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[Movie 2016] The Age of Shadows/Mil-jeong 밀정


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September 27, 2016

Espionage flick surpasses 7 million viewers

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- Espionage film "The Age of Shadows" has been seen by more than 7 million people, as it continues its march toward the venerable 10 million mark, data showed Tuesday.

According to Warner Bros. Korea, the film's distributor, the double agent flick has drawn more than 7 million as of 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, only 21 days after its release.

The film stars top actors Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo and Han Ji-min.

Song portrays a talented Korean-born Japanese police officer who happens to work as a double agent for Japan and a group of Korean resistance fighters during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule. Gong and Han respectively play a leader and a member of the group called "Uiyeoldan."

Directed by Kim Jee-woon, the film has been invited to various international film festivals, including those in Venice and Toronto, and described by U.S. entertainment weekly Variety as a "rousing gem" without "an ounce of fat."

This undated photo shows a poster promoting South Korea's espionage film "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)   

This undated photo shows a poster promoting South Korea's espionage film "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr

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The NG clip with English subs  user posted image

September 27, 2016

Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun reunite in 'Age of Shadows'

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- Song Kang-ho and Lee Byung-hun have reunited after their 2008 film "The Good, The Bad, The Weird."

Song and Lee meet again in one of the most memorable scenes in "The Age of Shadows" as the Korean-born Japanese policeman Lee Jeong-chul and leader Jeong Chae-san of "Uiyeoldan," the notorious Korean anti-Japanese resistance group.

Actor Lee playfully ad-libs his lines introducing himself as "Park Chan," the name of his previous role in the 2008 movie. He also jokes around telling his henchman to bring some mojitos, re-enacting his famous line in the film "Inside Men."

Set in 1920s' Shanghai and Seoul, the film tells the story of the Korean-born Japanese police officer who makes friends with a key leader of Uiyeoldan, with the purpose of gathering crucial information on the group.

Korea was a colony of Japan from 1910 to 1945.

The two actors first met in the film "Joint Security Area" (2000) and showed off their teamwork in "The Good, The Bad, The Weird."

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yujeoungkr@yna.co.kr

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September 27, 2016

THE AGE OF SHADOWS and THE HANDMAIDEN Head to the States
Latest from KIM Jee-woon and PARK Chan-wook Book US Playdates

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

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It’s already been a big year for Korean films and US-based Korean cinema fans who have had more opportunities than usual to catch acclaimed Korean works, with films such as NA Hong-jin’s THE WAILING and YEON Sang-ho’s TRAIN TO BUSAN scoring nationwide releases and healthy grosses, but this fall holds more in store with incoming releases for both KIM Jee-woon’s The Age of Shadows and PARK Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden.

After bowing to strong reviews at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals and scoring seven million admissions and counting in South Korea, KIM’s period action-thriller The Age of Shadows, which is the first Korean production of Warner Bros., was released by CJ Entertainment America on September 23rd in 40 theatres across the country. The first weekend also included screenings at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. More dates will be added in the weeks to come.

Following its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in competition this May, PARK’s The Handmaiden bowed in North America at the Toronto International Film Festival and also made a quick stop at Fantastic Fest in the lead up to its release on October 21st courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. The rollout will begin with three theatres in New York and Los Angeles. Amazon Studios will also release the film online at an unspecified date. 

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September 27, 2016

Sitges Invites 14 Films for 49th Edition
Five Features Selected for Official Fantastic Competition

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

The Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival of Catalonia is leaning particularly heavily on Korean films this year, with 14 titles peppered throughout its 2016 program, including 13 features and one short. Five Korean films will compete in the festival’s signature Official Fantastic Competition.

Big names will be featured in the competition lineup, including NA Hong-jin, with THE WAILING, PARK Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden and both YEON Sang-ho’s animation Seoul Station and live action smash TRAIN TO BUSAN. A new name at the festival also competing will be KIM Sang-chan with Karaoke Crazies.

KIM Jee-woon will feature in the Orbita section with his new Colonial Era smash The Age of Shadows along with IM Sang-soo’s Intimate Enemies, PARK Hoon-jung’s The Tiger and KIM Seong-hun’s Tunnel.

Also playing in the coastal town will be LEE Hae-young’s The Silenced in Seven Chances, the horror omnibus Horror Stories III in Panorama Fantastic and KIM Ji-hyeon’s Throttled in Anima’t Shorts. Finally, the open air Brigadoon section will also feature NA Hong-jin’s The Chaser and KIM Jee-woon’s The Good, The Bad, And The Weird, both from 2008.

