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This Week's Cultural News

2006/12/01 | 334 views | Permalink | Source

Welcome back.
On Today's Talk, we look at the week's cultural news.
This week we have an expo on Korean pop culture, a historical musical, and as always, new movie releases.
For more, our Son Heekyung joins me in the studio.

MIN SUNHEE, ANCHOR: Good morning Heekyung.

SON HEEKYUNG, REPORTER: Good morning, Sunhee.
Thousands of tourists from across Asia are expected to visit Korea in the next three months or so.

MIN SUNHEE, ANCHOR: So I've heard, and I do believe it will prove to be a great opportunity to promote Korea and its culture.
But first do tell us more about this special occasion, Heekyung.

The southern resort island of Jeju is hosting the first Hallyu Expo in Asia.
The 100-day expo aims to further spread Korean pop culture and boost cultural exchanges across Asia.
It's a rare opportunity for visitors to enjoy Korean TV dramas, movies and pop music.
Organizers say they hope to raise foreign awareness of Korean pop culture during the event.

I understand that a very popular Hallyu star attended the opening ceremony Yes, heartthrob actor Bae Yong-joon, better known as "Yonsama" to his many Japanese fans.
His appearance was the first in public in a year and a half, but his popularity apparently hasn't died down.
More than one million-and-a-half fans from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China flew to Korea, just to get a glimpse of Bae.

MIN SUNHEE, ANCHOR: What's more surprising is that the majority of his fans are middle-aged women.


Were other Hallyu stars there Yeah.
To celebrate the occasion, domestic pop singers held a two-hour concert.
Organizers say big name actresses Lee Young-ae and Kim Heeseon and actors Ahn Jae-wook and Lee Joon-gi are expected to meet their fans on Jeju during the event.
By the way, the expo has chosen Bae and Lee as its official celebrity promoters in light of their contributions to Korean pop culture.
The event is expected to generate more than 70 million U.S. dollars in tourism sales.

POP SINGER: "The Korean Wave could be seen as a boom, but in order to sustain such a phenomenon, it requires individual efforts.
I think it's important to learn one's culture and language to ultimately break the language barrier".

POP SINGER: "I hope for more two-way cultural exchanges in Asia.
Korean pop culture has dominated Asia, but with the support of the government, I hope to see more Chinese or Japanese pop stars performing in Korea.
I believe cultural exchanges is one way Hallyu can last a long time".

What else have you got, Heekyung?

SON HEEKYUNG, REPORTER: Sunhee, does it ring a bell if I say Empress Myeongseong, or Queen Min of the Joseon Dynasty, is back once again She was killed by Japanese assassins, so I guess you're talking about the musical "Last Empress", right Uh-huh.
"The Last Empress" is one of Korea's most representative musicals.
It's been performed almost 700 times since its debut in 1995 in and out of the country, with more than 900-thousand people seeing it.
The story is about the death of Queen Min of the Joseon Dynasty.
Her brutal murder by Japanese assassins marked the beginning of Japan's 35-year colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula in the early 20th century.

MIN SUNHEE, ANCHOR: Heekyung, the empress is credited for keeping Korea independent from foreign influences.

SON HEEKYUNG, REPORTER: She also introduced Western technology to Korea, including trains, telephones, trams and electric lighting.

Actress Lee Tae-won is playing the role of the empress again.

Yes, she's known for this role and very popular, too.
Organizers say they hope the musical provides unforgettable memories for many over the Christmas season.

Moving on to independent films, I hear domestic indie flicks are hot.

Small budget films have long been overshadowed by bigger productions, but things are starting to change.
"Between" by filmmaker and professor Lee Chang-jae is one example.
This independent film about shamans attracted more than 20-thousand moviegoers over its two-month run that began in September.
"No Regret", a indie movie dealing with homosexuality, has set a new record for domestic documentaries.
The film sold 20-thousand tickets after just EIGHT days of release.
Movie critics are encouraging filmgoers to step out of their comfort zone and broaden their cinematic horizons.

MIN SUNHEE, ANCHOR: Finally, what about this week's new movies?

SON HEEKYUNG, REPORTER: We have a melodrama from Korea, and a horror film from the US.
Let's start with "Once in a Summer".

Actor Lee Byung-hun stars in this film, right Yes.
He plays a rich urban guy who follows his college classmates to the countryside to help farmers.
There, he falls in love with a girl.
The story goes back in time to the turbulent summer of 1969 when he met another girl.
What started as simple dates for the two turn into disaster as they tangle over ideology.

MIN SUNHEE, ANCHOR: Next, you have the third installment of the Hollywood slasher movie "Saw".

The serial killer Jigsaw takes a doctor hostage, and keeps him alive while watching his new apprentice put an unlucky victim through a brutal test.
The second sequel to Saw is full of grisly violence, terror and torture.
Definitely not for the weak hearted.

SON HEEKYUNG, REPORTER: Definitely not for me then. That's all for this week.

MIN SUNHEE, ANCHOR: Thank you, Heekyung.

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