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Source: Jason Bechervaise @Jasebechervaise


August 29, 2019

Song Kang-Ho & Lee Byung-Hun cast in movie “Emergency Declaration”


Source: AsianWiki Blog




Song Kang-Ho and Lee Byung-Hun are cast in movie “Emergency Declaration” (literal title). The film will deal with an airplane that must declare an emergency and do an emergency landing. Movie will be directed by Han Jae-Rim. He has previously worked with Song Kang-Ho in 2007 movie “The Show Must Go On” and 2013 movie “The Face Reader.” This is the first time Han Jae-Rim and Lee Byung-Hun will work together. Filming for the movie will take sometime in the first half of 2020.


typewriter.gif Here's the movie thread for Emergency Declaration :)


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August 29, 2019


Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun Are Starring in "Emergency Declaration"


Source: Sports Donga via HanCinema.net // Clip: KBS News



Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun are starring in writer Han Jae-rim's "Emergency Declaration".

"Emergency Declaration" is an aviation term that describes the action of declaring an emergency to perform an unconditional landing when faced with a disaster and normal operation is no longer an option due to the captain's judgement.


The movie is a full-fledged aviation disaster drama that features a tense story and a colorful array of characters. Recently, Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun confirmed their roles and started preparation for the production.


The meeting between Song Kang-ho, who won the Cannes Palme d'Or award for his film "Parasite", which opened in May this year, and actor Lee Byung-hun, who has been receiving love and support for his famous performances not limited to genre, raise expectations for the movie.


This is the fourth time Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun are working together since "JSA - Joint Security Area", "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" and "The Age of Shadows".

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August 29, 2019


PARASITE Selected as South Korea’s Entry to Academy Awards
Second Film by BONG Joon-ho to Be Put Forward for Oscars


by Pierce Conran KOFIC


BONG Joon-ho’s latest film PARASITE has been announced as South Korea’s official entry to the Best International Film category of next year’s Academy Awards. The section was previously known as the Best Foreign Language Film category. To date, a Korean film has never been nominated at the AMPAs Academy Awards.


Earlier this year, PARASITE debuted in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where it became the first ever Korean film to earn the coveted Palme d’Or. The film also picked up the Grand Prize at the Sydney International Film Festival and was a major hit at home, welcoming just over ten million admissions, the second largest total for a Korean film in 2019 and Director BONG’s second film to cross the mark, following The Host in 2006.


SONG Kang-ho leads the cast as the patriarch of a poor family that begins to connect with a rich couple in the hills in unexpected ways. The cast also includes CHOI Woo-shik, PARK So-dam, LEE Sun-kyun, JO Yeo-jeong, JANG Hye-jin and LEE Jung-eun.


PARASITE is director BONG’s second film to be put forward as Korea’s official submission to the Academy Awards, following the selection of Mother in 2009. Last year’s contender was LEE Chang-dong’s BURNING, which also screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. LEE’s film became the first ever Korean film to land on the nine-film shortlist for the category but was unable to make the final five nominees.

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September 2, 2019


PARASITE and SCATTERED NIGHT to Screen in San Sebastian
Commercial and Indie Korean Films Invited to Prestigious Fest


by Pierce Conran KOFIC




The prestigious San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain is returning for its 67th edition from September 20 to 28. Among this year’s jam-packed program of world cinema highlights will be a couple of Korean titles, BONG Joon-ho’s much-heralded new film PARASITE and the new indie drama Scattered Night from debut directors LEE Ji-hyoung and KIM Sol.


Though it scarcely needs an introduction at this point, PARASITE is the seventh film from Korean master BONG Joon-ho and debuted in competition at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, where it became the first ever Korean film to pick up the coveted Palme d’Or. The film went on to be a hit in Korea, welcoming over ten million viewers, and it was recently selected as South Korea’s official submission to the Best International Film category of next year’s Academy Awards.


