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[Movie 2010] I Saw The Devil 악마를 보았다

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September 6, 2010

Weekend Box Office: September 3-5

Reporter: Lucia Hong luciahong @ <Ⓒ 10Asia All rights reserved> 10Asia

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South Korea's box office estimates for the weekend of September 3-5, 2010 [Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS)]

"The Man From Nowhere" continues to shine as No. 1

Reporter: Lucia Hong Editor: Jessica Kim

Korean thriller "The Man From Nowhwere," starring Hallyu star Won Bin and child actress Kim Sae-ron, has outshined competition on the local box office once again for the fifth consecutive week. According to the Korean Box Office System (KOBIS) on Monday, "Man," about a reclusive former special agent who befriends a young girl next door, attracted 368,716 moviegoers during the weekend of September 3 to 5, while raking in over five million viewers since opening in theaters on August 4.

Hollywood action comedy "Killers," starring top actors Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, entered the local box office at No. 2, bringing in 175,041 ticket sales and Leonardo DiCaprio starrer "Inception" jumped up three slots from last week to re-enter the top tier with 95,627 admits.

Korean horror film "I Saw the Devil" remained in fourth place with 91,091 viewers, followed sequentially by Hollywood fantasy flick "The Last Airbender." selling 84,520 tickets. Other movies included in the top ten were "Piranha 3D," "Mulan," "After Life," "Bedeviled" and "Predators."

Reporter: Lucia Hong luciahong @ Editor: Jessica Kim jesskim @ <Ⓒ 10Asia All rights reserved> 10Asia

September 7, 2010

San Sebastian invites Poetry and I Saw the Devil

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The 58th San Sebastian International Film Festival has added a second Korean feature to its impressive line-up of films, inviting Lee Chang-dong’s Poetry to screen at the Spanish fest running this September 17-25. The Cannes-winning director’s latest will screen as the opening film of the Zabaltegi Pearls section, while fellow countryman and star director Kim Jee-woon’s grizzly thriller I Saw the Devil screens in the competitive Official Selection section.

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As the two titles indicate, the directors’ styles place them at opposing poles in the diverse spectrum of Korean cinema fare. Lee’s Poetry, which won Best Screenplay at Cannes this year, follows the path of woman in her 60s struggling with Alzheimer's disease who takes a poetry class and is tasked to write a poem. Kim’s I Saw the Devil follows the bizarre path of revenge a secret agent takes on a savage psychopath after his fiancée is brutally murdered.

The Official Selection offers awards in seven categories while the Zabaltegi Pearls section honors films that have previously won prizes at other prestigious festivals.

Nigel D’Sa (KOFIC)

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September 13, 2010

Weekend Box Office: September 10-12

Reporter: Lucia Hong luciahong @ <Ⓒ 10Asia All rights reserved> 10Asia

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South Korea's box office estimates for the weekend of September 10-12, 2010 [Korean Box Office Information System (KOBIS)]

"Trapped" knocks out "The Man From Nowhere"

Reporter: Lucia Hong luciahong @ Editor: Jessica Kim jesskim @ <Ⓒ 10Asia All rights reserved> 10Asia

Korean action movie tentatively titled "Trapped" took the No. 1 spot on the local box office over the weekend, pushing down five-week winner "The Man From Nowhere" to third place during the third week of September. According to the Korean Box Office System (KOBIS) on Monday, "Trapped," which opened in local theaters on September 9, came in first place, attracting 540,239 moviegoers for the weekend of September 10 to 12.

"Trapped," starring Sul Kyung-gu and Lee Jung-jin, is about a private eye named Kang Tae-sik (Sul) who becomes a prime suspect in a serial murder case that he is investigating. He has to clear his name with the help of a highly skilled computer programmer Ku Bon-Chi (played by Park Young-seo) while trying to escape the trap made by a troubleshooter (Lee).

Meanwhile, Japanese animation flick "The Borrowers," helmed by famed Japanese director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, entered the charts in second place bringing in 397,714 viewers, while former winner "The Man From Nowhere" dropped two spots to No. 3, selling 227,563 tickets.

Newly released Korean romantic comedy "Cyrano Agency" placed in at No. 4 with 51,217 admissions and horror film "Bedeviled" followed sequentially with 50,857 viewers. Other movies included in the top ten were "King of Quiz," "Inception," "Killers," "I Saw the Devil" and "The Last Airbender."

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September 13, 2010

Q&A: Is Kim Ji-woon's 'Devil' too graphic?

'Devil' director talks about the challenges his latest film faced

By Park Soo-mee

"I Saw the Devil," a new crime thriller by the director Kim Ji-woon, is hard to swallow for those who are used to the director's style. The film starring a duo of top Korean actors – Lee Byung-hun ("G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra") and Choi Min-shik ("OldBoy") – is a patch-up of ax-wielding and flesh-eating scenes that are far from being sensual or elegant as seen in his previous films like "A Bittersweet Life" (2005) and "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003), which was one of the country's widely-seen horror movies. Since opening in August, the gore thriller, a story of man and his revenge on a psychopath who killed his fiancee, much of the film's discussion has been focused on the expressions of violence and his choice of the gore genre. For a director who removed part of his film after being given a restricted rating by the Korea Media Rating Board twice, the film's response was an exhausting process for Kim. "I don't think it damaged the film's essence, but still you get to wonder 'why does it have to be my film?'" Nevertheless he's moving on. After competing in Toronto, he is already planned for making two other films, one of them an English remake of the 1970s French film "Max et les Ferrailleurs." Kim sat down with The Hollywood Reporter's Korea correspondent Park Soo-mee on a recent evening.

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The Hollywood Reporter: What's the response of the film like in Korea?

