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[Movie 2017] A Taxi Driver 택시 운전사

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A TAXI DRIVER 택시 운전사

 

Release date: August 2, 2017

 

 receives 12 million admission speeding ticket

 

Song Kang Ho, Thomas Kretschmann 

Yoo Hae Jin, Ryu Jun Yeol

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In this powerful true story set in 1980, a down-on-his-luck taxi driver from Seoul is hired by a foreign journalist who wants to go to the town of Gwangju for the day. They arrive to find a city under siege by the military government, with the citizens, led by a determined group of college students, rising up to demand freedom. What began as an easy fare becomes a life-or-death struggle in the midst of the Gwangju Uprising, a critical event in modern South Korea. (WellGoUSA)

 

 

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Director: Jang Hoon

 

Actors: Song Kang Ho // Thomas Kretschmann // Yoo Hae Jin // Ryu Jun Yeol

 

Distributor: SHOWBOX // Well Go USA Entertainment

 

Pages: IMDb // HanCinema // Wikipedia // Asianwiki

 

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AWARDS 

 

26th Buil Film Awards 2017

Best Film, Best Actor

 

54th Daejong Film Awards  2017

Best Film,  Best Planning

 

1st Seoul Awards 2017 

Best Actor Award 

 

37th Korean Film Critics Association Awards 2017

Best Supporting Actor, 10 Film Awards

 

3rd Asian World Film Festival 2017

Best Picture, Humanitarian Award, Special Mention Award 

 

38th Blue Dragon Awards 2017

Best Film, Best Actor, Best Music, Audience Choice 

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February 26, 2016 taxi1.gif

 

SONG Kang-ho Takes Lead in TAXI DRIVER Depicting the Gwangju Democratization Movement
Directed by JANG Hun of THE FRONT LINE

 

by Song Soon-jin / KoBiz

 

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SONG Kang-ho (The Attorney, 2013; The Throne, 2015) takes lead in Taxi Driver depicting the story of the late Jürgen Hinzpeter, a German journalist who reported on 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement. This film is to be directed by JANG Hun of Secret Reunion (2010) and The Front Line (2011), who made his film debut with Rough Cut (2008) produced by KIM Ki-duk. Taxi Driver is produced by The Champ. 
 
Gwangju Democratization Movement is a pro-democracy movement which was initiated in Gwangju, in Jeollanam-do Province, in May 1980. The New Military which staged a coup invoked martial law and slaughtered citizen in Gwangju.
 
Hinzpeter was a cameraman in Japan sent from a German public broadcast station, who moved over to Korea upon receiving the news. He took a taxi to Gwangju from Seoul, filmed what he saw, and let the world know it through German TV news upon moving back to Japan. Later, he was referred to as “the journalist of Gwangju” and “the witness in blue eyes.”  
 
In 2003, Hinzpeter was awarded with SONG Geon-ho Journalist Prize in Korea for what he did in Gwangju, and made a thank you speech that he was grateful for KIM Sa-bok, the courageous taxi driver, who had took him to Gwangju and guided him around the city.
 
Based on this comment, Taxi Driver depicts the journey of these two people, who went to Gwangju and back to Seoul, escaping the airborne troops’s surveillance. The producer recruited SONG Kang-ho for KIM Sa-bok’s role, and tracked down the real person, but in vain. 

 

March 8, 2016 taxi2.gif

 

Ryu Jun Yeol Joins Forces With Song Kang Ho and Yoo Hae Jin for Upcoming Film

 

Source: Soompi by leejojoba

 

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Spoiler

 

 

Actor Ryu Jun Yeol will soon start working with director Jang Hoon.

 

According to a movie industry insider, Ryu Jun Yeol will appear in a film directed by director Jang Hoon in the near future. The film is titled “Taxi Driver” (tentative title) starring actors Song Kang Ho and Yoo Hae Jin.

 

“Taxi Driver” is enough to draw spotlight just with the mention of names like Song Kang Ho and Yoo Hae Jin who are blockbuster movie stars. It was previously reported by OSEN that Ryu Jun Yeol was positively reviewing the casting offer as of March 7.

 

Additionally, Ryu Jun Yeol who proved his star quality as well as his acting ability through tvN’s drama “Reply 1988” decided to join the lineup forming a “dream team.” Ryu Jun Yeol became more recognizable in recent days through the drama, but his first love is acting in films. Previously, he had appeared in the film “Socialphobia.”

 

“Taxi Driver” is about a story of a taxi driver who finds himself in the city of Gwangju in 1980 in the midst of the Gwangju Uprising. It is the latest work by director Jang Hoon who also produced “The Front Line,” “Secret Reunion,” and “Rough Cut.”

 

Source (1)

 

 

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May 11, 2016

 

S Korea's Showbox hails 'Taxi Driver' taxi1.gif

 

By Jean Noh | ScreenDaily  

 

EXCLUSIVE: Song Kang-ho to star in story of a Korean taxi driver who accompanies a German jounalist reporting on the 1980 Gwangju Massacre.

 

South Korea’s Showbox has picked up Taxi Driver (working title) starring top Korean actor Song Kang-ho (The Attorney, Snowpiercer) for local distribution and world sales.

 

Based on a true story that happened during the 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement - a.k.a. the Gwangju Massacre, when the military regime declared martial law and slaughtered protestors in the Southern city, the film is directed by Jang Hun, whose credits include Secret Reunion, Rough Cut and The Front Line.

 

Song plays a Korean taxi driver who accompanies a German journalist who smuggles into the city to report on the scenes and relay the news to the world.

 

Thomas Kretschmann from The Pianist, King Kong and Wanted is set to feature alongside Song, who previously worked with Jang on Secret Reunion.

 

The film, in pre-production, is due for delivery in early 2017.

 

May 16, 2016

 

SONG Kang-ho and Thomas Kretschmann Hop onto TAXI DRIVER
JANG Hun Returns with Gwangju Drama

 

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

 

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Spoiler

Sure to stir up many memories and much debate next year will be the Gwangju massacre drama Taxi Driver. Local star SONG Kang-ho has signed on as the titular character who smuggles a German journalist into Gwangju during the 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement, when the Korean military brutally suppressed student and civilian protests. German actor Thomas Kretschmann, known internationally for roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as King Kong (2005) and Avengers: Age of Ultron, will play opposite SONG.
 
Taking the reins of the project is JANG Hun, returning for the first time since 2011’s Korean War film The Front Line. JANG, who debuted in 2008 with Rough Cut, and SONG previously collaborated on the hit North Korean spy drama-thriller Secret Reunion (2010).
 
SONG most recently appeared in LEE Joon-ik’s smash hit period drama The Throne alongside YOO Ah-in and will next grace screens this summer in KIM Jee-woon’s Colonial Era action-thriller The Age of Shadows, the filmmaker’s return to Korean cinema after making The Last Stand (2013) in Hollywood.
 
Taxi Driver is aiming for an early 2017 release. The film will be distributed in Korea and internationally by Showbox.
 
Showbox is currently presenting their lineup at the Cannes Film Market, which includes KIM Seong-hun’s disaster drama The Tunnel with HA Jung-woo and BAE Doo-na, KIM Tae-gon’s family comedy Familyhood with KIM Hye-soo and KWAK Kyung-taek’s supernatural revenge thriller RV: Resurrected Victims.

 

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January 6, 2017

 

The most anticipated films of 2017 :

The upcoming year is filled with political thrillers and exciting adventures

 

Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily

 

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A new year usually fills moviegoers with anticipation and excitement. This year will be a particularly appealing one for film fans, as a number of big name directors such as Bong Joon-ho and high profile actors, including So Ji-sub and Song Joong-ki, are slated to return to the big screen for the first time in several years. 

