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A War of Films This Spring

2006/04/23 Source

Local Human Dramas Compete With Hollywood Blockbusters

By Kim Tae-jong
Staff Reporter

Spring is traditionally an off-season for the local film industry. But next month seems to be an exception to the rule.

Many small-budget local movies and Hollywood blockbusters are slated for release in May, preceding June's 2006 World Cup in Germany in order to shun a possible struggle with the televised global event.

As May has long been recognized as "family month" here in Korea, with Children's Day on May 5 and Parents' Day on May 8, most upcoming local films are centered around family.

But their competitors from Hollywood are typical blockbusters with A-list stars, superb computer graphics and large-scale action-packed scenes.

Do moviegoers choose local movies with light yet touching themes or much-anticipated blockbusters?

The following are some of the films that will compete at the box office next month.

South of the Border (Kukkongui Namchok)

(Released on May 4)

It is a story of a North Korean man who leaves his loved one behind as he defects to South Korea.

Tragedies resulting from the divided two Koreas have been portrayed in such films as "Shiri" (1998), "JSA - Joint Security Area" (2000), and "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War" (2004), but "Over the Border" is the first to look at the tragic situation of an individual defector.

In the film, North Korean defector Kim Sun-ho (played by Cha Seung-won) becomes hopeless as he hears that his girlfriend in North Korea, who he couldn't take to Seoul when his family defected to the South, will get married.

Detective Mr. Gong (Gong Pil-du)

(On May 11)

Actor Lee Moon-shik takes his first main role since his debut as a film actor in 1996. It is interesting to watch, as he successfully steps out of the shadows and into the limelight in this comedy.

Although he has only played minor supporting roles throughout his 10-year acting career, he never fails to spice up movies with his on-screen charisma and natural acting ability.

In "Detective Mr. Gong", Lee plays a detective named Gong Pil-du, who has no interest or talent in his job and just wants to live the easy life. But he finds himself in trouble when he is accused of having a connection with a drug-dealing gang.

The Birth of a Family (Kajogui Tansaeng)

(On May 18)

This film portrays a story about the unlikely combination of individuals who are born into or create a family. Veteran actresses like Moon So-ri and Go Doo-shim co-star in this film with new talents like Bong Tae-gyu, Gong Hyo-jin and Ryoo Seung-bum.

It looks at problematic and strange relationships between members of different families and aims to define the true meaning of family.

One of the families represented is Mi-ra's. She is a single woman in her early 30s who reunites with her long-lost younger brother. Her brother brings home a woman who is 20 year older than him as his lover. Problems arise as the three struggle to live together.

My Piano (Horowitz-rul Wihayo)

(On May 25)

The film is a moving story about the relationship between a young, gifted piano player and his piano tutor.

In the film, Kim Ji-su (played by Uhm Jung-hwa) is a piano tutor who used to dream about becoming a world-class pianist. One day, she meets a boy with great talent in music and she tries to train him.

Her goal is to turn him into a renowned pianist like Vladimir Horowitz, but what she really wants is a reputation as a great piano teacher.

Singer and actress Uhm, who has appeared in many warm-hearted feel-good romantic comedies, stepped away from her usual genre to play a ruthless piano teacher in this film.

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