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  1. May 29, 2017 [Official] Lee Byung-hun side "Radiance" appearance not confirmed! Discussing several works Source: News1 ++ A Korean media outlet has reported that Lee Byung Hun will be in a new Hollywood project 'Radiance' (movie info here) but soon after that several media updates has posted the response from BH Entertainment. While it is true that he receives the offer, LBH is still reviewing it along with other possible projects. Hope he turns this one down. Supposedly he's offered the role of the head of a (terrorist) organization. When will it ever change , another bad guy villain role? The overall plot itself is not giving him a favorable vibe nor a substantial character.
  2. May 28, 2017 Lee Jung Jae Reveals The Reason For His Lack Of Drama Appearances Source: Soompi by DY_Kim Actor Lee Jung Jae has revealed the surprising reason he rarely appears in dramas. Lee Jung Jae recently sat down for an interview ahead of the release of his upcoming movie “Warriors of the Dawn.” He spoke about the cold and self-centered nature of many of his recent characters such as Lee Ja Sung in “New World” or Yeom Suk Jin in “Assassination.” “Strangely, only those kind of scenarios come to me. I also want to film a sweet scene in a cool location with air conditioning while drinking a latte. I get mostly intense and strong scenarios these days.” Regarding his lack of drama appearances since “Triple” in 2009, he shared, “I think a lot of people think that I refuse to do dramas.” He explained, “To be honest, I don’t get a lot of drama offers. And while I’m working on a film, I decide the next film right away, so it is also difficult to adjust schedules.” Lee Jung Jae plays To Woo in historical film “Warriors of the Dawn,” also starring Yeo Jin Goo, Kim Moo Yeol, Park Won Sang, Esom, and Bae Soo Bin. The movie premieres in Korea on May 31. Source (1)
  3. Photo: akiserendipity Bercy Village Lee Byung Hun, first Asian Male Model for Studio Harcourt
  4. May 27, 2017 [HanCinema's Film Review] "The Merciless" Source: Hancinema.net In the opening scene of "The Merciless", a couple of obvious criminals are having a dish of seafood, and discussing the unfortunate implications of of eating cuisine that appears to be looking at you. The end to their conversation is abrupt, and when the dust has settled, Jae-ho (played by Sul Kyung-gu) get one last ominous look at the fish, clearly the real villain. Then we see Hyeon-soo (played by Im Si-wan) exit jail and walk onto the set of a music video. Both of these character introductions are interesting and noteworthy, and for awhile "The Merciless" continues that streak with a wild jailhouse scene where bored inmates entertain each other by playing mild restriction fight club. But after that, the more I try to remember of "The Merciless", the fuzzier the movie's actual plot becomes. It doesn't help that some of the most basic exposition is really weirdly late. We don't even find out why Hyeon-soo is in jail until maybe a third of the way through.
  5. May 27, 2017 [HanCinema's Film Review] "The Merciless" Source: Hancinema.net In the opening scene of "The Merciless", a couple of obvious criminals are having a dish of seafood, and discussing the unfortunate implications of of eating cuisine that appears to be looking at you. The end to their conversation is abrupt, and when the dust has settled, Jae-ho (played by Sul Kyung-gu) get one last ominous look at the fish, clearly the real villain. Then we see Hyeon-soo (played by Im Si-wan) exit jail and walk onto the set of a music video. Both of these character introductions are interesting and noteworthy, and for awhile "The Merciless" continues that streak with a wild jailhouse scene where bored inmates entertain each other by playing mild restriction fight club. But after that, the more I try to remember of "The Merciless", the fuzzier the movie's actual plot becomes. It doesn't help that some of the most basic exposition is really weirdly late. We don't even find out why Hyeon-soo is in jail until maybe a third of the way through.