Kim Ji-woon: The divide is quite extreme. I can't say that I expected the film to be this controversial. It's a gore thriller, and the degree of expression is very strong. Even then, the audiences' reaction has been widely split. I think the film has been shut in a certain category after it was given a restricted rating. In a way I find that local media simplified the film's discourse. Also, I was disappointed about the board's decision to remove a certain section of the film. I don't think it has damaged the film's essence but still I don't know if it was necessary.

THR: Did you have a particular interest in gore thriller?

Ji-woon: I've always done films with a strong sense of genre from horror in "A Tale of Two Sisters" to "The Foul King" which had a particular humor code, and "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," a kimchi western. I always think of ways to express the film in the most fitting genre whenever I'm given a script. That's my mission. "I Saw the Devil" is a story of fierce revenge, which is why I decided to explore with a gore thriller. I think some audiences were taken aback by the film because it was dry and didn't have the sentimental values in such films as "A Bittersweet Life."

THR: I was personally disappointed with Choi Min-sik's performance in the film. For some reason I didn't feel that he had pushed beyond his limit. His role was too simplistic and lacked layers. How did you want to portray his role in this film?

Ji-woon: My expectation was to show the side of devil in a man as lively as possible. Choi is so gentle in real person. He doesn't even swear on the set. Maybe because of that there are subtle moments in this film where you find his position quite ambivalent like through his gaze at the victims and his appearance from the back. As a director, I was happy to see his character transform on the set. Also it's hard enough to show a devil like a real devil.

THR: Did you have in mind your cult following when you shot this film?

Ji-woon: I suppose, but then I never had a steady fan who endorsed all of my films. Except "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," I think the fans for my films were almost grouped into certain categories. For example, some people would love "Bittersweet Life" and "Foul King" but hate "Tale of Two Sisters." Similarly, those who hated "The Good, the Bad, the Wierd" gave a generous review of "I Saw the Devil" and for others, it was vise-versa.

THR: So what about the depictions of violence?

Ji-woon: I wanted the audiences to feel the pain of the victims of violence, and I wanted to push the limit to make that more explicit and intense. The violence itself is stronger in films like "A Serbian Film" and even "Silence of the Lambs" and "Sin City," where you also see carnivorism. But certain depictions of violence are treated as a trend in some films. I think that was one of the issues I had when I was filming "I Saw the Devil." As a result, the audiences found the film difficult because they were unfamiliar with the approach to the violence that was portrayed in this film.

THR: What does this film mean to you and your career as a professional filmmaker?

Ji-woon: It is one of my films, and a state heading for a better film. On a side note, I am more aware of the pressures to make "a well-made" commercial film. The environment of filmmaking in Korea is more difficult now than it was five years ago. I think it has to do with the market trend that some Korean films started {by} breaking more than 10 million admissions. Producers and investors are less generous for directors to pursue their personal style in the films, and there's increasing expectation for "an objectively well-made film" that can reach a large audience. It was different in the '90s. Directors had more freedom to experiment with their style.

THR: The film ends on a perplexing note. How should the audiences take it?

Ji-woon: I expected more people to comment on the ending. Whether it was the right way of revenge, I can't really say. But I wanted to depict a devil through the process of revenge. You would think that by revenge a person can save himself from the pain. But revenge is ultimately a way to destruction. You can't possibly take revenge on someone without ruining yourself. For those who think that they can, it's a lie.

THR: Do you ever dream of shooting romance or romantic comedy?

Ji-woon: I don't think I'll ever shoot a romantic comedy although I quite enjoyed films like "Notting Hill" and "Bridget Jones's Diary." These are Hollywood films that have been shot under best possible conditions. So while they're cliche, it's still good. As far as romance, I am interested in shooting a sad melodrama of some sort someday.

Source: hollywoodreporter.com

August 24, 2010

I Saw the Devil (Angma-reul Boatta) By Darcy Paquet

Viewers who thought Oldboy was violent are in for “extreme” on an entirely different level with I Saw the Devil, a grisly revenge thriller from Korean director Kim Jee-woon. Although the film is exquisitely shot and even, in many parts, beautiful to look at, Kim’s determination to push the envelope will make it hard for many mainstream viewers to stomach.

Despite its probably unnecessary gory flourishes, I Saw the Devil makes its simple theme resonate in unexpected ways.

In Korea the film was rejected twice by the censorship board before being secured for release on August 12 with seven cuts totalling 80 seconds. Despite a strong marketing campaign and the high-profile casting of stars Lee Byung-hun (G.I. Joe) and Choi Min-sik (Oldboy), the film has suffered poor word of mouth and disappointed slightly at the box office, earning $8 million in 11 days.

The film, which has been presold to France (ARP Selection) and the UK (Optimum Releasing), will be screened uncut for its international premiere at Toronto and in competition at San Sebastian.

The rather straightforward plot involves a serial killer (Choi) who hatchets the young fiancée of a National Intelligence Service agent (Lee). Grief stricken, the agent swears to find the killer and to make him live through all that his deceased lover suffered, and more.

Local critics have accused Kim of taking part in a game of one-upsmanship with his compatriot Park Chan-wook. But despite its probably unnecessary gory flourishes, I Saw the Devil makes its simple theme resonate in unexpected ways. Ultimately, the protagonist’s desire to enact revenge is presented less as an act of defiance than as a further bit of damage inflicted upon the bereaved.

Source: screendaily.com

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kim-voynar.thumbnail.jpg By Kim Voynar

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

TIFF Review: I Saw The Devil

I was on my way to the Susanne Bier film today when a couple of friends talked me into going to see I Saw the Devil instead. I asked one of them to quickly pitch me on why I would want to see it, and he pitched it thusly: Did you like The Good, The Bad, The Weird? This is a serial killer thriller flick by the same director, Ji-woon Kim, and it stars “The Bad” (Byung-hun Lee), and Min-sik Choi, the guy from Oldboy!

