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[Upcoming Movie 2016] Lady/Agasshi: PD Park Chanwook Starred by Ha JungWoo & Kim MinHee


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Lady or Agasshi

Movie: Lady (literal title)
Revised romanization: Agasshi
Hangul: 아가씨
Director: Park Chan-Wook
Writer: Sarah Waters (novel), Park Chan-Wook
Release Date: 2015
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea

Set in the 1930's in South Korea and Japan. Story revolves around 4 people: a noble lady (Kim Min-Hee) who has inherited a fortune, a swindler count (Ha Jung-Woo) who is after the noble lady’s fortune, a young female pickpocket (Kim Tae-Ri) hired by the swindler count and the noble lady’s uncle (Cho Jin-Woong) who is her guardian.

Ha Jung-Woo - swindler count
Kim Min-Hee - noble lady
Kim Tae-Ri - young female pickpocket
Cho Jin-Woong - noblelady’s uncle
Kim Hae Sook 
Moon So Ri

Based on the novel "Fingersmith" by Sarah Waters (published February 4, 2002 by Virago Press).

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Thread Opened: February 26, 2015
Last Update: May 14, 2015 | 10:30 KST

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September 3, 2014

PARK Chan-wook is Back to the Korean Film Scene after 6 Years of Break
New film A-ga-ci(working title), to be cranked in Early Next Year


PARK Chan-wook is coming back with a new Korean film A-ga-ci after being off from the Korean film industry for 6 years. Moho Film and Yong Film Inc. announced official news saying, “PARK Chan-wook decided to produce A-ga-ci as the next project and is going to embark on preparation for shooting.” There has been various rumors about his next film. Some said he would make a new film at Hollywood as his debut film Stoker (2013) was a success, but his decision was coming back to Korea.
PARK Chan-wook is a Korea’s representative director who has been at the center of issue whenever he released a film like Joint Security Area/JSA, Old Boy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and Thirst, so reactions to A-ga-ci, which was expected to be his next film, were also hot.
The motif of A-ga-ci is Fingersmith, a novel written by British writer Sarah Waters. Fingersmith, set in the Victorian era, is a story about an orphan girl who grew up as a pickpocket and intentionally gets close to the heiress of a rich and noble family in order to have her marry the leader of a gang. However, the pickpocket girl and the heiress share subtle emotions and the story enters upon a new phase.

The film A-ga-ci will be modified from the original story Fingersmith and set in the modern times. As for the main actresses, they will hold an audition. There is much attention toward who PARK Chan-wook will pick this time since he drew potential from GANG Hye-jung of Old Boy, BAE Doo-na of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, LEE Young-ae of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and KIM Ok-vin of Thirst.
Moho Film, run by PARK Chan-wook and Yong Film Inc., managed by LIM Syd, the producer of Old Boy, will co-produce A-ga-ci. They are going to found a project company for production of A-ga-ci. PARK Chan-wook is completing the scenario under the goal of cranking in the film early next year.
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Park Chan-wook set to return to Korean cinema with Agasshi
by awcoconuts | September 7, 2014 DRAMABEANS


Pretty much any new project with filmmaker Park Chan-wook (he of Oldboy and Joint Security Area fame) attached to it will be buzzed about, and Agasshi (or Young Lady), his first Korean-language feature-length film in six years, is no exception. The script, loosely based on Sarah Waters’ 2002 Dickensian novel, Fingersmith, will be about two men and two women, and is said to be in its final stages of adaptation by writer/director/producer Park.

While I haven’t read the original book, it is described by the New York Times as “Oliver Twist with a twist,” and it sounds like the type of dark and complex story Park would be drawn to. He’s dabbled in Hollywood the past few years, directing last year’s Stoker(which starred Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska) and producing the Bong Joon-ho-directed Snowpiercer, but domestic and global fans alike have reacted enthusiastically to the news that his next project will be a movie in his mother tongue.