Among the Korean guests at Sitges this year will be Tunnel actress BAE Doo-na, along with director KIM Seong-hun and Karaoke Crazies director KIM Sang-chan.

The 49th edition of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival will unspool from October 7th to 16th.

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Song Kang-ho sets total ticket sales record

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Actor Song Kang-ho has set a new record as the first Korean celebrity whose movies have sold a total of 100 million tickets.

The veteran actor reached this new milestone in Korean cinema history as his film “The Age of Shadows” surpassed 7 million viewers on Tuesday.

Song has starred in a total of 22 films since his first leading role in 1998, including the internationally renowned “The Host” (2006), “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” (2008), “Snowpiercer” (2013) and “The Attorney” (2013). Last year also marked the actor’s 20th year since his acting debut. With his recent appearance in “Age,” the actor shows no signs of slowing down.

“The Age of Shadows” is a spy thriller set during the Japanese colonial era. Song plays a Japanese officer working as a double agent whose motivations are revealed throughout the movie. The film also marked the fourth working collaboration between Song and director Kim Jee-woon. Their teamwork played a big role in the success of Song’s extensive film career.

“The Age of Shadows” is in theaters now.

By Chung Jin-hong Korean JoongAng Daily

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September 29, 2016

Director Kim Jee-woon: 'Age of Shadows' delivers message of hope, progress

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28 (Yonhap) -- South Korean filmmaker Kim Jee-woon said his latest film "The Age of Shadows" stands out from his preceding works in that it tells of hope and progress.

"While I had mainly portrayed the dark side of human nature so far, this film is different in that it tells of hope and progress," Kim said during an interview with Yonhap News Agency at a CJ CGV theater in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

He arrived here on a promotional tour of the film that was released in 40 North American cities on Friday.

"It focused on the inner workings of a human mind, although it might seem totally like a spy action flick," he stressed.

The film depicts a highly skilled Korean-born Japanese police officer who happens to work as a double agent for Japan and a group of Korean resistance fighters plotting to bring in explosives from Shanghai to destroy key Japanese facilities in Seoul under Japan's colonial rule. Korea was a colony of Japan from 1910 to 1945.

South Korean filmmaker Kim Jee-woon (Yonhap)

South Korean filmmaker Kim Jee-woon (Yonhap)

It stars top actors Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo and Han Ji-min among the main cast as well as Lee Byung-hun and Park Hee-sun in side roles.

Kim's visit to the American city was not merely for the promotional activities.

As a film first produced and presented in Korea by Warner Bros. Picture, a major Hollywood studio, it has received much attention from the U.S. film industry.

The Korean Film Commission (KOFIC), a government agency for promoting homegrown films, has recently selected the film to represent the country at the Academy Awards.

Questioned about the film's chance of being nominated for the best foreign film award, Kim waved his hand and said: "Honestly, I've never thought about winning an Academy foreign-language film award. The barrier is high and no Korean film has ever won."

The film drew favorable reviews from film reporters ahead of its North American release and has been invited to various international film festivals, including Venice and Toronto.

"I didn't know it would receive such favorable reviews from foreign critics, media and audiences as the film deals with Korean history. I was surprised a bit by those reviews."

He said the recent successes of Korean films set in the colonial-era Korea ranging from director Choi Dong-hoon's "Assassination" to "The Handmaiden" by Park Chan-wook is "encouraging."

 "While Korean films had taken the same approach to the era in the past, now their subjects became richer and diverse and all kinds of different films are coming out. I think that's encouraging."

The official poster of "The Age of Shadows" by director Kim Jee-woon. (Yonhap)

 The official poster of "The Age of Shadows" by director Kim Jee-woon. (Yonhap)

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September 29, 2016

Song Kang-ho Sets Record for Drawing Over 100 Million Moviegoers

By Park Don-kyoo The Chosun Ilbo

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Films starring Song Kang-ho have attracted over 100 million moviegoers in the combined numbers of audiences, according to Warner Brothers Korea on Wednesday.

In 2015, veteran actor Oh Dal-soo became the first actor to achieve the feat with supporting roles in a string of box-office hits, but Song is the first leading actor to do so.