Well, hell, that sold me. And I’m so glad I ran into my friends and saw this film, because it Rocked. My. World.

Here’s the caveat: this film is unrelentingly gory, even in the cut version we saw, which I understand is missing several minutes that are, if that’s possible, even more graphic. So if you are the type to freak out over gallons of fake blood and graphic violence in a film, stay away. Because this film is as intense as, say Silence of the Lambs, only much bloodier and more graphic. The program description compares it to Park Chan-wook‘s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance; you’ll have to take their word for it, because I haven’t seen that film.

I’ll add to that, though, that the violence and gore in the film, while not what I would call restrained, is never without a purpose, and while the violence of the serial killer is directed toward women I wouldn’t call the film misogynistic (though I expect some feminists will disagree with me on that).

Now, if you can get past the graphic violence, this is an excellently crafted film, an intense story with relevant philosophical underpinnings meditating on the nature of man, good versus evil and the thin line between them, and whether there is redemption to be found in seeking revenge. It’s smartly written and tautly directed by a director who knows exactly what he’s doing in every frame. And while it may seem like heresy to say this, I’d put Mik-sik’s Jang Kyung-chul right up there with Anthony Hopkins‘ Hannibal Lecter. Yes, I’m serious.

Min-sik plays a violent, sadistic rapist and serial killer who preys on young women while driving a bright yellow school bus. He is, in short, batmini cooper crazy and terrifying, cold and sinister, evil — or perhaps the Devil? — personified. He’s been killing for a very long time, and he hasn’t been caught, although police have suspected him in the past. Then he kills the pregnant daughter of the local police chief, who just happens to be engaged to Soo-hyun (Byung-Hun), a secret agent.

In one of the best orchestrated, most intense scenes you’re likely to see in any thriller, ever, the daughter’s head is found during a massive police search. The chief and Soo-hyun flip out, and Soo-hyun decides to take a leave from work, find her killer, and punish him relentlessly for the pain he’s caused.

What ensues over the next two hours is a descent into both the madness of the serial killer and the slide into madness of our hero; will Soo-yeon become a monster as bad as the one he’s hunting, once he gets a taste for torturing his prey?

That’s what it’s about, in a nutshell, and yet I cannot come close to describing to you just how well it’s all put together. But I’ll try, if only to convince you, even if you’re sure you’re not a fan of the genre, to check this film out.

So: The production design and cinematography are beautiful; the editing tight and controlled; the framing of shots and cuts from one shot to the next deliberate, artistic, painted in a tonally perfect palette as if brushed on a canvas — or perhaps more accurately, as if rendered by a very good artist in a graphic novel, which is what the film evoked for me.

It’s hard to wrap your mind around the idea of a film being both relentlessly gory and relentlessly gorgeous, but this film is just stunning in every respect. The powerful score excellently underscores the film tonally throughout without ever being overwhelming or manipulative of the audience (the same was true of The Good, The Bad, The Weird), and the sound mixing stands out as well.

The performances by the two leads, as they circle each other warily, hunter and prey, are compelling and spot-on. Ji-woon is a director of the highest order; I would say, in fact, that he is an auteur with a very specific stylistic sensibility to his films. He is undeniably a master of the design, tone, and emotional tether of his films, and with I Saw the Devil he owns you from the opening moments of the film to its explosive end. Highly, highly recommended.

Source: moviecitynews.com

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Without further ado.. another COOL REVIEW for a DEVILISH HOT MOVIE. devil69.gif

September 15, 2010

TIFF '10 Review: 'I Saw The Devil'

by Scott Weinberg

Here's why it's smart to have a few good friends on the festival circuit: my longtime colleague Drew McWeeny (previously of AICN, presently with HitFix.com) turned to me yesterday and said "Oh, you don't want to see {film I'll not mention out of politeness}. You should come with me to see I Saw the Devil. Apparently it's an epic serial killer flick from the director of A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life, and The Good The Bad and The Weird. Scott, I think you'll want to see this one." His descriptions sold me, and off we went.

At this point, I Saw the Devil stands as the best film I've seen at TIFF 2010 so far.

Brutally violent yet beautiful to look at, I Saw the Devil is one of the truest examples of "cat and mouse" storytelling I've ever seen. Most "cat and mouse" movies are actually "lion and gazelle" movies: the hero chases the villain until he's captured or killed, and usually that's the end of the film. I Saw the Devil, however, actually feels like "cat and mouse." The plot revolves around a secret service agent (Byung-Hun Lee) whose beautiful fiancee is savagely murdered by a vicious psychopath (Min-Sik Choy) -- and our "hero" is not content with exacting a simple, gruesome revenge. As a matter of fact, the agent tracks down the psycho with relative quickness, only to torture him a little, implant him with a tracking device, and let him think he's escaped. I know cats -- and that's exactly how cats deal with their prey. (OK, maybe they don't do the tracking device.)

If it sounds like this isn't quite enough plot to fill an entire 144-minute film, let me assure you otherwise. I Saw the Devil is one of the fastest 2+ hour films I've ever enjoyed. As a crafty thriller, as a brutal horror film, as an epic battle between the inexpressibly evil and the tragically dwindling good -- this is one fantastically hypnotic movie. As in most films with this sort of story, our hero becomes instantly infected by the malicious evil he's trying to destroy. The killer actually gets to cause untold damage because the cop wants to string his quarry along. The movie is loaded with dark ambiguity of the sort, and its themes elevate the film well beyond that of a "cop vs. crook" story; things start to feel downright biblical by the time Act III comes barreling at you.

