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


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September 3, 2016

Venice buzz title: Kim Jee-woon talks spy thriller 'The Age Of Shadows'

By Jean Noh | Screendaily


The Korean film-maker discusses Warner Bros Korea’s first local-language production, and expresses his thoughts on changes in the local industry.

Set in the 1920s, Kim Jee-woon’s latest film The Age Of Shadows is based on a true double-agent story that mirrored the times. Set in the middle of the Japanese Empire’s 1910-1945 colonisation of Korea, the story follows a Korean member of the Japanese colonial police force who had previously taken part in, and then abandoned the independence movement. He is tasked to infiltrate a band of resistance fighters who are trying to smuggle in explosives to Seoul from China, but wavers as they appeal to his sense of guilt and country.

“I was intrigued by this story about an undercover police officer who had to become a spy – who couldn’t help but do this work because of the era he was living in,” says Kim.

“Respecting the original book that told this story, I wanted to make it a bit more cinematic and entertaining, adding the train scenes and structuring it as a commercial film,” adds the critically acclaimed director, whose films include Cannes titles A Bittersweet Life (2005) and The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008).

The Age Of Shadows is Kim’s first film since his Hollywood debut with Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle The Last Stand (2013), as well as Warner Bros Korea’s first local-language production. It was recently selected as South Korea’s submission to the Oscars’ foreign-language film category.

The spy drama stars Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer) as the undercover police officer and Gong Yoo (Train To Busan) as a young leader in the resistance group. Lee Byung-hun (RED 2) makes a short but significant cameo appearance as the hunted head of the group who decides they must try to “turn” Song’s character as Japanese agents close in on them.

Points of origin

The film joins other recent Korean titles such as The Handmaiden, Assassination and The Last Princess which have taken to shining a light on the colonial era. They deal with facets of a dark time when Koreans were not just downtrodden and fighting for independence, but some were also collaborating with the Japanese occupiers.

The fact that after liberation, many of those pro-Japanese collaborators acquired powerful positions in government and industry, while former independence fighters and their families fell to the wayside, has been a historical sticking point in South Korea.

“The nature of history is that there are always parts left for descendants to disentangle. I took that as a point of origin to see what kind of story I could tell about things that had happened, and what kind of meaning that story could have in the present,” says Kim.

Although The Good, The Bad, The Weird also took place in the Japanese colonial era, Kim says creating the stylish look of The Age Of Shadows was a completely different matter.

“The Good, The Bad, The Weird was primarily a Western set in Manchuria, with a lot of post-modern imagination to it. But The Age Of Shadows deals with the pain of that era. So we had to continually do historical research to which I could match up the fantasy I had in my head,” says Kim, who shot the film in three different studios in Shanghai and on open sets and in folk villages around Korea.

Korean dynamism

After making The Last Stand, Kim was prepared to work again with another Hollywood studio. “The US system is so different. For instance, if you need to build a set, they’ll want a detailed explanation why. For Korean directors, this is absurd. But I’ve been through it, and know to project certain possibilities and contingencies while waiting [for approval] now,” he says.

He also credits Warner Bros Korea local productions director Jay Choi as “an able control tower” in keeping communication channels between Warner Bros headquarters and Korea operating smoothly. The two had previously worked together on Kim’s A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003) and The Good, The Bad, The Weird.

In his 18-year career, Kim has seen “tremendous aesthetic and business developments” in the Korean film industry. But he also sees how the growth of conglomerate studios and multiplexes has brought on a system that he says has “narrowed the spectrum for creativity”.

“From the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, directors were able to make the films they wanted and, simultaneously, critics and audiences would like them. But you can’t do that now because creativity has to be standardised and quantified,” he says.

“Despite that, we still have noteworthy directors who can carry off aesthetic achievements that are also industry successes. And we get two to three of their films a year. That means Korean cinema’s dynamic energy and staying power is still around.”

Up next, Kim is working on a live-action remake of Japanese animation Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, which was written by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost In The Shell). “I’m also working on a low-budget mystery horror with an American company that I can’t reveal yet,” he adds.

The Age Of Shadows is making its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival tonight (Sept 3), will screen in the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival and opens in Korea on September 7.