Agasshi will be co-produced between Park Chan-wook’s own Mojo Films and Lim Seung-Yong’s Dragon Films; the two have enjoyed a lasting relationship since they first collaborated on Oldboy over ten years ago. As soon as the script receives its final scrubbing, the leads will be cast, and Agasshi will begin filming in the first half of 2015.

Via Osen

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November 4, 2014

'Extreme nudity' required for new Park Chan-wook flick 'Lady'

By Lee Ji-hye The Korea Times


Director Park Chan-wook / Yonhap

Aspiring actresses can audition to star in a film by "Oldboy" director Park Chan-wook, but they'll have to be ready for an "extreme degree of nudity," reports said Tuesday. 

Hallyu hunk Ha Jung-woo is playing the lead male character in the upcoming film, titled "Lady," but a female lead has yet to be cast. 

Moho Film, the production company behind the project, distributed audition notices to management companies and arts schools in search of a female lead, warning that nudity would be required. 

The audition notice went viral because of the nudity requirements and because the role is opposite Ha, considered one of Korea's best-looking actors.


Actor Ha Jung-woo / Yonhap

Lady is based on a Korean adaption of the Victorian-inspired crime novel ‘Fingersmith' written by British author Sarah Waters.

"The character must be ready for an extreme degree of nudity," the audition notice said, according to Munhwa Ilbo. "This is why the production company requires an age of 19 or above."

Yoon Seok-chan, a production director at Moho, said the casting call may have been slightly exaggerated, but that "the role still requires females who are willing to shoot provocative scenes."

"Casting for the female lead will be finalized within this year," Yoon said. "Whoever it's going to be, we need an actress who will be willing to take on any type of nudity that is required for the film."

The story takes place during the Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula (1910-1945).
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November 5, 2014 

Ha Jung-woo to star in Park Chan-wook’s Agasshi
Credit: Dramabeans
Buzz is in the air with the announcement of the first collaboration between Chungmuro heavyweights Ha Jung-woo (Kundo, The Terror Live) and Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Joint Security Area). Director Park is returning to Korean film after a six-year break with a new movie called Agasshi (Young Lady), an adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith, and Ha Jung-woo has signed on to star.
Fingersmith (meaning petty thief) is a Victorian crime novel that was also adapted for a 2-episode BBC miniseries in 2005. It’s about a young woman who’s a pickpocket, and a con artist who poses as a gentleman to seduce wealthy women. Together they plot to seduce a young heiress out of her fortune, and the story is about what unfolds as the three of them get entangled in the dangerous scheme.
Park Chan-wook’s adaptation will take the setup out of Dickensian London and into Occupation-era Korea, which I find really intriguing. I can see how setting it during the Japanese occupation creates a similar developing-urban, back-alleyway feel, while adding another layer of cultural and social conflict.
Ha Jung-woo will star as a man who begins the story as a man of conviction. But he eventually falls prey to his own ambition and chooses a different path, and he’ll end up being the con artist who seduces women for their money. The two leading ladies — the pickpocket and the heiress — have yet to be cast, and because the roles call for nudity, it’s unlikely that they’ll be casting big names. Auditions are currently being held, and the film hopes to complete casting and begin filming shortly, for a 2015 release.
Via Munhwa

November 14, 2014
HA Jung-woo Confirms for PARK Chan-wook’s AGASSHIReturn of Master PARK Chan-wook
by KIM Su-yeon KOBIZ
Ha Jung-woo confirmed to perform in PARK Chan-wook’s latest film, Agasshi. Agasshi is PARK’s comeback in 5 years after Thirst, and is based on an original novel by Sarah Waters’ called ‘Fingersmith’. ‘Fingersmith’ is set in the Victorian period in UK where two women who are pickpocketing end up becoming involved with two men. PARK took this story and changed the setting to Japanese colonial period and made the characters Japanese aristocrats and Korean housekeepers. HA will play the Japanese aristocrat and the two women who are likely to show a lot of skin are still in the casting stage. In the meantime, HA is in the post-production stage for his second directorial feature, Chronicle of a Blood Merchant and is also shooting CHOI Dong-hoon’s Assassination (d/t). Agasshi is scheduled to go into shoot early next year.
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December 8, 2014
Park Chan-wook's "Agasshi" starring Ha Jeong-woo, Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri and Jo Jin-woong
Source: TV Daily via Hancinema.net
The main cast for Park Chan-wook's "Agasshi" is unveiled.