 

Some of the most awaited films in 2017 are still in production and still have working titles, including “Special Citizen”, which is about an ambitious man that makes a third attempt to run for Seoul mayor, and “Single Rider,” which questions what true happiness is. Among the Korea JoongAng Daily’s picks are “V.I.P.,” “Okja,” “With God,” “Taxi Driver” and “Battleship Island.” 

 

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Some highly anticipating local movies slated for release this year include “V.I.P.,” “Battleship Island,” “Okja” and “Taxi Driver.” [WARNER BROS. KOREA, CJ ENTERTAINMENT, NETFLIX, SHOWBOX]

V.I.P.

Spoiler

Directed by Park Hoon-jung of “I Saw the Devil” (2010), the upcoming political thriller “V.I.P.” is a star-studded film that features actors Jang Dong-gun, Park Hee-soon, Kim Myung-min and Lee Jong-suk. The movie unfolds as a V.I.P. from North Korea (Lee) is suspected to be a serial killer. Different people, including a cop (Kim), a National Intelligence Service agent (Jang) and a North Korean spy (Park) all work to become the first to catch the suspect. It will not be the first political film from the filmmaker. “The Unjust” (2010), which he wrote the script for, dealt with politics between a cop, a prosecutor and the mafia, and his “New World” (2012) depicts the internal politics among gangsters. The release date hasn’t been determined.

Okja

Spoiler

Highly-regarded filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, whose well-known movies include “Snowpiercer” (2013), “The Host” (2006) and “Memories of Murder” (2003), will release a new science-fiction adventure drama “Okja.” Funded by Netflix with a budget of $50 million, the film depicts the friendship of a girl named Mi-ja who lives deep in the mountains of Gangwon and a mysterious creature named Okja. The story develops as Okja suddenly goes missing. The movie will delve into the strange adventures of the girl and the creature. “Okja,” which features big Hollywood stars such as Tilda Swinton, is slated to drop in the early part of the year at local theaters, and will also be available in 190 countries through Netflix. 

With God

Spoiler

“With God” is a fantasy drama that depicts the 49-day journey of afterlife messengers in the human world while trials of dead people are being held in the underworld. Helmed by Kim Yong-hwa of the 2006 romantic comedy “200 Pounds Beauty,” the upcoming film is an adaptation of the webtoon that goes by the same title. Around 80 percent of the film, in which actors Ha Jung-woo, Cha Tae-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon appear, has been completed as of last month. The release date, however, hasn’t been decided. 

Taxi Driver

Those who wish to learn more about the Democratization Movement in 1980s Gwangju, where students clashed with soldiers to protest the authoritarian rule of military junta leader Chun Doo-hwan, should check out “Taxi Driver,” when it drops in summer. The film depicts the journey of a German journalist named Peter who heads to Gwangju to report on the shocking news that was suppressed from being covered by the mass media in Korea. The movie unfolds from the perspectives of two outsiders: the foreign journalist and his taxi driver that had no idea about what was happening in Gwangju (as the event wasn’t shown on the news). It is helmed by Jang Hun of the award-winning “The Front Line” (2011), and stars actor Song Kang-ho and German actor Thomas Kretschmann.

Battleship Island

Spoiler

Last year saw a number of historical films such as “The Last Princess” and “The Age of Shadows.” The trend will continue with director Ryoo Seung-wan’s “Battleship Island,” which refers to Hashima Island, where Korean forced labor was used. Set during the Japanese colonization of Korea (1910-45), the movie looks into the social hierarchy and relationships through the journey of 400 Koreans that strive to escape from the Japanese island, where victims had been forced to work. Starring actors Hwang Jung-min, So Ji-sub and Song Joong-ki, the film is scheduled to be released this summer.

 

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

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March 7, 2017

 

‘Taxi Driver’ featuring Song Kang-ho, Thomas Kretschmann to open this summer

 

Source: The Korea Herald 

 

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“Taxi Driver,” a film about the 1980 Gwangju uprising, will hit local theaters this summer, the film’s distributor Showbox said Tuesday. 

The film stars Song Kang-ho as the taxi driver Man-seob who picks up Peter, a German journalist, played by German actor Thomas Kretschmann, and heads to Gwangju, not knowing what will unfold in the city.

 

Spoiler

 

The film centers on the historic event also known as the May 18 Democratization Movement, in which more than 100 civilians protesting the authoritarian regime of Chun Doo-hwan were killed by the military. The number of civilian deaths remains under contention.

“Taxi Driver” is directed by Jang Hun, who last helmed the Korean War film “The Front Line” (2011). 

Acclaimed actor Song starred in the period drama film “The Throne” (2015) and the “The Age of Shadows” (2016), about Korean independence fighters resisting Japanese colonial rule. 

Kretschmann starred in Hollywood blockbusters such as the “King Kong” (2005) and the Marvel film “Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015). 

(doo@heraldcorp.com)

 

 

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May 24, 2017

 

Showbox Drives A TAXI DRIVER into Cannes Market taxi2.gif
Korean Distributor Presents Political Dramas, Thrillers and Horror

 

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

 

Following their election drama The Mayor with CHOI Min-shik, released at the end of last month, Korean investor and distributor Showbox is gearing up for another major political drama with A Taxi Driver, as well as horror film Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum and the star-driven crime drama The Swindlers. Showbox is currently presenting these titles and more at the Cannes Film Market.

 

From Rough Cut (2008) and The Front Line (2011) director JANG Hun, A Taxi Driver stars SONG Kang-ho as a taxi driver who agrees to drive a German journalist played by Thomas Krestchmann down to Gwangju in May 1980 to cover the political demonstrations that would go down in history. The film, which will bow in late summer in Korea, was presented to buyers in a pair of private market screenings.

 

Spoiler

 

From Epitaph (2007) director JUNG Bum-shik, Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum features a live web streaming investigates an abandoned hospital rumored to be haunted. The film is expected to come out at some point in the summer.

 

Featuring Hyun-bin fresh off his Lunar New Year hit Confidential Assignment and Old Boy (2003) star YOO Ji-tae, The Swindlers follows a top con artist who escapes his country only to be tracked down by a dirty prosecutor with a gang of his own confidence men. The feature debut of JANG Chang-won will be released later this year. 

 

Also due out later this year will be KWAK Kyung-taek’s supernatural thriller RV: Resurrected Victims with KIM Rae-won (Gangnam Blues, 2015) and KIM Hae-sook (The Thieves, 2012), WON Shin-yun’s serial killer thriller Memoir of a Murderer with Public Enemy’s (2002) SUL Kyung-gu, and the period drama The Cyclist King (WT) with JUNG Ji-hoon (aka Kpop superstar Rain), which recently began production.

 

 

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June 20, 2017

 

 'A Taxi Driver' is more about hope than tragedy, says lead actor

 

SEOUL, June 20 (Yonhap) -- The military's bloody crackdown of a pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju in 1980 remains one of the darkest chapters in Korea's modern history. But Song Kang-ho, the main actor of "A Taxi Driver" based on the incident, said on Tuesday he would like to convey a message of hope rather than tragedy and pain of the time.

 

"I turned down an offer to appear in the film at first. There was much pressure to join the film on the tragic modern Korean history," he said during a press conference for the film at a Seoul cinema. "It was a kind of healthy sense of pressure like 'Can I really do this?"

 

As time went by, however, the story did not leave his mind.

 

"I was eager to share the passion and enthusiasm of this story with many people although doing the film would be difficult," the actor said of the reason for choosing to be in the movie.

 

Actor Song Kang-ho speaks during a news conference to promote his new film "A Taxi Driver" at a Seoul cinema on June 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

Actor Song Kang-ho speaks during a news conference to promote his new film "A Taxi Driver" at a Seoul cinema on June 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

 

Directed by Jang Hun of "Secret Reunion" (2009) and "The Front Line" (2011), "A Taxi Driver" features the May 18, 1980, Gwangju people's uprising seen from the eyes of two outsiders, a taxi driver from Seoul and a journalist from Germany.

