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December 29, 2016

Top 10 Korean Films of 2016

By Jason Bechervaise The Korea Times

It has been a monumental year for Korean cinema. The quality has been exceptionally high, admissions to Korean films have surpassed 100 million for the fifth consecutive year, and on the international stage Korean films have attracted widespread attention.

Park Chan-wook's "The Handmaiden" has received numerous awards from various critic circles in the U.S. for Best Foreign Film, along with other accolades including Best Screenplay, Cinematography and Production Design.

The high concept zombie thriller "Train to Busan" meanwhile became a gargantuan box office hit, not just in Korea, but also in parts of Asia such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore where it secured more ticket sales than any other Korean film in history.

Then there is "The Wailing" and "The Age of Shadows," which were both produced by Hollywood studios, and became critical and commercial hits.

Top ten lists are inevitably subjective, and this one is no exception. The fact that it has been the most challenging one I have put together since arriving in Korea six years ago reflects what a strong year it has been for both commercial and independent cinema.

The Wailing

I have been to a number of press screenings, but this one was the first where I physically became so hot I thought I was coming down with a fever. The sheer intensity of Na Hong-jin's third feature sent shivers down my spine. Being a critic, I naturally went back for a second viewing to confirm what I thought: this was the best Korean film in years. It has its detractors, of course, but the manner in which Na subverts audiences' expectations, delves into shamanism and satanic themes, mixes genres, and not to mention its outstanding visual aesthetic, is the work of a cinematic genius.

The Age of Shadows

One of the reasons this year has been so fruitful for Korean cinema is because it has seen the return of Korea's most famous auteurs on top form. Kim Jee-woon who is one of Korea's most renowned genre filmmakers brings his stylistic flare to a Japanese colonial period setting but refusing to allow set-pieces to fuel the narrative. Sharing similarities to Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," Kim's intelligent use of pacing through a layered but coherent narrative about espionage was in some ways a courageous move. It paid off. The film was a box office hit accumulating more than 7 million admissions.

Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet

Also set in the colonial period is Lee Joon-ik's low-budget hit about the famous poet Yun Dong-ju scribed by director and screenwriter Shin Yeon-shick. Beautifully shot, written and performed by its leads Kang Ha-nuel and Park Jung-min, it is a complex film, especially for those unfamiliar with the poet and history. Yet, looking back at this year's films, "Dong-ju" continues to resonate demanding further viewings.

The World of Us

2016 has also been a notable year for Korean female filmmakers. Yoon Ga-eun's "The World of Us" that premiered at the Berlin Film Festival is a rare film because it focuses on the life and struggles both inside and outside the classroom of two young students told from their perspective. Refusing to let the narrative boil over, Yoon utilizes her storytelling talents along with her proven ability to work with young actresses bringing out natural performances from the excellent leads Choi Soo-in and Seol Hye-jin.

The Truth Beneath

Also directed by a female filmmaker, Lee Kyoung-mi's "The Truth Beneath" is bold and brilliant in its depiction of the dark side of Korean politics. But unlike political thriller "Inside Men" the film focuses on a female lead played by the superb Son Ye-jin as she searches for her missing daughter shedding light on the impact political ambition has on one's family leading to catastrophic consequences. 

The Handmaiden

Park Chan-wook returns to form in his riveting and twisted tale of love in the lesbian thriller "The Handmaiden" set in the colonial era inspired by Sarah Waters' novel "Fingersmith." His strongest film since the Vengeance trilogy, Park displays both visual and thematic mastery, while the cast, especially the two female leads Kim Min-hee and Kim Tae-hee, are sublime.

Our Love Story

 Premiering at the Jeonju International Film Festival, which also had an excellent year; Lee Hyun-ju's "Our Love Story" does not dwell on the prejudices of homosexuality in Korea as it follows two young women who fall in love. Instead, this engrossing feature focuses on their relationship that is beautifully crafted. 

Worst Woman

Also bowing in Jeonju in May was "Worst Woman" directed by Kim Jong-kwan, an emerging talent in the local film industry. Reminiscent of Hong Sang-soo but in somewhat less of a formal approach, it centers on an actress who meets three different men. Whimsical and endearing, it stars Han Ye-ri on top form despite having to deliver many lines in English.

Yourself and Yours

Although not at his best, Hong Sang-soo's "Yourself and Yours" continues to explore relationships over conversations and alcohol about a couple who have a fight and the woman played by Lee You-young then disappears. It feels less like a narrative puzzle, especially compared to "Right Now, Wrong Then" but the film's optimistic denouement is a surprise and welcome departure from his earlier work.

Train to Busan

Smart in its simplicity, "Train to Busan" was an easy film to market, but beneath the surface, its critique of society and politics paints a more complex picture of a society fractured by social and political division sharing much in common with Bong Joon-ho's "Snowpiercer" and "The Host." Weakened by some poor acting, it nevertheless is a fun ride and this year's biggest box office hit.