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September 7, 2016

Toronto Film Fest reflects current trends in Korean cinema

By Jason Bechervaise The Korea Times


A still from "The Age of Shadows / Courtesy of Warner Bros. Korea

It's been a strong year for Korean films thus far, both on the domestic front and international festival circuit ― so much so that 2016 could be hailed as one of the best in years. 

Na Hong-jin's "The Wailing" received critical acclaim in Cannes and its box office performance followed suit, accumulating more than 6.8 million admissions in May. 

"Train to Busan" went even further, surpassing 11 million admissions during the busy summer box office season, repeating its rapturous response in Cannes and performing well in a number of international markets, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. 

Other features such as Park Chan-wook's "The Handmaiden," Kim Seong-hoon's "Tunnel" and Lee Joon-ik's "Dong-ju: The Portrait of a Poet" have also been popular with audiences and critics alike. 

Turning now to the fall festival season, which includes Venice and Toronto, Korean films remain a prominent fixture in this year's line-ups, further illustrating the strength of the local industry. 

At the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which kicks off Sept. 8, five Korean features have been invited this year. 

A still from "Asura: The City of Madness" / Courtesy of CJ Entertainment

Kim Jee-woon's occupation-era espionage thriller "The Age of Shadows," which premiered in Venice last week and hits local screens Sept. 7, will have its first public screening in North America in TIFF's Special Presentations section Sept. 17. 

Having already garnered strong reviews in Venice, it's set to solidify Kim's reputation as one of Korea's leading genre filmmakers. 

But much like "The Wailing," "The Age of Shadows" was produced and funded by a Hollywood studio rather than a local one -- a further sign that the industry is changing. 

In an interview with The Korea Times, TIFF programmer Giovanna Fulvi said, "it's too bad for Hollywood that they did not pay attention earlier because Korea has been producing very good films for many years. That shows that Hollywood lacks creativity." 

Interestingly the film comes at a time when a number of films set during the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-45) have already hit screens this year including "The Handmaiden," "The Last Princess" and "Spirits' Homecoming." 

"My goal is to reflect current trends in Korean cinema," Fulvi said. 

This trend along with another popular theme that continues to crop up in current Korean cinema is "corruption." 

"It seems that this year these themes ― Japanese occupation, corruption ― are important to major filmmakers," said Fulvi, making reference to Park Chan-wook's colonial lesbian thriller "The Handmaiden" that is also screening at the festival, and Woo Min-ho's political thriller "Inside Men." 

At this year's festival, Kim Sung-soo's crime-action feature "Asura: The City of Madness," which will have its world premiere in Toronto, appears to share much in common with "Inside Men," "A Violent Prosecutor" and "Veteran" which all tackle the issue of corruption. 

Starring Jung Woo-sung, Hwang Jung-min and Kwak Do-won, it follows a detective who does the dirty work for a local mayor in order to pay the medical bills for his gravely ill wife. But when a prosecutor is determined to take down the politician and forces the detective to corroborate, he is stuck in the middle. 

Also invited to the festival this year are the latest films from other well-established auteurs: Kim Ki-duk and Hong Sang-soo. 

Kim Ki-duk's "The Net," which also debuted in Venice last week and screens in TIFF's Master's strand, follows a North Korean fisherman played by Ryoo Seung-bum who inadvertently finds himself in South Korean waters and is questioned by the local authorities. He is encouraged to defect, but that would mean leaving his wife and daughter behind. 

The latest film from Hong Sang-soo, "Yourself and Yours," will have its world premiere at TIFF in the same section. Kim Ju-hyeok plays a painter searching for his girlfriend (Lee Yoo-young) following an argument over another man whom she met. 

Speaking about the number of films from Korean auteurs at TIFF this year, and how these filmmakers can provide the industry with exposure on the global stage, Fulvi said, "We are very lucky that the stars have aligned and TIFF has been able to spotlight many films by these masters at the same time. These directors will bring a lot of international attention to Korean cinema in general, enabling the many emerging new voices to be heard." 