The production agency for "Agasshi" announced that Kim Min-hee and Kim Tae-ri were the leading actresses in the movie. It also cast Jo Jin-woong as well as Ha Jeong-woo.
"Agasshi" is a Korean and Japanese version of "Fingersmith" written by English writer Sarah Waters. The movie is about a young lady who inherits a fortune, her guardian uncle and a fraud count (Ha Jeong-woo) who is after the wealth.
Kim Min-hee plays the young lady and Kim Tae-ri is a pickpocket hired by Ha Jeong-woo. Jo Jin-woong is the uncle.
Previously, Kim Min-hee has been acknowledged for her great performance in the movies "Helpless", "Degree of Love" and "The Crying Man".
Kim Tae-ri, a rookie who scored the audition 1500:1, is anticipated to follow the fame of Kang Hye-jeong from "Old Boy" and Kim Ok-bin from "Thirst" which are also Park Chan-wook's works.
"Agasshi" starts filming next month.

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December 9, 2014
Kim Min-hee cast in Park Chan-wook’s new thriller
By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.comKPOPHERALD

Korean actress Kim Min-hee was cast in Park Chan-wook’s upcoming Korean film “Agassi (Lady),” opposite the male lead Ha Jung-woo, its producers said Tuesday. 
The model-turned-actress, best known for starring in “Helpless” (2012) and “Very Ordinary Couple” (2013), will play a young, wealthy heiress, who falls for a female petty thief, played by rookie Kim Tae-ri. 
Park’s new thriller is a screen adaptation of the 2002 crime novel “Fingersmith” by British author Sarah Waters, which was previously adapted as a two-part BBC miniseries in 2005.
Park’s version relocates the time period from 19th-century London to early 20th-century Korea, when the country was under the Japanese colonial rule. 
Ha (“Kundo, “The Chaser”) will play a Japanese aristocrat, while Cho Jin-woong (“Kundo,” “A Hard Day”) will star as the heiress’ uncle and guardian. 
The “Old Boy” director will return to the local movie market after a six-year hiatus following “Thirst” (2009). His Hollywood debut “Stoker” (2013), a British-American thriller starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and Mia Wasikowska, received positive reviews from critics, but was not a huge box office hit. 
“Agassi” is coproduced by Park’s own Moho Film and “Old Boy” producer Lim Seung-yong’s Yong Film, and will begin shooting in January 2015.
December 10, 2014
KIM Min-hee and KIM Tae-ri Confirmed for FINGERSMITHPARK Chan-wook’s New Film to Have Revealing Scenes by June Kim KOBIZ

imageKIM Min-hee, KIM Tae-ri and CHO Jin-woong have signed on for Fingersmith, following the recent announcement of HA Jung-woo’s confirmation for the latest PARK Chan-wook film.
 KIM Min-hee, who has delivered strong performances through Helpless (2012) and Very Ordinary Couple, will take her acting career to the next level with a daring role in Fingersmith. Playing the main character, KIM will be an heiress who inherits a large fortune, but gets caught in a fraud by a nobleman (HA Jung-woo) who teams up with a pickpocket (KIM Tae-ri) to steal her inheritance. The two main actresses, KIM Min-hee and Kim Tae-ri, will have a romantic relation in the film, and how their chemistry will be on-screen has already drawn the curiosity of a lot of netizens due to the rare representation of same sex romance in Korea. New face KIM Tae-ri went through a rigorous casting process where she was picked amongst 1500 applicants. She has just started her career through modeling in TV commercials, and this will be her first film. According to the posting for the casting call, there are daring nude scenes involved and fans can expect more bold sequences from PARK following KANG Hye-jung in Oldboy (2003) and SONG Kang-ho in Thirst (2009). Based on the original novel by Sarah Waters of the same name, PARK is adapting the story to become his own by changing the setting to 1930s Korea and Japan instead of the Victorian period in Great Britain. All the while working on Fingersmith, PARK is also preparing for the Hollywood film Second Born. Fingersmith is produced by PARK’s Moho Film and producer LIM Seung-yong’s Yong Film Inc. and will start shooting next year January.