  6. May 27, 2017 History of the Korean wave in Japan Source: The DongA Ilbo It is known that the word Hallyu (the Korean wave) began to appear in the late 1990s and the early 2000s from Taiwan, China, and Korea. Hallyu first appeared when the Korean drama Winter Sonata was aired on NHK satellite channel in 2003. NHK first considered that the drama was for passing the time. However, the public broadcaster aired it again on the company’s terrestrial TV channel next year as the drama gained the unexpected popularity. It was the beginning of the Hallyu boom in Japan. Private networks rushed to import Korean dramas as they witnessed the great success of Winter Sonata. These period is called as the first wave of Hallyu. Before the success of Winter Sonata, Korean movies such as Swiri Shiri and Joint Security Area topped the Japanese box office in 2000, serving as an opportunity for Japanese to rethink the enhanced quality of Korean contents. In addition, the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan made a favorable impression on Korea. Korean singer BOA, who released her debut album in Japan in 2001, and boy band TVXQ (debuted in 2005) were Korea pop stars tailored to the local market and they contributed to increase the Korean fever in Japan. The second wave of Hallyu blew hard as girl group Kara and Girls’ Generation made their debut in August 2010. They ranked first and second on Japanese CD and DVD sales rankings for rookies of the year, beating Japanese artists. Mr. Furuya explained that the reason why they were popular was because they were new types of idols who were rarely seen in the Japanese music industry. Most Japanese idols were easy to meet and grown up with support from their fans as in the case of AKB48 at that time. Korean idols, who were already professional singers trained for a long time, were stars for wonder. Hallyu was disappeared in terrestrial TV channels since 2012 but the fans still calmly support the Korean wave under the surface. For instance, about 1,600 fans attended a fan meeting of Han Seung-yeon, a former member of Kara, on May 13 although the ticket was priced at about 100,000 won. Some Japanese, who watched the Korea-Japan relation for a long time, said that old Korean singers who were active in Japan during 1970s and 1980s contributed a lot to enhance the understanding between the two countries. Lee Sung-ae, who debuted in 1976, is the first Korea singer succeeded in Japan. She appeared on TV dressed in Hanbok, Korean traditional clothes, and sang "Heartbroken" and "Come back to Busan Port" in both Japanese and Korean. Young-A Soh sya@donga.com
  7. May 25, 2017 Seol Kyung-gu at Cannes Film Festival Actor Seol Kyung-gu poses at a beach in Cannes, France, on March 25, 2017, after attending the opening of the Cannes Film Festival. Seol starred in the crime thriller "The Merciless," one of the several Korean films invited to this year's Cannes Film Festival. (Yonhap) (END)
  8. Published on May 26, 2017 by renaultsamsungM
  9. May 26, 2017 [Herald Interview] The many shades of Lee Jung-jae Actor Lee Jung-jae has come to symbolize the sleek, sophisticated modern male in Korean cinema. But in his most recent film “Warriors of the Dawn,” directed by Jeong Yoon-chul, Lee sheds his usual slim-fitting suit for rags, dirt and disheveled hair. “Appearances are important for viewers,” Lee said at an interview Thursday at a cafe in Palpan-dong in central Seoul. “Then, only afterwards, are viewers able to feel the emotion of scenes.” Lee plays To-woo, the rugged leader of proxy soldiers that existed in the Joseon era. In order to provide for their families, the soldiers would receive money from noblemen to go to war on their behalf, often dying in the process. Actor Lee Jung-jae poses for a photo before an interview in Palpan-dong, Seoul, Thursday. (Hohoho Beach) The film is set during the 1592 Imjin War between Joseon Kingdom and Japan. King Seonjo flees to the Ming Empire, and his son Prince Gwanghae is left to lead the royal court alone. The responsibility of protecting and guiding the young heir befalls on To-woo. As he is for most of his roles, Lee was meticulous and detail-oriented in his approach, he said. He lowered his voice to a growl, and tried to put fear in his eyes. “I wanted him to look like he would defeat anyone at war, but his eyes to be shaking with fear,” he said. Now 44, the actor’s passion for his craft is often eclipsed by his urbane exterior. But Lee has tackled a wide spectrum of roles over the years since being catapulted to popularity through the 1995 drama series “Sandclock,” playing the stoic bodyguard Jae-hee who guards the woman he loves from afar. Reports say that at the time, viewers would send ardent letters to the show’s broadcaster SBS, begging writers not to kill off the character, such was Lee’s popularity. He then went embodied diverse characters -- a vivacious cat burglar in “The Thieves” (2012), a chilling warrior captain in “The Face Reader” (2013), a morally torn undercover officer in “New World” (2013) and a cunning villain in “Assassination” (2015). “I work harder than people think to show very different sides (of myself) in each project,” said Lee. “There is so much preparation that goes in that viewers don’t directly see. “I think most actors probably prefer characters that seem like challenges,” said Lee. “It’s a fun process searching for what is hidden (in the character) and what I