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[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound...

2013/09/21 | 997 views | Permalink

K-Films Coming Soon:

★★★★ "A Mere Life": Bak Il-rae dreams of a better life for his family but is cheated out of his entire family savings. In deep despair, Il-rae feeds pesticides to his son and wife and attempts to commit suicide. He fails and becomes the sole survivor. (09/26)

★★★★ "Act": Dong-hyeok is a married man who falls in love with his student Yeon-mi. His wife then invites her into their house and pretends not to know the truth. (09/26)

★★★ "Are You Ready?": A New Perspective on Korean Reunification through the History of Korean Christianity. (09/26)

Title: "A Mere Life"

Genre: Drama

Length: 76 min

Release Date: 2013/09/26

Director: Park Sang-hoon-I *

Screenplay: Park Sang-hoon-I

Stars: Kim Min-hyeok, Jang Liu

The Short and Sweet: Bak Il-rae dreams of a better life for his family but is cheated out of his entire family savings. In deep despair, Il-rae feeds pesticides to his son and wife and attempts to commit suicide. He fails and becomes the sole survivor.

Park Sang-hoon-I, once an aspiring painter, started steps towards directing in 2007 and founded IDAG Pictures two years later. According to KOBIZ, the production house makes films about Korea's "hidden stories and forbidden sights". "A Mere Life" is Park's debut feature, and clocks in at a modest 76 minutes. The trailer for this intriguing story was tricky to find, but DAUM did provide, and it's eerie. It starts with the sound of laboured and shaky breaths; someone is in pain here, or dying. The camera follows a man walking with the weight of the world in his shoes. His struggles are then superimposed with a long car-travelling sequence, over which this melancholic song plays:

Now say your parting words.

The wind is grazing the nocturnal river.

The drifter cries on the road.

Time to return to my land.

The provenance of this rough wandering.

To the end of the earth on the other side I go.

Who will ask me the way?

Why not tell him your deep sadness instead?

Those who are lost, come here.

That's all we get! The film was screened, to its credit, at a number of local and international film festivals last year. "A Mere Life" made its world premiere at the 13th Jeonju International Film Festival, was screened at the 6th Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival, and its international premiere was presented at the last year's Vancouver International Film Festival. I'm expecting something delightfully melodramatic and morbid, and overall it looks an intriguing first stab at the slate here, a Kim Ki-duk fan perhaps? We'll see.

★★★★

Title: "Act" (aka "Jit")

Genre: Romance, Thriller

Length: 107 min

Release Date: 2013/09/26

Director: James Han*

Screenplay: James Han

Stars: Kim Hee-jung-II, Seo Tae-hwa, Seo Eun-ah, Kwak Min-ho

The Short and Sweet:  Dong-hyeok is a married man who falls in love with his student Yeon-mi. His wife then invites her into their house and pretends not to know the truth.

I might just have "Moebius" on the brain this week, but James Han's "Act" also seems similar to the master's latest. Synchronicity aside, "Act" marks James's first feature film after having worked in a number of different capacities before, films that included "From Seoul to Varanasi" (2011), "Dance Town" (2010), "Animal Town" (2009), and Mozart Town" (2008). He was the assistant director on most of these, and has a keen eye for editing that should come through here. James was supported in "Act" by Lee Soo-sung ("Mr. Zombie" and "A House with a View") the film's producer and a previous co-worker. "Act" is coming out at an potentially lucrative time in the market, and it will be interesting to see if the admissions rush from this summer's thrillers ("Snowpiercer", "Hide and Seek", "The Flu", "Terror Live"), and the current period phenomenon "The Face Reader" (almost 6 million admissions now), will somehow filter into James's opening act. Kim Ki-duk's "Moebius", "A Mere Life" as well as "Act" all share a sinister siding with domestic violence and the melodramatic. So it's a madhouse at the moment to be sure, but at least Korean cinephiles will be able to pick their poison.

★★★★

Title: "Are You Ready?"

Genre: Documentary

Length: 88 min

Release Date: 2013/09/26

Director: Heo Won

Narrator: Jang Gwang

The Short and Sweet:  A New Perspective on Korean Reunification Through the History of Korean Christianity.

"This extraordinary film tells the remarkable story of the historical and current issues surrounding Korean Reunification through Korean Christianity. Exploring both churches in North Korea and South Korea, the vivid interviews with the members of an underground church in North Korea and North Korean defectors and missionaries provide insight and backstory to Korean reunification. With this unprecedented access, the film is a must see for anyone interested in Korean reunification".

★★★

Also Coming Soon:

"Blue Jasmine" (2013), "Branded" (2012), "Childish Games" (2012), "Adventures of Hobi and Huhu" (劇場版 しまじろうのわお! しまじろうと フフの だいぼうけん ~すくえ!七色の) (2013), "Dead Man Down" (2013), "Honey" (2009), "Body Temperature" (2010), "After Lucia" (2012), "Love Strikes!" (2011), "Gattu" (2011), "2 Tigers" (2013), "3096 Days" (2013), "Intersections" (2013), "Runner" (2013), "Cinema Pardiso" (1988), "Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies" (2012).

 

- C.J. Wheeler (chriscjw@gmail.com; @KoreaOnTheCouch)

 

Sources:

AsianWiki: http://asianwiki.com/A_Mere_Life; http://asianwiki.com/Act_-_Jit

Daum Movie: http://movie.daum.net/movieinfo/coming/movieInfoScheduled.do?modeType=day&order=recently; http://movie.daum.net/moviedetail/moviedetailVideoView.do?movieId=73470&videoId=39434&t__nil_main_video=thumbnail

HanCinema:http://www.hancinema.net/korean_movie_A_Mere_Life.php; http://www.hancinema.net/korean_movie_Act.php; http://www.hancinema.net/korean_movie_Are_You_Ready_i_.php#synopsis

KOBIZ: http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/films/index/peopleView.jsp?photoRownum=7&cdKind=014003&peopleCd=20069019&strMenuId=010401&newsRownum=3&mode=INDEX_FILMS_VIEW&indexChar=A&photoType=&photoSeq=9&refCd=&searchKeyword=&pageIndex=1&movieCd=; http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/films/index/peopleView.jsp?photoRownum=7&cdKind=014003&peopleCd=10087738&strMenuId=010401&newsRownum=3&mode=INDEX_FILMS_VIEW&indexChar=A&photoType=&photoSeq=9&refCd=&searchKeyword=&pageIndex=1&movieCd=; http://www.koreanfilm.or.kr/jsp/news/boxOffice.jsp?mode=BOXOFFICE_YEAR

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