Other notable films released this year that couldn't quite make it on the list but deserve a mention are Kim Dae-hwan's understated melodrama "End of Winter", Jung Ji-woo's engaging drama about Korea's competitive society "Fourth Place", Kim Seong-hun's disaster film "Tunnel", Kim Sung-soo's gritty crime noir "Asura: The City of Madness", KoHee-young's documentary "Breathing Underwater", Choi Seung-ho's political documentary "Spy Nation" and Zhang Lu's whimsical "A Quiet Dream."

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Watched Jan 09, 2017

Review by Jianne Soriano Letterboxd

The Age of Shadows 2016 ★★★★½

Renowned South Korean director, Kim Jee-woon returns after a 3-year hiatus in the country's Best Foreign Film entry, "The Age of Shadows". Like Woon's other films, (I Saw the Devil, A Bittersweet Life), Shadows is an action-packed cat-and-mouse thriller extravagant.

Shadows has an amazing line up: Sang Kang-ho (Memories of Murder, Thirst), Gong Yoo (Train to Busan, A Man and a Woman) and cameo appearance from Lee Byung-hun (A Bittersweet Life, Inside Men) whom Kim has worked previously and Um Tae-Goo (Coin Locker Girl, Veteran).

Pulled at the edge of your seat from start to finish, Kim doesn't disappoint tossing action sequences and twists that he carefully crafts and builds in suspense, only to laid them out with the greatest satisfaction, it leaves you hungry for more.

Just like "I Saw the Devil" and "A Bittersweet Life", Kim starts Shadows with little-to-nothing description of what's going out, only to follow it up with an action-filled chase scene, an amputated toe nail and blood splashed across the wall.

Shadows' 30 minutes train sequence is one of the best I've ever seen. This is the juice. It builds the plot as much as it shapes it and moves it, that includes the characters too. Accompanied by a more menacing version of Ravel's Bolero, the adrenaline just doesn't stop. I, for one, had to pause the film just so I could breathe. Kim brings us from compartment to compartment from character to character from discoveries to discoveries.

Cinematographer Kim Ji-Young does a fine job of transporting us to a 1920s setting of South Korea and Shanghai (the accuracy may be question but it looks beautiful nonetheless) with retro-like colors and saturated tones. Kim ravishes in extremism at times, with loud shoot outs, dialogues delivered in sinister whispers, loud slapping sounds, to torture scenes that likens to his other film, "I Saw the Devil".

Kim channels his narrative into powerful loyalty that seems like The Age of Shadows take a patriotic approach but ultimately, this thrill-filled film is entertaining as much as it is greatly crafted.

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February 7, 2017

The 50 Best Action Movies of the 21st Century Thus Far

Written by The Film Stage

Since the dawn of the 21st century, action cinema has undergone a bigger change than perhaps any other genre. As the tools with which filmmakers craft their works have continually advanced, a sort of renaissance has begun wherein action films stepped firmly into their own. Often put in the same category as horror — not taken seriously as a form of artistic expression outside of its core fanbase — action has had to boldly announce itself as a viable medium through which big set pieces, but also big ideas, can be presented and explored.

With the highly anticipated John Wick: Chapter 2 arriving in theaters this Friday, we’ve set out to reflect on the millennium’s action films that have most excelled. To pick our top 50, we’ve reached out to all corners of the globe, choosing an array of films ranging from grand to gritty, brutal to beautiful. The result is a showcase of what action cinema can do at its peak presentation: knock you flat on your back while igniting ideas and emotions with explosive, lasting impact.

Check out our top 50 below and let us know your favorites in the comments. One can also see the full list on Letterboxd.

1. Miami Vice
2. Kill Bill: Vol. 1
3. Kill Bill: Vol. 2
4. Mad Max: Fury Road
5. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
6. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
7. The Bourne Ultimatum
8. Haywire
9. John Wick
10. The Grandmaster
11. Collateral
12. The Raid
13. Minority Report
14. Apocalypto
15. The Dark Knight
16. Hot Fuzz
17. Spider-Man 2
18. Crank
19. Crank: High Voltage
20. Blackhat
21. Why Don't You Play in Hell?
22. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation
23. Inception
24. Time and Tide
25. Non-Stop
26. Sleepless Night
27. Man on Fire
28. A Bittersweet Life
29. Jack Reacher
30. Exiled
31. Casino Royale
32. SPL: Kill Zone
33. SPL 2: A Time for Consequences
34. The Guest
35. Ip Man
36. 300
37. Hero
38. Drug War
39. The Bourne Identity
40. Unleashed
41. District B13
42. Skyfall
43. 13 Assassins
44. District 9
45. Elite Squad
46. Edge of Tomorrow
47. Dredd
48. The Good, The Bad, The Weird
49. Fast Five
50. Three

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February 15, 2017

Korean films influenced US monster movie 

US director unveils fantasy King Kong film

By Kim Jae-heun The Korea Times


American director Jordan Vogt-Roberts talks during the press conference for his new film "Kong: Skull Island" at Lotte World Mall in Seoul, Wednesday. / Yonhap

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts said two Korean films ― Bong Joon-ho's "The Host" (2006) and Kim Jee-woon's "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" (2008) _ inspired him to work on the upcoming monster film "Kong: Skull Island."

