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November 29, 2018

 

Fear leads in ‘Door Lock’ as Kong jumps genres: Film tackles that feeling of dread shared by so many people living alone

 

Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily

 

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[MEGABOX PLUS M]


Women living alone are easy targets for crime. Headlines often tell horror stories about women being stalked or attacked by strangers who devise various ways to enter their victims’ home like sneaking through a small bathroom window. The upcoming film “Door Lock,” directed by Lee Kwon of “My Ordinary Love Story” (2014), is a horror movie that harvests that fear.

 

Starring Kong Hyo-jin, the movie is based on the Spanish psychological thriller “Sleep Tight” (2011). The Korean adaptation features Gyeong-min (Kong), a bank employee. As a temporary worker, she faces intense pressure to perform in order to get her contract extended, but her work life is ameliorated thanks to her colleague Hyo-ju (Kim Ye-won), who always backs her up.

 

As a woman living alone, Gyeong-min lives in constant fear of possible intruders. To create the impression that she does not live by herself, she hangs men’s underwear on the drying line and places men’s shoes at the door. But her efforts prove futile, and she experiences a series of events that threaten her security, like a stranger attempting to unlock her door in the middle of the night. She calls the police for help, but is not taken seriously. Instead, they tell her that they can only start an investigation after something happens. 

 

Without the help of the police, Gyeong-min continues to experience unsettling occurrences. 

 

“These days, so many unbelievable things are happening in real life,” said Kong during an interview held on Tuesday. “And what happens in the movie seems really plausible, which I think will make a strong impact.”

 

It was important for Kong that Gyeong-min not simply be seen as a woman being attacked by a man. Kong stressed that anyone placed in Gyeong-min’s shoes, regardless of their gender, could feel the same level of fear. 

 

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In “Door Lock,” Kong Hyo-jin plays a banker who faces a series of threats while living by herself. [MEGABOX PLUS M]

 

“The fear of being attacked does not just apply to Gyeong-min, but to anyone - whether a woman or a man - who lives alone. Even if the victim’s and the assailant’s genders were flipped, I believe the movie would still be just as frightening.” 

 

As with many characters in horror films, Gyeong-min makes unconvincing choices that test the audience, like willingly walking into the house of a potential criminal. But Kong tried her best to win over the viewers by continuously questioning what she would have done in real life if she were Gyeong-min. The director took many of her suggestions seriously.

 

“I think I demanded a lot from the director,” Kong said. The director originally planned to take the movie to extremes, with scenes of the villain burning alive, but Kong tried to keep the story down-to-earth. “I guess the actions and attitudes of Gyeong-min reflect my actual thoughts,” she added.

 

Unlike many characters that Kong has played in the past - like the red-faced high school teacher with a strong sense of inferiority in “Crush and Blush” (2008) and a mysterious Korean-Chinese nanny in “Missing” (2016) - Gyeong-min is quite average. 

 

“Since Gyeong-min is very ordinary compared to other characters I have played, I constantly questioned myself on set.” 

 

Though Kong did not necessarily feel comfortable about the role and the genre (“Door Lock” is her first horror film since her 1999 debut), she felt it was the right decision.

 

“Pushing the boundaries and venturing outside familiar areas is very important because I realized that repeatedly working on the genres that I prefer could limit my acting range. I have to continue taking on challenges in order to not feel awkward acting in different genres.” 

 

Co-starring Kim Sung-oh, “Door Lock” is scheduled for release on Dec. 5 and is rated 15 and above.

 

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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Source: Pierce Conran

 

DOORLOCK, a remake of Spanish film SLEEP TIGHT, is this year’s best Korean thriller. Kong Hyo-jin is once again excellent in a film that pulses with unease and maintains seat-gripping tension throughout. Very different from original and absolutely of the moment. 

Source: Jason Bechervaise

 

Tonight I saw Lee Kwon’s DOOR LOCK starring Kong Hyo-jin on great form, and it was terrific! Frankly, it’s been a weak yr for commercial Korean cinema, and this film is exactly what the industry needed. Thrilling and well-crafted on a modest budget, it won’t disappoint. 