Scattered Night, which will screen in the News Directors section, debuted in the Jeonju International Film Festival this spring, where it won both the Grand Prize and the Best Acting Prize in the Korean Competition section. The film follows two young sisters whose parents announce to them that they will get a divorce. Over the following two weeks they fret over who will end up living with who.


The last Korean film to earn a prize in San Sebastian was Yourself and Yours, which earned the Best Director prize for Hong Sangsoo from the main competition in 2016.

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September 2, 2019


‘Parasite’ is making film fest rounds


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily



Ahead of its premiere in the North American box office in October, the Palme d’Or winner “Parasite” has officially been invited to screen at four international film festivals in the United States and Canada, reported film distribution company CJ Entertainment over the weekend. 


The first film festival to screen the acclaimed film is the 46th Telluride Film Festival (TFF) which runs until today in Colorado. The event mainly screens independent and art films. 


“Parasite” will also be screened at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which is the largest film festival in North America. The annual film festival will begin on Thursday and will run until Sept. 15. 


Moreover, “Parasite” has received invitations from the Fantastic Fest in Texas, which begins on Sept. 19, and the New York Film Festival (NYFF), which opens on Sept. 28. The latter is considered a prestigious international film festival, in line with Cannes, Berlin and Venice. 


Director Bong Joon-ho and the cast of the movie are expected to attend the film events. Bong is scheduled to attend all four festivals. Actor Song Kang-ho will appear at TFF and TIFF, while actor Choi Woo-shik is set to attend TIFF. 


Meanwhile, Bong’s film has a full schedule for the rest of the year. It is slated to be released in Poland, Portugal and Cambodia in September; North America, Germany, Spain, Greece, Czech Republic, and Slovakia in October; Turkey, Rumania, Netherlands and Italy in November; and Sweden and Hungary in December. Additionally, the film is planned to be released in Britain and throughout South America in the first half of next year. 


By Lee Jae-lim 

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Source: Dark Horizons


aeroplane.gif Emergency Declaration

Song Kang-ho (“Parasite”) and Lee Byung-hun (“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”) have confirmed they are joining “Emergency Declaration” at C-Jes Entertainment with Han Jae-rim directing. The disaster drama set in a plane and will boast suspenseful plot and colorful characteristics. Filming begins in the early half of 2020. [Source: Variety]

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September 14, 2019


August ticket sales for S. Korean movies hit 7-year low

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- Monthly sales figures for homegrown films tumbled to their lowest point in seven years last month on a dearth of hit titles, a report showed Saturday.


Sales of tickets for South Korean movies came to 18 million in August, 4.21 million less than the monthly sales recorded in August last year, according to the Korean Film Council.


It is the first August figure to fall below the 20-million level since 2012.


The unusual downturn is attributable to Korean films' tepid performance this summer.


Such famous movies as 2014's "Roaring Currents" and "A Taxi Driver" and "Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days" from 2018 dominated the summer box office in the past, all drawing more than 10 million moviegoers each.


The movie scene this summer was an exception, with the best-performing film, "Exit," managing to sell just 8.28 million tickets in August following its July 31 release.


The second-best-selling title was "Battle of Fengwudong," which sold less than 5 million.


"As several similarly themed high-budget films hit the screens in the busy summer season, moviegoers might have grown tired (of them)," an official at the Korean Film Council said.


"After four films that sold more than 10 million tickets in the first half of this year, demand has also come down in the second half," the official noted.


Monthly sales of tickets for non-Korean movies, meanwhile, came to 6.81 million last month, down 1.24 million from a year earlier and the lowest for August since 2012.


This puts the total ticket sales at 24.81 million in August, down 18 percent on-year and the lowest figure for any August since 2013, according to the report.