"The amazing thing about Warner Brothers and Legendary was I pitched them a very crazy idea about setting the movie in the ‘70s and making a sort of Vietnam War film with monsters," Vogt-Roberts said during a press conference at Lotte World Mall in southern Seoul, Wednesday. "And for me it was inspired more by things like Bong Joon-ho's The Host or Kim Jee-woon's The Good, the Bad, the Weird, which sort of take traditional ideas and Western ideas and twist them and make them new.

"So looking at movies like The Host and The Good, the Bad, The Weird, that was a jumping-off point for me of how to potentially make a new King Kong movie feel fresh."

The American director said the 30-meter-tall King Kong that appears very early in the film is an example of the Korean movies' influence on his film. He said he took the idea from "The Host" as Bong shows his monster at the beginning of the film, and that he hates monsters appearing at the end of the movie.

The influence of Kim's film on the King Kong movie is also found in the movie. He said the tone and genre of the film switches from one to another frequently to express serious and violent scenes while inserting comic relief in between.

"The first clip on the beach, one thing for me that was very inspired by Korean cinema is the way that you guys are able to take tone and different genres to jump between them very quickly. American filmmakers and a lot of Americans audiences are uncomfortable with big shifts in tone and big shifts in genre," the director said.

"I am so in love with what Korean directors are able to do by jumping between two different genres and jumping between different tones very seamlessly, and together making something that becomes sort of poignant because of that.

"That was a bit of a jumping-off point for me in how to approach a scene like that: you can have these funny goofy moments that are absurd and have these moments that are very serious, very dark and very violent."

Vogt-Roberts also referred to the monstrous creature in "The Host" as an inspiration behind his Skull Crawler. He explained that his monster and that of Bong's walk in a similar manner in that they both walk very uncomfortably as if they have evolved wrong and keep stumbling. 

The director hinted that King Kong will not go to New York City and he will not end the film with another "Beauty and the Beast" moment, because there are already enough of those.

Instead, he said he wants to emphasize that people have become arrogant that they can control the world, but there is always a more powerful force than humanity. In that sense, King Kong is somewhere between a man and a god, and Vogt-Roberts wants to show how small humans can look in front of the monstrous creatures of the isolated island.

"Kong: Skull Island" hits theaters March 9. 


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March 3, 2017

Warner Bros. and KIM Jee-woon Team Up Once More on JIN-ROH Remake
GANG Dong-won in Talks to Star

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz


Director KIM Jee-woon is gearing up for his next project which will be a Korean adaptation of the Japanese animation Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999). GANG Dong-won is in talks to headline the project which will be financed and distributed by Warner Bros., which worked with KIM on last year’s The Age of Shadows, their first Korean production. 

Jin-roh follows a member of an elite paramilitary force who develops feelings for the sister of terrorist who dies before him. The Japanese original is set in an alternate aftermath of World War and director KIM is adapting the story to suit the Korean market.

With a budget of KRW 10 billion (USD 8.7 million), KIM’s Jin-Roh adaptation is planning to begin production at the beginning of July. Lewis Pictures, which previously released Haemoo in 2014 and is behind this summer’s Netflix-backed BONG Joon-ho film Okja, will produce the update.

KIM had originally set the project in motion a few years ago but paused it to make The Age of Shadows while financing fell in place. The Age of Shadows debuted at the Venice International Film Festival and was a major hit in Korea, welcoming 7.5 million viewers (USD 53.19 million).

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March 23, 2017

Film review: The Age of Shadows, a spy thriller with a heart and Seoul


Source: The National, Scotland

DIRECTOR Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil, A Tale of Two Sisters) is one of the finest, most stylistically assured filmmakers working in his native South Korea today. Now he delves into the complex and fascinating past of his homeland for this gripping espionage thriller, a time in the late 1920s when Korea was still one nation and under the stranglehold of Japanese rule.

Lee Jung-Chool (Song Kang-ho) is a conflicted Korean-born captain in the Japanese police tasked with rooting out members of the Korean Resistance of which he used to be a member. They will stop at nothing to see their country free, including smuggling explosives from Shanghai into Seoul in an attempt to destroy key Japanese facilities.

The head of the Resistance group is Jeong Che-san (Lee Byung-hun), a fiercely determined and calculating leader who sees an opportunity to turn Lee to their side.

This slickly made game of cat-and-mouse is another thrilling and absorbing effort from Kim, a taut guessing game of a film that brilliantly sustains suspense throughout its hefty 140-minute runtime, one that’s heartfelt without ever being sentimental and entirely unafraid of bloodshed in its carefully placed action set-pieces and brutal torture sequences.