can show.” Actor Lee Jung-jae poses for a photo before an interview in Palpan-dong, Seoul, Thursday. (Hohoho Beach) Last year, Lee set up an actors’ management agency with his longtime friend and fellow actor Jung Woo-sung, called Artist Company. “It’s like a study group,” he said. “Actors get together and talk about scripts they’ve read. It’s a fun office.” Despite his enthusiasm, Lee is yet to feel confident about his own capabilities. “I wish I were a more skilled actor,” he answered when asked what worries him most. At the same time, he believes hard work can make up for raw talent. “I think people who work hard at their job are eventually headed for the right place, acting-wise,” he said. “If you do something for long enough, that little bit of talent you have might grow.” “Warriors of the Dawn” will hit local theaters on May 31 and US theaters on June 16. By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com)
  10. May 27, 2017 Park Chan Wook Talks About The Future Of Korean Film In Cannes Interview Source: Soompi by C. Hong Renowned director Park Chan Wook, who is currently attending the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival, recently spoke up in an interview on what he thinks about the future of Korean cinema. In the interview, Park Chan Wook mentioned a new generation of Korean directors such as Yeon Sang Ho, who directed “Train to Busan.” “Directors who are on the rise as well as directors from my generation are being discovered through film festivals. When I see their development and creativity through their films, I get very emotional. I think it’s proof that we have something to be proud of.” When asked about his unique way of shooting violent scenes, Park Chan Wook said, “I don’t like to use violence just to create thrills in the movie. I want to show that violence hurts and is frightening. I don’t want to make violence look attractive or use it as a method of achieving catharsis.” He picked Kim Ki Young, director of “The Housemaid,” as the director who had given him the most inspiration. “The Housemaid” was also the inspiration for his film “The Handmaiden,” which was submitted for competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Park Chan Wook is currently acting as a judge for the competition at the 70th Cannes Film Festival. Korean films such as “The Villainess” and “The Merciless” were shown at the festival as midnight screenings on May 22 and 24 respectively. Meanwhile, Park Chan Wook is known for films such as “Oldboy,” which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, “Joint Security Area,” and “Thirst,” which won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2009. He has also directed English-speaking Korean films such as “Stoker” and was a producer on the critically-acclaimed film “Snowpiercer.” Source (1)
  11. May 27, 2017 Park Chan Wook Talks About The Future Of Korean Film In Cannes Interview Source: Soompi by C. Hong Renowned director Park Chan Wook, who is currently attending the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival, recently spoke up in an interview on what he thinks about the future of Korean cinema. In the interview, Park Chan Wook mentioned a new generation of Korean directors such as Yeon Sang Ho, who directed “Train to Busan.” “Directors who are on the rise as well as directors from my generation are being discovered through film festivals. When I see their development and creativity through their films, I get very emotional. I think it’s proof that we have something to be proud of.” When asked about his unique way of shooting violent scenes, Park Chan Wook said, “I don’t like to use violence just to create thrills in the movie. I want to show that violence hurts and is frightening. I don’t want to make violence look attractive or use it as a method of achieving catharsis.” He picked Kim Ki Young, director of “The Housemaid,” as the director who had given him the most inspiration. “The Housemaid” was also the inspiration for his film “The Handmaiden,” which was submitted for competition at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Park Chan Wook is currently acting as a judge for the competition at the 70th Cannes Film Festival. Korean films such as “The Villainess” and “The Merciless” were shown at the festival as midnight screenings on May 22 and 24 respectively. Meanwhile, Park Chan Wook is known for films such as “Oldboy,” which won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, “Joint Security Area,” and “Thirst,” which won the Cannes Jury Prize in 2009. He has also directed English-speaking Korean films such as “Stoker” and was a producer on the critically-acclaimed film “Snowpiercer.” Source (1)