Commenting on the strong lineup of Korean films this year, he said, "As someone who has been paying attention to Korean cinema for many years, it is honestly not that surprising that this is another great year for Korean cinema. And I am happy that major film festivals have the space and interest to showcase contemporary Korean cinema." 

Also showing at TIFF this year is the Jeonju Cinema Project "A Decent Woman" by Lukas Valenta Rinner and the Korean short "Bargain" by Lee Chung-hyun about a young woman who meets a man in a hotel room. 

TIFF runs from Sept. 8 to 18. 

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

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U.S. Trailer For Kim Ji-woon’s ‘The Age of Shadows,’ Set For Theatrical Release This Month


The Age of Shadows

While some distributors hold onto festival acquisitions so long that the attention has all but evaporated by the time they eventually hit theaters, a few seem to be doing things right. For whatever reason, this year they all seem to be related to Asian cinema. Following U.S. releases timed to international debuts for The Mermaid, The Wailing, Three, and Train to Busan, now CJ Entertainment has announced they’ll release Kim Ji-woon‘s The Age of Shadows in North American theaters beginning on September 23.

The first film from Warner Bros. Korea, the thriller takes place in 1920s Korea and Shanghai during the Japanese occupation, following the Korean resistance and their occupiers. We’ll have our review shortly, but in the meantime, a new trailer has landed, complete with English subtitles. Starring Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer), Gong Yoo (Train to Busan) and Han Ji-min, check out the new trailer and poster below.



Lee Jung-chool (SONG Kang-ho), a Korean police captain in the Japanese police force, is given a special mission to infiltrate the armed resistance fighting for the independence of Korea led by an old acquaintance of his, Kim Woo-jin (GONG Yoo). After an intel leak and the death of a resistance leader, pressure on Captain Lee to take down the resistance grows, but as he works deeper into their web, it becomes more unclear who is actually playing who and where true allegiances lie.

The Age of Shadows poster

The Age of Shadows premiered at Venice, screens at TIFF, and arrives on September 23.



source: The Film Stage





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South Korea Box Office: Warner Bros. Local Production 'The Age of Shadows' Dominates

Korea's Oscar entry for best foreign language film monopolized over 69 percent of the market share to earn $16 million during its opening weekend.

The Age of Shadows, Warner Bros.' first local production in South Korea, eclipsed the local box office to earn a cume $16 million—or almost 70 percent of the market share—during its debut weekend from Sept. 9-11.

Source from http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/south-korea-box-office-warner-927753

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September 12, 2016

'The Age of Shadows' dominates weekend box office

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- Local historical drama "The Age of Shadows" dominated the box office last weekend, data showed Monday.

The latest from director Kim Jee-woon topped the box office over the Sept. 9-11 weekend, collecting more than 1.6 million moviegoers according to the computerized box office tally from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). The movie took up 69.1 percent of ticket sales.

The film, in particular, surpassed the 2 million mark in attendance on Sunday, the fifth day of the run, which is three days faster than other box office hits released ahead of the Chuseok holiday such as "Gwanghae: The Man Who Became the King" (2012) and "The Throne" (2014). This year, the country celebrates the full moon harvest holiday of Chuseok for three days from Wednesday to Friday.

A still from the Korean film "The Age of Shadows" (Yonhap)

A still from the Korean film "The Age of Shadows" (Yonhap)

Set in 1920s Seoul and Shanghai, "The Age of Shadows" portrays the story of 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 colonial rule over Korea. It stars top actors Song Kang-ho as the Korean-born Japanese police officer and Gong Yoo as a key leader of the resistance group "Uiyeoldan."

   Coming in second was "The Map Against the World," a Korean period drama depicting the life of Korean geographer and cartographer Kim Jeong-ho who traveled all round the country to create a complete map during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

A promotional poster of the Korean film "The Map Against the World" (Yonhap)

A promotional poster of the Korean film "The Map Against the World" (Yonhap)

A total of 219,291 people viewed the new film by director Kang Woo-suk over the weekend. The performance is relatively weaker than expected as it was cited as one of the most-anticipated films of the Chuseok season.

Disney's "Alice Through the Looking Glass," a new collaboration of director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp, came in a close third with 156,026.

