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'Typhoon' Ready to Hit Nation

2005/12/06 Source

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

The division between South and North Korea has been a successful formula in the local movie industry, proved in such blockbuster films as "Shiri" in 1998, "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War" in 2004 and "Welcome to Dongmakgol" this year.

The upcoming blockbuster "The Typhoon (Taepung)" also took a motive from the popular subject. But can it make the trend continue?

"I am very sure that the film will be very satisfying", said director Kwak Gyeong-taek Monday during a news conference after the preview screening of the film at CGV Yongsan, Seoul. "I spent more time, effort and money on this movie than ever before and worked with the best actors".

"The Typhoon" deals with the tragic situation of the divided nation, which Kwak said was inspired by his father who fled from North Korea and missed his hometown until he died.

"Because of my father, I've always wanted to make a film about the tragic situation of this divided nation. And I hope this movie will remind people of the necessity of reunification", he said during a news conference in July.

But at Monday's premiere he also said he wanted to express his hope that the nation can be more independent when asked about some scenes that may be considered to contain anti-American sentiments or nationalism.

The film portrays the face-off between two young men from different sides of the two Koreas, but the confrontation is much bigger in scale and scope than previous movies with similar themes.

Starring the nation's top actors Jang Dong-gun and Lee Jung-jae, the movie was made with about a 1.5 billion won budget, almost 10 times more than what Kwak spent for his biggest hit Friend (Chingu) in 2001, which drew over 8 million moviegoers.

It took one year to finish the shooting, which took place in various regions in South Korea as well as other countries such as Russia and Thailand. As the blockbuster involves numerous action scenes over water, it needed to build various indoor and outdoor sets, recreating warships on simulated seas.

However, as the film centers on the two characters' relationship which starts off hostile but develops into friendship, the two actors said it was hard to express the complex emotions through their characters.

"My character Sin is a person like a fire, who erupts with intense energy and emotion", Jang said. "At first, it was really challenging for me to understand the character, but I was able to sympathize with him and act the character after I heard the experiences of defectors from North Korea".

Sin is a mixture of all the unfamiliar, tragic and masculine characters that he has played in his previous movies such as "The Coast Guard" in 2002 and "Taegukgi", Jang explained.

The film revolves around pirate Sin who decides to get revenge against South Korea as his family was killed when they defected from the North but were rejected by the South. A patriotic naval officer named Kang Se-jong (Lee) tries to stop Sin from his dreadful revenge.

"Typhoon" will be released at local theaters on Dec. 14.

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