  12. May 26, 2017 At Cannes, praise for the old Korean boys : Bong’s ‘Okja’ stirs the pot, while Hong screens his 21st feature Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily Five films by Korean directors were invited to the 70th Cannes Film Festival. From left to right: Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja,” Hong Sang-soo’s “The Day After,” Hong’s “Claire’s Camera,” Jeong Byeong-gil’s “The Villainess” and Byun Sung-hyun’s “The Merciless.” [NETFLIX, SCREEN CAPTURES, NEW, CJ E&M] The Cannes Film Festival has faced criticism in the past for screening work from the same “usual suspect” directors, and if the same can be said about Korean filmmakers’ participation in the prestigious competition, the title of festival darling might go to Bong Joon-ho and Hong Sang-soo. The two auteurs are no stranger to Cannes, where the international cineaste community has consistently embraced them for their unconventional narratives and aesthetic, and this year was no exception. Bong’s action-adventure film “Okja” about a young girl (An Seo-hyun) who risks her life to save her best friend, a genetically modified pig, from being kidnapped by a multinational conglomerate was critically appraised, despite backlash from the old guard of the film world - cinema chains - who complained about “Okja” skipping a traditional theatrical release and going straight to Netflix instead. “How can this movie’s producer - Netflix - ever be content with just letting it go on the small screen?,” wrote The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, who gave the film five out of five stars. “Apart from everything else, the digital effects are spectacular and the visual images beautiful.” There are whispers that the fracas over distribution method may hurt Bong’s chance of winning the top Palme d’Or prize. Pedro Almodovar, the competition jury’s president, lashed out at Netflix, saying the screen for films “should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting.” Hong, on the other hand, has faced less controversy at Cannes, though the Korean paparazzi haven’t exactly been kind about his extramarital affair with longtime muse Kim Min-hee. Director Hong Sang-soo, third from right, and actors on the red carpet for the screening of the film “The Day After” in competition at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday. [XINHUA/YONHAP] Hong’s latest film, “The Day After,” about a famous writer who enters an affair with his assistant (sound familiar?), was well received, especially by the French press. Hubert Niogret, editor of the French film magazine Positive, called it “fantastic” and “the best of the titles that have so far been unveiled in this year’s Cannes competition” after its world premiere in France on Monday. Todas Las Criticas, a Spanish film website that aggregates ratings from over 40 critics, gave “The Day After” 7.59 out of 10, the highest score among the 15 competing movies that have been evaluated as of Thursday. “Okja” earned 6.2, and a total of 19 movies are competing for the Palme d’Or. Both “Okja” and “The Day After” received a four-minute standing ovation, which is said to be a good criterion for measuring the possibility of a film winning the top honor. Four minutes, though, still falls far short of the 10-minute applause given to Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy,” which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004. “The Day After” is a black-and-white affair about Bong-wan (Kwon Hae-hyo), a famous author and publisher who cheats on his wife (Cho Yoon-hee) with his assistant (Kim Sae-byeok). Bong-wan’s wife eventually figures it out, but it is only after he breaks up with his mistress that the wife comes around the office to mistakenly slap the wrong woman: Ah-reum (Kim Min-hee), a newly-hired assistant. The film is considered one of Hong’s most audience-friendly movies with the inclusion of delightful humor. It is his 21st feature and the fourth to enter the main Cannes competition after “In Another Country” (2012), “Tale of Cinema” (2005) and “Woman is the Future of Man” (2004). The prolific writer-director has another film screening out of competition, “Claire’s Camera,” co-starring Kim Min-hee and French arthouse queen Isabelle Huppert. Huppert plays a mysterious music teacher/poet with an uncanny knack for photography who helps another woman (Kim) who has just been fired by her female boss for allegedly not being honest. The reaction to this 68-minute piece was lukewarm. Screen International, one of the few media outlets that reviewed “Claire’s Camera,” described it as “dashed and somewhat shallow.” “Hong Sangsoo is certainly one of Korea’s most prolific directors,” the review said. “Quantity, however, is not necessarily a mark of quality, even for a filmmaker like Hong.” “The Villainess” and “The Merciless,” the two Korean films invited to the Midnight Screening section, generally received positive reviews. Helmed by Jeong Byeong-gil and starring Kim Ok-bin and Shin Ha-kyun, “The Villainess” is an action-packed film revolving around a deadly female assassin (Kim) who gets a second lease on life after the South Korean intelligence agency recruits her to be a sleeper cell. Critics lauded Kim’s performance despite the weak plot. Crime thriller “The Merciless,” starring Seol Kyung-gu and Yim Si-wan, similarly received rave reviews after its screening on Wednesday night. The film about the relationship between an undercover cop and drug smuggler received a seven-minute standing ovation. The 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will wrap up on Sunday. BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