The Korean animated film "Lost in the Moonlight" landed fourth on its first weekend since its opening. It is about a 13-year-old girl who happens to enter a world of fantasy called the "moonlight palace" inside Changdeok Palace, an ancient royal palace in central Seoul.

A still from the Korean animation film "Lost in the Moonlight" (Yonhap)

A still from the Korean animation film "Lost in the Moonlight" (Yonhap)


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September 12, 2016

(News Focus) Hollywood studios' foray into Korean market to stir up 'catfish effect'

By Shim Sun-ah and Cho Jae-young

SEOUL, Sept. 12 (Yonhap) -- "The Age of the Shadows," the latest film by director Kim Jee-woon, has dominated the local box office over the weekend, drawing an audience of more than 2 million in just five days of run, a market tracker said Monday.

The success of the Korean historical film is meaningful to the local film market as it was first produced and presented in Korea by Warner Bros. Pictures, a major Hollywood studio. Many have forecast that the film, if it succeeds, will encourage more investment from Hollywood studios into Korean films.

The official poster of "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)

The official poster of "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)

Earlier this year, the Korean supernatural thriller "The Wailing" produced by 21st Century Fox International Productions, attracted close to 7 million viewers in South Korea.

Industry insiders predict that the possibly massive arrival of Hollywood capital would bring about "the catfish effect" in Korea. When a catfish is introduced to a tank of sardines, the sardines become more active and develop stamina while trying to avoid the predator. The catfish effect is a term used in human resource management to describe how groups are motivated by the addition of a strong competitor.

Set in 1920s Seoul and Shanghai, "The Age of Shadows" portrays the story of a talented Korean-born Japanese police officer who happens to work as a double agent for Japan, infiltrating a group of Korean resistance fighters during Japan's colonial rule over Korea. It stars top actors Song Kang-ho as the police officer and Gong Yoo as a key leader of the resistance group "Uiyeoldan."

Director Kim Jee-woon speaks during a news conference for "The Age of Shadows" in Seoul on Aug. 4, 2016. (Yonhap)

Director Kim Jee-woon speaks during a news conference for "The Age of Shadows" in Seoul on Aug. 4, 2016. (Yonhap)

The film is expected to become another 10 million seller for this year after "Train to Busan," a rare Korean zombie thriller, judging how quickly it is surpassing major audience marks. Released on Wednesday, "The Age of Shadows" passed the 1 million mark on the fourth day of its run and the 2 million mark the following day.

Jeon Chan-il, a movie critic, was optimistic about Hollywood's increasing presence in the Korean film market.

"I positively view this trend as it can diversify sources of investment in Korean films," he said. "Although the Hollywood investment may be concentrated on relatively high-quality directors and film projects, they will likely be far more aggressive than local investors."

   The 21st Century Fox, for instance, came forward to boldly invest in director Na Hong-jin's "The Wailing" while domestic investors side stepped it, unsure about the film's potential. It then performed beyond expectations, he said.

He emphasized that Korean investors need to take a more aggressive approach in order not to lose the market to foreign competitors.

Kim Hyeong-ho, a market analyst, also said that increased foreign investment would help diversify the subjects of Korean films.

"I think Hollywood capital will be able to serve the 'catfish' role of motivating the Korean film industry," he forecast.

The advance of the Hollywood players into the domestic market has already affected the production of Korean films.

The official poster of the Korean film "The Wailing." (Yonhap)

The official poster of the Korean film "The Wailing." (Yonhap)

Kim Jee-woon, who already experienced the Hollywood film production system for his debut English-language film "The Last Stand" in 2013, said that the Hollywood system is reasonable and efficient but he felt more comfortable with the Korean system.

"Combining the strength of the two different filmmaking systems is to make a foreign studio film in Korea," he said during a press conference for "The Age of Shadows" held on Aug. 4.

The Hollywood studios' foray into the Korean film market is also expected to help the films reach wider audiences around the world.

"The Age of Shadows" was chosen to represent South Korea in the foreign-language category of the 82nd Oscar Awards set to open in February, next year, and was invited to the Venice and Toronto international film festivals. "The Wailing" also has been imported to various countries around the world after it received favorable reviews during this year's Cannes Film Festival.