Song started as a stage actor and made his film debut in "The Day a Pig Fell into the Well" in 1996.

He appeared in a number of hit films including "Swiri" in 1999, "The Host" in 2006, "Snow Piercer" in 2013 and "The Attorney" in 2013.

His latest movie "The Age of Shadows" has attracted some 7.02 million viewers.

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September 29, 2016

'The Age of Shadows' to be released in 43 more countries

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korean espionage film "The Age of Shadows" will open in 43 more countries, including Brazil, Australia and Spain, its local distributor said Thursday.

"The film's distribution rights have been sold to 45 countries, including Brazil, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, Spain, Portugal and Turkey," Warner Bros. Korea said. "Moreover, all contracts had a precondition guaranteeing the movie's release in theaters in the countries concerned."

The espionage thriller opened in U.S. and Canadian theaters on Friday and raked in US$165,685 in its first weekend.

Competition has become intense to buy the film's rights among distributors within the same country in Germany, England and Japan, to name a few, according to Warner.

Set in 1920s' Seoul and Shanghai, the movie depicts the story of a talented Korean-born Japanese police officer who works as a double agent for Japan within a Korean resistance group during Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule. It features renowned actors Song Kang-ho as the police officer and Gong Yoo as a key leader of the resistance group "Uiyeoldan."

In South Korea, the film has attracted an audience of more than 7 million since Sept. 7.

This photo, provided by Warner Bros. Korea, is the official overseas promotional poster of "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)

This photo, provided by Warner Bros. Korea, is the official overseas promotional poster of "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)

deserts@yna.co.kr

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October 4, 2016

THE AGE OF SHADOWS Unveils Slew of Sales
KIM Jee-woon Action-Thriller Sells for FINECUT

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

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Fresh from its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and gala presentation at the Toronto International Film Festival, KIM Jee-woon’s Colonial Era period action-thriller The Age of Shadows has scored a slew of deals through its international distributor FINECUT.

Latin American rights were scooped up by California Films, while La Aventura took it for Spain and Films4You purchased the Portuguese rights. Madman Entertainment bought the film for Australia and New Zealand, Edko secured Hong Kong rights, Taiwan will be handled by Filmware International and Viva Entertainment took the film for the Philippines.

The film is currently on release in the United States, where it is being handled by CJ Entertainment America and generated USD 166,000 in ticket sales during its first weekend from 33 theaters. Next up for the thriller will be Hong Kong on October 20th, New Zealand on October 27th, Australia on November 3rd and Taiwan on November 4th.

Back in Korea, the film is still drawing in crowds, having now attracted 7.36 million viewers (USD 54.52 million) in just under a month. Featuring SONG Kang-ho and GONG Yoo, the film recently picked up the Best Action Film prize at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX, was selected as Korea’s official entry to the Academy Awards’ Foreign Language category and will screen at the 21st edition of the Busan International Film Festival.

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October 15, 2016

[interview] Kim Jee-woon with The Lady Miz Diva

Source: Hancinema.net

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In the 5 years since our last chat with Director Kim Jee-woon, he made a full-fledged Hollywood film and then returned to South Korea to create his latest box office smash, "The Age of Shadows". Director Kim spoke with me about his spy thriller, based on real events during the Japanese occupation of Korea, as it premiered in New York City as part of Korean Movie Night. 

We talked about his 20-year collaboration with acting legend Song Kang-ho, Oscar consideration, the influence of John Cassavetes and James Coburn, and he revealed the name of the lead actor for his long-awaited adaptation of Jin-Roh. Oh, and his leading lady, Han Ji-min, makes a cute cameo.

The Lady Miz Diva: Congratulations on being chosen to represent South Korea at the Oscars. How do you feel about the consideration?

Kim Jee-woon: First of all, I would say that I'm glad and happy to have the honor. However, because we are not the final candidate, I guess I would be more happy if we were chosen as the final candidate. {Laughs} I don't really have much expectations as to whether we are going to get that, but we will see about that. What I would like to say, though, is that because this movie depicts the painful history of Korea, I hope that sort of empathy can be communicated, as well as "The Age of Shadows" being an entertaining movie.

LMD: Watching Han Ji-min's character, who is one of the most important spies in the resistance, is amazing with a gun and stands up to brutal torture, made me want a Kim Jee-woon film with a female protagonist. Is that a possibility? 