It feels silly to mention how superlative a director Ji-Woon Kim is at this point (his Sisters is one of the finest Asian horror films ever produced, and his GBW is a masterpiece of film affection and kinetic insanity), but I Saw the Devil cements his place among the (young) modern masters. This is a film of gorgeous camera work, endlessly fascinating shadows, and whip-smart editorial control. It's also a dark, disturbing, and exceedingly graphic film, so I'd only recommend it to those with horror-style and hearty constitutions. But recommend it I would, and most enthusiastically indeed. It may be the most hypnotic serial killer story since The Silence of the Lambs, and it's certainly one of the best thrillers I've seen in a few years. (Thanks, Drew!)

Source: fearnet.com

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up1.gif Our thanks to the TIFF 2010 fan-sharing by kkate59 and chungy at EverythingLBH, positive cool feedback indeed!

The movie went beyond my wildest expectations. Not a dull moment in all 2 1/2 hours. Too many surprises to keep you on the edge of your seat.

LBH was superb in his role as was CMS. Outstanding in every aspect.

We saw the UNCUT version.

The audience really enjoyed the film. The theatre was packed with probably over 500 people. Every seat was taken.

Hey! Sounds like we both enjoyed it. Wasn't KJW awesome. And very shy.  He called this fim his 'Kimchi Thriller" LOL

I agree with you totally about the film. I can't count the number of times I had to shield my eyes, or how many times I gasped and squirmed in my seat because of what was happening onscreen. The 'calm' was always followed by something shattering developement. I did enjoy the rare moments of humour dispersed throughout though. Helped keep the movie from being too heavy.

September 15, 2010

Slew of films sold as Toronto winds down

By Gregg Kilday hollywoodreporter.com

TORONTO -- A flurry of last-minute dealmaking hit Wednesday as the Toronto International Film Festival entered the homestretch. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions joined forces to pick up U.S. rights to Robert Redford's "The Conspirator," and the Weinstein Co. made its second buy of the fest by grabbing U.S. and Canadian rights to the British coming-of-age tale "Submarine."

IFC which kicked off the acquisition activity Sunday when it picked up James Gunn's "Super," also ponied up for a second film, taking all U.S. rights except TV to Werner Herzog's 3D documentary, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," which takes viewers on a tour of the ancient cave drawings in Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc in southern France. Even as acquisitions execs were packing to head out of town, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions moved in to take U.S. rights to James Wan's "Insidious," which bowed Tuesday night in the Midnight Movies slot. Anchor Bay scooped up English-speaking rights to Shawn Ku's "Beautiful Boy," which stars Maria Bello and Michael Sheen as the grieving parents of a college student who becomes a mass killer.

And Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures has taken North American rights to Kim Ji-woon's thriller "I Saw the Devil," which first screened Tuesday at Toronto.

"Conspirator," which recounts the trial of Mary Surratt (Robin Wright) for complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, won't enter this year's Oscar battle as Roadside has opted to release it in the spring. The distributor already is fielding such awards hopefuls as "Biutiful" and "Winter's Bone" for this season and decided to take the time to build an educational and promotional campaign on behalf of "Conspirator," which will be released around April 15, the 146th anniversary of Lincoln's death.

Lionsgate acquired a 43% interest in Roadside three years ago, and the companies collaborated last year on the release of "The Cove." "Conspirator," the first feature from Joe Ricketts' new American Film Co., had its world premiere at TIFF during a Saturday night gala at Roy Thomson Hall. As part of the deal, premium cable rights go to Epix, in which Lionsgate is a partner.

Jason Constantine, Lionsgate president of acquisitions and co-productions, and Roadside co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d'Arbeloff announced the deal. "There are few American directors as gifted in cinematic storytelling as Robert Redford," Cohen said, "and with 'The Conspirator,' he has chosen a fascinating, little-known tale that illuminates a new perspective on a turning point of history." The film's producers are Greg Shapiro, Brian Falk, Robert Stone and Bill Holderman, with Ricketts, Jeremiah Samuels and Webster Stone as exec producers.

CAA, which reps Redford and several of the actors in the film, and Steve Monas of Business Affairs brokered the deal on behalf of the American Film Co. with Lionsgate's Constantine and Cohen and attorney Greg Bernstein on behalf of Roadside. "Submarine," produced by Warp Films in association with Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films, had the support of Stiller, who served as exec producer and introduced the movie in Toronto. Writer-director Richard Ayoade's film centers on a 15-year-old (Craig Roberts) as he tries to lose his virginity and tries to keep his mom (Sally Hawkins) from leaving his dad. "Submarine" first screened Sunday night, and with several bidders in the mix. The Weinstein deal was concluded about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. The pic went for just shy of seven figures as well as a P&A commitment.

Producers are Andy Stebbing, Mark Herbert and Mary Burke, with Stiller, Stuart Cornfeld, Jeremy Kramer, Tessa Ross, Peter Carlton, Will Clarke, Linda James, Pauline Burt and Paul Higgins exec producing. TWC execs David Glasser, Peter Lawson and Laine Kline negotiated the deal with WME Global's Graham Taylor and Mark Anker and Protagonist's Ben Roberts. Weinstein also picked up "Dirty Girl" for about $3 million on Sunday night. Both films will be released next year.