Boosted by the success of the historical film, 21st Century Fox is currently working on its fifth Korean-language film tentatively titled "Daeripgun." The movie is about young men hired as substitute soldiers for those who want to avoid hard military duty during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

Directed by Chung Yoon-chul of "Marathon" (2005) and starring Lee Jung-jae and Yeo Jin-gu, the film is set to open in South Korea next year.

Warner Bros. Pictures is to present "VIP" by director Park Hoon-jung and "Bad Lieutenant" by Lee Jeong-beom in that order following the release of mystery thriller "A Single Rider" starring Lee Byung-hun and Kong Hyo-jin this year.

This compiled photo shows the cast of the Warner's upcoming Korean-language film "A Single Rider." From left: Lee Byung-hun, Kong Hyo-jin and Ahn So-hee, a former member of K-pop girl group Wonder Girls. (Yonhap)

This compiled photo shows the cast of the Warner's upcoming Korean-language film "A Single Rider." From left: Lee Byung-hun, Kong Hyo-jin and Ahn So-hee, a former member of K-pop girl group Wonder Girls. (Yonhap)


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September 13, 2016

‘Age of Shadows’ is king of the Korean box office

Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily


The historical film “The Age of Shadows” was number one at the domestic box office over the weekend, taking 69.1 percent of ticket sales. [WARNER BROTHERS KOREA]

The period film “The Age of Shadows” reigned at the domestic box office over the weekend. The Warner Brothers Korea release raked in 13.4 billion won ($12 million) from 1,444 screens between Friday and Sunday for a total of 17.7 billion won in its first week since it hit local theaters on Wednesday. 

Directed by Kim Jee-woon and starring A-list actors Song Kang-ho and Gong Yoo, the spy movie set during Japanese colonial rule over Korea (1910-45) dominated the box office by selling 1.6 million tickets, which accounted for 69.1 percent of ticket sales. 

The film also premiered internationally at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival, which wrapped up on Saturday. It didn’t compete in Venice. 

Opening on the same day, “The Map Against the World” came in second, selling 300,550 tickets since it release. The period film, which tells the story of Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) cartographer Kim Jeong-ho (Cha Seung-won), earned 1.7 billion won over the weekend. Based on Park Bum-shin’s novel “Ko San Ja,” the movie features remarkable shots of Korean scenery, which the director Kang Woo-suk emphasized are not computer graphics.

Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” the sequel to 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland,” took the third spot with 192,844 in its first week.

Despite the controversy of being too similar to Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” (2001), the newly-released Korean animation “Lost in the Moonlight” came in fourth, selling 63,355 tickets. Another animated film, “Metegol, Foosball,” hit the fifth spot with 59,311 tickets.

The disaster blockbuster “Tunnel” slipped to sixth spot, ending its record streak of dominating the box office for 28 consecutive days. Although the film hit local theaters in early August, it was still able to sell 46,305 tickets over the weekend, extending its total ticket sales to over seven million.

The family adventure animation “Robinson Crusoe” from European studio Studiocanal and the Hollywood horror flick “Lights Out” took seventh and eighth places, respectively.

The Hollywood action thriller “Mechanic: Resurrection” dropped to ninth from second after two weekends, with 516,531 tickets sold.

The Korean historical film “The Last Princess” made it into the tenth spot with 5.56 million tickets sold.

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

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September 11, 2016

[Interview] Gong Yoo, "I suffered by myself and tried hard"

Source: Munhwa.com via Hancinema.net


"The Age of Shadows" Song Yoo hit 10 million this summer with "Train to Busan". This time he's holding hands with producer Kim Jee-woon.

He seems like a crybaby, seeing as that he says he had to struggle to make the movie work but he was serious. He's honest and serious. In an interview, producer Kim Jee-woon had said, "Gong Yoo was good" but Gong Yoo said, "You could have told me that on site".

Gong Yoo 'struggled' to be Kim Woo-jin in "The Age of Shadows". Song Kang-ho and Gong Yoo put together made two large mountains.

- Congratulations on "Train to Busan" hitting 10 million. You seem much too calm about it though.