Kim Jee-woon: In response to your question, one of my favorite scenes from "The Age of Shadows" is the scene where Han Ji-min's character, at the Gyeongsan train station, is shooting towards the Japanese policemen. There is a word in Korean called "cheo yeon" {처연}, which I will translate into "an exquisite sadness", or "a cold, chilling sadness". I felt that. And I felt this amazing grace in the action scene.  

I'm going to veer to the side and talk about a film by John Cassavetes called Gloria, where Gena Rowlands starts shooting toward the Mafia. In that scene, I felt there was the same kind of explosiveness and sadness that was depicted - if I'm bold enough to say - in the scene in "The Age of Shadows". I feel that is one of my favorite scenes of mine. For me, I feel that scene was not only one of the most powerful in the movie, but also one of the most solitary and lonely scenes.

And looking back on my career, I do feel that I have done quite enough of male-centered films, so I do think it's time to start looking into possibilities of films with stronger and more main female protagonists.

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LMD: Song Kang-ho's character, Lee Jeong-chool, is a Korean who doesn't think things are going to change under Japanese rule: There will be no Korean independence; this is the way it's going to be. We're seeing a lot of films about the crimes of Japan against Korea, but this is the first time I've seen a character who was as resigned and pragmatic as that. Was that an important part of that character's presentation?

Kim Jee-woon: I feel like you very well pointed out about Song Kang-ho's character. I would think it was one of the first, if not the first, to ever be depicted in Korean cinema, because most of these films deal with either the resistance, or the evil nature of the Japanese rule. So, having this character, Lee Jeong-chool, a person who is actually in the middle of the two sides, and who is a person who is constantly wavering; I feel like that actually speaks to the identity of this film, and also is the distinguishing factor of this film.

The character, Lee Jeong-chool, because he is in the middle of these two sides; he is constantly wavering and in this gray area of good and evil, so I felt like having that character as the main protagonist was an effective way to depict the contradiction of that era and that time in history. And that also goes back into the theme of this film, as well.

LMD:  After speaking with Ms. Han Ji-min, she said very complimentary things about your direction, so can you say a few words about her performance and what she brought to the character of Yeon Gye-soon that might not have been in your script?

Kim Jee-woon:  She's just a marionette! {Laughs} 

Han Ji-min:  I had a lot of ideas on set, but they all got rejected. {Laughs}

Kim Jee-woon: I am a person who gets a lot of ideas on set, so there are a lot of things that were being added onto her character as we were filming. Because this character was based on a real life person in history, in real life, actually her role wasn't huge; she was one of the main transportation means to get the goods to Seoul. But I feel like in the film, she acts as a very important emotional turning point for Song Kang-ho's character, Lee Jeong-chool, and Gong Yoo's character, Kim Woo-jin, because they really feel for her, and that causes an emotional turning point for them. And also she is depicted as a lot more proactive than in real life, so I feel like there were a lot of things were added on while on set.

LMD: What sort of research did you do into the lives of those in the Korean resistance?

Kim Jee-woon: When I first received the screenplay, I first relied on a book that actually dealt with the real life event that it was based on, and also I researched about the resistance group which was called Eui Yeol Dan {의열단}. There were many resistance groups in Korea at that time, like the one that we are dealing with, so I researched about those.

LMD: Please talk about some of the points of acting or research references that you gave your actors regarding their performance?

Kim Jee-woon: {Regarding Han Ji-min's response that Director Kim had asked her to study "small acting" in films like A Most Violent Year and Margin Call} I want to elaborate a little more on the "small acting", the reason I recommended those movies to Ms. Han Ji-min was because the premise is … Let's say there was a spy among us, and if you are going to communicate or if you are going to try and figure out who the spy is, everything - the way you communicate - has to be very meticulous; your gaze, the way you look at someone. How will you communicate in a very unassuming, subtle way? So that was where I was going for references. For the film, Margin Call, you can see these people in the face of this really traumatic event; they are constantly subduing or repressing their feelings and going about planning their lives in a very cold-mannered way.

Also, one of the other reasons I asked for "small acting", is because I feel there is a tendency for Korean actors to over-emote sometimes, and veer a bit toward sentimentality. So, I also wanted to try and step back a bit from that.

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LMD:  Much has been made of "The Age of Shadows" being Warner Brothers' first foray into Korean cinema. What exactly did that mean to this film? Was there a difference with their involvement as opposed to making any other movie? 