  13. May 26, 2017 At Cannes, praise for the old Korean boys : Bong’s ‘Okja’ stirs the pot, while Hong screens his 21st feature Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily Five films by Korean directors were invited to the 70th Cannes Film Festival. From left to right: Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja,” Hong Sang-soo’s “The Day After,” Hong’s “Claire’s Camera,” Jeong Byeong-gil’s “The Villainess” and Byun Sung-hyun’s “The Merciless.” [NETFLIX, SCREEN CAPTURES, NEW, CJ E&M] The Cannes Film Festival has faced criticism in the past for screening work from the same “usual suspect” directors, and if the same can be said about Korean filmmakers’ participation in the prestigious competition, the title of festival darling might go to Bong Joon-ho and Hong Sang-soo. The two auteurs are no stranger to Cannes, where the international cineaste community has consistently embraced them for their unconventional narratives and aesthetic, and this year was no exception. Bong’s action-adventure film “Okja” about a young girl (An Seo-hyun) who risks her life to save her best friend, a genetically modified pig, from being kidnapped by a multinational conglomerate was critically appraised, despite backlash from the old guard of the film world - cinema chains - who complained about “Okja” skipping a traditional theatrical release and going straight to Netflix instead. “How can this movie’s producer - Netflix - ever be content with just letting it go on the small screen?,” wrote The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, who gave the film five out of five stars. “Apart from everything else, the digital effects are spectacular and the visual images beautiful.” There are whispers that the fracas over distribution method may hurt Bong’s chance of winning the top Palme d’Or prize. Pedro Almodovar, the competition jury’s president, lashed out at Netflix, saying the screen for films “should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting.” Hong, on the other hand, has faced less controversy at Cannes, though the Korean paparazzi haven’t exactly been kind about his extramarital affair with longtime muse Kim Min-hee. Director Hong Sang-soo, third from right, and actors on the red carpet for the screening of the film “The Day After” in competition at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday. [XINHUA/YONHAP] Hong’s latest film, “The Day After,” about a famous writer who enters an affair with his assistant (sound familiar?), was well received, especially by the French press. Hubert Niogret, editor of the French film magazine Positive, called it “fantastic” and “the best of the titles that have so far been unveiled in this year’s Cannes competition” after its world premiere in France on Monday. Todas Las Criticas, a Spanish film website that aggregates ratings from over 40 critics, gave “The Day After” 7.59 out of 10, the highest score among the 15 competing movies that have been evaluated as of Thursday. “Okja” earned 6.2, and a total of 19 movies are competing for the Palme d’Or. Both “Okja” and “The Day After” received a four-minute standing ovation, which is said to be a good criterion for measuring the possibility of a film winning the top honor. Four minutes, though, still falls far short of the 10-minute applause given to Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy,” which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004. “The Day After” is a black-and-white affair about Bong-wan (Kwon Hae-hyo), a famous author and publisher who cheats on his wife (Cho Yoon-hee) with his assistant (Kim Sae-byeok). Bong-wan’s wife eventually figures it out, but it is only after he breaks up with his mistress that the wife comes around the office to mistakenly slap the wrong woman: Ah-reum (Kim Min-hee), a newly-hired assistant. The film is considered one of Hong’s most audience-friendly movies with the inclusion of delightful humor. It is his 21st feature and the fourth to enter the main Cannes competition after “In Another Country” (2012), “Tale of Cinema” (2005) and “Woman is the Future of Man” (2004). The prolific writer-director has another film screening out of competition, “Claire’s Camera,” co-starring Kim Min-hee and French arthouse queen Isabelle Huppert. Huppert plays a mysterious music teacher/poet with an uncanny knack for photography who helps another woman (Kim) who has just been fired by her female boss for allegedly not being honest. The reaction to this 68-minute piece was lukewarm. Screen International, one of the few media outlets that reviewed “Claire’s Camera,” described it as “dashed and somewhat shallow.” “Hong Sangsoo is certainly one of Korea’s most prolific directors,” the review said. “Quantity, however, is not necessarily a mark of quality, even for a filmmaker like Hong.” “The Villainess” and “The Merciless,” the two Korean films invited to the Midnight Screening section, generally received positive reviews. Helmed by Jeong Byeong-gil and starring Kim Ok-bin and Shin Ha-kyun, “The Villainess” is an action-packed film revolving around a deadly female assassin (Kim) who gets a second lease on life after the South Korean intelligence agency recruits her to be a sleeper cell. Critics lauded Kim’s performance despite the weak plot. Crime thriller “The Merciless,” starring Seol Kyung-gu and Yim Si-wan, similarly received rave reviews after its screening on Wednesday night. The film about the relationship between an undercover cop and drug smuggler received a seven-minute standing ovation. The 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will wrap up on Sunday. BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