There’s skilful method in the chaotic madness of the shootout scenes in particular – a lot may be unfolding on-screen but you’re always completely clear where everyone is, an increasing rarity these days – exhibiting both a disorientating quality and a visceral power that makes you wince as much as you can’t take your eyes off them.

The film benefits massively from its cast, which includes nothing short of two superstars of Korean cinema in Lee Byung-hun and Song Kang-ho, as well as Gong Yoo (last year’s zombie-filled box office smash Train to Busan) as troubled key Resistance fighter Kim Woo-Jin and Han Ji-min as the striking heroine of the Resistance, Yeon Gye-Soon, who holds her own in a male-dominated landscape.

They help make these people caught between country and duty, obligation and principal, national loyalty and survival feel like a genuine part of history with a lot to lose and everything to gain – “I’m a soldier who lost his country,” Jeong remarks at one point – rather than thinly drawn caricatures.

A keen sense of time and place authentically whisks us back into the past and there’s a palpable atmosphere dripping with deception and uncertainty to keep the audience on their toes. It brings to mind Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in its exploration of deep distrust masked by appeasement while evoking Park Chan-wook’s JSA: Join Security Area – a crime mystery set on the border between the now split nation – in its dense handling of a very complex time in Korean history.

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March 24, 2017

Films ‘Age of Shadows,’ ‘Net’ continue to sell abroad


A handful of Korean films were sold abroad after showcases at the Hong Kong International Film & TV Market last week, film distributor Finecut said Friday.

“One Step,” a romantic film featuring the former K-pop singer Sandara Park has been sold to Thailand’s Studio Aromdi, and rights for airline screening have been sold to Encore Inflight. 

Director Kim Ki-duk’s “Net,” a story about a North Korean fisherman who accidentally drifts into South Korean waters, has been sold to Distribution Company Sudamericana S.A. for distribution in Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay. The film’s rights have additionally been sold to Greece’s Danaos Films, Denmark’s Rialto Film and France’s ASC Distribution.

“Age of Shadows,” director Kim Jee-woon’s film-noir take on fight for Korean independence from Japanese occupation, has been sold to Japan’s Aya Pro, UK’s Soda Pictures, and to Splendid Film for distribution in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The film has previously secured global sales to the US, Canada, Spain, Australia and all of South America, among other areas. 

“Age of Shadows” opens in some 30 UK theaters Friday.


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April 12, 2017

[USA] "The Age of Shadows" Releases Digitally and on Blu-ray/DVD on May 2

Source: Amazon.com via Hancinema.net

"The Best Western Movie of the Year Is a Korean Thriller" - GQ
From Iconic Director Kim Jee-woon ("The Last Stand", "A Bittersweet Life", "I Saw the Devil", "The Good, the Bad, the Weird")
On May 2, 2017, CJ Entertainment is releasing The Age of Shadows on DVD and Blu-ray-DVD Combo Pack at retailers such as Walmart, Best Buy, and Family Video, and digitally on Amazon, Netflix, iTunes, Google Play, and Sony PlayStation. The first project from Warner Bros. Korea, The Age of Shadows takes place in 1920s Korea and Shanghai during the Japanese occupation. The stylistic espionage-thriller is based on real people and incidents surrounding the dramatic events that transpired between the Korean resistance and their occupiers.
Lee Jung-chool (Song Kang-ho), a Korean police captain in the Japanese police force, is given a special mission to infiltrate the armed resistance fighting for the independence of Korea, which is led by an old acquaintance of his, Kim Woo-jin (Gong Yoo). After an intel leak and the death of a resistance leader, pressure on Captain Lee to take down the resistance grows - but as he works deeper into their web, it becomes more unclear who is actually playing who and where true allegiances lie.
The Age of Shadows received critical praise at the 73rd Annual Venice International Film Festival and from movie critics across the country. The Washington Post said it was "a stylish and morally complex thriller", while Roger and Ebert wrote that "it's beautifully conceived, framed, and executed". The film was picked as South Korea's contender for the 89th Academy Awards best foreign-language film category.
The Age of Shadows is directed by the visionary Kim Jee-woon ("The Last Stand", "I Saw the Devil", "The Good, the Bad, the Weird", "A Bittersweet Life") and stars Song Kang-ho as Lee Jung-chool ("The Throne", "The Attorney", "The Host", "Snowpiercer", "Thirst", "The Good, the Bad, the Weird"), Gong Yoo as Kim Woo-jin ("Train to Busan", "A Man and A Woman", "The Suspect", "The Crucible", "Finding Mr. Destiny") and Han Ji-min as Yeon Gye-soon ("The Fatal Encounter", "Detective K").
Announce Date: 4/12/17
Digital Street Date: 5/2/17
DVD & Blu-ray Street Date: 5/2/17
Run Time: Feature: Approx. 116 minutes
Rating: NR
Genre: Action/Adventure/War
DVD Price: $17.99 SRP
Blu-ray-DVD Combo Pack Price: $22.99 SRP
Language: Korean (5.1), English Dub
Subtitles: English
Presented in 16x9 widescreen format

Pre-order from Amazon

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April 16, 2017

Director-actor duos of Korean cinema

Kim Min-hee has been enjoying a year of unprecedented success, winning best actress at the Berlin film fest for “Alone on the Beach at Night” and with two other films she has starred in -- “Clair’s Camera” and “The Day After” -- set to screen at the Cannes Film Festival in May. 