"Cave," which had its first TIFF screening Monday, attracted interest from several buyers; IFC won the rights with a mid-six-figure deal and plans to release it in 3D during the next year. "Cave" was produced by Creative Differences in partnership with History Films -- which eventually will show it on TV's History -- and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication as a co-production with Arte France and in association with More 4. It was produced by Erik Nelson, who produced Herzog's past two docs "Grizzly Man" and "Encounters at the End of the World," and Adrienne Ciuffo. The exec producers are Dave Harding, David McKillop, Julian P. Hobbs, Molly Thompson, and Tabitha Jackson.

Said IFC president Jonathan Sehring: "We were completely blown away by this tour de force from Werner Herzog. This is what great 3-D technology was created for."

The deal was negotiated by IFC's Arianna Bocco and Betsy Rodgers with Josh Braun of Submarine Entertainment.

"Devil" stars Lee Byung-hun, who also appeared in Kim's "The Good, the Bad and the Weird," as a special agent who vows revenge after his wife falls victim to a serial killer. The movie will be released theatrically in the first quarter.

"'I Saw the Devil' is one of the most riveting and unrelenting films I've ever seen," Magnet senior vp Tom Quinn said. "It is an indisputable masterpiece."

The deal was negotiated by Quinn with Finecut's Youngjoo Suh.

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MAGNET GOES TO “THE DEVIL,” GRABS KOREAN CHILLER

Source:

Just a day after the announcement that it had acquired the killer-boar opus CHAWZ, Magnet Releasing, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures, has picked up another Korean genre film. The company bought North American rights to I SAW THE DEVIL, which debuted this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Magnet plans to release the film in Stateside theaters in the first quarter of 2011
. Directed by A TALE OF TWO SISTERS’ Kim Ji-woon, I SAW THE DEVIL stars Lee Byung-hun (whose credits range from THREE…EXTREMES to G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA) as a special agent who goes on the hunt for the psychopathic serial killer who murdered his pregnant wife. “I SAW THE DEVIL is one of the most riveting and unrelenting films I’ve ever seen. It is an undisputable masterpiece,” Magnet’s Tom Quinn says.

“Unparalleled in its brutality, Kim Jee-woon deftly takes the serial killer thriller to new, profoundly disturbing heights. It’s hard to imagine curating a genre label that didn't include this remarkable achievement." OLDBOY’s Choi Min-sik co-stars as the villain.

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September 17, 2010

Magnolia's Magnet picks up "I Saw the Devil"

Jessica Kim jesskim @ <Ⓒ 10Asia All rights reserved> 10Asia

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A scene from film "I Saw the Devil" [showbox]

Magnet Releasing, Magnolia Pictures' genre film label, has bought the North American rights to Korean director Kim Jee-woon's thriller "I Saw the Devil," the film's distributor Showbox announced on Friday.

Showbox said that the Korean-language film, starring critically acclaimed actors Lee Byung-hun and actor Choi Min-shik, was picked up on Tuesday at the currently ongoing Toronto International Film Festival.

"'I Saw the Devil' is one of the most riveting and unrelenting films I've ever seen," Magnet's senior vice president Tom Quinn was quoted as saying.

The film is aiming for a North America release during the first quarter of next year, Showbox added.

"I Saw the Devil," also set to compete at the upcoming San Sebastian International Film Festival, had been pre-sold to France, England, Taiwan and Turkey at this year's Cannes film market.

The pic's director Kim Jee-woon has been recognized internationally for several of his works including "A Bittersweet Life" and "The Good, The Bad, The Weird."

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September 16, 2010

TIFF Review: I Saw the Devil

by Kurt Halfyard rowthree.com / twitchfilm.net

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“Nothing will go wrong,” is about the must amusing thing to ever hear in a Kim Ji Woon film. The director has made a number of films spanning a number of genres and they are about just about everything going terribly, terribly wrong. Even if the players fancy themselves in control of the situation. Here we have a methodical (Oldboy‘s Choi Min Sik) but unhinged killer of young women, who drives a small school bus and has a torture dungeon for scattering body parts across town. When he kills the fiancée of a state policeman (A Bitter Sweet Life‘s Lee Byung-Hun) he gets far more than he bargained for. Instead of spending his grief-time mourning the loss of his beloved, he uses that time to go full vigilante, initially soliciting help from the victims father (also a retired cop), but rapidly killing and torturing his way to cut through the red tape of typical police work. But, as is the mantra of the film, ‘we are just getting started’, the agent does not want to capture or kill his enemy, he wants to make him suffer in every way possible. Things do not go according to plan, and thus a back and forth of people doing terrible things to each other escalates to a point where the film moves well beyond serial killer movie clichés because nothing quite this charismatically sadistic has been done in the genre at this point. I Saw The Devil is a movie of oneupmanship usually reserved for comedies – here it is a oneupmanship of tragedies that ripple outward from the two crazy men at the center.

A quiet snowy night, a car driving slowly along the road, illumination of the rear-view mirror and the shape of the wiper makes the vehicle’s windshield look both angry and sad. Despite all the mayhem on screen the film is ultimately about the state of mind of both men. Angry and sad. Was Choi Min Sik’s psycho a naïve revolutionary gone horribly awry? Was Lee Byung-Hun’s too-career-driven state of existence the reason for her unfortunate moment of bad timing? Crazy is relative, but both are indeed crazy. To say that Kim Ji-Woon has control of the visual style of his latest film is an understatement. The film is kinetic, gory, and grimly amusing, and it could be the crazier cousin of David Fincher’s Seven (or more apropos, The Game) or a fourth entry in Park Chan-Wook’s vengeance trilogy. Yet the film is not quite up to snuff in terms of brains or spiritual content. The movie is a ‘ride,’ it might as well have a “versus” in the title, Choi Min-Sik vs. Lee Byung-Hun. The actors work wonderfully together, there is certainly chemistry as they hack each other to bits, if that is the right word. A return to the familiar for Choi Min Sik after taking a few years off acting for industry reasons; he lets it all hang out. His killer aggressive and bloody, yet retains a off-kilter sense of humour and smarter than he behaves. Lee Byung-Hun is his usual icy and precise self. He has to go to some pretty dark places, the film is ultimately a tragedy of his own self-making.

