the film, as well as the CGV staff who all wore t-shirts emblazoned with the film title. The event was hosted by the delightful President Kim Ho-sung (김호성) from REALIES Pictures, one of the main production company behind the film, who was kind enough to introduce the film to the audience. President Kim informed those present that the king in Masquerade himself, Lee Byeong-heon (이병현), was due to appear and introduce the film but was called away that very morning to Montreal to shoot Red 2 with Bruce Willis and company.

President Kim Ho-sung and I

President Kim Ho-sung and I

Once the introduction by President Kim had finished, the audience settled down to watch Masquerade. The early reports of the quality of the film have not been exaggerated as the film is an incredibly well produced period drama featuring sumptuous visuals as well as an excellent performance by Lee Byeong-heon; indeed, the celebrated actor’s nuanced acting prowess and charisma took the audience through a variety of emotions from laughing out loud to stunned silence.

President Kim introduced Masquerade to an excited audience

President Kim introduced Masquerade to an excited audience

As the credits began to role Masquerade received rapturous applause, with several audience members congratulating President Kim as they exited the cinema. The praise is well-deserved as Masquerade is certainly one of the best Korean films of the year, and is highly, highly recommended.

The review for Masquerade will be online in the next few days, and is on general release in Korea this weekend.

Film News
The amesiac man (Kim Jeong-tae (김정태) attempts to (re-)discover his identity

‘Remember O Goddess’ Campaign – Help an Independant Film Achieve Fruition

Remember O Goddess

Remember O Goddess

If you’ve ever wanted to be involved in Korean film production, or in independent film production in general, this is an opportunity you certainly won’t want to miss.

Remember O Goddess, an incredible noir 25 minute short film by director Yoon Jung Lee, is making waves and has been invited to several prominent festivals including the 2011 LA Asian Pacific Film Festival, in which it was a Finalist for the Golden Reel Jury Award for Short Film, in Los Angeles, USA; the 2011 Urban Suburban Film Festival, Philadelphia, USA; and the 2011 New York International Film Festival, NYC, USA amongst others.

In order to extend the film into a feature-length production, Yoon Jung Lee is seeking additional funding – which is where we can help.

To watch the 25 minute production, please visit the official Remember O Goddess site here.

Actor Kim Jeong-tae (김정태) takes the lead role as an amnesiac

Actor Kim Jeong-tae (김정태) takes the lead role as an amnesiac in a noirish world

By visiting this site at kickstarter, you can donate to help keep momentum on the project moving. You can also read the in-depth profile of all the talent involved, and the history of the production which highlights the incredible efforts of the team. Whether it’s $10 or $1,000, every little helps and will be appreciated. Depending on the level of your donation you could receive your name in the credits, a signed DVD and poster, or even a guided tour. Please see the website for more details, and let’s work together to help director Yoon Jung Lee and Remember O Goddess develop the potential so clearly displayed in the short film.

If you need more convincing, here’s a video from actor Jung Woo-sung (정우성), who worked with Yoon Jung Lee on The Good, The Bad, The Weird (좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈) with a message of his own.

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'The Bad' Park Chang-yi (박창이) leads bandits on a murderous chase

Superstar Lee Byeong-heon (이병헌) to star in period film, and receive presidential recognition

Renowned actor Lee Byeong-heon (이병헌) has announced his intention to star in a Korean adaptation of ‘The Prince and the Pauper.’

Superstar Lee Byeong-heon (이병현)

Superstar Lee Byeong-heon (이병현)

As reported by Korean Film Biz and Korea Joongang Daily, the incredibly popular star will play both the King of Joseon as well as a pauper who, after discovering they look alike, exchange places. This will be Lee Byeong-heon’s first foray into a period drama, and marks a departure from his usual action role as exemplified with A Bittersweet Life (달콤한 인생) and I Saw the Devil (악마를 보았다). It will be some time before production begins however, as Lee Byeong-heon is currently filming G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation in America before embarking on a tour of Japan.

Additionally, Old Boy scribe Hwang Jo-yoon (황조윤) will write the screenplay whilst Late Blossom (그대를 사랑합니다) director Choo Chang-min (추창민) will helm the production. According to Korean Film Biz, filming will begin early next year with a budget of $8 million/£5.1 million.

In another testament to the star’s influence, 10 Asia has reported (here) that Lee Byeon-heon is set to receive a presidential citation for his role in the development and expansion of Korean cinema. The accolade marks the recognition of the actor’s contributions, as he has starred in some of the most prominent films that have emerged from Korea during the past 10 years and has also appeared in Hollywood action films.

 

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