Kim Jee-woon: There wasn't really much difference in the production process. I think it was a highly effective process. This may sound a little bit like I'm tooting my own horn, but because in the past I had achieved somewhat moderate box office success, as well as good reviews, coming into this production, I had a pretty calm attitude. I do feel, though, because this film, funded by Hollywood, has been a success, that it will inject a sense of healthy tension into the Korean cinema market. Especially for me as a director, the fact that this film has been a success means that directors have another route or avenue to go to to express their creativity. 

There are concerns from the Korean market about splitting profits between Korea and Hollywood, but I feel that if Warner Bros. and Fox keep on setting these good precedents in Korean film, that this trend will continue.

LMD: After almost 20 years of working together, what, if anything, surprises you about Song Kang-ho's performance, or what did he add to the character of Lee Jeong-chool that wasn't in the script?

Kim Jee-woon: I feel like it's very, very difficult for an actor or actress to maintain his or her position as a top talent for more than 20 years and Song Kang-ho is a living example of that sort of person. I do think it's remarkable, because every single time Song Kang-ho comes out with a new film, critics say that 'This is the film. This is his film' - and it happens every single time, so I think that is pretty remarkable.

I would say in terms of specific scenes, there is a scene where Song Kang-ho's character and Gong Yoo's character meet for the first time in the antique shop, and they are playing this psychological game, and they're trying to hide their true intentions, but the moment that I was most surprised by was when Song Kang-ho's character reveals that he is a Japanese policeman. So in that particular moment, when he is revealing his identity, a lot of us think that because the tensions are so high, a lot of actors tend to go at it with a certain nervousness. However, when you look at that scene, he really counterintuitively sort of lets go of his breath and his gaze relaxes and he really just relaxes into that moment of revealing himself. So I really feel that that's a sign of high calibre acting, because it was surprising to me that I could see that sort of acting in a Korean actor, as well as in my film.

So in the Sam Peckinpah film, Cross of Iron - I last saw the film a long time ago, so I'm a little blurry with the details - but there's a scene where James Coburn is aiming a gun at someone, and all of a sudden he releases his breath and relaxes into his breath and then shoots. At the time, I only really considered James Coburn as an action hero or action star, but when I saw him acting that way; delivering a moment of tension in such a counterintuitive way, I was very surprised and I felt that different kind of acting was what made him very, very special.

I will elaborate by saying that Song Kang-ho is an actor who is capable of just setting the scene or just changing the atmosphere of a particular scene just by a small glance or certain look. I feel that that represents his depth and his spectrum as a versatile actor.

LMD: Now that you've mentioned James Coburn, our mutual friend Mr. Lee Byung-hun, just played a role originated by Mr. Coburn in The Magnificent Seven. When I interviewed him in July, I asked him when you two would work together again and he gave away nothing his cameo appearance about this film, but he said he hoped your time apart from each other would make a great collaboration possible in the future. Are there plans for such a larger collaboration? 

Kim Jee-woon: Well, no, we don't have any specific plans to work on a particular project, yet. My next project is a live-action movie of Jin-Roh, which I think we will be working on with Kang Dong-won. Which is not yet confirmed, but he's pretty much in there. But I will say working with Song Kang-ho or Lee Byung-hun; that is something I would not hesitate to do once the opportunity presents itself.

LMD: You are so closely associated with action pieces and thrillers. However, in the past couple of years, you made a short film called One Perfect Day, which was a rom-com, and a science fiction short called The Heavenly Creature from The Doomsday Book anthology. So now having made a rom-com, spy movies, action, thrillers, a western and a sci-fi film, is there a genre you haven't yet tried, or would like to explore further?  

Kim Jee-woon: So, I think with the film, Jin-Roh, that I will be working on in the future, with that I will be touching upon the genre of sci-fi noir, or sci-fi/thriller. I feel like a genre that I would like to work with if possible in Korea, but if not, that I would still like to work on in the US, would be an antihero film. People keep telling me to work on a romantic drama film, so I might work on that. And then I would also like to work on a film that's based on real-life events.

LMD: "The Age of Shadows" is based on real-life events, isn't it?

Kim Jee-woon: Well, yeah, that is true, but we did sort of work with the characters and tweak a little bit of the circumstances, but yeah, you're right.