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December 12, 2014
Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri to Star in Park Chan-wook’s Upcoming Adaptation of “Fingersmith”
Source: KOFICE 

Park Chan-wook’s upcoming movie “Agassi” (Korean title) has cast Kim Min-hee and rookie actress Kim Tae-ri in the lead roles. “Agassi” is British writer Sarah Waters’ novel “Fingersmith” adapted to Korea and Japan in the 1930s. A young heiress to a great amount of wealth, her guardian uncle, a conniving count who is eyeing her wealth, and a pickpocket hired by him are entangled in the unpredictable story that will keep the audience engaged till the end with its twists and turns.      
Ever since Ha Jung-woo was confirmed as the count in November, there have been mounting rumors about the two leading actresses. Eventually Kim Min-hee got the role of the heiress and Kim Tae-ri the pickpocket. The main cast is now set, with Cho Jin-woong playing the role of the uncle.
Recognized for her performances in “Helpless” and “Very Ordinary Couple,” Kim Min-hee will take on another dramatic change for her new role. She is joined by the rookie actress Kim Tae-ri who came through the fierce 1-to-1,500 competition. Already there is a mounting curiosity about this budding actress who will perform alongside Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong, and Kim Min-hee. 
Park Chan-wook helped make Kang Hae-jung of “Oldboy” and Kim Ok-bin of “Thirst” the top actresses in Korea. That is why there is so much interest in the two actresses who will join his production for the first time.  
“Agassi” will be co-produced by Park’s Moho Film and “Oldboy” producer Lim Seung-yong’s production Yong Film. Production begins next year with the pre-production scheduled for January 2015.  

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April 9, 2015
'Fingersmith' Kim Min Hee, Ha Jeong Woo and Kim Tae Ri's intense chemistry to attract high expectation
Source: TV Report via Hancinema.net
Director Park Chan-wook's new film, 'Fingersmith' starring Kim Min-hee, Ha Jeong-woo, and rookie Kim Tae-ri is attracting high expectation as they bring on the intense chemistry among the actors.
Cinema magazine Cine 21 revealed the BTS photos from the pictorial shooting set of 'Fingersmith' through their official Facebook on April 9th.
The pictorial shoot was for the cover page of the magazine to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Kim Min-hee, Ha Jeong-woo, Kim Tae-ri, and director Park Chan-wook participated in the photo session.
Kim Min-hee Ha Jeong-woo, director Park Chan-wook, and Kim Tae-ri posed in the set of the antique background.
The strong contrast between Kim Min-hee in black and Kim Tae-ri in red is eye-catching. The two will play a same-sex couple in the film.
'Fingersmith' is a cinematic adaptation of British novel of the same title. A girl, who grew up amongst a group of pickpockets during the British Victorian period, approaches a noble heiress in order to have her to marry the master pickpocket of her group. 'Fingersmith' will start filming in June.

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April 10, 2015

Park Chan Wook and the Leads of “Lady” Grace the Cover of Cine21
Acclaimed director Park Chan Wook and the leads of his upcoming film “Lady” graced the cover of film magazine Cine21.
Park Chan Wook, Kim Min Hee, Kim Tae Ri, and Ha Jung Woo posed for the cover of Cine21 for the magazine’s 1,000th issue. The photo shoot took place inside historical site Cultural Station Seoul 284.
Director Park Chan Wook reportedly took an active part in the photo shoot, checking over every detail of the actor’s costumes which were meant to reflect the upcoming film’s mood and setting.
An adaptation of the novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters, “Lady” is set during the Japanese occupation of Korea instead of the Victorian era. Filming is slated to start up in Japan in June.

