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[Movie 2000] Joint Security Area 공동경비구역 J S A

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Song, Gangho (Oh Gyeongpil)

Soldier of the North.

A charismatic person with the ability to cope with a crisis.

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Shin, Hakyun (Jeong Ujin)

Soldier of the North.

A victim of the shooting case. A kind and pure character.

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Lee, Byunghun (Lee Suhyeok)

Soldier of the South. He is the character who represents the young generation, who do not recognize the divided reality. His curiosity makes him a victim of the partition of the Korean peninsula.

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Lee, Yeongae (Sophie)

A responsible investigator of the neutral supervision committee.

She is Korean-Swiss and has studied at the Zurich law school. She takes charge of the murder case which occurred at the Joint Security Area. She discloses the plot of concealment of the case by the upper organizations of the South and the North.

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Source: http://english.tour2korea.com/hellohallyu/...10&conNum=3

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07-27-2006

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53 Years after the Korean War: South Korean army soldiers on duty Thursday at the Joint Security Area near the Demilitarized Zone, a symbol of the tragic division of the Korean Peninsula. The 1950-53 Korean War came to an end 53 years ago after North Korea and its communist allies ㅡ China and the former Soviet Union ㅡ signed an armistice agreement with the United Nations Command. /Yonhap

Source: http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/photosalon...20094611530.htm

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I agree with these views. Exactly what made me love the film.

We know that War films are already a dime a dozen not only in Korea but in other parts of the world where at one time or the other people experienced the tragedy of war.. the loss of human lives, properties and more importantly hopes and dreams.

More than the brutality and gore seen in it, what is unique about JSA is that it showed that friendship knows no boundaries... that man can find the tiniest kindness, warmth and companionship in another at any time, place and condition. And, JSA is unforgetable becoz the actors there gave a performance that made us feel that they are real.

Well-said, Ella. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, you've said what makes JSA a unique and an amazing movie. It's not simply about war and animosity but something we'd often overlooked or forget ... the humans involved directly in the ordeal. Too many times we had the perception that soldiers are solely trained to kill the enemy, but they are not machines. They're people like us.. with families... with friends.. with feelings.

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Some JSA caps taken from the theatre where it was shown.

(sorry not so clear as i took them from my mobile phone only)

The Pinay hunnies cant contain their muted shrieks every time BH is shown on screen.

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Excerpt from Bright Lights Film Journal, an interview with Park Chan Wook.

For the full interview, please click HERE. Thanks to atom at koreanfilm.org for the highlight.

Dissenters to the party line on Park, however — like Darghis, Olaf Möller, and Reverse Shot editor Michael Koresky — have leveled the charge of flashy vacuousness, questioning the director's penchant for aesthetisizing images of cruelty and bloodlust. To a less passionate observer, the Seoul-based auteur appears to be a perversely talented, Tarantino-endorsed helmer who hasn't yet developed a mature approach to the moral dimension of his art, despite his professed interest in Sophocles, Kafka, and Dostoyevsky. Without question, there is a cognitive dissonance between, say, Joint Security Area (2000) — an engrossing political thriller about murder, betrayal, and forbidden friendship along the heavily patrolled, mine-laden DMZ — and "Cut," his hysterically brutal short (abduction, limb severance, lots of hemoglobin) from the portmanteau film Three ... Extremes (2004).

Recently, Park unleashed the final chapter in his revenge trilogy, Lady Vengeance (2005), capping a sequence of related films that resulted, by the director's own account, from a half-serious challenge issued by the Korean press. Park's variation on a theme again features his signature scrambling of visual styles and narrative tones, while also incorporating a new element: the quest for spiritual atonement by his "angelic" female avenger, Keum-ja (Asian starlet Lee Young-ae), an ex-convict whose long-gestating plan to extract justice from a child murderer finds her orchestrating a cathartic, vigilante-style bloodletting. It is certainly his best film since JSA, and unmistakably Park-like in its campy, ludicrous black humor and visual pyrotechnics.

August 2006 | Issue 53

Copyright © 2006 by Damon Smith

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Thanks Ella for sharing these captures at the thread. Appreciate them very much. Even from a handphone, the captures looked very clear.

I wish our local tv would air JSA one of these days. We had Taegukgi awhile back during the new year celebrations, JSA would be a good movie to watch as well with its universal message of brotherhood and peace.

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JSA all-star news :)

Aug 21, 2006

A Serious Man for a Serious Job: Shin Ha-Gyun

Shin Ha-gyun is known as a man of few words in the Korean film industry. The reticent actor plays a speechless killer in his new film "No Mercy for the Rude," to be released on Aug. 24. Shin says only a single word during the entire two-hour movie. An actor for 10 years, Shin has been praised by his contemporaries for his skill in playing contradictory characters: innocent but frightening, or both angelic and evil. By the same token, he has starred in both art-house movies like "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance" and "Save the Green Planet" and big hits such as "Joint Security Area", "Welcome to Dongmakgol" and "The Big Scene," which attracted audiences of more than 16 million combined, showing his innocent smile while hiding his lunatic eyes.