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September 16, 2019


SONG Kang-ho and LEE Byung-hun to Take Flight in EMERGENCY DECLARATION aeroplane.gif
Superstars Team Up for THE KING Director HAN Jae-rim’s New Project


by Pierce Conran KOFIC




Superstars SONG Kang-ho and LEE Byung-hun are set to team up for the fourth time in the upcoming aviation disaster drama Emergency Declaration (translated title) from The King (2017) director HAN Jae-rim. The project is described as a disaster film set on a plane.


One of Korea’s most beloved actors, SONG Kang-ho recently appeared in BONG Joon-ho’s PARASITE, which became the first Korean film to pick up the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. He also featured in the period drama The King’s Letters this summer.


LEE Byung-hun is known for both his major roles in Korea, which include KIM Jee-woon’s A Bittersweet Life (2005) and Inside Men (2015), and overseas, in Hollywood blockbusters such as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and RED 2.


SONG and LEE previously shared the screen in PARK Chan-wook’s Joint Security Area /JSA (2000), and two films by KIM Jee-woon, The Good, The Bad, And The Weird (2008) and The Age of Shadows (2016).


Director HAN Jae-rim debuted in 2005 with Rules of Dating and went on the make The Show Must Go On (2007) and The Face Reader (2013), both with SONG, before making the prosecutor saga The King (2017).


Emergency Declaration is currently in pre-production and aiming to go before cameras early next year.

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September 19, 2019


Director Bong's 2003 film drawn back into spotlight after police mention suspected real-life killer

Source: AJU BUsiness Daily


[Courtesy of CJ Entertainment]
[Courtesy of CJ Entertainment]

SEOUL -- "Memories of Murder", a 2003 film directed by Bong Joon-ho, was drawn back into the spotlight after police secured crucial evidence that matched DNA of a real-life killer who has not been identified for three decades since the first victim was found raped and murdered in a secluded rural town in 1986.


Bong's film was based on the true story of South Korea's most notorious serial murders in history that took place between 1986 and 1991 in Hwaseong, 38 kilometers (24 miles) south of Seoul, leaving 10 women brutally murdered. The killer has not been caught despite a massive investigation.


Helped by advanced forensic technology, police finally discovered a critical clue through the DNA testing of a convicted criminal in his 50s, 13 years after his crimes reached the statute of limitations on April 2, 2006.


The man, identified by his family name Lee, is in prison for committing a similar crime. Police found that his DNA has matched DNA from evidence taken in three murder scenes in Hwaseong. Still, police were cautious, refusing to have Lee pegged as the actual serial killer until they get further DNA analysis from the National Forensic Service and complete a cross-check on a vast amount of previous investigation records.


"What DNA matches is just a clue," Ban Ki-soo, head of an investigation team in charge of serial murders, told reporters. "We were in the process of conducting a basic investigation after receiving DNA test results. Therefore, there is not much to say yet."


"DNA doesn't mean that we're going to designate him as a real culprit," Ban said, adding three murder cases singled out by his team showed a similarity in the method of killing women by using the underwear of victims to bind their hands and feet.


In one case, an 18-year-old woman was found murdered on the rice paddies of Hwaseong, with her hands tied with a blouse and gagged with socks, after she was raped and strangled with a scarf to death, Ban said.


The previous investigation has set several unbroken records. Police had mobilized a record number of officers for investigations, with more than 20,000 people questioned. From crime scenes, investigators had collected semen, blood and hair, but no conclusive evidence has been found due to underdeveloped forensic technology at that time.


The first victim was a 71-year-old woman who was found raped and murdered in a pasture on September 15, 1986. A month later, a 25-year-old woman was found naked and murdered in a ditch near a rice field, followed by similar crimes for four years and seven months until April, 1991. The final victim was a 69-year-old woman who was found in a hill with her trouser taken off.


Once, a trace of semen was discovered from the body of a victim, but investigators did not have access to equipment for DNA testing. After the ninth murder, DNA evidence was sent to Japan for analysis, but the results did not correspond with any suspects.