 

On May 18, 1980, citizens of Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of Seoul, rose up against Chun Doo-hwan who seized power in a military coup and later became president. The protest was brought to an end by a cruel crackdown, leaving hundreds of people dead or missing.

 

Song plays the taxi driver Kim Man-seop who picks up the German reporter named Peter based on a real-life figure who let the world know the truth of the tragedy and takes him to Gwangju, for a big cash offer without knowing what was going on there during the day of the uprising.

 

As much of his filmography evinces, the 50-year-old has shown an appetite for film dramas depicting painful chapters of the turbulent modern Korean history, such as "The President's Barber" (2004), "The Attorney" (2014) and "The Age of Shadows" (2016).

 

"I didn't intend this, but I appeared in many films about modern and contemporary Korean history.... I think I was captivated by the fact that the movies were going to feature history that we didn't know or sublimate already known historical facts into art," the seasoned actor said. "I would like to show hope through such films rather than convey tragedy and pain."

 

The main cast of "A Taxi Driver" (From left: Yoo Hae-jin, Song Kang-ho and Ryu Jun-yeol) and its director Jang Hun pose for the camera during a press conference for the film at a Seoul theater on June 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

The main cast of "A Taxi Driver" (From left: Yoo Hae-jin, Song Kang-ho and Ryu Jun-yeol) and its director Jang Hun pose for the camera during a press conference for the film at a Seoul theater on June 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

 

As for the movie's differences from preceding films based on the Gwangju uprising, Jang explained: "This is a story of Gwangju (Uprising) seen from the perspectives of two outsiders -- a taxi driver from Seoul and a German journalist. I think that the difference is that ordinary individuals do their jobs to the end even in dangerous situations of the times."

 

Jang said he had to be very cautious in preparing for the film because of its potential political sensitivity.

 

"But now the atmosphere has changed. I became able to meet the audience in a different atmosphere," he said.

 

The renowned German actor Thomas Kretschmann takes the role of Peter or Jurgen Hinzpeter, a late correspondent for the German public broadcasting company ARD-NDR, who risked his life to spread grim images of the bloody military crackdown around the world.

 

The director said he had never expected Kretschmann would accept his offer to appear in the film.

 

"I first contacted his German agency and was told that casting him would be difficult. But I sent in an English translation of the film's screenplay and Kretschmann contacted me in the U.S., showing his intention to participate. I was surprised."

 

Also starring Yoo Hae-jin and Ryu Jun-yeol, the new film is set to open in August.

 

sshim@yna.co.kr

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July 6, 2017

Movie on Gwangju uprising picked to close Canada's Fantasia Fest

SEOUL, July 6 (Yonhap) -- "A Taxi Driver," a new South Korean movie on the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju, was selected as the closing film of this year's Fantasia Film Festival in Canada, according to its distributor Thursday.

The genre-oriented film contest launched in 1996 is popular among hardcore film fans and distributors largely from North America. It runs July 13-August 2.

Distributor Showbox said this is the first time for a Korean movie to close the prominent festival. "A Taxi Driver" is also part of the competition category.

"Mainly Hollywood or Canadian films have been selected for the closing night showing," the company said.

Directed by Jang Hun of "Secret Reunion" (2009) and "The Front Line" (2011), "A Taxi Driver" depicts the historical uprising seen from the eyes of two outsiders, a taxi driver from Seoul and a journalist from Germany.

It stars Song Kang-ho of "Host" and "Snowpiercer." German actor Thomas Kretschmann takes the role of Peter, who is based on Jurgen Hinzpeter, a late correspondent for the German public broadcasting company ARD-NDR, who risked his life to spread grim images of the bloody military crackdown around the world.

The new film is set to open in August in South Korea.

odissy@yna.co.kr

Photo: cine_21 

July 13, 2017

Fantasia Hails A TAXI DRIVER for Closing Slot
14 Korean Features and Shorts in Montreal

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

Gwangju Uprising drama A Taxi Driver, featuring SONG Kang-ho and Thomas Kretschmann, has been selected as the closing film of this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. Directed by JANG Hun, the work will join Cannes midnighter The Villainess, which was already announced as the opening film, as well as 12 other features and shorts from Korea at the Montreal festival.

Due for release in Korea on August 2nd, where it is already getting strong notice from critics, A Taxi Driver tells the real story of a German journalist who came to Korea with the aim of covering protests that break out in Gwangju in May of 1980. He hires a taxi driver to take him there and back again but neither could have anticipated the historical events they would encounter.

Top star SONG is currently on a run of hits that include Snowpiercer (2013), The Face Reader (2013), The Attorney (2013), The Throne (2015), and The Age of Shadows (2016) which have each attracted over six million viewers. Director JANG is known for Rough Cut (2008), Secret Reunion (2010), which also starred SONG, and The Front Line (2011).

Also in Fantasia will be timeslip thriller A Day, which screens in competition, NK action-thriller Confidential Assignment, VR action-thriller Fabricated City, mystery-thriller House of the Disappeared, animation The Senior Class, cop comedy The Sheriff in Town and sports drama SPLIT (2016). Invited animated shorts include Cook Cook Cook, Ho Gu, Lovescream, Rainbow and Scarecrow Island.

JUNG Byung-gil’s action revenge tale The Villainess will open Fantasia on July 13th before A Taxi Driver brings down the curtain on August 2nd.

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July 11, 2017

‘Taxi Driver’ ponders painful uprising through everyman’s perspective

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Song Kang-ho stars in “A Taxi Driver.” (Showbox)

The upcoming historical drama “A Taxi Driver” doesn’t want to wallow in the pain of the 1980s Gwangju Democratic Movement, when hundreds of civilians died while protesting the authoritarian military regime.

“It’s about the hope of people who did not let go, who strived to go on with life amid the pain,” said actor Song Kang-ho after the film’s press screening in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Monday.

Song, who starred in “Age of Shadows” (2016), plays the focal character Man-seob, a middle-aged taxi driver and widower raising a daughter on his own. He is the everyman, who possesses no particular insight on the country’s political climate and only struggles to make a living, according to director Jang Hoon. 

By chance, Man-seob drives German journalist Peter from Seoul to Gwangju, where he comes to witness the atrocities that take place there. The journalist is played by German actor Thomas Kretschmann, who starred “The Pianist” (2002). 

Peter is based on the late German journalist Jurgen Hinzpeter, who reported on the mass uprising in Gwangju and contributed to informing the global audience on Korea’s turbulent society at the time. 

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From left: Director Jang Hoon and actors Ryu Jun-yeol, Song Kang-ho and Yoo Hae-jin speak to reporters after the press screening of “A Taxi Driver” at the Megabox Coex theater in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)

An interview clip featuring Hinzpeter, who met with the film’s creators before his death in 2016, is included at the film’s end. 

Jang said he began to conceive the film after watching journalist Hinzpeter give a speech after receiving an award for journalism in Korea in 2003.

“In his acceptance speech, (Hinzpeter) mentioned that he wanted to meet the taxi driver who drove him to Gwangju,” said Jang.

“I then created the character through testimonies given by Hinzpeter himself and by Gwangju citizens,” said Jang.

The film is told from the perspective of Man-seob. It traces his psychological evolution as he witnesses Gwangju’s citizens, largely comprised of passionate university students, contained in the city and violently suppressed by the military. 

Meanwhile, hit songs of the time such as Cho Yong-pil’s “Short Hair” fill the background. A mix of computer graphics and a carefully built film set bearing 1980s-style buildings recreate the time period.

“A detailed and accurate portrayal of the historical reality of Gwangju was necessary to follow (Man-seob’s) emotional journey,” said Jang.