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LMD: You also made another short called "The X", which I understand was in part to work with a new technology, ScreenX, which is similar to IMAX. How closely do you watch technological trends and have you considered doing something in 3D? 

Kim Jee-woon: To answer your question about 3D filmmaking, I don't really have any intention of making a 3D film for the sake of making a 3D film. I mean, if 3D is the best way to convey a certain theme or certain aesthetic that I want to convey, and if that is the most effective way, I will consider it, but I don't really have any intention just for the sake of it.

I will say with "The X", that was a new projection technique, and so I felt that it was going to open new horizons in terms of filmmaking. So, rather than that being something I that was focusing on much in terms of the story, I was focusing more on the experimental aspect of it. So I would like to think of that more of as a technical experimentation film. But I will say that if I feel like something is meaningful, and I feel like that particular technique contributes to a certain way of filmmaking, I will consider using new technology.

LMD: You've spoken about your experience making The Last Stand in Hollywood. Is there anything from your time in the States would like to see in South Korean filmmaking?

Kim Jee-woon: I wouldn't say there is something particular that I would want to adopt, because Korea has already started to adopt the Hollywood production system, itself. I feel like in that sort of system that we've adopted, we are sort of making it work within Korean culture and Korean sentiment, so there is nothing particular that I would like to try to add on. It is quite effective, I feel.

I will say one thing that the US system is very, very strict and very good about, is being very meticulous about accounting. For example, residuals: Once something goes out, it's very clear-cut; you get this much when it goes on the networks - they stick with principles on that one.

LMD: Do they not do that in Korea?

Kim Jee-woon: It's a little blurry, I feel. Rather than focusing on the profits I'm making through the residuals; that's not really what's on my mind. What's on my mind is that through those residuals, I'm constantly being reminded that my work is being shown in the US and across the world. So, for me, it gives me more of an emotional satisfaction, rather than the satisfaction of making money.

~ The Lady Miz Diva

Sept 20-21st, 2016

Special praise and thanks to the wonderful folks at Korean Movie Night/Korean Cultural Center NY and CJ Entertainment for making this interview possible, as well as our eternal blessings for the wonderful translation of Ms. Estelle Lee.

Original article on The Diva Review

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October 18, 2016

Asian film festival launches in London

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- An inaugural Asian film festival will open in London this week to increase Europeans' awareness of mainly Korean films, the South Korean culture ministry said Tuesday.

The London East Asia Film Festival will screen 40 films from eight Asian countries, including South Korea, Japan and China at various theaters in the city.

Since this year's festival focus is on Korean films, more than half of the films invited were from South Korea.

They include the opening film, director Kim Jee-woon's double agent film "The Age of Shadows," Park Chan-wook's erotic thriller "The Handmaiden," and "Tunnel," a disaster flick by Kim Seong-hun. Among other Korean films on the list are Kang Woo-suk's "The Map Against the World" and "Sprits' Homecoming" by Cho Jung-rae, and "The World of Us" by Yoon Ga-eun.

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In addition, the lineup also includes the latest works by Asian master directors such as "Beautiful 2016" co-directed by China's Jia Zhangke and "Creepy" by Kiyoshi Kurosawa of Japan.

After the screening of some of the films, there will be guest visit events involving 12 helmers, six actors and six producers. A retrospective for award-winning director Park Chan-wook was also prepared for fans of Korean films.

"Three" by Hong Kong director Johnnie To will close the 11-day festival on Oct. 30.

The film festival was organized by Jeon Hye-jung, former executive director of the London Korean Film Festival who currently leads the Korean Artists Development Agency, with help from the British cultural scene, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

"Britain, the biggest film market in Europe, is like an advance base for the world film market," said Jeon, director of the London East Asia Film Festival who has made various efforts to increase the British people's awareness of Korean films over the past 10 years. "Korean films are now taking a central role in the Asian film market but now is the time to ponder over accompanied growth of Korean and other Asian films considering the fast growth of Chinese capital," she said of the reason for launching the Asian film fest.

The official poster of "The Age of Shadows" by director Kim Jee-woon. (Yonhap)

The official poster of "The Age of Shadows" by director Kim Jee-woon. (Yonhap)

sshim@yna.co.kr

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October 18, 2016

Actor Song gets top artist award

By Baek Byung-yeul The Korea Times

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Actor Song Kang-ho has been awarded the top honor by the Shin Young Kyun Foundation, Tuesday. 
/ Courtesy of Shin Young Kyun Foundation

Actor Song Kang-ho will receive the top artist award given by the Shin Young Kyun Arts and Cultural Foundation for his role in the 2016 film "The Age of Shadows," the foundation announced Tuesday.