Bong, who now gets a lot of attention this year with its award-winning film "Parasite", was known as a promising director after filming Memories of Murder, which was well-received by both critics and audiences. The film won the South Korean film industry's 2003 Grand Bell Awards for best film.


Lim Chang-won Reporter

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September 19, 2019


Chuseok movie trends reflect changes in the times:

Harvest holiday period no longer dominated by historical drama genre


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily



The Chuseok harvest holiday is one of the biggest local holidays that guarantees people at least three days of rest. Traditionally, it is a period where families gather together from all over the country. However, for the local box office, the holiday season means high ticket sales as those families spend some of their time together at the movie theater.


There were patterns that have repeated throughout the past two decades, one being that certain family-friendly genres have successively topped the box office during the Chuseok holidays.


But have these patterns held true? Do people still view the holiday period as a time for families to get together? With more and more people using the break to go abroad, there may no longer be a “family-friendly” genre for film distributors to prepare for next year’s holiday box office.


Certain types of genres dominate movie theaters over the Chuseok holidays. Above are a collection of characters from films that ranked number one in the holiday box office over the last 10 years. [EACH DISTRIBUTOR, JEON TAE-GYU]

Popular genres over the years


For nearly a decade since 2001, gangster mob action comedies, such as “My Wife is a Gangster” (2001) and the “Marrying the Mafia” franchise, were the popular Chuseok genre. The latter was especially a hit during the Chuseok holidays, with four out of five films being released in accordance with the period. The series reached its peak when it topped the holiday box office in the fourth installment titled “Unstoppable Family” in 2011 with 1.47 million moviegoers over the holidays.


However, after a decade the local audience began to lose interest in light-hearted comedies with shallow story lines and instead veered toward well-made historical dramas. “Masquerade” (2012) kick-started the genre’s popularity, drawing 2.8 million audience members to theaters over five days. Over the recent decade, six out of the 10 top films for the holiday box office were historical dramas.


Another pattern that resurfaces during this period is that middle-aged veteran actors that are well-recognized across age groups feature heavily in lead roles. For “Masquerade” it was actors Lee Byung-hun and Ryu Seung-ryong, while Lee Jung-jae and Song Kang-ho starred in “The Face Reader” (2013) and Song also in “The Age of Shadows” (2016). Lee Byung-hun, Kim Yoon-suk, and Park Hae-il starred in “The Fortress” and in last year’s “The Great Battle,” Jo In-sung and Park Sung-woong featured in lead roles.


All the cast from the above are big-name actors acclaimed for their impressive skills, making it evident the films released for the holidays are extra careful to plant at least one familiar face amongst their lead roles to attract family units. Song seem to be a representative example of an actor with the credibility that families can easily agree on.


End of an era?


Therefore, avid moviegoers might have been surprised to see this year’s line-up: All three films that were released one day prior to the beginning of the holidays - “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos,” “Tazza: One Eyed Jack” and “Cheer Up, Mr. Lee” - were either comedy or crime-action blockbusters. No historical drama films were released after four such films took the number one spots successively over the last four years.


“It’s probably a rebound from the relative lack of popularity of the genre over recent years,” said film critic Kim Hyung-suk. “Although ‘The Great Battle’ ranked number one, it didn’t receive as much attention as it expected and didn’t do so well in the overall ticket sales, and neither did ‘The Fortress’ from the year before.”


“[Right now] audiences are growing tired of the genre,” said another film critic Oh Dong-jin. “Historical fictions tend to see and reflect the world from a different perspective but people feel that the world is already in disarray. They don’t want to reflect upon their history. I believe film organizers quickly caught on to the public sentiment and released more lightweight comedies, like ‘Cheer Up, Mr. Lee’ as a result.”


Oh continued to say that heading to the movies over the Chuseok holiday is no longer a way for families to spend some quality time together.