Honestly, there's no reason to be overexcited about it. I went straight to "The Age of Shadows" after "Train to Busan" and now I'm preparing "Goblin". I shouldn't get overworked. But the people around me are more excited than I am and I'm getting messages from friends every day.

- You were something new in "The Age of Shadows". How was the making?

It was tough. I can say it was the hardest. Working with someone I looked up to and working with such a great producer made me want to prove my value. So I had to struggle. Thankfully, the producer created Kim Woo-jin dimensionally. I really tried hard.

- Kim Jee-woon said a lot of good things about you.

It would have been nicer if he did that on site. He didn't say that on site. He doesn't get worked up. His best are 'not bad' or 'we're almost there'.

- How was working with Song Kang-ho?

I didn't know Song Kang-ho was in the movie. I was surprised I was even cast for the movie. It was a good opportunity for me. I have always wanted to try a historical drama but it was hard at first. I was so stressed I didn't sleep much.

- What is the most memorable scene?

The photo studio scene taken from China. This is where Kim Woo-jin and Lee Jeong-chool meet. It was a very important scene I had to go over. I was so nervous. The producer from "The Silenced" was also in "The Age of Shadows" and he said, "Lee Byung-hun shook worse".

- The fact that Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun and Gong Yoo were in a single frame was interesting.

It was fun for me. It was where Kim Woo-jin teased Lee Jeong-chool. It was fun for real too. Seeing the two in a single frame was interesting. The way they tossed ad-libs at each other was interesting. The humor from that scene came out great. I laughed most here.

- The costume from "The Age of Shadows" stood out a lot.

I read books about the heroes and they dressed like that. The producer put a lot of thought in the visual aspects of the movie too but the heroes were good looking like that. They didn't know when they were going to die so they always looked their best. It is sad. I wanted a sample of the outfit for myself but they wouldn't give it to me.

- It looks like Gong Yoo refuses to be content with anything. Is there a reason why you continue to make changes to yourself?

It's hard to put out a general picture but I don't like anything typical. I am not alright with it although others say it is. "Train for Busan" was a challenge for me in that way and even if it didn't succeed, it would have been a satisfaction for me.

- What are your plans for Chuseok?

I have a stage appearance on the day and I have to go back to making "Goblin". The drama requires a lot of computer graphics so it's going to take a long time.

- Introduce your movie to Chuseok goers.

There's no movie that 'must be seen'. It's your choice. However, I feel proud of this movie. I can't say it's perfect for everyone's taste but it was good for me. I want to tell you that 'it's something else'.

- How do you want to be reviewed as an actor?

I am happy with just 'good job'. It was the busiest year of my acting career. I wish people know that I worked hard.

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September 12, 2016

[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2016.09.09 ~ 2016.09.11

Source: Hancinema.net

Korea's official Oscar submission wows local audiences...

After a month-long run as Korea's number one, Kim Seong-hoon's action thriller "Tunnel" (Ha Jeong-woo, Bae Doona, Oh Dal-soo) was finally dethroned over the weekend following the release of a string of new films. The most successful of which came in the form of Kim Jee-woon's latest, "The Age of Shadows": Korea's official submissions to next year's Oscars.

"The Age of Shadows" is a wartime spy thriller depicting the history of the 'Organisation of Righteous Bravery' during Japan's occupation of Korea during the first half of the twentieth century. Kim is responsible for such hits as "A Tale of Two Sisters" (2003), "A Bittersweet Life" (2005), "I Saw the Devil" (2010), and his latest film enjoyed a massive opening weekend by clinching 1.6 million admissions (40.9%) across 1,444 screens.

Its closest rival, Kang Woo-seok's "The Map Against the World" (starring Cha Seung-won, Yoo Jon-sang, Kim In-kwon and Nam Ji-hyeon), attracted less than seven times Korea's new number one. "The Map Against the World" is also based on real-life events: during the late 1800s, cartographer Kim Jeong-ho produced a large scale map of the peninsula ("Daedongyeojido", or "The Great Map of the East Land") which is considered to be the oldest map in Korea. The film, director Kang's ninth feature film, drew 219,297 admissions (18%) from 756 screens during its first weekend.