Anyone expecting to find deeper spiritual or moral probing along the lines of Park Chan-Wook’s trilogy is asking too much. It seems that Kim Ji-Woon has been on the path where his films get less deep and more in love with their own excesses with each entry. Sure he crosses genres with each film, but if you look at the intersection of family and fairy tale in A Tale of Two Sisters, something that was handled with a fair bit of nuance, and compare that to the greed verses united nation angle in The Good The Bad The Weird, hopefully you see where I am coming from. Kim’s films, I Saw The Devil included, remain fun and exciting affairs, but do not engage the brain or the soul much beyond the basic concept. Case in point: the film never really develops beyond Lee’s becoming the devil to defeat the devil and all the collateral damage done (family, innocent bystanders, you name it) in that single-minded quest. Is doing all this evil enough to be justified by a promise and love? It is a not a difficult question to answer after the film is over. The uncut version showed at the Toronto International Film Festival and it is about as bloody and gory (and oddly enough, glossy) a serial killer movie that I can recall. I’m sure someone will make a bloodier and gorier movie, that is the way these things work, but that does not change the fact that this is probably the current benchmark, Korean cinema or otherwise. Since the concept is rather ludicrous to begin with, it is easy to let go and see the crazy places the story is going to dig into.

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September 16, 2010

TIFF Review: I SAW THE DEVIL

POSTED BY THE MAD HATTER mcneilmatinee.com

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There's that old line about needing to fight fire with fire...that to defeat evil you must become evil yourself. Seldom has that notion been better told than in I SAW THE DEVIL, the latest film from Korean director Kim Ji-Woon.

The film focuses on a killer - a man named Kyung-chul played by Oldboy himself, Min-sik Choi. He kills randomly, with no pattern or purpose, and one night kills a young women just moments after she hangs up the phone with her fiancee Soo-hyun. Unfortunately for Kyung-chul, this was the wrong move, since Soo-hyun is so devastated by her murder, that he comes looking for him to reap his own brand of justice.

Soo-hyun isn't just looking to find Kyung-chul and kill him - an eye for an eye as it were. No, he wants Kyung-chul to feel every ounce of pain that he and his lost love felt and continue to feel. Thus the two become involved in a wickedly vicious game of catch-and-release.

As I mentioned in the podcast, this could easily be the most violent movie I have ever watched. Kim Ji-Woon makes you feel every stab and slice, and employs some of the most painful tricks imaginable. While the cut I saw is likely not going to be the cut that plays to the masses, it's still gonna be a tough go - so don't say I didn't warn you.

Violence aside, its the story of I SAW THE DEVIL that's so enticing. This is not just a manhunt, but a game between two twisted men who seem to have lost all regard for society's rules. They find themselves playing a twisted game of cat-and-mouse, and neither one really seems all that interested in actually winning so much as they want to see how long they can keep playing.

Dark and demented as it all is, it has a certain poetry about it that keeps you with the movie when you might otherwise walk out/turn off the dvd. It is perfectly constructed and even keeps the viewer engaged past the point where it feels like the film should end...but it doesn't end because there's still one more step to take.

Quite simply, the film is an amazing watch...just don't say I didn't warn you. devil69.gif

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'I Saw the Devil' and Dir. Kim Jee Woon clips at the San Sebastian Film Festival

http://www.sansebastianfestival.com/in/buscadores_videos.php?i%20saw%20the%20devil=i%20saw%20the%20devil

September 18, 2010

SKorea shocker screens at San Sebastian festival

By Elisa Santafe (AFP) Source

SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain — Graphic scenes in the ultra-violent South Korean thriller "I Saw the Devil" had some viewers heading for the exits at the San Sebastian Film Festival Saturday.

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South Korean director Kim Jee Woon poses during a photocall after the screening

of his film "I Saw the Devil"

Director Kim Jee-Woon's latest film, built around a secret agent's pursuit of the serial killer who murdered his wife, contains a string of scenes so shocking that there was a special warning in the festival programme. The film, which clocks in at nearly two and a half hours, was also targetted by the censors in the director's home country.

But Kim insisted that the violence was a means and not an end itself.

The film dealt with the irony of life, he told reporters: his aim was to show that to "punish the devil," to obtain a "perfect revenge", you have to transform yourself into a devil yourself. But he acknowledged that because of the violence the film had performed more poorly in South Korea than any of his previous works.

Kim's latest film is a change in tone from earlier, more atmospheric works such as the ghost story "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003), remade in the US as "The Uninvited" (2009). "I Saw the Devil" (Akma-reul Bo-at-da) is one of the 15 films in competition for the festival's top prize, the Golden Shell, the winner of which will be announced next Saturday. Also competing is Spanish film The Great Vasquez (El Gran Vasquez), set in 1960s Barcelona, about the comic book artist Manolo Vazquez, which screened Saturday.

Billed a comedy, it nevertheless also seeks to explore the light and shade of the artist's life, without descending into ridicule, said director Oscar Aibar, who himself has worked as a scriptwriter for underground comics. Other films in competition include "Amigo", which unites US independent director John Sayles with actor Chris Cooper in a film about the US occupation of the Philippines. Scotland's Peter Mullan will show his latest film "Neds" a coming-of-age film set in 1970s Glasgow. His last film "The Magdalene Sisters", won the Golden Lion at the Venice film festival.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

Thanks to the fan-highlight at PlanetBH0712, 'I Saw the Devil' PhotoCall & Press Conference Photos

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From
Darcy Paquet
's
, who's now in Spain attending the San Sebastian film festival

Saw the uncut version of I SAW THE DEVIL
.