“The media continues to portray Chuseok that way but that is simply no longer the case,” said the critic. “People have become individualized and [their tastes] are more diverse than before due to an increase of one-person households and OTT (Over The Top) platforms such as Watcha and Netflix. The majority of people regard the period merely as rest days instead of Chuseok holidays, which is why I believe that it is up to economical or political conditions to affect the box office [instead of the Chuseok holidays]. Categorizing films in accordance with the holidays is pointless now.”


However, Kim still said that the holidays still hold some power over box office success. “If word-of-mouth gets around that the film is fun to watch, then they instantly draw attention and often generate huge box office success if it strikes a chord with the audience,” said Kim.


According to statistics, over 5.6 million people have seen local films throughout this year’s holidays, which is actually a surge from a few years back. In 2012, only about 3.5 million people saw such films during the same period.


In other words, a lot of people still visit the theaters during the holidays, but no longer as family units. While the holidays still hold power over ticket sales, it seems that film distributors are betting differently this year as moviegoers’ preferences no longer unify into one trending genre.


Although another “Tazza” series ranked second for this year, drawing 1.67 million people to the screens, there was quite a gap between the top film and the second, which was dominated by actor Ma Dong-seok’s blockbuster “The Bad Guys: Reign of Chaos” which sold 2.7 million tickets. “Cheer Up, Mr. Lee,” on the other hand, only sold 857,000 tickets although it was promoted as a “comedy to be seen with families in Chuseok holidays.”


Nonetheless, Kim reasoned that people’s avoidance of historical dramas was not due to the genre itself as it covers a wide spectrum of topics. “To sum it up, it’s not a problem of the genre itself, but we need to go into more detail to see what kind of entertainment the film has in store for the people. For instance, we can’t say that ‘The Fortress’ and ‘Rampant,’ where zombies run wild [in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910)], are of the same genre. They are a completely different set of works.”


BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]

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September 22, 2019


Korea’s Oscar-tipped ‘Parasite’ sets French box office record


By AFP via The Korea Herald

PARIS (AFP) - The South Korean satire “Parasite” has become the most successful Cannes-winning film at the French box office in 15 years, new figures show.


Director Bong Joon-ho became the first Korean to lift the Palme d’Or in May for his brilliant class war black comedy, and is an early favorite to lift the best foreign language movie Oscar.


More than 1.6 million people have paid to see the film in France so far, according to the site CBO box office, a feat not achieved by a Cannes-winner since Michael Moore’s incendiary documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11,” in 2004.


After ecstatic reviews at the Toronto and Telluride festivals this month, Vanity Fair said it “has everything that a (Oscar) best-picture front-runner could possibly need. Except the English language.”


Even so critic Katey Rich said lightning could strike twice and it could yet follow Mexican film “Roma,” which became the first non-English language film ever to be nominated for best picture last year.


It went on to win three Oscars, including best foreign-language film and best director for its maker Alfonso Cuaron.

‘How far can it go?’

She predicted that Bong’s exhilarating story about a family of clever underclass scammers was virtually guaranteed a clutch of nominations.


“The question now is how much further it can go,” said Rich.


“It’s hard to imagine that Academy voters won’t feel the same pull that festival audiences have. ... It’s even harder to imagine that anyone who starts watching ‘Parasite’ could stop; the film’s propulsive energy sweeps all the way through to its towering conclusion,” she added.


If it does get an Oscar nomination, it will make history as the first Korean film to do so.


The rights to “Parasite” were already sold to distributors in 192 countries even before its premiere at Cannes -- a record for a Korean film.


Bong, 49, best known for the cult hits “The Host,” “Snowpiercer” and “Okja,” is one of a rising wave of Korean directors including Park Chan-wook (“The Handmaiden”) and Lee Chang-dong (“Burning”).