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Kim Hae Sook & Moon So Ri confirmed for director Park Chan Wook's 'Miss'


Actresses Kim Hae Sook and Moon So Ri have been confirmed for director Park Chan Wook's new film, 'Miss (tentative title).'

'Miss' is going be a film set in 1930s when Korea was still under Japan's colonization, and its story will evolve around a wealthy young lady who becomes the inheritor of her family's colossal wealth.

Director Park Chan Wook recently made an international hit with film 'Stalker,' and a great number of movie fans are showing explosive reactions for this news.

Kim Hae Sook had worked with director Park Chan Wook through movie 'Thirst,' and she is going to play in 'Miss' as the head maid of the main character's home. Moon So Ri, on the other hand, is going to make her first collaboration with director Park through 'Miss.'

Kim Hae Sook and Moon So Ri are widely recognized for their unique interpretations and identity as actresses, and Kim Min Hee, Kim Tae Ri, Ha Jung Woo, and Cho Jin Woong are going to join the two to make the most outstanding film of the year.

Meanwhile, the first shoot for 'Miss' will be held in June.


Kim Hae Sook & Moon So Ri confirmed for director Park Chan Wook's 'Miss'

/Reporting by Lee Mi-Ji en@starnnews.com

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June 19, 2015

Big Names of Korean Cinema to Return behind the Lens

by Sonia KIL / KoBIZ

Since the beginning of the year, foreign releases—Hollywood blockbusters in particular—have dominated South Korean box office quite aggressively. Since the February release of Kingsman: The Secret Service, foreign films’ domination have continued through the unfailing success of western films such as Fast & Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic World in May alone, foreign films took an overwhelming market share of 68.5%.
The absence of local star directors has been a convincing excuse for the continuing underperformance of Korean films. As if they have all been meaning to pull up the local films from the grip of slump, the big names of Korean cinema are gearing up to come back with highly-anticipated new titles in the second half of this year. 

Park Chan-wook Adapts Brit Novel Fingersmith


Old Boy is one of the first Korean films that foreigners bring up when asked about their knowledge of Korean cinema. PARK Chan-wook, who won the Grand Prix at Cannes for his mystery thriller neo-noir Old Boy, has always represented the “arty commercial” film industry in Korea. Famous for his genre stories that spans shock, brutal subjects and social taboo, as in his vengeance trilogy (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Old Boy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) and the vampire movie Thirst, PARK has been less active in his home ground since the 2009 Cannes Prix du Jury title Thirst. His last feature was family crime drama Stoker, his first English-language film which he made in Hollywood (he only produced BONG Joon-ho’s global project Snowpiercer.)
PARK’s new title will be an adaptation of British writer Sarah Waters’ historic crime novel Fingersmith. In order to localize the original novel set in the Victorian era, PARK has brought the whole set to Korea and Japan in 1930, where Korea was under Japanese occupation. The story evolves around a rich lady (KIM Min-hee) who inherits a huge fortune, a cheating earl (HA Jung-woo) who is after her fortune, and a pickpocket girl (KIM Tae-ri) the earl hires. There is a possibility that Fingersmith might be seen as a lesbian movie where the lady and the pickpocket fall into a swirling erotic relationship, though PARK says the physical interaction between the two is only an extension of their intimate, boundary-blurring communication.

Currently shooting in Nagoya, Japan, the film is written by an established scriptwriter and PARK’s long-term collaborator CHUNG Seo-kyung (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Thirst). PARK’s frequent cinematographer JEONG Jeong-hun (Old Boy, Thirst) and production designer RYU Seong-hee (I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK, Thirst) have joined in for Fingersmith. The film is set for a 2016 release.

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November 5, 2015

PARK Chan-wook Wraps Production on THE HANDMAID
Stills Released for 2016 Colonial Era Thriller

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz


Surely one of next year’s most anticipated films, PARK Chan-wook’s next title The Handmaid completed production on Halloween last Saturday. Following the start of production on June 15th, the project underwent almost five months of shooting in Japan and Korea. The production has also released its first stills.