The common factor between the three films is director Hong Sang-soo, with whom she has openly admitted to have a romantic relationship. 

Strong creative bonds commonly exist between directors and actors, with the latter often serving as screen embodiments of personas envisioned by the former. 

The Korea Herald has compiled a list of director-actor duos that have gained both local and international fame. 

Bong Joon-ho, Tilda Swinton and Song Kang-ho

Hong Sang-soo, Jung Jae-young and Isabelle Huppert

E J Yong & Youn Yuh-jung 

Kim Jee-woon & Lee Byung-hun

Director Kim Jee-woon rose to acclaim through his highly stylized, elegant depictions of bleak lives. Actor Lee Byung-hun is a central figure in his filmography, the core of the director’s calculated cinematography. 

The 2005 mobster noir “A Bittersweet Life” still remains one of Kim and Lee’s representative works to this day. Lee plays Seon-woo, a loyal and perfectionist gangster whose life spirals out of control when he is ordered to carry out the dangerous task of spying on his boss’ girlfriend, and acts on an emotional impulse.


A still of the film “A Bittersweet Life,” depicting Lee Byung-hun (CJ Entertainment)

In Kim’s Korean-style Western adventure “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” (2008), an homage to Clint Eastwood’s “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” and set against the backdrop of 1930s Manchuria, Lee plays “the bad” gang leader Park Chang-yi. The character is ruthless in his single-minded pursuit of treasure depicted on a mysterious map, the dark counterpart of “the weird” train robber played by Song Kang-ho and “the good” bounty hunter played by Jung Woo-sung. 

The role brought Lee critical and popular acclaim, imprinting him in viewers’ minds as a villain of all-consuming force. Lee called Kim an “intense director” in a 2009 interview. “You can tell from his films. How can you create such scenes … if you are not intense?

By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com)

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May 3, 2017

“The Handmaiden” And “Goblin” Take Home Grand Prizes At The 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards + Full List Of Winners

Source: Soompi by J. Lim



The 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards were held on May 3 to celebrate the best and brightest of Korean films and dramas. Actors, entertainers, directors, and screenwriters arrived to a dazzling red carpet event before participating in the prestigious awards ceremony. Suzy returned to MC the event and was joined by actor Park Joong Hoon.

The grand award in film was awarded to Park Chan Wook for his movie, “The Handmaiden” while Kim Eun Sook took home the grand award in television for her widely-popular drama, “Goblin.”

Park Chan Wook, like many of the other winners of the night, took his time on stage as an opportunity to make a meaningful statement as South Korea nears its 19th presidential elections. He said, “I think I should be able to say this since I won this award for ‘The Handmaiden.’ I hope that when people are voting for who will be the next president, they will take into consideration whether that candidate will be able to create a society where people are not discriminated against for their gender, sexual identity, and sexual orientation.”

Other notable winners included Song Kang Ho and Son Ye Jin for Best Actor and Actress in film, while Gong Yoo and Seo Hyun Jin won the same award for television. Do Kyung Soo (EXO’s D.O.), girls’ Generation’s YoonA, Park Bo Gum, and Kim Yoo Jung took home the Popularity Award for their respective productions.

The complete list of winners is as follows:

Movie Categories:

Grand Award – Park Chan Wook for “The Handmaiden”
Best Film – “The Wailing”
Best Director -Kim Ji Woon for “The Age of Shadows”
Best New Director – Yeon Sang Ho for “Train to Busan”
Best Actor – Song Kang Ho for “The Age of Shadows”
Best Actress – Son Ye Jin for “The Last Princess”
Best Supporting Actor – Kim Ui Sung for “Train to Busan”
Best Supporting Actress -Kim So Jin for “The King”
Best New Actor – Ryu Jun Yeol for “The King”
Best New Actress – Lee Sang Hee for “Our Love Story”
Best Screenplay – Yoon Ga Eun for “The World of Us”
Male Popularity Award – Do Kyung Soo (EXO’s D.O.) for “My Annoying Brother”
Female Popularity Award – YoonA (Girls’ Generation) for “Confidential Assignment”

Television Categories:

Grand Award – Kim Eun Sook for “Goblin”
Best TV Drama – tvN’s “Dear My Friends”
Best Entertainment Program – SBS’s “My Ugly Duckling”
Best Educational/Cultural Show – JTBC’s “War of Words”
Best Director – Yoo In Sik for “Romantic Doctor Kim”
Best Actor – Gong Yoo for “Goblin”
Best Actress – Seo Hyun Jin for “Another Oh Hae Young”
Best New Actor – Kim Min Suk for “Doctors”
Best New Actress – Lee Se Young for “Laurel Tree Tailors”
Best Screenplay – No Hee Kyung for “Dear My Friends”
Best Variety Star (Male) – Yang Se Hyung for “Moby richard simmons Yang Se Hyung’s Short-erview”
Best Variety Star (Female) – Park Na Rae for “I Live Alone”
Male Popularity Award – Park Bo Gum for “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds”
Female Popularity Award – Kim Yoo Jung for “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds”
Best Style Award – Kim Ha Neul for “On the Way to the Airport”
Lifetime Achievement Award – Kim Young Ae

Congratulations to everyone!