Only two Palme d’Or-winning films have sold more than 1 million tickets in France since Moore’s indictment of George W. Bush’s foreign policy after the Sept. 11 attacks -- Laurent Cantet’s school-set “The Class” in 2008 and Abdellatif Kechiche’s highly controversial lesbian love story, “Blue Is the Warmest Colour” in 2013. (AFP)

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September 27, 2019


Industry Reps Vote On Top “Power People” Of Past 50 Years In Korean Entertainment

Source: Soompi by J. K



Industry Reps Vote On Top “Power People” Of Past 50 Years In Korean Entertainment


As the news outlet Ilgan Sports celebrates its 50th anniversary, it looked back on the history of Korean entertainment by putting together a list of “Power People” in the industry from the past half century.


Ilgan Sports conducted a survey of 100 insiders who are currently active in the entertainment industry, including producing directors, directors, representatives from agencies and production companies, and more. Each respondent chose five “Power People” that lit up the entertainment industry over the past 50 years, and the list was put together using their results.


Check out the Top 20 below!


1. (Tie) Cho Yong Pil, Bong Joon Ho — 46 points
3. (Tie) Seo Tae Ji, BTS — 40 points
5. Lee Soo Man — 35 points
6. (Tie) Kim Soo Hyun (writer), Na Young Suk — 23 points
8. (Tie) Kim Eun Sook, Song Kang Ho — 22 points
10. Yoo Jae Suk — 19 points
11. Ahn Sung Ki — 17 points
12. Im Kwon Taek — 16 points
13. Park Chan Wook — 15 points
14. Kim Tae Ho — 11 points
15. Kim Jong Hak — 10 points
16. Kim Hye Ja — 9 points
17. (Tie) Lee Mi Kyung, Lee Ju Il — 7 points
19. Lee Byung Hun — 6 points
20. Bae Yong Joon – 5 points


Source (1) (2) (3)

Top Photo Credit: Xportsnews

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October 4, 2019


PARASITE Picks Up Audience Award in Fantastic Fest

Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar Renamed ‘Bong Joon Ho Cinema’


by Pierce Conran KOFIC


A few weeks ahead of its US theatrical release, BONG Joon-ho’s critically acclaimed PARASITE has picked up yet another prize, earning the Audience Award at this year’s 15th edition of Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. The festival’s landmark venue, the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse, also changed its name to Bong Joon Ho Cinema in the director’s honor.


Following the film’s screening at the event in the late afternoon of Thursday, September 28, after which Director BONG took part in a Q&A with the audience, Tim LEAGUE, the CEO and founder of the Alma Drafthouse theatre chain, and one of the founders of PARASITE’s US distributor Neon, invited BONG and the audience members to a ceremony and toast to unveil the venue’s new ‘Bong Joon Ho Cinema’ name plaque.


PARASITE kicked off its run at the Cannes Film Festival this May, where it became the first ever Korean film to earn the coveted Palme d’Or prize at the event. It also picked up the Grand Prize at this year’s Sydney International Film Festival. The film went on to welcome over ten million viewers in Korea and has turned into a sensation around the world, with successful box office runs in several countries, with more major markets yet to open. US distributor Neon will release the film in North America on October 11.

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October 8, 2019


CGV to Screen Classic South Korean Films Through October 27th.


Source: HanCinema.net




In recognition of the one hundreth anniversary of South Korea's film industry, CGV will be running screenings from October 14th to October 27th of various classic South Korean films. However, the films in question will skew toward more recent releases, namely major box office performers of recent years, and some of the more well-known titles from the Hallyu Wave period of the late nineties and early two thousands.


The box office section will feature "Haeundae", "The Thieves", "Miracle in Cell No.7", "The Admiral: Roaring Currents", "Veteran", "Train to Busan", "A Taxi Driver", "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds", and "Along With the Gods: The Last 49 Days". The melodrama section will include "The Contact", "Christmas in August", "Bungee Jumping of their Own", and "The Classic". The manly section will include "The Big Swindle", "The New World", "The Unjust", and "Inside Men".


