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'Mokpo' Wins Top Prize at Japanese Fest

2004/02/23 Source

By Joon Soh

A domestic comedy about a detective who goes undercover to infiltrate a possible drug ring has won the grand prize at the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival 2004 in Hokkaido, Japan, on Sunday.

"Mokpo-nun Hanguda (Mokpo, Gangster's Paradise)", by first-time director Kim Ji-hoon, received the Grand Prix of the Young Fantastic Competition section of the festival, which ended on Monday.

The youthful energy of the film best matches the spirit of Yubari, the festival committee announced. The committee also complimented the film for its interesting perspective and fine acting.

"It was enough for me to have had the opportunity to meet with the people of festival, and I am happy to be recognized by the festival", Kim said. "I will return to South Korea and make a better movie".

The film, which opened locally Friday, stars Cho Jae-hyun as a detective who works his way up the hierarchy of a gang that is suspected of smuggling drugs in the port city of Mokpo. Cha In-pyo plays the gang leader who takes the detective under his wings.

Four other films were screened in the competition section, including "American Splendor" from the United States and "Better Than Sex" from Japan.

The local comedies "Yopgijokin Kunyo (My Sassy Girl)" also won the Grand Prix at Yubari in 2002, while "The Classic" was voted the most popular film by the festival participants last year.

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