Apart from making clear the origins of that red meat, there's really very little difference. Some bits removed here and there, the explicit cutting off of a head for example, but the mind fills in everything the censors took out. My conclusion is that the censors tried to weaken the impact of the film, and failed. It's pretty much the same. Director removed sex scene with Kim Ok-vin lookalike character in international cut, because too many viewers misinterpreted it as rape.

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September 17, 2010

I Saw The Devilstars-5.jpg

DIRECTED BY KIM JI-WOON (SOUTH KOREA, SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS)

By John Semley torontoist.com

Kim Ji-Woon’s I Saw The Devil manages successfully what James Gunn’s Super botches utterly, i.e. satisfactorily responding to the moral quagmires essential to, but almost always effaced by, a popular mode of ultra-violent genre cinema. Where Gunn lazily addresses the sadism inherent in American caped crusader pictures, Kim’s latest undertakes a similar program with the vigilante revenge thrillers that have come to dominate South Korea’s genre film renaissance of the past decade or so.

His first step is casting Choi Min-Sik, the scorned badass from Park Chan-Wook’s crossover hit Oldboy, as deranged serial killer Kyung-chul, a school bus driver who ruthlessly abducts and tortures young women before scattering their dismembered body parts across the countryside, as if to goad the inept police (another recurring theme in the last ten years of South Korean thrillers). But when he offs the fiancée of government agent Soo-hyun (Lee Byung-hun), he finds himself squarely on the receiving end of some gritty, Oldboy-style vengeance.

Instead of just tracking down and killing (or turning in) Kyung-chul, Soo-hyun severely injures him, sets him free, and then locates him again to repeat the brutal beatdown. His decision to keep the killer alive (“We’ve only just begun,” Soo-hyun coldly repeats) leads to more bodies piling up, until the cops—struggling diligently to pull their heads out of their asses—are on the trail of two unhinged murderers. Both leads turn in remarkable performances, but Choi Min-Sik bursts back onto the Korean film scene with his own brand of vengeance, gobbling up scenery with mesmerizing aplomb. I Saw The Devil is a remarkable thriller, easily the best to come out of South Korea since Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder, ferociously upending the genre’s well-worn boilerplate with unflinching conviction.

September 14, 2010

Review: I Saw The Devil

Posted by Katarina Gligorijevic tiff2010.thetfs.ca

Kim Ji-woon, the director of 2008’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird, is back with a clever and very bloody cat-and-mouse thriller. Two of South Korea’s biggest talents square off against each other in a brutal vengeance game. Choi Min-sik (the tragic hero of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 masterpiece, Oldboy) plays Kyung-chul, a cold blooded serial killer who drives a school bus by day and dismembers his victims by night. When the young woman he captures turns out to be the daughter of a retired police chief and the fiancé of a secret service agent, the tables are turned and the hunter becomes the prey.

Soo-hyun, the secret agent fiancé, is played with restraint and much under-the-surface rage by Lee Byung-hun (who played ‘the Bad’ in The Good, the Bad, the Weird). He begins to track the serial killer and toy with him in increasingly brutal ways, forcing him to endure some fraction of the suffering he’s inflicted on others. However, this is no run of the mill serial killer, and soon Soo-hyun finds himself in way over his head, ill equipped to play the kinds of mind games that psychopaths relish.

I Saw The Devil is a taut thriller and a great tale of revenge, and it’s also very violent. Perhaps the bloodiest film you’re ever likely to see outside of the Midnight Madness programme, it includes many scenes that may test an audience that doesn’t expect graphic bludgeonings in their festival fare.

While the violence is frequent and intense, it’s also very effective. Gorgeously shot and sharply edited, I Saw The Devil achieves a balance between shocking and challenging the audience. With each film, Kim Ji-Woon (who also directed A Tale of Two Sisters and Bittersweet Life) is getting tighter and better. Truly one of the most original voices out of Korea, which is pretty jam packed with cinematic talent anyway.

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September 16, 2010

Princess Buttercup Beholds The Savage Vengeance Of I SAW THE DEVIL At TIFF!!

Merrick here...

Source: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/46560

Princess Buttercup got a look at Kim Ji-woon (aka Ji-woon Kim)'s I SAW THE DEVIL at TIFF. To avoid any potential confusion, this has nothing to do with DEVIL ('from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan'). That's about a buncha people stuck in an elevator where bad things happen. This is something entirely different.

Not sure if this would be of interest, but I was at I Saw the Devil last night and was blown away. The new Kim Ji-woon film, it's recently been released in Korea after some footage was cut (I believe the Korean ratings board deemed it offensive to human dignity) but they showed the full version at TIFF and Magnet Releasing has picked up U.S. distribution. It's a vengeance film starring Choi Min-sik (Oldboy) and Lee Byung-hun (The Good, The Bad and The Weird). Lee Byung-hun is a man whose fiancee is brutally murdered by Choi Min-sik and basically, the film revolves around Lee Byung-hun's quest to inflict pain on Choi Min-sik.

But unlike most other vengeance films, I Saw the Devil overtly raises the question of morality. Often with vengeance films, the bad guy is obviously bad and we can root for the avenger with a clear conscience, or even if the avenger seems to be crossing the line, the film itself doesn't explicitly address the question of whether what he's doing makes him as bad as the person he's after. I Saw the Devil has several scenes which question the path that Lee Byung-hun has taken and by the end, I wasn't sure who was the true villain of the film. This is probably my favourite thing about the movie because I think that at heart, a vengeance film should raise a question of morality and I Saw the Devil pretty much throws that question in your face.