Based on the Sarah Waters novel ‘Fingersmith’, The Handmaid takes place in the 1930s, when Korea was occupied by the Japanese Empire. A suave swindler sets his sights on the vast fortune of a young woman of the noble class and engages the help of a young pickpocket he meets to pose as the lady’s handmaid.

Following the smash success of CHOI Dong-hoon’s Assassination, HA Jung-woo plays the conman while KIM Min-hee is on board as the target, following the rapturous response of HONG Sang-soo’s Right Now, Wrong Then. The younger thief is played by new face KIM Tae-ri, who was discovered following extensive auditions which featured some 1,500 applicants. The cast also features familiar faces CHO Jin-woong (A Hard Day, 2014), MOON So-ri (Oasis, 2002) and KIM Hae-sook (The Thieves, 2012).

The famed cineaste behind the ‘Vengeance Trilogy’, which includes Old Boy (2003), PARK’s previous outing saw him tackle the US project Stoker (2013) with Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman. His last feature-length project on Korean soil was 2009’s vampire tale Thirst with SONG Kang-ho.

Produced by Moho Film and distributed by CJ Entertainment, The Handmaid is expected to bow in the latter half of 2016, though an earlier festival slot is not out of the question.

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November 6, 2015

A first look at ‘The Handmaid’ revealed

Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily


A still of Park Chan-wook’s latest project, “The Handmaid,” was officially released on Wednesday, featuring, from left, Ha Jung-woo, Kim Tae-ri, Kim Min-hee and Cho Jin-woong. [CJ ENTERTAINMENT]

New details including the first officially released still photo have been spilled about Park Chan-wook’s latest movie, “The Handmaid.”

According to distributor CJ Entertainment on Wednesday, the much-anticipated mystery thriller finished its four-month filming schedule in October after beginning shooting in Kuwana, Japan, in June. 

Since then, the crew has traveled to diverse locations in Korea, including places in Gangwon, North Chungcheong and South Jeolla, over the past few months.

“As much as it was a long shooting process, I believe I was able to generate that much more rich and diverse images,” said Park through a press release. 

“I cannot wait to participate in the postproduction and complete the film,” he added.

A towering figure in the Korean film scene with numerous hits including “Old Boy” (2003) and “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” (2005), Park has been on a hiatus since the Hollywood production “Stoker” (2013).

He is aiming for a return with “The Handmaid,” with another ambitious cast including Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo and Cho Jin-woong.

The film is an adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel “Fingersmith,” but will be set in Korea during the Japanese colonial era (1910-45).

It follows the story of a woman (Kim), who inherited an enormous fortune, and a count (Ha) who hires a handmaid (Kim Tae-ri) to help him get his hands on the money.

The film is slated to open next year.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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January 10, 2016

Most Anticipated Korean Films of 2016

By Jason Bechervaise The Korea Times

Now that 2015 is over, following another strong year for Korean films, which saw admissions surpass 100 million for the fourth consecutive year, focus has shifted on to what the year of 2016 has to offer. 

With new films from two renowned Korean auteurs: Park Chan-wook and Kim Jee-woon along with Na Hong-jin's eagerly anticipated "Gokseong" and Hong Sang-soo's untitled 18th feature, Korean films should generate much interest both locally and internationally this year.

Other established filmmakers such as Kim Seong-hun, Yeon Sang-ho, Lee Yoon-ki and Hur Jin-ho also have their latest features hitting screens this year.

The following films are expected to be released over the next twelve months. Titles are subject to change.

The Handmaid

Following the critical and commercial success of "Old boy" that helped put Korean film on the map, Park Chan-wook has become a major figure in Korean cinema. Adapted from the British novel, "Fingersmith" (2002) by Sarah Waters, "The Handmaid" is his first Korean film in seven years ("Thirst" (2009)).

Starring Ha Jung-woo, Kim Min-hee and unknown actress Kim Tae-ri, Park has moved the book's Victorian setting to Japan and Korea in the 1930s where a swindler hires a young pick pocket to pose as a handmaid to steal the fortune of an affluent woman from a noble class.