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@rubie Thrilled to see Door Lock being touted as the 2018's best Korean thriller and uri Gongvely garnering critical acclaim for her performance! It is exciting to see how she continues to challenge herself with a broad repertoire of genres and roles and I am very proud of her achievements. I can't wait to watch when it finally airs!

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1 hour ago, liddi said:

@rubie Thrilled to see Door Lock being touted as the 2018's best Korean thriller and uri Gongvely garnering critical acclaim for her performance! It is exciting to see how she continues to challenge herself with a broad repertoire of genres and roles and I am very proud of her achievements. I can't wait to watch when it finally airs!

 I totally agree Liddi!! I love that she's also so much involved in portraying her character/s which says so much about her professionality. I can't when to see it and I hope it hits international acclaim and so be shown worldwide. She even said that herself.. "it could be shown in Indonesia, it's not impossible" but depending on circumatances (what she said on her IG live when someone asked her if Doorlock will be shown in Indonesia. And of course it applies to other countries too). 

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December 18, 2018

 

Kong Hyo-jin's Latest Film Draws 1 Million Viewers
 

Source: The Chosun Ilbo

 

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Actress Kong Hyo-jin's latest film "Door Lock" has attracted over 1 million viewers in about two weeks since its release in early December.

 

The thriller attracted 1.43 million viewers as of Sunday, the Korean Film Council said Monday.

 

"Door Lock" is about a woman who lives alone and finds evidence that someone broke into her apartment.

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Source: Pierce Conran

 

Here are the posters for HIT-AND-RUN SQUAD! Action-thriller with Gong Hyo-jin, Ryu Jun-yeol & Jo Jung-seok from COIN LOCKER GIRL director Han Jun-hee is one of next year’s most exciting Korean titles. Hits theaters next month for Lunar New Year holiday

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December 30, 2018


Top 10 Korean Films of 2018

 

By Jason Bechervaise The Korea Times

 

With more than 100 titles released each year, it's always a challenging feat to compile a list of the top 10 Korean films of the year. Although 2018 won't go down as one of the most fruitful years for Korean cinema, there have been a number of notable films, not least Lee Chang-dong's stupendous "Burning" that tops this list. 

 

The following top 10 films were released in local cinemas between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018. 

 

1. Burning 

Few filmmakers can consistently make masterpieces, but Lee Chang-dong has managed it. Topping jury grids following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, "Burning" became the best reviewed film ever to bow on the Croisette. 

Based on Haruki Murakami's short story "Barn Burning," it centers on a love triangle between a mysterious young woman and two men. Starring Yoo Ah-in, Jeon Jong-seo and Steven Yeun, the film's premise is deceptively simple. As Lee Chang-dong pulls his viewers in, the story becomes increasingly layered and perplexing as he puts together an extraordinary narrative depicting the despair among young people. 

Unfortunately, the film failed to strike a chord with audiences in Korea mustering just 528,000 admissions. But it has made history becoming the first Korean film to be shortlisted for the best foreign language academy award, and could well land a nomination. 

 

2. The Spy Gone North 
Yoon Jong-bin's slow-burning spy thriller is an enthralling display of espionage that is more reliant on dialogue than set-pieces ― much in the same way as Kim Jee-woon's "The Age of Shadows" and Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

Hwang Jung-min stars as a South Korean agent who infiltrates the North in the 1990s to obtain intelligence on their nuclear plans. 

Capturing the current geopolitical climate culminating in a rousing climax, it is arguably one of the best films dealing with inter-Korean relations. 

 

3. Swing Kids 

When it comes to cinematic rhythm, Kang Hyeong-cheol ("Sunny") is in a league of his own. Bringing together a dazzling display of visuals and a vibrant soundtrack in his latest feature, it will spur viewers to tap dance all the way home. 