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May 3, 2017

53rd Baeksang Arts Awards 2017 Winners in Movies

Source: Hancinema.net


53rd Baeksang Arts Awards 2017 winners in movies.

Grand Prize (Daesang)

"The Handmaiden" - Park Chan-wook

Best Film

"The Wailing" - Na Hong-jin

Best Director

"The Age of Shadows" - Kim Jee-woon


Best Leading Actor

"The Age of Shadows" - Song Kang-ho

Best Leading Actress

"The Last Princess" - Son Ye-jin

Best Supporting Actor

"Train to Busan" - Kim Ee-seong

Best Supporting Actress

"The King" - Kim So-jin

Best New Actor

"The King" - Ryu Jun-yeol

Best New Actress

"Our Love Story" - Lee Sang-hee-II

Best Screenplay

"The World of Us" - Yoon Ga-eun

Best New Director

"Train to Busan" - Yeon Sang-ho

Most Popular Actor

"My Annoying Brother" - Doh Kyung-soo

Most Popular Actress

"Confidential Assignment" - Yoona

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May 4, 2017

53rd Baeksang Arts Awards Release Final Voting Breakdown For Each Category

Source: Soompi by J. Lim 


The 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards were held on May 3 to honor the actors, entertainers, directors, and screenwriters who made last year shine with excellent TV and film productions.

Now that the results are out, the Baeksang Arts Awards have released the final voting breakdown for each category. The table shows how many votes each nominee received, with each judge given one vote per award.

For the Grand Prize awards, each judge was tasked with nominating either a person or a production. In the movie categories, three judges nominated Park Chan Wook, who won the award for his film, “The Handmaiden.” In the television category, Kim Eun Sook received five recommendations while Gong Yoo received two, both for their work on tvN’s “Goblin,” which meant that Kim Eun Sook took home the award.

The seven judges for the movie categories were director Lee Jang Ho (chairman), director Kwon Chil In, movie critic Kim Bong Suk, CEO Seo Woo Sik of Contents W, CEO Shim Jae Myung of Myung Film, movie critic Lee Dong Jin, and professor Choi Gun Young of Far East University.

The seven judges for the television categories were Joo Chul Hwan, the director of the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, professor Kim Mi Ra of Seoul Women’s University, CEO Kim Ok Young of Story On, professor Woo Mi Sung of Yonsei University, professor Lee Dong Gyu of Dongduk Women’s University, pop culture critic Jung Duk Hyun, and professor Hong Kyung Soo of Soonchunhyang University.

The judges were chosen by consulting a panel of professionals and experts in the relevant fields. For television, the opinions of Pyo Jae Soon, the former director of the Cultural Enrichment Committee, and Yang Sung Hee, who heads the cultural department of the Korea Joongang Daily. For movies, the panel included Lee Chun Yeon, the CEO of Cine 2000, Shim Young, the CEO of the drama PR firm ShallWeTalk, and Lee Eun Joo, the editor-in-chief of Magazine M.

The nominee list was also created by collecting opinions from industry experts. For the television categories, 26 industry experts were surveyed from March 15 to 24, with opinions taken from drama, variety, and educational program PDs, as well as representatives from the Korea Broadcast Advertising Corporation (KOBACO) and the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA). Those surveyed included SBS director Kim Young Sub, KBS CP Kim Young Do, MBC PD No Si Young, EBS PD Lee Mi Sol, and tvN director Ahn Sang Hwee.

For films, 28 film experts were surveyed to pick the best productions in the past year. To find the balance between production value and mass appeal, a variety of professionals were contacted, with jobs ranging from director, screenwriter, distributor, production company representative, movie reporters, and film critics.

The nominees and votes for each category were as follows.

Movie categories:


Television categories:


Source (1)

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July 10, 2017

When the Screen is Not Enough
Talented Korean Filmmakers Stepping into Other Fields of Art

by KIM Su-bin / KoBiz


Talented filmmakers are expanding their horizons beyond the silver screen. KIM Tae-yong directed a traditional Korean musical performance, while PARK Chan-wook and PARK Chan-kyong’s 3D artwork is currently on display, and KIM Jee-woon directed a music video as part of a musical number. 

Read full article HERE

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July 18, 2017

Kim Jee-woon’s upcoming sci-fi flick boasts stellar cast

A star-studded cast has been confirmed for Kim Jee-woon’s upcoming film “Inlang.”