  14. May 26, 2017 At Cannes, praise for the old Korean boys : Bong’s ‘Okja’ stirs the pot, while Hong screens his 21st feature Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily Five films by Korean directors were invited to the 70th Cannes Film Festival. From left to right: Bong Joon-ho’s “Okja,” Hong Sang-soo’s “The Day After,” Hong’s “Claire’s Camera,” Jeong Byeong-gil’s “The Villainess” and Byun Sung-hyun’s “The Merciless.” [NETFLIX, SCREEN CAPTURES, NEW, CJ E&M] The Cannes Film Festival has faced criticism in the past for screening work from the same “usual suspect” directors, and if the same can be said about Korean filmmakers’ participation in the prestigious competition, the title of festival darling might go to Bong Joon-ho and Hong Sang-soo. The two auteurs are no stranger to Cannes, where the international cineaste community has consistently embraced them for their unconventional narratives and aesthetic, and this year was no exception. Bong’s action-adventure film “Okja” about a young girl (An Seo-hyun) who risks her life to save her best friend, a genetically modified pig, from being kidnapped by a multinational conglomerate was critically appraised, despite backlash from the old guard of the film world - cinema chains - who complained about “Okja” skipping a traditional theatrical release and going straight to Netflix instead. “How can this movie’s producer - Netflix - ever be content with just letting it go on the small screen?,” wrote The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw, who gave the film five out of five stars. “Apart from everything else, the digital effects are spectacular and the visual images beautiful.” There are whispers that the fracas over distribution method may hurt Bong’s chance of winning the top Palme d’Or prize. Pedro Almodovar, the competition jury’s president, lashed out at Netflix, saying the screen for films “should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting.” Hong, on the other hand, has faced less controversy at Cannes, though the Korean paparazzi haven’t exactly been kind about his extramarital affair with longtime muse Kim Min-hee. Director Hong Sang-soo, third from right, and actors on the red carpet for the screening of the film “The Day After” in competition at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday. [XINHUA/YONHAP] Hong’s latest film, “The Day After,” about a famous writer who enters an affair with his assistant (sound familiar?), was well received, especially by the French press. Hubert Niogret, editor of the French film magazine Positive, called it “fantastic” and “the best of the titles that have so far been unveiled in this year’s Cannes competition” after its world premiere in France on Monday. Todas Las Criticas, a Spanish film website that aggregates ratings from over 40 critics, gave “The Day After” 7.59 out of 10, the highest score among the 15 competing movies that have been evaluated as of Thursday. “Okja” earned 6.2, and a total of 19 movies are competing for the Palme d’Or. Both “Okja” and “The Day After” received a four-minute standing ovation, which is said to be a good criterion for measuring the possibility of a film winning the top honor. Four minutes, though, still falls far short of the 10-minute applause given to Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy,” which won the Grand Prix at Cannes in 2004. “The Day After” is a black-and-white affair about Bong-wan (Kwon Hae-hyo), a famous author and publisher who cheats on his wife (Cho Yoon-hee) with his assistant (Kim Sae-byeok). Bong-wan’s wife eventually figures it out, but it is only after he breaks up with his mistress that the wife comes around the office to mistakenly slap the wrong woman: Ah-reum (Kim Min-hee), a newly-hired assistant. The film is considered one of Hong’s most audience-friendly movies with the inclusion of delightful humor. It is his 21st feature and the fourth to enter the main Cannes competition after “In Another Country” (2012), “Tale of Cinema” (2005) and “Woman is the Future of Man” (2004). The prolific writer-director has another film screening out of competition, “Claire’s Camera,” co-starring Kim Min-hee and French arthouse queen Isabelle Huppert. Huppert plays a mysterious music teacher/poet with an uncanny knack for photography who helps another woman (Kim) who has just been fired by her female boss for allegedly not being honest. The reaction to this 68-minute piece was lukewarm. Screen International, one of the few media outlets that reviewed “Claire’s Camera,” described it as “dashed and somewhat shallow.” “Hong Sangsoo is certainly one of Korea’s most prolific directors,” the review said. “Quantity, however, is not necessarily a mark of quality, even for a filmmaker like Hong.” “The Villainess” and “The Merciless,” the two Korean films invited to the Midnight Screening section, generally received positive reviews. Helmed by Jeong Byeong-gil and starring Kim Ok-bin and Shin Ha-kyun, “The Villainess” is an action-packed film revolving around a deadly female assassin (Kim) who gets a second lease on life after the South Korean intelligence agency recruits her to be a sleeper cell. Critics lauded Kim’s performance despite the weak plot. Crime thriller “The Merciless,” starring Seol Kyung-gu and Yim Si-wan, similarly received rave reviews after its screening on Wednesday night. The film about the relationship between an undercover cop and drug smuggler received a seven-minute standing ovation. The 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will wrap up on Sunday. BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
  15. Best wishes from Lee Byung Hun to an Italian restaurant opening through his Omma. Photos: koraebul (1) (2)