Set in a POW camp during the Korean War, a tap dance group is set up to improve the image of the camp following violence that breaks out between the prisoners. It stars Do Kyung-soo, Park Hye-su, Jared Grimes and Oh Jung-se. 

Suffering somewhat from a weak ending, it is nevertheless a visual triumph. 

 

4. Microhabitat 

Bagging a number of new director awards, Jeon Go-woon is a talent to look out for. Her feature debut is a distinctive and immensely enjoyable exploration of independence and happiness. 

Esom plays a young woman in her 30s who is content just drinking whisky, smoking cigarettes and spending time with her boyfriend. 

Addressing a recurring theme in Korean independent cinema with a focus on Korea's young people, it's a refreshing and richly stylized glimpse at the choices facing this generation. 

 

5. Ode to the Goose 

Enigmatic and yet also entertaining, Zhang Lu's new feature that premiered at the Busan International Film Festival in October again illustrates his talent as both a writer and director. 

Playing around with national identity, his non-linear narrative structure might be a challenge for some audiences. But starring Park Hae-il and Moon So-ri about an aspiring poet who takes a spontaneous trip to Gunsan with a woman he has feelings for, it's a richly rewarding experience, especially for those who can spot the numerous cameos. 

 

6. After My Death 

Cleverly bringing an intensity to his narrative, this is another very impressive feature debut by a young filmmaker, Kim Ui-seok who tackles the subject of suicide. 

Jeon Yeo-bin who has attracted much attention for her role in this film winning a number of awards is superb as a student suspected of playing a part in the disappearance of a high school student thought to have killed herself. 
Refusing to strive for narrative clarity, Kim masterfully utilises the film's ambiguity to add to its potency. 

 

7. Door Lock 

Based on the Spanish film "Sleep Tight" (2011), Lee Kwon's thrilling feature follows a woman (Gong Hyo-jin) living alone while a mysterious man attempts to get into her apartment. With a strong female lead, it deftly deals with the difficulties facing women in Korea. 
Superbly orchestrated on a mid-sized budget, it's evidence of how the industry is shifting its focus to lower budget films. 

 

8. Little Forest 
There is certainly a place for socially conscious films, but what's so enchanting about this film is how it whisks viewers away and takes them to idyllic rural Korea in which a young woman (Kim Tae-ri) returns to the countryside following struggles in the city. She does a lot of cooking. 
It might be guilty of romanticizing life as a young person living alone in the middle of nowhere, but Yim Soon-rye's delightful film is sure to bring a smile to those who check it out ― and make them rather peckish. 

 

9. Grass

It's not a top ten list without a Hong Sang-soo film on it somewhere. With at least two films premiering at festivals annually, he's as prolific as ever. 
It stars his muse Kim Min-hee as a Seoul cafe patron who writes as she listens in on conversations taking place in the coffee shop. At a brisk 66 minutes he packs in a wealth of substance that's full of his idiosyncratic character, wit and brilliance. 

 

10. Herstory 

Coming later than other films dealing with comfort women such as "Spirits' Homecoming", it was a box office disappointment despite much critical affection for it. 

Featuring an ensemble cast that includes Kim Hee-ae and Kim Hae-sook the film directed by Min Kyu-dong is based on the so-called Shimonoseki trials during the 1990s. The court drama follows a group of former sex slaves who sought an official apology and compensation from the Japanese government.

Less dependent on emotions in empowering the narrative, the film's strong production values, well-written script and superb performances make this an unforgettable viewing experience. 

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Source: Pierce Conran

 

5. Door Lock (도어락)

 

Following his wonderfully offbeat horror-romcom My Ordinary Love Story, which was unjustly overlooked in 2014, Lee Kwon has finally gotten some of the recognition he deserves for his third film, the taught, claustrophobic and socially-driven mystery-thriller Door Lock. This remake of Jaume Balagueró’s Sleep Tight completely reworks the story (even switching the main character) and provides another compelling showcase for Gong Hyo-jin. Unusually focused for a commercial Korean thriller, the film employs precise mise-en-scene that heightens a tale teeming with compelling and contemporary social edge.