The 137-minute film, distributed by Showbox, opens in local theaters on Aug. 2. It also stars Ryu Jun-yeol and Yoo Hae-jin. 

By Rumy Doo (doo@heraldcorp.com)

Movie 'Taxi Driver'

The stars of the new movie "A Taxi Driver" -- Ryu Jun-yeol, Song Kang-ho and Yoo Hae-jin (L to R) -- pose for a photo during a press premier in Seoul on July 10, 2017. The flick on the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju will be released in South Korea on Aug. 2. (Yonhap) (END)

July 10, 2017

Source: Pierce Conran‏ @pierceconran

 

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July 11, 2017

Taxi Driver' depicts Gwangju Democratization Movement in eyes of German reporter

taxi(1).jpg
Thomas Kretschmann acts as German reporter Jurgen Hinzpeter in "A Taxi Driver" / Courtesy of Showbox

By Kim Jae-heun The Korea Times

There have been a number of Korean movies depicting the tragic May 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement, which saw nearly 200 people killed and 852 injured during a military crackdown.

Director Jang Hoon's new film, "A Taxi Driver," is different in that it is based on the story told by the late German reporter Jurgen Hinzpeter. Hinzpeter played a crucial role in reporting to the world the truth about events in Gwangju, South Jeolla Province, where civilians fighting for democracy were massacred by the military.

Former President Chun Doo-hwan allegedly ordered troops to shoot the young protestors, mainly university students. The media were controlled by the government and telephone lines to Gwangju had been cut, leaving the city isolated from the rest of the country and the world. News of the protest was suppressed until Hinzpeter managed to leave the city with film of the tragedy that was broadcast in Germany.

The story begins with Seoul taxi driver Kim Man-seob, played by Song Kang-ho, taking a German reporter named Peter (Thomas Kretschmann) to Gwangju, for 100,000 won.

Kim is in it for the money at first, but later gets swept into the journalist's life-risking journey to cover the democracy movement and the military government's response, and becomes determined to get Peter back to Seoul.

"Peter is the real nickname that some colleagues used to call Hinzpeter," said Jang during a press conference Monday at the Megabox cinema at COEX in Samsung-dong, Seoul. "I was going to use a different name at first, but Hinzpeter told me to use his.

"The story is based on what Hinzpeter witnessed at the time he covered the Gwangju Democratization Movement. When the script was completed, I took it to Germany to show Hinzpeter and he said he liked this dramatic version better than a documentary," Jang said.

The director confirmed many of the important scenes in the movie were taken from actual facts and footage including how the German reporter arrived in Korea without reporting his job to the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA). Local journalists under the control of the government produced fabricated reports about the protest, while the foreign press was under tight KCIA scrutiny at the time.

At the end of the movie, Jang filmed Hinzpeter sending a message to Kim Sa-bok, the real name of the taxi driver.

The German reporter tried to find Kim in his later life after receiving the Hong Geon-ho Journalist Prize in Korea in 2003. Hinzpeter died in January 2016..

The film will hit local theaters on Aug. 2.

jhkim@ktimes.com

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July 12, 2017

(Yonhap Interview)

Actor Song Kang-ho speaks about new film on Gwangju Uprising

By Shim Sun-ah and Cho Jae-young

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- Including "Joint Security Area" (2000), "The President's Barber" (2004), "The Attorney" (2014) and "The Age of Shadows" (2016), actor Song Kang-ho's filmography has many of both commercially and critically acclaimed dramas depicting tragedies of modern Korean history.

But it wasn't easy for him to decide to be in "A Taxi Driver," a new Korean historical film about the military's bloody crackdown of a pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul in 1980.

"It seems to have been an extension of the time when I had to decide whether or not to be in 'The Attorney.' It was a bit different from political burden," Song said during an interview with Yonhap News Agency at a Seoul cafe on Wednesday. "The Attorney" is loosely based on the life of the late President Roh Moo-hyun's early years as a lawyer in Busan in the 1980s.

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"I just wasn't sure whether I was ready to deliver the story with a sense of responsibility. Just as there was a fear that I might bring any disgrace to his life, this work gave me such burden. I mean, it was not the type of a burden that the government or some people would dislike the film," the 50-year-old actor said.

After much thought, he turned down the offer to take the film's title role at first. The story that he once ignored, however, growingly occupied his mind. Feeling a strong sense of duty that he should properly let the world know of the Gwangju uprising, he eventually picked up the screenplay after just a week.

Directed by Jang Hun of "Secret Reunion" (2009) and "The Front Line" (2011), "A Taxi Driver" features the uprising on May 18, 1980, as seen from the eyes of two outsiders -- a taxi driver from Seoul and a journalist from Germany. During the incident, citizens of Gwangju rose up against Chun Doo-hwan who seized power in a military coup and later became president. The protest was brought to an end by a cruel crackdown, leaving hundreds of people dead or missing.

Song plays the taxi driver Kim Man-seop who lives with his 11-year-old daughter in a small house after being widowed. He is a worldling that is crazy about money because of economic difficulties. But he also is a reasonable person who takes an old lady who cannot walk properly to a hospital for free. One day, he picks up a German reporter who just introduces himself as "Peter" and takes him to Gwangju for a large amount of cash, without knowing what is going on there. In Gwangju, he witnesses the horrors of the bloody military crackdown.

The reporter character is based on the life of Jurgen Hinzpeter, the late German journalist who filmed and reported on the Gwangju massacre all over the world with much help from a Seoul taxi driver whose identity is not known.

Song intensely expresses Man-seop's change of mind with only a few scenes. His performance is excellent enough to remind viewers of his moniker "God of Acting."

Questioned about the most difficult part of filming, he singled out a scene where Man-seop weeps while humming a hit song of the '80s on his way back to Seoul after leaving Peter in Gwangju alone. He then turns his car around and goes back. He had to show an emotional change while driving and singing, but the road at the film location was too short to elevate his emotions in a short period of time, he recalled.

Song stressed that the spirit that flows through the film is not pro-democratization or a political slogan, but laws of humanity.

"The true value of this film is that we feel how we have overcome the painful memories of the past, just as we have experienced how Korea's political history has been made from last year until now."

He also shared his impression of working with renowned German actor Thomas Kretschmann who was featured in the Roman Polanski film "The Pianist." He plays Jurgen Hinzpeter in the Korean film.

"I've seen 'The Pianist' in the past and thought it quite impressive. It was just great to work with Thomas Kretschmann. He is four to five years older than me, and he had a professional attitude as an international actor. He did not lose his smile and cared for others even though the filming went on amid sweltering weather conditions last year. His personality was wonderful and impressive."

In "A Taxi Driver," Man-seop communicates in broken English with Hinzpeter on their way to Gwangju. Song previously handled some English dialogue for South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's Hollywood debut film "Snowpiercer" (2013).

"I don't speak English well. But my English is not as bad as Man-seop's," Song said, laughing.

Also starring Yoo Hae-jin and Ryu Jun-yeol, the new film is set to open in local theaters on Aug. 2.

sshim@yna.co.kr

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July 14, 2017

(Movie Review) A Taxi Driver:

Gwangju Uprising seen from eyes of outsiders

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean historical drama "A Taxi Driver" opens with Seoul taxi driver Kim Man-seop (Song Kang-ho) hilariously singing along with an iconic popular song of the '80s behind the wheel. It's May 1980, several days before the bloody crackdown of a pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul.

Man-seop lives in a small rented home with his 11-year-old daughter after being widowed. He is a commoner in the working class who cares only about his family's livelihood, uninterested in political issues. He fumes at a traffic jam caused by anti-government rallies by "thoughtless" university students rather than the dictatorship of the then authoritarian government led by President Chun Doo-hwan.