The foundation was established by veteran actor Shin Young-kyun in 2010 and has been recognizing individuals for outstanding performances in films and plays, awarding them from a prize pool of 100 million won ($88,400). Song, the winner of the top award, will receive 40 million won.

Song is one of the country's most influential actors with a slew of smash-hit films. Debuting in 1996 in "The Day a Pig Fell into the Well," the 49-year-old actor has played major roles in hit movies, including "Shiri" (1999), "Joint Security Area" (2000), "Memories of Murder" (2003), "The Host" (2006) and "Secret Sunshine" (2007). "Snowpiercer," "The Face Reader" and "The Attorney," three of his movies which hit the box office in 2013, boosted Song to stardom as they became huge successes.

Song also shined in the recently released film "The Age of Shadows." Directed by Kim Jee-woon, known for "A Bittersweet Life" (2004) and "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" (2008), the film revolves around Korean-born naturalized Japanese police officer Lee Jung-chul played by Song, who befriends the leader of a notorious Korean independence group during the Japanese occupation in the late 1920s.

Veteran actor Jeong Jin-gak has been named as best stage actor and film director Yoon Ga-eun, known for her 2015 film "The World of Us," has been chosen as the recipient in the film sector. Sean of hip-hop duo Jinusean and his wife, actress Jung Hye-young, will share the beautiful artist award for their involvement in charity work.

The awards ceremony will be held at Myungbo Art Hall in Seoul on Oct. 25.

baekby@ktimes.com

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Published on September 21, 2016 by London East Asia Film Festival

LEAFF 2016 Supporting Messages #1

Supporting messages from Director Park Chan-wook, Actor Jung Woo-sung, Actor Lee Byung-hun, Actor Song Joong-ki, Director Ryoo Seung-wan, Actor Hwang Jung Min, Actor Lee Gyeung-young, Actress Kim Su-an for the 1st London East Asia Film Festival! 

October 18, 2016

Asian film festival launches in London

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- An inaugural Asian film festival will open in London this week to increase Europeans' awareness of mainly Korean films, the South Korean culture ministry said Tuesday.

The London East Asia Film Festival will screen 40 films from eight Asian countries, including South Korea, Japan and China at various theaters in the city.

Since this year's festival focus is on Korean films, more than half of the films invited were from South Korea.

They include the opening film, director Kim Jee-woon's double agent film "The Age of Shadows," Park Chan-wook's erotic thriller "The Handmaiden," and "Tunnel," a disaster flick by Kim Seong-hun. Among other Korean films on the list are Kang Woo-suk's "The Map Against the World" and "Sprits' Homecoming" by Cho Jung-rae, and "The World of Us" by Yoon Ga-eun.

AEN20161018006800315_01_i.jpg

In addition, the lineup also includes the latest works by Asian master directors such as "Beautiful 2016" co-directed by China's Jia Zhangke and "Creepy" by Kiyoshi Kurosawa of Japan.

After the screening of some of the films, there will be guest visit events involving 12 helmers, six actors and six producers. A retrospective for award-winning director Park Chan-wook was also prepared for fans of Korean films.

"Three" by Hong Kong director Johnnie To will close the 11-day festival on Oct. 30.

The film festival was organized by Jeon Hye-jung, former executive director of the London Korean Film Festival who currently leads the Korean Artists Development Agency, with help from the British cultural scene, including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

"Britain, the biggest film market in Europe, is like an advance base for the world film market," said Jeon, director of the London East Asia Film Festival who has made various efforts to increase the British people's awareness of Korean films over the past 10 years. "Korean films are now taking a central role in the Asian film market but now is the time to ponder over accompanied growth of Korean and other Asian films considering the fast growth of Chinese capital," she said of the reason for launching the Asian film fest.

sshim@yna.co.kr

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October 21, 2016

Asian World Film Festival to feature five Korean films in L.A.

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 21 (Yonhap) -- The second annual Asian World Film Festival (AWFF) in Los Angeles will showcase five recent South Korean films in a special event, organizers said on Thursday.

Hosted by CJ Entertainment and sponsored by the Korean Cultural Center LA, "Korean Film Days" will be held over one week starting Tuesday (U.S. time), they said.