 

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January 1, 2019 happy-new-year-2.gif

 

'Parasite' headlines Korean cinema in 2019

 

Spoiler

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Actor Song Kang-ho is seen in Bong Joon-ho's new film "Parasite." / Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

 

By Jason Bechervaise The Korea Times

 

Last year it was Lee Chang-dong's "Burning" that stood out. He certainly didn't disappoint. In 2019 it is Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite" that holds the most promise in terms of the Korean films set to hit screens over the next twelve months. 

 

In truth, this year it's looking a bit lighter than usual, perhaps reflecting two concerns for the industry: a string of high-profile films such as Kim Jee-woon's "Illang: The Wolf Brigade" flopped in 2018, while working regulations to limit the amount of hours crews can work is set to increase budgets. 

 

That being said, there is still much to look forward to. Indeed, in 2018 there were encouraging signs in the form of mid-budget features such as "Little Forest" and "On Your Wedding Day" that succeeded in pulling in the crowds. Some of the best Korean films have been produced on such budgets making this a healthy development for the industry.

 

'Parasite'

 

Quite possibly premiering in Cannes in May with a local release soon to follow, there is much to anticipate with a new Bong Joon-ho film. But this new feature is notable because it will mark his return to Korean language films; his last Korean film that was not an international co-production was "Mother" in 2009. 

 

Starring Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong and Jang Hye-jin, it follows two families who are markedly different yet also alike. Shot around the country including Jeonju where a set was built for the film, comparisons are already being made to Kim Ki-young's 1960 classic "The Housemaid" that centres on a family. 

 

Much like Lee Chang-dong, Bong is incapable of making a bad film. Expect this to feature in top 10 lists at the end of 2019.

 

'Hit-and-Run Squad'

 

Released in time for the Lunar New Year season, Han Jun-hee's action-thriller looks promising. Han who brought us the thrilling "Coin Locker Girl" brings together Kong Hyo-jin ("Door Lock") and Ryoo Joon-yeol ("Believer"). The pair work together on a hit-and-run squad to bring down a former formula one racing driver who has become a businessman. 

 

'Beasts that Cling to the Straw'

 

Featuring a host of names including Jeon Do-yeon, Jung Woo-sung and Youn Yuh-jung, it's the casting that makes this one to look out for. Directed by Kim Yong-hoon, the mystery-thriller is an adaptation of Sone Keisuke's novel of the same name. It follows a number of characters as they find themselves in challenging circumstances. 

 

'Birthday'

 

Also starring Jeon Do-yeon is the first commercial film to deal with the 2014 tragic Sewol ferry sinking. The actress will play a woman who is coming to terms with the death of her son who was on board the ship, while Sul Kyung-gu will star as the boy's father. The drama will mark the feature debut of Lee Jong-eun who has worked under Lee Chang-dong on "Secret Sunshine" and "Poetry." 

 

'Astronomy'

 

Han Suk-kyu and Choi Min-sik reunite in Hur Jin-ho's period drama about Korea's most revered monarch King Sejong, and the renowned scientist and inventor Jang Yeong-sil. Han will play the King, while Choi has been cast as Jang. The pair played leading roles in the seminal action-thriller "Shiri" (1999) that ushered in the local blockbuster era. Famous for his melodramas, Hur Jin-ho also collaborated with Han Suk-kyu on his iconic film "Christmas in August." The director will be hoping to repeat the success of his period film "The Last Princess" that was a commercial hit in 2016. 

 

'Naratmalssami'

 

Another period film also centered on King Sejong to be released in 2019 is Cho Chul-hyun's feature debut. Featuring Song Kang-ho and Park Hae-il, the film follows the King (Song) and the monk who assisted him (Park). King Sejong is famous for having created Hangul, the Korean writing system. Cho has produced a number of films including many of Lee Joon-ik's features, while he also co-wrote Lee's "The Throne" ― also starring Song Kang-ho. 