This photo released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

This photo released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

One day, he "wins" the chance to pick up a German reporter who introduces himself just as "Peter" and take him to Gwangju for a large amount of cash, without knowing what is going on there. Peter or Jurgen Hinzpeter is an Asian correspondent for the German public broadcasting company ARD-NDR who flew into Korea to cover the Gwangju uprising.

In Gwangju, they meet a naive university student named Jae-sik (Ryu Jun-yeol) and a kind-hearted local taxi driver Tae-sul (Yoo Hae-jin). But Man-seop soon falls into shock after witnessing the horrors of the massacre. For those unfamiliar with Korean history, the cruel crackdown left hundreds of people dead or missing.

The film sees the historical tragedy from the perspective of two outsiders -- the taxi driver from Seoul and the German reporter -- with no ideological bias. That's how it stands out from all preceding films about the Gwangju Uprising.

This photo released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

This photo released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

Shining here is director Jang Hoon's talent in calmly depicting painful chapters of modern and contemporary Korean history through the stories of people who underwent the eras in his previous works like "Secret Reunion" (2009) and "The Front Line" (2011). He cleverly allows viewers to follow subtle changes in Man-seop's attitude from an "outsider" to an "insider" of Gwangju's tragedy.

The movie shows that those who rose up against the military regime were no heroes but just ordinary people with common sense and respect for others like Tae-sul, Jae-sik and Man-seop.

It is based on the true story of late German reporter Jurgen Hinzpeter who filmed and reported on the Gwangju massacre, sharing it all over the world.

But the movie never stumbles over the weight of history. It goes its own way, adding devices from commercial films like humor and a car chase.

This photo released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

This photo released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

Song Kang-ho's performance is top-notch, especially when he, as Man-seop, reveals his complex emotions while humming a hit song in tears on his way back to Seoul, leaving Hinzpeter in Gwangju. Also good: Renowned German actor Thomas Kretschmann who was featured in the Roman Polanski film "The Pianist" as Hizpeter; Yoo Hae-jin as the Gwangju taxi driver; and Ryu Jun-yeol as the Gwangju college student.

But much of the first half of the film dwells on Man-seop's character and situation through many anecdotes. These scenes add emotional texture to the tale, but little suspense. Some climax scenes that induce emotional overflow -- as many Korean films do -- is another shortcoming.

"A Taxi Driver" is set to open in local theaters on Aug. 2.

This photo released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

This photo released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap) 

sshim@yna.co.kr

‘Taxi Driver’ takes viewers to Gwangju, 1980

Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily

The Gwangju uprising, a civil revolt against Korea’s military government in May 1980, is a perennial favorite of screenwriters. There’s “May 18,” a tearful drama from 2007 about two brothers caught in the middle of fighting between protesters and soldiers, and “26 Years,” an action thriller released in 2012 about a plot to assassinate one of the perpetrators of the civilian massacre.

Next month, another movie touching on the landmark moment in Korean history will be released. Directed by Jang Hun of “The Front Line” (2011), the upcoming film titled “A Taxi Driver” revolves around a hard up cab driver in Seoul named Kim Man-seop (Song Kang-ho) who takes an ambitious German reporter Jurgen Hinzpeter (Thomas Kretschmann) to Gwangju in the southwestern part of the country.

The film is based on the true story of Hinzpeter, who played an essential role in reporting on the Gwangju protests and the subsequent massacre that the military laid upon the city. 

Actors Yoo Hai-jin and Ryu Jun-yeol also have roles in the film, playing respectively a warm-hearted taxi driver in Gwangju and a strong-willed university student fighting against the military government.

A short clip of an interview with Hinzpeter, who met with the film crew before he passed away last year, is included at the end of the movie.

“We dramatized the story based on historical facts,” Jang, the director, said during a press preview earlier this week. The characters in the movie, he said, were created from testimonies by Hinzpeter and Gwangju citizens.

“It’s a movie told from the perspectives of characters [instead of focusing on the uprising itself],” the director said. “[The taxi driver and German reporter] were ordinary people just like any of us, and I imagined what they would have felt after encountering the situation,” referring to the uprising in Gwangju.

Song, who plays the cab driver, said he hopes audiences will feel the spirit of the people who died during the protests.

“I wouldn’t be able to fully understand the pain and tragedy they felt,” he said. “But I acted, wishing to earnestly deliver what happened. … I believe we have maintained peaceful lives thanks to their efforts and sacrifice. I dare say this is a movie delivering those people’s hope.”

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

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July 17, 2017

'A Taxi Driver' to open in North America, Australia, Britain next month

SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- A new domestic film on the 1980 pro-democracy uprising in Gwangju will open in English-speaking and other Asian countries following its domestic release next month, its local distributor said Monday.

"A Taxi Driver" is set to open in North American countries on Aug. 11, Australia and New Zealand on Aug. 24 and Britain on Aug. 25, according to Showbox.

It will then be shown in Hong Kong later that month and Taiwan, Japan and other Asian countries from September.

"The movie was screened at the Cannes Film Market in May and attracted the interest and expectations of many buyers and distributors," said an official from Showbox's overseas team.

Directed by Jang Hoon, the film tells the story of a Seoul taxi driver named Man-seop who happens to take German reporter Jurgen Hinzpeter to Gwangju, some 330 kilometers south of Seoul, and witnesses the horrors of the bloody military crackdown on the May 18 uprising. It stars South Korean actor Song Kang-ho of "Snowpiercer" as the taxi driver and renowned German actor Thomas Kretschmann, who was featured in the Roman Polanski film "The Pianist," as Hizpeter.

The movie's domestic release is set for Aug. 2.

This image released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

This image released by Showbox is a scene from "A Taxi Driver." (Yonhap)

sshim@yna.co.kr

July 24, 2017

A TAXI DRIVER Rolls Up to International Markets taxi1.gif
Gwangju Pic to Screen Across Asia and English-Language Countries

by Pierce Conran / KoBiz

High summer release A Taxi Driver is scheduled to open in several English-speaking territories next month as well as across Asia in September, shortly after its domestic release. The film is a tale of the Gwangju Democracy Movement of 1980 from director JANG Hun with stars SONG Kang-ho and Thomas Kretschmann.

According to its distributor Showbox, after hitting screens in Korea on August 2nd, the film will open in North America on August 11th, before debuting in Australia and New Zealand on August 24th and the UK on August 24th. In September, the title is scheduled to open in Taiwan, Japan and other Asian territories. Showbox explained that after market screenings during the Cannes Film Market in May the film quickly drew the interest of several distributors.

A Taxi Driver features SONG as a Seoul taxi driver who gives a German journalist a lift down to Gwangju so he can cover the protests happening in the city. The journalist is played by German star Thomas Kretschmanm of The Pianist and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Last year, SONG scored a hit with KIM Jee-woon’s The Age of Shadows and he is currently filming the gang film Drug King for Inside Men (2015) director WOO Min-ho. Director JANG previously helmed the hits Rough Cut (2008), Secret Reunion (2010) and The Front Line (2011).

Meanwhile, A Taxi Driver will have its international premiere as the closing film of the Fantasia International Film Festival early next month.

July 28, 2017

"A Taxi Driver" to be released in the USA on August 11

Source: Well Go USA via HanCinema.net

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"A Taxi Driver" to be released in the USA on August 11.

Synopsis:
In this powerful true story set in 1980, a down-on-his-luck taxi driver from Seoul is hired by a foreign journalist who wants to go to the town of Gwangju for the day. They arrive to find a city under siege by the military government, with the citizens, led by a determined group of college students, rising up to demand freedom. What began as an easy fare becomes a life-or-death struggle in the midst of the Gwangju Uprising, a critical event in modern South Korea.