Tickets for these movies will only cost six thousand won, half the price of a full priced ticket. Showtimes can be confirmed on CGV's homepage, and free tickets for regular movies will also be handed out to participants in the promotion.


Written by William Schwatz

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October 9, 2019


‘Parasite’ Star Song Kang-ho Has No Hollywood Plans


Joan MacDonald Forbes

Song Kang Ho
Song Kang-ho holds the lucky stone that may change his family's fortune in 'Parasite.' CJ ENTERTAINMENT

Song Kang-ho is perhaps Korea’s most relatable actor. Whether he’s playing a studious monarch in The King’s Letters, investigating crime in Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder, or embodying the down-on-his-luck Kim Kae-taek in Bong’s latest film Parasite, Song demonstrates an unusual talent for emotionally connecting with viewers. That ability has earned him dozens of prestigious awards, including most recently being the first Asian actor to receive an Excellence Award at 72nd Locarno International Film Festival.


Parasite, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, and is South Korea’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, has been described as an ensemble film, but Song is mesmerizing as the patriarch of the Kim family, whose only scheme for success may be to con the rich but naive Park family. It’s the fourth time Song has acted in a film directed by Bong. 


“There’s a lot of good chemistry between Director Bong and I,” said Song, while visiting New York City for the 57th New York International Film Festival.


In Bong’s 2006 ecological horror film The Host, Song plays a man whose daughter is kidnapped by a monster. In Bong’s sci-fi futuristic film Snowpiercer, Song plays a poor man relegated to the rear of the super train that is humanity’s only hope. The actor and director enjoy working together.

“I think the message he wants to convey in his films is very moving and also at the same he elicits performances that are very extraordinary,” said Song. “I think that combination is what makes him remarkable.”


While Bong’s films are known for embodying social issues, such as protecting the environment, promoting animal rights, or making society more equitable, Song says he does not choose his roles based on their social messages. 

“I personally don’t like propaganda films,” he said. “Art has to be good for its own sake even when reflecting reality. All of Bong’s films have a strong sense of story to them and that’s what makes them so real and so beautiful.”


In Parasite his character may be poor and lacking opportunities, but he still has his dignity. 


“When you look at the character I play, I don’t think he is a very unusual character,” said Song. “There’s nothing odd about him. He’s an ordinary character that can exist anywhere. The character is poor, but he tries very hard, and yet his desires are not fulfilled. It’s easy to identify with him.”


Although Kim Ki-taek calmly makes the most of his limited circumstances, he’s eventually driven to a violent act, which might cause viewers to wonder what circumstances would justify such a response. The film does not answer the question for viewers, but for Kim Ki-taek, that uncrossable line is an affront to his dignity as a human being.


“The final answer lies in everyone’s hearts,” said Song. “I do think that it’s a film about human dignity and certain lines are crossed that infringe upon that dignity. There’s a certain resistance that lies in this character, a point of resistance that lies in everyone.”


Despite the recognition he’s earned as an actor and his friendship with fellow creatives, Song considers acting a lonely profession.


“It’s not just me,” said Song.”I think this also applies to Hollywood actors and actresses. When you stand in front of the camera, it’s a very, very lonely moment. There is no one to help you out. Everybody can only stand by to watch, so that’s what makes it challenging and painful as well.”


Song Kang Ho
Whether he's a pauper or a king, viewers find it easy to identify with Song's characters. MEGABOX PLUS M

Working in theater helped the critically acclaimed actor to cultivate his acting skills.


“I did not have my acting skills trained in a professional school but I always appeared on theatrical stages ever since I was young,” said Song. “That’s how I gradually trained in my acting capacity. It wasn’t a long training but it was very intense.”


Starring in a film that’s up for an Academy Award has not convinced the veteran actor that he wants to move to Hollywood.


“I would like to pass on that opportunity to other actors,” said Song. “I think in such films I would disappear, so I will instead continue to use Korean films such as Parasite to express myself.”