Gang Dong-won, Han Hyo-joo, Jung Woo-sung, Kim Moo-yeol, Han Ye-ri and Huh Joon-ho are set to star in the director’s sci-fi flick.

The film’s production company Louis Pictures announced that casting had been completed and principal photography would kick off in August.

The film is a remake of the Japanese animation of the same title. It is set in a future where South and North Korea have agreed on gradual unification and terrorist groups rise in aggressive opposition.

(From left) Jung Woo-sung, Gang Dong-won, Han Hyo-joo (Herald Pop)

Gang will play a special agent who struggles between obligation and conscience.

Meanwhile, Jung is working with director Kim for the first time in 10 years, since the 2008 fusion Western “The Good, the Bad, the Weird.” 

The film will open in local theaters next year. 


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July 18, 2017


Richard Gray The Reel Bits.com

KOFFIA 2017 
The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) is back for its 8th year, and they have now announced their full national program of films. Yes, the festival season continues its relentless march on our spare time, and we are its willing slaves.

This year the 24 contemporary Korean films, spanning everything from romance to post-apocalyptic animation, are joined by a 6-film Kim Jee-woon retrospective. Kicking off nationally from 17 August in Sydney, it concludes the national leg in Hobart on 23 September. Check out koffia.com.au for full details and tickets.

Here we’ve chose 10 films that float our boat, including award-winners, blockbuster dramas, and a few films with a unique Australian flavour. Agree or disagree? Have your own picks? Sound-off in the comments section below.

The Day After

One of three Hong Sang-soo films released theatrically this year, this one competed for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The married Bongwan (Hae-hyo Kwon) heads out to work with the memories of the woman who left weighing on him. When his wife finds a love note, she bursts into the office, and mistakes Areum (Min-hee Kim) for the woman who left. An essential Korean film for 2017 from one of the cinematic greats.

Seoul Station

The prequel to Train to Busan has been floating since last year, but for many cities in Australia this will be the first opportunity to see it on the big screen. Sang-ho Yeon is no stranger to animation, having brought us The King of Pigs back in 2011. Here we see the start of the breakout, as several groups of people attempt to flee from the zombifying infestation as it begins to take over the capital of South Korea.

Single Rider

Zoo-young Lee’s film was shot in Australia, so this one has a particular connection for KOFFIA. After fund manager Jae-hoon’s (The Magnificent Seven‘s Byung-hun Lee) company goes belly-up, he travels to Sydney to where his wife Soo-jin (Hyo-jin Kong, Missing Woman) and his son live. However, he begins to observe Soon-jin’s affair with Australian neighbour Chris from a distance. Drama and glorious shots of the harbour city ensue.

Passage to Pusan

Continuing to tell Australian stories in the Korean context, director Louise Evans works with the Korean Cultural Centre Australia for the story of her great-grandmother, who made her way to a war-torn Pusan 60 years earlier to seek the grave of her son. It’s a document on the lasting impact of the war on the region, and said to be an intimate portrait of a family.

Anarchist from Colony

Director Joon-ik Lee (King and the Clown) takes us back to 1923 and the Japanese Colonial era in a study of Yeol Park, the titular anarchist and activist of the era. Played by Lee Je-hoon (Phantom Detective), it picks up after Yeol is arrested in the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake.

The Tooth and the Nail

It’s about a girl – in trouble! Chronologically following Anarchist from Colony, Hwi Kim and Sik Jung’s film is set after the end of Japanese occupation.  Based on the novel by Bill S. Ballinger, the crime thriller follows a magician who meets a mysterious woman who asks for help. Shots are fired, and a mystery follows. 

The King

Being marketed as the Korean Wolf of Wall Street, this 1990s set crime drama focuses on Tae-su (TV’s Jo In-sung) as he attempts to rise through the power ranks as a criminal prosecutor. At least until he meets the king of the prosecutors, and realizes what the true power behind the throne is.

New Trial

Another legal drama, director Tae-yun Kim’s film was a box office sensation in Korea. It’s a wrong man thriller in which the sole witness to the killing of a taxi driver is mistakenly convicted of his murder, and the lawyer who picks up the case a decade later in the pursuit of justice.

The Quiet Family

Revisit Kim Jee-woon’s first feature almost 20 years after its debut, an absurdly dark comedy skewering the notions of the ‘average’ Korean family. The best part is that it’s free, playing alongside I Saw the Devil, The Good, The Bad, The Weird, A Bittersweet Life, A Tale of Two Sisters, and The Foul King as part of a Kim Jee-woon retrospective at the Korean Cultural Centre. Back in the day, we presented a number of these at the Centre, so we can personally vouch for the awesomeness of the locale and the films.