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July 25, 2017

Song Kang-ho reflects on tragic history in film ‘A Taxi Driver’ :

Veteran actor continues his streak of roles depicting Korean stories from the recent past

Source: INSIDE Korea JoongAng Daily

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Actor Song Kang-ho plays the role of a taxi driver who accompanies a German reporter to Gwangju. [JO WON-JIN]

From 2013 drama “The Attorney” and 2016’s “The Age of Shadows” to “A Taxi Driver,” which is set to hit theaters next week, the 49-year-old actor Song Kang-ho has made quite a career playing characters who reflect Korea’s modern and contemporary history. 

Director Jang Hun’s latest film “A Taxi Driver” is based on the recollections of German reporter Jurgen Hinzpeter, the man who helped bring to light the truth about the Gwangju uprising that occurred in May of 1980. The taxi driver who accompanied Hinzpeter from Seoul to Gwangju was a man named Kim Sa-bok (or Kim Man-seop in the film). In an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, Song, who plays the role of the taxi driver, said that he hesitated joining the film because of the weightiness of the story. 

Below are the edited excerpts from the interview. 

Q. You said that the reason you decided to do this film is because you feel like you owe something. 

A. Back when the Gwangju uprising took place, I was a middle school student, and I did not really know anything. For instance, when I heard the distorted news on the radio that the mob had been suppressed, I felt relieved. I think the power to overcome the pain of the past lies in the spirit of ordinary citizens like Man-seop.

The director Jang Hun said that the reason why he chose a Kia Brisa for the taxi was because it has a similar character to Man-seop.

(Laughs) They are both mischievous. A Brisa is very small, so it was hard to make a U-turn. But, I got used to it the more I drove it. The car was brought in from Japan, and I was afraid that the car might be returned to Japan after the movie was done. But luckily, the car was sent to be stored by a Korean company.

There are scenes where Man-seop isn’t really friendly to the people around him because he is too busy making a living of his own. I think this kind of character is your specialty. 

I think being humble and being compassionate are two different things. Being compassionate comes from a healthy mind. As seen in the movie, people who fully carry out their obligations and do not hurt others have healthy minds. I tried hard to depict that spirit that Man-seop has. 

The scene where Man-seop is chased by the police with bright red lights in the background looks like a scene from a horror movie.

While Man-seop is running away from the police, he turns his head, and he sees a truck full people who have been arrested. The camera flickers a bit, like this scene is viewed from Man-seop’s perspective, as if he is wondering if this is reality or if he’s dreaming. 

Is there a scene that particularly stands out to you?

While trying to escape Gwangju, Man-seop meets sergeant Park, played by Um Tae-goo. This might be a spoiler so I can’t give a detailed description, but I liked the scene when I first saw the script. I think that not only did the people of Gwangju go through pain, but the soldiers who were there suffered as well. I think if there is a scene that this movie should aim for, then it should be this scene. I think this scene is saying that we should overcome and heal our pain with love from ourselves. 

I heard that you were impressed with actor Ryu Jun-yeol, who plays the role of a university student in Gwangju. What made him stand out?

I think he really stood out in the tvN series “Reply 1988.” His look is cold but attractive. When we were filming, he did not look intimidated among veteran actors. 

What was it like to reunite with director Jang seven years after working together on the film “Secret Reunion”?

I think the best thing about director Jang is that he and his films are very frank. He does not try to be overtly expressive. 

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Actor Song Kang-ho plays the role of a taxi driver Man-seop in director Jang Hun’s latest drama film “A Taxi Driver,” which is set to hit theaters next week. [SHOWBOX]

I think in terms of the character, “A Taxi Driver” is similar to the 2013 hit movie “The Attorney.”

When I choose the pieces I want to do, I don’t reject a role because it is similar to a role that I have done before. I think since being an actor is the kind of job that I have to do for a long time, that sort of short-sighted notion is only peripheral. I think for me, the movie’s depth, social resonance and tone is more important. If a movie is unnecessarily violent or extreme, I bring it up to the director. 

Is it true that you were recently offered a role in a Hollywood film? 

There have been some, but I have turned them down several times. I am not really drawn by Hollywood movies where Asian actors are only offered a limited number of roles. 

You seem to play characters that are going through dilemmas. What would you say is your dilemma?

I think that my dilemma is the fine line between a good movie and movies that are well-received by the public. I want to be in good movies, but I also want to star in films that are popular and commercial. Those two things don’t always go hand in hand. As an actor, that is always a dilemma. 

How would you describe your past 21 years as an actor in one word?

I think the best word would be ‘patience.’ Not only the type of patience to suppress pain, but being consistent with yourself. Sometimes, I have grown so tired from long waits, and I sometimes became physically and mentally tired when I didn’t like my acting. Living through that kind of difficulty is also patience. 

BY NA WON-JEONG [jeon.sohyun@joongang.co.kr]

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July 25, 2017

"A Taxi Driver" VIP Premiere, Yoo Ji Tae, Lee Je Hoon, Lee Soo Hyuk and L

Source: SportsSeoul via HanCinema.net

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Yoo Ji-tae, Lee Je-hoon, Lee Soo-hyuk and L appeared at the "A Taxi Driver" VIP Premiere.

The event was held in Seoul on the 25th. The casts are Song Kang-ho, Yoo Hae-jin, Ryu Jun-yeol, Thomas Kretschmann and it is directed by Jang Hoon. Guests at the Premiere were Kim Hye-soo, Kim Seon-ah, Kim Ok-bin, Hyeri, Ra Mi-ran, Chae Seo-jin, Jeon Soo-jin, Park Eun-ji, Lee Cheong-ah, Jung In-sun, Go Ah-sung, Han Ji-min, Han Hyo-joo, Park Shin-hye, Ha Yun-joo, Sunhwa, Heo Gayoon, Hyomin, Jeon Hye-bin, Park Bo-gum, Lee Dong-hwi,Kwon Hyuk-soo, Kim Jae-young, Park Hee-soon, Lee Seon-ho and Choi Tae-joon.

Meanwhile, "A Taxi Driver" is the story of a taxi driver who drives a foreign man from Seoul to Gwangju in a limited amount of time for money and gets to witness Gwangju in May of 1980.

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Source: Pierce Conran‏ @pierceconran

July 27, 2017

[INTERVIEW] “Escaping from East Germany helped my acting in Taxi Driver”

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German actor Thomas Kretschmann poses during an interview at the Intercontinental Hotel in Samseong-dong, Seoul, Tuesday. / Courtesy of Showbox

By Kim Jae-heun The Korea Times

German actor Thomas Kretschmann said Tuesday his experience of escaping from East Germany helped him understand the Gwangju Democratization Movement for the movie "Taxi Driver."

Kretschmann appears as German reporter Jurgen Hinzpeter, or by his nickname Peter, in the movie and met with the press at the Intercontinental Hotel in Seoul ahead of the film's release next week.

"My experience escaping from East Germany when I was in my 20s, gave me lessons in my life and for my acting," said Kretschmann. "It helped me form my view of the world. I arrived in Yugoslavia first, which adopted neither capitalism nor communism. The country remembers massacres taking place when it was being split up. I've starred in a film depicting the tragedy and it helped me understand the Gwangju Democratization Movement too."

"Taxi Driver," directed by Jang Hoon, was written based on the true story told by Hinzpeter, who covered the tragedy of the Gwangju Democratization Movement of May 1980 and revealed the truth to the world.

The military regime concealed its crackdown against the citizens, mostly students, and forced the media to forge the event into a riot by a group of communists. The government officially confirmed over 1,000 casualties during the protest.

In the film, Peter pays taxi driver Man-seop, played by Song Kang-ho, 100,000 won to take him 250 kilometers southward from Seoul. Man-seop does not know the German is a reporter and is also unaware that martial law has been declared in Gwangju.

Hinzpeter later visited Korea to find the taxi driver, whose real name is Kim Sa-bok, but the German reporter died last year.