Lee Byung-hun is great and because the movie makes his day job to be some type of secret service agent, we get some surprisingly awesome action sequences. Watching Choi Min-sik is fascinating since he's essentially playing the reverse of his Oldboy character. In I Saw the Devil, he's a complete psychopath; smart and seriously messed up. Sometimes I almost felt like Oh Dae-su from Oldboy was really mad about what happened to him, flipped out, then became Kyung-chul in this film.

A lot has been made about how graphic the violence is but in the context of the film, it does make sense considering the characters and situations. I'm not normally squeamish, but I turned away in this movie several times. There's one moment near the beginning when they're searching for the fiancee in a river which scared the crap out of me. It's not a movie someone should watch without being aware of what might be coming. Kim Ji-woon mentioned in the intro that some people think it's too violent while others are disappointed because it's not as violent as it's hyped up to be. Basically, it's there, it's inescapable and it's fairly relentless.

When I got home to my empty, dark apartment after the film, I suddenly got spooked and I don't think I've ever been scared by a non-supernatural villain (honestly, it's a day later and I'm still kind of creeped out). I think it's because despite the high level of violence in the film, I felt like there was a certain level of reality because it was a bit jarring to be reminded that this type of random violence could actually happen to anyone. Your car could break down in the wrong place, or you could even just open a door to the wrong person. There are a lot of random victims in the film. The cat and mouse game between Choi Min-sik and Lee Byung-hun is also fantastic. It's truly back-and-forth between them for the entire film.

I don't think I can watch I Saw the Devil again but it's the best vengeance movie I've ever seen. I love Park Chan-Wook's trilogy but always felt that there was a little something missing from each of the films whereas I Saw the Devil feels complete to me. There are even some funny moments. And in some way, this film reminds me of Silence of the Lambs (it's that good), but more visceral. This was the one film I was dying to see during TIFF and even though going in I was convinced this had to be awesome just based on the people involved, I could never have imagined it was going to be this (pulse-pounding, ultra-tense, punch to the face) intense. Really recommended.

Princess Buttercup...off to double-check the locks...

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Reviewer Film Ratings:

Plot: 4 | Fun Factor: 4.5 | Gore: 4.5 | Nudity: 2.5 | Scare Factor: 3.5 | Overall: 4.5/5 devil69.gif

Best Serial Killer movie since Se7en

Reviewed by GregMO ROberts killerreviews.com

Prior to my screening on I Saw the Devil at the Toronto International Film Festival, all I knew about the film was the one sentence provided to me by imdb.com:

A secret agent tracks a serial killer who murdered his fiancée.

But I did know that the film was directed by Ji-woon Kim who helmed last year’s brilliant, the Good, The Bad and The Weird. And on the strength of that resume entry alone, I secured tickets to I Saw the Devil. To say that I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to screen was an understatement. And I certainly wasn’t prepared to comment that I Saw the Devil is the best film about a serial killer since Se7en.

The film begins with the serial killer abducting a female victim. After nearly destroying her head with a hammer, he dismembers her and disposes of the various body parts. A search ensues, and her head is found is shallow waters. We learn that the murdered young girl was the fiancée of Kim So-Hyun who happens to be some kind of Special Service bodyguard. She also was the daughter of the former Chief of Police.

Kim So-Hyun abruptly takes two weeks off work and begins a manhunt for his finances killer. He has narrowed it down to four possibilities and after roughing up the first two (multiple wrench blows to the nuts) he focuses on his third suspect named Kang. We know from the opening scene that Kang is indeed the killer and when Kim So-Hyun breaks into his home, he realizes he has found his man.

But instead of turning Kang over to justice, Kim decides that he will beat, torture and then release Kang over and over again tormenting him without peace. A transmitter swallowed unwillingly by Kang allows Kim to follow his every move. The next reels of film will follow as Kim dispels some incredibly violent and bloody vengeance on Kang. Using everything from rocks to plastic bags to fire extinguishers and fish hooks, Kim will enter Kang’s life, beat him near death, then leave him to his wounds only to hunt him down and beat him some more.

The scenes of the beatings are not for the faint of heart as I Saw the Devil is not for the squeamish. I scalpel to the foot and the cutting of the Achilles tendon got the biggest reaction from the crowd, but there is enough blood and torture afflicted here to give anyone nightmares.

Ji-woon Kim brilliantly weaves a tale that has not been shown in film before. Our two leads meet each other early in the film whereas most serial killer films don’t pit the law and the maniac on the screen together until the final act. Kim clearly has the upper hand until a turn of events allow Kang to again strike back. It’s like two heavyweight boxers standing in the ring going toe-to-toe in a crowd pleasing match of heavy blows.

And just when Kang takes control again and tries to surrender to police, Kim again finds a way to avenge his family.

Byung-hun Lee as Kim and Min-sik Choi as Kang, are brilliantly cast and bring an energy to the screen that is maintained through the 144 minutes of the uncut edit. The supporting cast which essentially involves further Kang victims or unsavory characters that deserve their fates, do just enough to distract us from the brutality of the one-on-one battle and allow us to catch our breath (barely) before the carnage begins anew.

It’s been a while since I have been so invigorated and involved in a film such as I Saw the Devil that I wanted to climb the highest mountain and sing its praises, but this film delivers the goods. Rarely do you find an audience involved with that much violence on screen, cheering and applauding when a character utters, “I’m far from done” during a blood soaked frenzy of activity.

I didn’t just see the devil. I saw the best serial killer movie in many years and clearly one that goes in my Top 5 serial killer films of all time.

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