Disney's "Alice Through the Looking Glass" by James Bobin (with, most notably, Tim Burton as one of the producers) arrived in Korea on Wednesday and its first weekend out yield 156,040 admissions (10.2%); worldwide, Disney's remake of Lewis Carroll's iconic tale has already banked $295.4 million (the film was produced for an estimated $170 million).

Local animation "Moonlight Palace" by Kim Hyun-ju-I (her debut feature) was up next in fourth place with 55,006 admissions (3.5%). The story is a fantastical adventure of one young girl's adventure as she awakens the sleepy gods hibernating in Changdeok Palace. The voice acting for the film was done by Lee Honey, Kim Seul-gi-I, Kwon Yul and Kim Soo-an. Another animation, this time out of South America, was up next in fifth place; the 2013 Argentine-Spanish film "Underdogs" claimed 49,492 admissions (2.2%), followed by last weekend's number one",Tunnel".

"Tunnel" is currently the fourth highest-grossing film of the year with over 7 million admissions, 46,305 of which came from this past weekend. Not far behind Kim's latest fell the America supernatural horror "Lights Outs" by director David F. Sanderberg. Last weekend "Lights Out" took third place, and before that second, but given the host of new releases this week, Sanderberg's flick fell four places to settle in seventh with 41,760 admissions, moving its total tally in Korea now to just over a million.

The only other new release to make the top ten was the Belgium animated film "Robinson Cruseo" by Vincent Kesteloot and Ben Stassen. This soccer-inspired film was released in Belgium back in March and arrived in Korea this past Wednesday. From the 329 screens allocated, "Robinson Cruseo" attracted 41,472 filmgoers during its first weekend out.

Critics and filmgoers have largely slammed Dennis Gansel's "Mechanic: Resurrection", and after being out just one week, Korean audiences have followed suit; the film fell from second place to ninth having only managed to add an additional 39,190 admissions for a new total of 516,531. Finally, the weekend's top performers were rounded out by Heo Jin-ho's period melodrama, "The Last Princess" starring Son Ye-jin. Heo's eighth film added 10,554 admissions to bring its total now to a respectable 5.5 million.

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September 13, 2016

'The Age of Shadows' to open in North America

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- The popular South Korean double agent film "The Age of Shadows" will open in 40 North American cities next week, its local distributor said Tuesday.

Ahead of its North American release on Sept. 23, actress Han Ji-min who played Yeon Gye-sun, a member of a group of Korean resistance fighters in the film, will attend a preview event slated for Sept. 20-21 in New York, Warner Bros. Korea said in a release.

Set in 1920s Seoul and Shanghai, the latest by director Kim Jee-woon depicts the story of a talented Korean-born Japanese police officer who happens to work as a double agent for Japan and the resistance group during Japan's colonial rule over Korea.

It stars top actors Song Kang-ho as the police officer and Gong Yoo as a key leader of the group "Uiyeoldan."

In South Korea, it has stayed on top of the local box office for six days in a row since the release on Wednesday, attracting more than 2.3 million viewers so far.

The official poster of the Korean film "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)

The official poster of the Korean film "The Age of Shadows." (Yonhap)


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September 12, 2016

'Age of Shadows' attracts over 2 million

By Park Jae-hyuk The Korea Times

Spy thriller "The Age of Shadows" topped last weekend's box office, surpassing 2.17 million viewers in just five days, the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) said Monday.

The film's first-week record is higher than some of the blockbusters which topped the 10-million-viewer mark, including "The Attorney," "Ode to My Father," "Masquerade" and "The Throne."

"The Age of Shadows" attracted about 1.26 million viewers over the last weekend, accounting for over 70 percent of all ticket sales. The film is expected to attract even more viewers during the Chuseok long weekend from Wednesday to Sunday.

The spy movie depicts the life of Korean-born Japanese police officer Lee Jeong-chul, played by actor Song Kang-ho, who becomes a double agent for Japan and the Korean independence fighter group called Uiyeoldan in the late 1920s during the Japanese occupation.

The film was directed by Kim Jee-woon and stars Song Kang-ho, Gong Yoo and Han Ji-min. 


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