"I wanted to meet Hinzpeter but he died a year before we started filming. Surprisingly, there was not much information about the Gwangju Democratization Movement and I read the script over and over again. I also asked director Jang Hoon to show me some documentaries about the event that I could refer to," said Kretschmann.

The German actor confessed he knew nothing about the democratization movement that took place in Korea and he only decided to star in the movie because of the good script he read.

Kretschmann says he took many foreigner roles in international movies but he recalls that shooting in Korea was extraordinarily challenging.

"The biggest problem was the language. It would take longer for me to prepare than anybody else before the scenes. The critical scenes or dramatic scenes were easier to act than the lighter sequences with much chitchat," said Kretschmann.

The German actor remembers the Korean actors were pleasant to work with. He particularly praised Song for his acting ability in shifting his emotions rapidly from one scene to another.

"I was honored to act with Song. He is a fantastic actor who can shift his emotions quickly from light humor to a heavy sad feeling. He's got great acting rhythm like a wave," said the German actor.

"Taxi Driver" will hit local theaters on Aug. 2.

jhkim@ktimes.com

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July 27, 2017

[Interview] Song Kang Ho not afraid of politics, "Can't break conviction"

Source: STARNEWS via HanCinema.net

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Song Kang-ho is back.

In a café in Seoul, we met actor Song Kang-ho who is coming back with the movie "A Taxi Driver". All his movies put together make up over 10 million viewers.

While anticipation for the movie is high, Song Kang-ho said, "Although I don't care about materialistic results, it's hard work put in by a lot of people so I hope people watch it".

"A Taxi Driver" is the true story of an ordinary taxi driver named Kim Sa-bok and a German reporter who covered the incident of Gwangju 5.18.

Kim Man-sup is an ordinary taxi driver with an 11 year-old daughter named Eun-jeong (Yoo Eun-mi). He struggles with debt until one day a German reporter offers him 100,000 won for driving him to Gwangju and back.

Like "The Attorney", Song Kang-ho says he wasn't sure he could do it. It was such a good movie that he didn't want to be the one to ruin it. However, in the end, he did.

Spoiler

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"All the citizens in "A Taxi Driver" are ordinary people with determination and target. They do their best as citizens of the country. However, when they come together, they are able to overcome a great tragedy and that is "Hope". That awareness is what supports history. When we are willing to move, we become tremendous power without anyone telling us what to do".

Song Kang-ho has been in many historically based movies and he's been black-listed, pressurizing him.

Song Kang-ho said, "I am not prejudice and I don't' believe in everything I hear. I just look at things in a different way and think about the characters and background in our history".

"There's a trend every now and then in Chungmuro. There's a time when a specific genre is produced all the time. As an actor, I choose what my heart tells me to choose but I guess I've been in dark themes for quite some time now".

He claims he felt pressure while filming "A Taxi Driver" as it was an environment he's never experienced before.

"It would be a lie if I said I was the only one feeling it. But the pressure wasn't enough to break our convictions about a meaningful movie. Everyone was really determined to make the movie work".

"Political fear was the least of my problems but if or not we will be able to express the movie according to the message it wasn't to deliver. My passion and desire for the movie allowed me to keep going. I hope the audience feels that".

We asked if Song Kang-ho had a goal and something he wanted dearly. He said, "I want to continue having good movies like this".

"It's every actor's greed to be in good movies. Going abroad and making a lot of money is tempting but that happens when every element in an environment hit it off and bring good results. I have my bad days but what gets me back up is a 'good movie'. My bad days Don't Go Away by resting or looking or something else to do. You just have to face it. I wish my luck continues".

"A Taxi Driver" is being released on the 2nd of August.

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July 31, 2017

"Answer Me 1988" Squad Supporting Ryu Jun Yeol at "A Taxi Driver" Premiere

Source: HanCinema.net

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The movie "A Taxi Driver" premiere was held in Gwangju, which is meaningful since the background of the movie is held in the Gwangju city. The premiere was full of people as the movie "A Taxi Driver" is one of the highest anticipated movie in 2017.

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There are many reasons why the movie is receiving much attention. First of all, this movie takes the historical truth as the base. It features the Gwangju Uprising that happened from May 18th to 27th, 1980. This historical event is about the Gwangju massacre in South Korea where troops fired on students. Just by featuring this history, it is expected that the movie will be a tear bomb for all of us who watches it.

To make this good movie into a perfection, the director carefully chose the cast, which includes veteran actors Song Kang-ho, Yoo Hae-jin and also Ryu Jun-yeol. These actors are known for their high quality in their acting and sure to captivate us with the depth in their acting.

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As much as these actors excel in acting, they are also known for their humanity. When these good-image actors have all gathered in one place, the movie is sure to sell. Also, because of their reputation, numerous fellow stars attended the premiere to support their new movie. From actor Lee Je-hoon to actress Han Ji-min, Park Shin-hye, Han Hyo-joo, Kim Ok-bin, and even actress Kim Hye-soo attended the event. Actress Kim Hye-soo said she was there to support her ex-boyfriend, actor Yoo Hae-jin, and the netizens shouted praises to this cool couple who support and care for each other even after the break up.

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"Answer Me 1988" cast were also there to support their past co-worker and friend, actor Ryu Jun-yeol. From actress Ra Mi-ran, who had the role of the mother of actor Ryu Jun-yeol, the 1994 squad: Actor Park Bo-gum, Lee Dong-hwi, and actress Hyeri was there to support him!

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The movie will be released in this coming August 2nd.

By. Lily Lee

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Source: Pierce Conran‏ @pierceconran  

 

Source: Screen Anarchy‏ @ScreenAnarchy

 

Source: Jason Bechervaise‏ @Jasebechervaise

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August 1, 2017

'A Taxi Driver': Review

By Jason Bechervaise | Screen

Jang Hoon has a commercial hit on his hands with this period piece about a notorious abuse of power in South Korea

Palpably well-crafted and acted, Jang Hoon’s A Taxi Driver casts Song Kang-ho as a cabbie who takes a German journalist (Thomas Kretschmann) into the Korean city of Gwangju in May 1980 in the middle of an uprising in which paratroopers opened fire on protesters, killing hundreds. Arrriving in Korean cinemas less than a year after citizens poured onto the streets of Seoul to protest - and eventually unseat - President Park Geun-hye, Jang Hoon’s drama seems well placed to tap into the political consciouness both locally and overseas when it opens at home and in a raft of international territories (US, UK and Australia/NZ) after closing the Fantasia International Film Festival. Further Asian territories come on line in September.

Front and centre is an excellent Song Kang-ho who repeatedly demonstrates how his presence can transform a film

The film is set during the brief time when martial law was declared in South Korea by the military government in response to growing demands for democracy. Troops were sent to major cities, but the city of Gwanju was a particular flashpoint due to its high concentration of students. Eom Yu-na’s deft script is based on a true story which took place when German reporter Jürgen Hinzpeter travelled to Gwangju to witness first-hand the reprisals.

The action starts in Seoul when cab driver Man-seob (Song) hears of an opportunity to take Peter, a German journalist (Kretschmann) down to the city of Gwangju, located in the southwest corner of the Korean peninsula. Behind in rent and evidently struggling to raise his daughter, this single father sees the trip as easy money. As soon as he hears how much Peter is paying, he sets about beating another driver to the job.

When the two draw close to the city of Gwangju, they see it has been closed off by the army. Man-seob finds a way to cross the barricades by using back roads, but they soon realise they are witnessing a massacre unfold. Peter has his camera rolling, but once the authorities realise that there is a foreign journalist in the city, they start to hunt the pair down. They are, however, helped by other taxi drivers in the city along with students.

As the situation deteriorates, Man-seob is faced with a decision: should he ensure that Peter is brought back to Seoul so he can smuggle the footage out of Korea for it to be aired on German TV, or go home as quickly as possible to his 11-year-old daughter?