 

'Find Me'

 

In her first role in a feature since Park Chan-wook's "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" Lee Young-ae's return to the big screen is bound to attract attention. The actress plays the mother of a boy with cognitive impairment who goes missing and she goes looking for him. The film marks the feature debut of Kim Seung-woo. 

 

'Chiefs of Namsan'

 

Although Woo Min-ho's "Drug King" was a disappointment, his next political thriller about the former Korean Central Intelligence Agency Chief Kim Jae-gyu who assassinated former President Park Chung-hee in 1979 sounds intriguing. With Lee Byung-hun playing the lead role as Kim Gyu-pyung (based on Kim Jae-kyu), it is perhaps more in line with his hit "Inside Men" than his more recent film that failed to fully integrate the turbulent 1970s backdrop. Given the story, comparisons to Im Sang-soo's "The President's Last Bang" are inevitable. 

 

Other films 

 

There are also a host of other films set to greet audiences this year. Kim Joo-hwan who made the immensely entertaining "Midnight Runners" is helming the action film "The Divine Fury" starring Park Seo-joon. Kwon Oh-kwang ("Collective Invention) will bring us "Tazza 3," Jang Jae-hyun ("The Priests") returns to Catholicism in "Sabaha," Won Sin-yeon ("The Suspect") is set to provide much spectacle in the period action film "Battle," while Kwak Kyung-taek and Kim Tae-hoon are partnering up for the Korean War film "The Battle of Jangsari" that will star Hollywood actress Megan Fox. 

 

Jason Bechervaise is professor of entertainment and arts management at Korea Soongsil Cyber University.

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February 8, 2019

 

Gong Hyo Jin Celebrates Lunar New Year With Celebrity Friends Son Ye Jin, Lee Min Jung, And More


Source: Soompi by Y. Shin

 

Gong Hyo Jin Celebrates Lunar New Year With Celebrity Friends Son Ye Jin, Lee Min Jung, And More

 

Gong Hyo Jin spent her Lunar New Years with close friends!

 

On February 8, the actress posted a photo of herself posing with Lee Jung Hyun, Lee Min Jung, Son Ye Jin, and Oh Yoon Ah with a caption that read, “Sharing New Year’s food gifts. Jung Hyun’s dining table. Wish you happy.”

 

 

In the photo, the actresses sit around a dining table and smile happily at the camera. The mood of this gathering is delightful as the ladies all wear comfortable clothing and wine glasses sit on top of the table.


Gong Hyo Jin recently starred in the action film “Hit-and-Run Squad” alongside Ryu Jun Yeol and Jo Jung Suk.

 

Source (1)

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April 7, 2019

 

April Bride & Friends: Group Photo at Lee Jung Hyun's Wedding

 

Source: SISUN News

 

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April 28, 2019

 

Actress Kong invites 1,000 underprivileged people to Jeonju film festival

 

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Actress Kong Hyo-jin holds a sign inviting people to the 20th Jeonju International Film Festival. Captured from Instagram

 

By Lee Gyu-lee The Korea Times


Actress Kong Hyo-jin has made a handsome cash donation to invite 1,000 underprivileged people to the 20th Jeonju International Film Festival, set for May 2-11, the festival's organizer said on Sunday. 

 

Kong is the 2019 representative of "Cinema Angel," a philanthropic campaign run by a group of Korean actors and actresses. The star-studded charity has given financial support to underprivileged people and independent filmmakers and festivals, including the Jeonju International Film Festival, over the past 12 years. 

 

The actress raised the cash by modeling for fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar. 

The donation ceremony was held on April 24. 

 

"I'm very happy to make this donation as Cinema Angel," said Kong at the ceremony. "I hope this gives the opportunity for people to get more involved in this festival." 

 

Kong, 39, debuted in 1999 in a supporting role in the horror movie Memento Mori. She has starred in numerous films and TV dramas. 


gyulee@koreatimes.co.kr

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