Song’s next film, Emergency Declaration, also features Lee Byung-hun, who appears in several Hollywood productions, including Red2 and Terminator: Genysis. The actors previously worked together in Park Chan-wook’s Joint Security Area and Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird. 


“It’s a very commercial film of the disaster genre,” said Song.


Song’s Emergency Declaration character will have to deal with an aviation disaster. It may be a different genre, but Song will do his best to make that character oh-so-easy to relate to.


This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.
Joan MacDonald

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October 13, 2019


Centennial of Korean cinema - From humble beginnings to mega hits

This is the first in a series of articles highlighting the centennial of Korean cinema _ E.D_

By Lee Gyu-lee The Korea Times (refer for full-length article)

A still featuring actor Song Kang-ho from 'Snowpiercer' (2013), directed by Bong Joon-ho./ Korea Times file
A still featuring actor Song Kang-ho from "Snowpiercer" (2013), directed by Bong Joon-ho./ Korea Times file

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October 21, 2019


Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' racks up US$1.3 million over weekend in U.S.

SEOUL, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) -- Cannes-winning black comedy "Parasite" racked up nearly US$1.3 million over the weekend in the United States, industry data showed Monday.


Directed by eclectic South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho, the film, released stateside on Oct. 11, ranked 11th at the U.S. box office during the Friday-Sunday period, with a cumulative total of $1.8 million, according to data from Box Office Mojo. It is now being screened in 33 theaters in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.


Walt Disney's dark fantasy "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" topped the list with $36 million in 3,790 theaters across the U.S.


Venice-winning psychological thriller "Joker" earned $29.2 million in 4,090 theaters over the three-day period and zombie comedy "Zombieland: Double Tap," which opened at 3,468 cinemas, raked in $26.7 million.


Moreover, the per-screen average for "Parasite" of $37,616, far outnumbers the $9,499 set by "Maleficent" and the $7,141 of "Joker."


Opening in New York and Los Angeles in a total of three theaters, "Parasite" earned an estimated $384,000 for the first weekend, with a per-screen average of $128,000.


It was the best per-screen haul since "La La Land" in 2016, and the biggest per-screen number for any international film opening in the U.S.


Earlier, "Parasite" was selected as South Korea's entry to the best international feature film category at the upcoming Academy Awards in February.


The film, backed by U.S. distributor Neon, is expected to be one of the strongest Oscar contenders in the category, and it is also considered a candidate for the best picture and best director awards.


Bong and lead actors including Song Kang-ho have been on the awards campaign in the U.S., which stretches to February.


The flick revolves around two families, one rich and one poor, who become entangled, leading to a series of unexpected violent mishaps. It attracted more than an audience of more 10 million people in South Korea alone.


This image provided by CJ ENM shows a scene from "Parasite." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This image provided by CJ ENM shows a scene from "Parasite." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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October 22, 2019


Korean film event returns to Frankfurt


Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily // Project K




The eighth Korean Film Festival will be held at Cinestar Metropolis in Frankfurt from Thursday to Sunday, the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Frankfurt announced on Monday.


The festival will open with director Bong Joon-ho’s film “Parasite” and a total of 15 Korean films - including “MAL·MO·E: The Secret Mission,” “A Resistance” (2019) and other films by director Bong such as “Memories Of Murder” (2003) and “Mother” (2009) will be screened throughout the event.


“The event has taken place as the largest Korean film festival in the country [over the years],” said an insider of the event. “The film festival introduces the diversity of Korean society to the German audience through its films.”


The festival will include other opportunities for visitors to interact with Korean culture, such as K-pop dance classes, learning how to make spicy ramen noodles and gimbap (seaweed rice rolls), Korean calligraphy lessons, trying on hanbok (traditional Korean attire).


By Lee Jae-lim

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Source: Pierce Conran


PARASITE crossed $2 million at the US box office on Tuesday, still very early in its national rollout, and gets a very cool new poster. 


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