Jang Hoon, who worked as an assistant director under Kim Ki-duk (Time) brings a strong sense of craftsmanship to his films (Rough Cut, Secret Reunion, The Front Line), which is also true here. Strong production values help underline the brutality inflicted on the people of Gwangju, yet Eom Yu-na’s script also infuses the film with touches of humour.

Front and centre, though, is an excellent Song Kang-ho who repeatedly demonstrates how his presence can transform a film, much the same as The Attorney, another 1980s-set, politically charged, film. Foreign actors have invariably come across as awkward and out of place in Korean cinema, but Thomas Kretschmann is a rare example of an performer who can comfortably mould with the rest of the cast, particularly his co-lead Song Kang-ho. Supporting roles are equally impressive, not least Ryu Jun-yeol (The King) as one of the students.

A Taxi Driver can over-reach towards its final chase sequences, which enter the realm of fantasy, but they’re not enough to de-rail this fine film. The last commercial film to deal with Gwangju was released in 2007: May 18 accumulated over 7 million admissions ($49.2m) at the box office that year. Interestingly, a decade later, and as Korea sees another progressive president in power, a film about an uprising that became a pivotal point in the country’s road to democracy is once again poised to pull in viewers.

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August 2, 2017

In South Korea, an Unsung Hero of History Gets His Due

By CHOE SANG-HUN The New York Times

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Soldiers leading students away after a raid in Gwangju, South Korea, in May 1980. The military killed many people as it crushed a pro-democracy uprising in the city. Credit Bettmann, via Getty Images

SEOUL, South Korea — When foreign correspondents cover dangerous situations, they often depend on local assistants, who in many cases take greater risks than they do. In the bloody month of May 1980 in Gwangju, South Korea, one such invisible hero was a taxi driver whose name may or may not have been Kim Sa-bok.

As the military dictatorship of Chun Doo-hwan slaughtered people in Gwangju who were calling for democracy, Mr. Kim, if that was his name, played a pivotal role in telling the world what was happening. He managed to get a German TV reporter, Jürgen Hinzpeter, past the military cordon that surrounded the city, not once but twice. Mr. Hinzpeter was one of the few foreign correspondents to document the carnage, and his footage was seen around the globe.

Mr. Hinzpeter, who died last year at 78, has long been celebrated in South Korea for his part in exposing Mr. Chun’s atrocities. A memorial to the journalist stands in Gwangju.

And this week, it is his driver’s turn to be recognized. A film, “A Taxi Driver,” opened Wednesday in theaters across the country, telling the story of the uprising from the point of view of a fictionalized version of Mr. Kim — who, despite the efforts of Mr. Hinzpeter and others over the years, has never been identified.

“Until now, I had never known there was a taxi driver in this great tale about Mr. Hinzpeter,” Kim Ju-sung, a high school student, said after a recent preview screening of the movie. “I feel as proud of him as I am of Mr. Hinzpeter.”

The Gwangju killings were a painful landmark in South Korea’s long, tumultuous journey to democracy. Mr. Chun, an army general who had seized power in December 1979 after the assassination of President Park Chung-hee, was tightening his grip in May. He declared martial law across the country, shut down universities and Parliament, and arrested opposition leaders. In Gwangju, a midsize southern city, protesters took to the streets on May 18, and soldiers opened fire.

Hearing word of the unrest, Mr. Hinzpeter, who was based in Tokyo for the German broadcaster ARD, and his sound technician Henning Rumohr flew to Seoul. An acquaintance of Mr. Hinzpeter arranged for a driver, a middle-aged man who said his name was Kim Sa-bok, to meet them at the airport. They headed south.

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Mourning victims in Gwangju in May 1980. The uprising was a painful landmark in South Korea’s tumultuous journey to democracy. Credit Francois Lochon/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Images

“Signs at the expressway entrance saying ‘closed’ were a warning to us. But these did not hinder our driver Kim from continuing on the empty highway,” Mr. Hinzpeter wrote in 2006, when he was asked to recount his experience for the Seoul Foreign Correspondents’ Club. “After driving for about an hour, we began to encounter detour signs, but Kim continued to drive straight toward Gwangju.”

Eventually, they reached military checkpoints, where soldiers forced them to turn aside. Mr. Kim headed for nearby villages; there, farmers told him about alternate routes to Gwangju, narrow roads winding among the rice paddies. (Mr. Hinzpeter made up a story that helped them get through later checkpoints, telling soldiers that his boss was stranded in Gwangju and he had to get him out.)

Mr. Hinzpeter was among the first foreign reporters to find Gwangju in a state of bloody uprising. After the troops started killing protesters, residents had begun to arm themselves. A “citizens’ army” sped through the streets in commandeered military jeeps and trucks, carrying weapons and munitions stolen from police stations, as people on the sidewalks chanted against the dictatorship.

Behind a hospital, “relatives and friends showed me their loved ones, opening many of the coffins that had been placed in rows,” Mr. Hinzpeter wrote. “Never in my life, even filming in Vietnam, had I seen anything like this.”

With the Korean news media muzzled by martial law, only the handful of foreign correspondents present could publish reports on what was happening in Gwangju — no easy task, given the army cordon. Telephone lines had been cut by the military; some reporters walked miles to villages to line up at the nearest phones still working.

Getting footage to the outside world would be even more challenging. Mr. Hinzpeter wrapped his exposed film in its original packaging, to make soldiers at the checkpoints think it had not been used. Once back in Seoul, he hid it in a large can of cookies, which he wrapped in gold-colored foil and green ribbons so it would pass for a wedding gift.

“The wrapping was so impressive that it actually made it through the security checks” at the airport, Mr. Hinzpeter wrote. He flew the film to Tokyo that May 22 and got it to his employers.

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A monument in Gwangju for the German journalist Jürgen Hinzpeter, who died last year. He has long been celebrated for his part in exposing the atrocities of the former military dictator Chun Doo-hwan. Credit The May 18 Memorial Foundation

The same day, he flew back to Seoul. He and Mr. Kim headed to Gwangju again, in time to cover the military’s assault on a government building where armed citizens had dug in for their last, doomed stand.

Nearly 200 people, including about 20 soldiers, were killed in Gwangju, by the official count, though civic groups and bereaved families have suggested that the toll was much higher. The junta blamed “vicious rioters” and “communist agitators” for the casualties, saying the military had been there only to protect people.

But Mr. Hinzpeter’s footage exposed those assertions as lies — not just to the world, but to South Koreans.

For the remaining years of Mr. Chun’s rule, tear gas, Molotov cocktails and shouts for democracy rocked the campuses, as students clashed with the riot police. The dictator finally agreed to a democratic overhaul, including free elections, in 1987. In the late 1990s, Mr. Chun was convicted of sedition and mutiny in connection with the 1979 coup and the Gwangju killings.

In the years that followed, when Mr. Hinzpeter was honored with awards by South Korean journalist associations and civic groups, he often spoke of Mr. Kim. He said he wanted to ride again in Mr. Kim’s cab through the streets of a “new Korea,” a vibrant democracy. Shin Nan-ja, 75, who worked for Mr. Hinzpeter after the uprising, said he asked her repeatedly to find him. But the searches went nowhere.

The written accounts Mr. Hinzpeter left behind gave few details about Mr. Kim, and the version that appears in “A Taxi Driver” — played by Song Kang-ho, one of the country’s best-known actors — is mostly fictionalized.

The film’s producers say that they, like Mr. Hinzpeter, tried to find Mr. Kim. They said that they contacted every older South Korean they could find named Kim Sa-bok — a fairly uncommon name — but that none turned out to be the driver.

Interest in the movie has made the name one of the most searched-for terms in the country, but no one has come forward.

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