One of the most eagerly anticipated films this year, Park Chan-wook's "The Handmaid" stars Ha Jung-woo, from left, Kim Tae-ri, Kim Min-hee, and Cho Jin-woong. / Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

Secret Agent

Also one of Korea's most prominent filmmakers, Kim Jee-woon ("A Bittersweet Life," "The Good, The Bad, The Weird") has developed a strong reputation for his use of style. Much like Park Chan-wook's "Stoker," his last film "The Last Stand" was a Hollywood film.

His latest feature is being financed and to be distributed by Warner Bros., its first Korean-language production. Much like Park's "The Handmaid", it's also set in the 1930s and stars Song Kang-ho and Gong Yoo about an anti-Japanese independence organization. Having wrapped up filming in Shanghai, it's now being shot in Korea. 


Initially planned for a release last year, Na Hong-jin's ("The Chaser," "The Yellow Sea") shooting took place over a six-month period, which is longer than most Korean films. Often relentless in his approach to film set-pieces, Na's latest production stars Kwak Do-won as a detective and Hwang Jung-min as a shaman as they investigate a mysterious rumour that continues to spread.

Backed by Fox International Productions (FIP) and distributed by Fox Korea, the studio will be hoping that it fares much better at the box office than the three other films they produced: "Running Man", "Slow Video" and "Intimate Enemies" that all failed to leave a lasting impression. 


Kim Seong-hun encountered significant critical and commercial success in 2014 following the release of "A Hard Day." Amassing over 3.4 million admissions fuelled by strong word-of-mouth, the witty and engrossing thriller was also invited to the Directors' Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.

Kim's new film features two distinguished names: Ha Jung-woo and Bae Doo-na. Ha plays an unsuccessful car's sales man who gets trapped in a tunnel after it collapses, while Bae takes on the role as his wife. The film also stars prolific character actor Oh Dal-su as a rescue worker. 

Train Via Busan 

Director Yeon Sang-ho solidified his status as one of the leading figures in Korean animation following his acclaimed sophomore feature "The Fake" that secured numerous festival invitations repeating the success of his debut "The King of Pigs."

However, "Train via Busan," marks his first live action film that is a sequel to his third animated feature "Seoul Station" (still to be released). Following on from the events in the animation where an unknown virus spreads at Seoul Station, the sequel starring Gong Yoo, Jung Yoo-mi and Ma Dong-seok takes the story on board a KTX train where people try to escape to Busan. 

Other Films

There are a number of notable features to hit local screens this year. Korean war epic "Operation Chromite" directed by Lee Jae-han ("71: Into the Fire") has generated headlines because it will star Hollywood actor Liam Neeson in a supporting role as U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur. He will act alongside Korean stars Lee Jung-jae and Lee Beom-soo about a covert "X-ray" operation that preceded the Incheon Landing that become a turning point in the war.

The colonial period is expected to feature heavily in films this year. Along with "The Handmaid" and "Secret Agent," Park Heung-sik's "Haeuhhwa" and Hur Jin-ho's "Princess Deokhye" are also set during this period and should hit screens his year.

Films expected to be released early this year include Lee Yoon-ki's "A Man and a Woman" starring Jeon Do-yeon and Gong Yoo while Lee Il-hyeong's prison thriller "A Violent Prosecutor" featuring Hwang Jung-min alongside Gang Dong-won hits screens on February 4 in time for the lunar new year.

This year's releases also include Hong Sang-soo's untiled 18th feature, Park Kwang-hyun's (his first film since "Welcome to Dongmakgol") "Fabricated City," Kim Sung-su's crime thriller "Asura" starring Jung Woo-sung and Hwang Jung-min, Lee Kyung-mi's ("Crush and Blush") "Home Sweet Home" and Kwak Kyung-taek's ("The Classified File") thriller "RV: Resurrected Victims." 

Jason Bechervaise is a film columnist for The Korea Times. He can be reached at jase@koreanfilm.org.uk.

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