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"There have been many killer movies, but this one caught my eye because it wasn't typical," he says about the new movie. "It's extravagant but not shallow... well, it's like a joke that makes people think about something serious." In interview, he is almost as laconic as his parts. Shin's character in the movie was born with a short tongue and stopped speaking when he grew up because he was bullied about it. After seeing a quack who tells him that an operation costing W100 million (US$1=W959) can completely cure his condition, he becomes a contract killer.

Shin takes viewers by surprise with his perfect absorption in any character he plays, but in reality he seems so ordinary that few who see him on the big screen would recognize him. "I usually jog along the Jungrangcheon stream near my place, but no one has recognized me so far," he says.

Shin is not only reticent but very shy and says he never spoke out in front of others when he was a child. The reason he enjoys his life as an actor, he says, is that he can communicate with others through movies. Enrolling at the Seoul Institute of the Arts in 1993, he says, "What I like about acting is that I can express what I understand not in words but by other means. When I think that I make others feel just what I felt, I'm happy."

A lighthearted request for any funny anecdotes from the set brings an unexpected chill to the atmosphere. "These questions always embarrass me," he says. "You may think of me as rather arrogant, but when I act, I only focus on my job, so how could such things happen?"

Source: englishnews@chosun.com

http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/new...0608210005.html

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July 19, 2005

Director Park Chan-wook's "Lady Yeong-ae"

by Dong-Yong Min (mindy@donga.com) english.donga.com

Lee Yeong-ae has changed.

The character Keum-ja that she plays in "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance" (to be released on July 28 ) is a vicious woman who plans revenge for 13 years on the man who betrayed her. There was a time when Eun-soo gave Sang-woo (Yu Ji-tae) the cold shoulder in "One Fine Spring Day" (2001), but revenge was a word that didn't belong in "fresh-faced" Lee Yeong-ae's vocabulary.

But the director of "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance," Park Chan-wook, tells us Lee has truly changed. Park gave us the inside scoop on Lee after several months of filming on-set. Park also spoke on the personalities of stars who appeared in his past films such as Choi Min-sik, Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Yu Ji-tae and Shin Ha-kyun.

Diligence is Lee Yeong-ae's Middle Name-

Park: "There were frequent get-togethers while filming "Joint Security Area" (2000), with cast members like Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-woo, and Shin Ha-kyun. Lee would sing and have fun every time then, but as the sole lead in the upcoming movie, the tension built up."

"She demanded retakes on the most mentally and physically challenging scenes without complaint. I told her it was fine, but it was always 'one more time' or nothing else. Lee professed that 'it was because the role was a hard one and I wasn't confident about it, and I wasn't completely sure that this (acting) was the path for me,' but I think it was because she felt she wasn't living up to her own standards. At first I thought, 'this is enough, why is she pushing it,' but there were times when her acting would actually improve."

"Lee is an extremely persistent person. She would bombard the director with questions until everything was perfectly clear; if it's Lee Byung-hun for men, it's Lee Yeong-ae for the female department. She's either a very complex person who's unfathomable, or a what-you-see-is-what-you-get simpleton. From what I've seen, she's the latter."

"Nod" versus "Nosy"

"There are two kinds of actors-nodding ones who say "yeah" to the director's instructions and then go off and do their own thing, and the nosy ones who badger the director with questions like, "How come? Why can't I do this?"

"Choi Min-sik, Song Kang-ho, and Shin Ha-kyun are the nodding actors I've worked with, and Shin Ha-kyun tops them all. He doesn't even reply to instructions." "Choi Min-sik exudes an aura of professionalism. Not only in acting, but also in his private life and beliefs. His priority is the pride he takes in being an artist. When Song Kang-ho acts, he tries to dump expressions. He's more satisfied when the director says, "Let's take out this part because we don't need it," during filming. Shin Ha-kyun is the most silent and boring of them all, but there's a hidden flair in him.

"Lee Byung-hun, Yu Ji-tae, and Lee Yeong-ae are nosy, and as expected, Lee Byung-hun wins. Instead of an artist's self-consciousness, he just follows common sense. So he wants himself to be understood. When shooting 'Three Monster,' we asked him to write his name with his bottom, and he did exactly as he was told, saying, 'Wow, this is fun.' Yu Ji-tae puts in a tremendous amount of effort, and it pays off. In 'One Fine Spring Day,' 'Old Boy,' and 'Woman is the Future of Man,' he transformed himself for every role, completely different and more developed each time."

"The nodding ones are easy to work with because they fare well on their own. On the other hand, something is created during the process of asking and answering for the nosy ones, so it's fun because I feel like I've contributed as a director."