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Clip: Korean Film Festival Australia @koffiafilmfest

#KimJeeWoon #ISawTheDevil #TheFoulKing #TheGoodTheBadTheWeird #TheQuietFamily #ABittersweetLife


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July 28, 2017

KIM Jee-woon’s Sci-fi Action INRANG Starts Shooting in August
GANG Dong-won, JUNG Woo-sung and HAN Hyo-joo Line Up for JIN-ROH Adaptation

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

Following-up his hit The Age of Shadows from last year, KIM Jee-woon will be back in the director’s chair in August for his ninth film, currently titled Inrang. The sci-fi action title is a live action adaption of OSHII Mamoru’s anime Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999) and will star GANG Dong-won, JUNG Woo-sung and HAN Hyo-joo.

The story takes place in the near future as North and South Korea get ready to reunite after a seven year preparation period. GANG of A Violent Prosecutor (2016) is on board as an officer, working in a unit designed to quash anti-reunification terrorists, whose world is turned upside down when he witnesses a girl die before his eyes. JUNG, last seen in The King, plays a veteran officer who trained GANG while HAN Hyo-joo of The Beauty Inside (2015) is cast as the victim’s older sister.

Joining the main cast will be GIM Mu-yeol of Eungyo (2012), HAN Ye-ri (Worst Woman, 2016) and HU Joon-ho (The Merciless) and Shinee member Min-ho.

Released last Chuseok, The Age of Shadows, the first Korean film to be fully financed and distributed by Warner Brothers, became a significant hit, accumulating 7.5 million viewers (USD 54.68 million). KIM’s previous works include modern classics such as A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) and A Bittersweet Life (2005) as well as his Hollywood debut The Last Stand (2013) with Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

With Lewis Pictures of Haemoo (2014) and Okja on board as producer and Union Investment Partners financing the project, production kicks off next month in preparation for a summer 2018 release.

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August 3, 2017

THE WORLD OF US Opens 8th Korean Film Festival in Australia
KOFFIA Expands to 8 Cities

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

The Korean Film Festival in Australia returns later this month bigger than ever before. The 8th edition of KOFFIA is set to screen 36 films across 8 cities as the festival moves around Australia, beginning in Sydney on August 17th and winding up in Darwin and Hobart (new additions to the festival circuit) on September 23rd.

Opening the event in Sydney will be YOON Ga-eun’s indie youth drama The World of Us (2016) which debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival last year. The closing film will be The Queen of Crime (2016) for which director LEE Yo-sup will be present. Other guests include directors E J-yong and LEE Zoo-young, who will visit Sydney with their films The Bacchus Lady (another 2016 Berlin premiere) and A Single Rider, the second Warner Bros. Korea film, which was shot in Australia and features LEE Byung-hun.

KOFFIA will also be holding a KIM Jee-woon retrospective at this year’s event. His latest film The Age of Shadows (2016) is in the main program while six of his earlier works, including A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003), A Bittersweet Life (2005) and I Saw The Devil (2010) will have free screenings.

Other films screening this year include The Merciless, Seoul Station (2016), The Tooth and the Nail, The Day After, The King, The Villainess, Worst Woman (2016) and Jane.

When the screenings in Sydney wrap up on August 26th, KOFFIA will visit Adelaide (Sep 1-3), Perth (Sep 1-3), Melbourne (Sep 7-14), Brisbane (Sep 8-10), Canberra (Sep 15-17), Darwin (Sep 22-23) and Hobart (Sep 22-23).

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August 19, 2017

News: Fox Resuscitates A BITTERSWEET LIFE Remake with Michael B. Jordan

By Pierce Conran Modern Korean Cinema


Stop me if you think you've heard this one before but a remake of A Bittersweet Life is reportedly coming together at 20th Century Fox with Michael B. Jordan taking on Lee Byung-hun's classic gangster role and former animation director Jennifer Yuh Nelson filling Kim Jee-woon's shoes in what is tipped to be a franchise-starter.

A tale of a suave and loyal gang enforcer who falls for the wrong girl before embarking on a brutal vendetta against his own clan, A Bittersweet Life is for many the signature work of both Lee and Kim. Fox seems determined to remake it but this is now the third different iteration of the project and it's not likely to go before cameras anytime soon.

Back in 2009 there were rumors that Denzel Washington was attached to star in a remake of the film and then in 2012 news broke that Allen Hughes was at the helm, but at that time no star was listed with the project (though some speculated that since Hughes and Washington had worked together on Book of Eli the latter might still be the project's lead).

Fast forward to 2017 and the director's chair has passed on to Korean-American filmmaker Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who helmed both Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3. She's currently filming her live action debut, an adaptation of Alexandra Bracken's YA novel The Darkest Minds. With that film due for release in September, 2018, A Bittersweet Life would hit screens in 2019 at the earliest.

Whether it actually happens or not, Creed star Jordan is an enticing prospect to take on the lead role. The project is being produced by 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy, Dan Levine and Dan Cohen, with CJ Entertainment, the Korean studio behind the original, also on board.

Meanwhile, Lee Byung-hun is back on screens in period action-drama The Fortress next month and Kim Jee-woon is busy working on his live action Jinroh: The Wolf Brigade update In-rang for a summer slot in 2018.

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