The event is part of AWFF, which runs from Monday to Nov. 1 at Arclight Theater in Culver City, the Los Angeles location of South Korean multi-screen theater chain CGV.

This image from the "Asian World Film Festival" official website shows a scene from "Operation Chromite," which will be the closing night film on Nov. 1 at the Arclight Theater in Culver City. (Yonhap)

This image from the "Asian World Film Festival" official website shows a scene from "Operation Chromite," which will be the closing night film on Nov. 1 at the Arclight Theater in Culver City. (Yonhap)

The five films are "The Age of Shadows," "Asura," "The Map Against the World," "The World of Us" and "Operation Chromite." "The Age of Shadows" has been submitted as a potential contender for best foreign language film in the Academy Awards and is a nominee for the grand prize at AWFF. "The Map Against the World" and "The World of Us" are nominated for the AWFF Lighthouse Humanitarian Award. "Operation Chromite" is to be the closing night film.

Director Kim Jee-woon of "The Age of Shadows" will attend a special screening for the members of the Academy and Hollywood Foreign Press Association over two days starting next Saturday at the Arclight Theater. Lee Jae-han, the director of "Operation Chromite," is to attend the closing ceremony on Nov. 1.

The annual festival, featuring a total of 20 Asian films this year, launched in 2015 as a chance to showcase Asian films to the public, media, Hollywood industry, and even the Academy, and also to promote Asian filmmakers and directors.

"Considering the outstanding productions and constant growth in overseas expansion, we have decided to coordinate the new program 'Korean Film Days' to solely focus on the films of South Korea," said George Chamchoum, the director of the festival.

Kim Jee-woon, director of potential Oscar contender "The Age of Shadows," stands in front of a poster of his film. (Yonhap)

Kim Jee-woon, director of potential Oscar contender "The Age of Shadows," stands in front of a poster of his film. (Yonhap)

jbokyung1@yna.co.kr

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  • Guest changed the title to [Movie 2016] The Age of Shadows/Mil-jeong 밀정 - Song Kang Ho, Gong Yoo, Han Ji Min, Shin Sung Rok

October 18, 2016

Now showing in Hong Kong
Film review: The Age of Shadows – 140 minutes of breathless action

Source: South China Morning Post

Vibrant cinematography, an invigorating score, sumptuous production design and standout performances show why Kim Jee-woon’s film deserves its nomination as Korea’s 2017 Oscars entry

4/5 stars

Following the disappointment of his Hollywood debut The Last Stand, director Kim Jee-woon returns home with a riveting espionage thriller that taps into Korea’s recent trend for patriotic Occupation-era period pieces. Packed with compelling performances and showy set-pieces, The Age of Shadows is a classic wartime spy caper, blending Asian and European action styles seamlessly.

Song Kang-ho stars as Lee Jung-chool, a Korean-born Japanese police officer in 1920s Seoul, whose loyalty to the occupying forces is tested when he comes into contact with a gang of resistance fighters, led by the charismatic Kim Woo-jin (played by Train to Busan’s Gong Yoo).

As Kim’s team attempt to smuggle explosives into Seoul from Shanghai, they prey on Lee’s latent sympathies for his countrymen. So begins a nail-biting battle of wits between the two men that evolves through a number of bravura action sequences, including a rooftop foot chase through a walled compound and a breathless game of cat-and-mouse aboard a crowded train.

Song is reliable as ever as the conflicted protagonist wrestling with his patriotic duty, while Gong continues to evolve into a compelling leading man.

Lee Byung-hun also appears in an extended cameo, but all three are eclipsed by Um Tae-goo, whose hair trigger turn as the always suspicious Japanese officer Hashimoto steals the show whenever he’s on screen.

In the best year for Korean cinema in recent memory, which has already given us Train to Busan, The Handmaiden and The Wailing, it is no small feat that The Age of Shadows has been chosen as Korea’s Best Foreign Language Film entry at the 2017 Oscars.

Its vibrant cinematography from Kim Ji-yong, invigorating score from Mowg and Cho Hwa-sung’s sumptuous production design make The Age of Shadows a joy to watch, its 140 minutes of action unspooling with barely a pause for breath.
The Age of Shadows opens on October 20

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  • Jillia changed the title to [Movie 2016] The Age of Shadows/Mil-jeong 밀정

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