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Aug 25, 2006

Japanese Newspaper Praises Song Gang-ho

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A Japanese newspaper lavished acclaim on Korean actor Song Gang-ho, advising Japanese moviegoers to take note of any film with the actor's name on its list of credits.

The Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun said Thursday, "If there are two types of Korean actors popular in Japan, one consists of actors like Bae Yong-jun and the other of character actors like Song Gang-ho. Song is an actor who devotes himself to acting."

The Japanese newspaper reported, "Song played a wide range of roles from a soldier to a wrestler, murderer, barber and explorer. In particular, the movie 'Memory of Murder' served as a turning point for him. Recognized for his brilliant capability to portray various characters, his work schedule is booked tight for the next two years." The newspaper told movie fans to pay attention to any film in which Song appears.

The newspaper quoted the Korean actor as saying, "I don't choose a work based on what message the film conveys. In a movie, the director's worldview is what counts most for me. So I decided to appear in the films 'Host' and 'Memory of Murder' with only a rough sketch of the movies' storylines, since I learned that Bong Jun-ho would direct them."

Song told the Japanese newspaper, "I don't like monster movies and the plot of the movie 'Host' was utterly strange. But I decided to appear in the movie since I trust director Bong."

Source: KBS Global

http://english.kbs.co.kr/entertainment/new...2256_11858.html

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April 7, 2006

Lee Byung-hun Among Japan's All-Time Favorite Actors

Source: englishnews@chosun.com

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The Korean actor Lee Byung-hun has made it onto a list of the top 10 greatest movie actors in Japan, where he is affectionately known as Byonsama. Broadcaster NHK asked visitors to its homepage to name their favorite actors, films and directors. Lee was the sole Korean to make it on the list.

The poll surveyed 10,181 Netizens in four categories: actors, actresses, movies and directors. Lee was even more delighted to find that three of his movies made it into the top 10. "Bittersweet Life", "Joint Security Area" and "Bungee Jumping on Their Own." Lee joined such international stars as Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro as well as the late Steve McQueen and Leslie Cheung. The three all-time greatest movies were "Lawrence of Arabia", "Roman Holiday" and "Cinema Paradiso."

"Joint Security Area," which was released in Japan before the Korean Wave swept the country, drew massive popularity there and raked in 1 billion yen. "Bungee Jumping on Their Own" was also an audience favorite there. Lee will hold a fan meet-n-greet at the Tokyo Dome in May.

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JSA Joint Security Area

Submitted by mj07 on Tuesday, June 6, 2006 - 6:45pm

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Movie title: 공동경비구역 JSA

Starring: Song Kang-Ho (The Host, Memories of Murder), Lee Byeong-Hun (A Bittersweet Life, "All In"), Lee Young-Ae (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, "Dae Jang Geum"), Sin Ha-Gyoon (The Big Scene, Welcome to Dongmakgol)

Directed by: Park Chan-Wook (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Old Boy)

Written by: Kim Hyeon-Seok (When Romance Meets Destiny), Lee Moo-Yeong (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), Park Chan-Wook (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance)

Genre: Drama/Mystery

Year: 2000

Runtime: 108 min.

Rating: 9

Synopsis

(by Simon Booth, edited by moogles)

One of the most talked about Korean movies since the West's sudden fascination with the country's cinematic output a few years ago. It was pretty much universally acclaimed by those who'd seen it, so there was a lot of anticipation for a DVD release amongst those who hadn't (like me!).

The movie often gets discussed in the same sentence as SHIRI - largely as an anti-SHIRI (which to me has to be a good thing). Where SHIRI is all surface gloss and no substance, JSA is very nicely filmed but all substance. Not an action movie (so comparisons with SHIRI are a little unfair), but a character-driven drama with a strong political message.

The setting is the Joint Security Area - the zone between North & South Korea where the forces of each side guard their borders. A thin line on a bridge marks a division of hatred between two countries that used to be one. One night, there is an incident where bullets are fired, leaving two North Korean soldiers dead and one wounded. A South Korean soldier has confessed to the shooting, but both sides offer radically different stories as to why it happened. A young female officer, who is of Korean ancestry but raised in Switzerland and is now a member of the Neutral Nations 'army', is sent in to mediate between the two sides, and try to find out what really happened that night...

The movie takes place largely in flashback, as the officer tries to piece together the truth from cross-examination of the survivor from the North and the perpetrator in the South. As she digs deeper, it quickly becomes clear that the official explanations offered by both sides are not the truth, or not the whole truth. As we learn more about the characters involved in the incident and their histories, it becomes harder and harder to know why the incident occurred.

Review

The movie's main strengths are very strong characters and excellent performances. Unlike SHIRI, characters from both North and South are given fair treatment - definitely human, for better or for worse. The basic message behind the story is that the division is hurting both countries, with the soldiers right on the border serving as particularly immediate examples. The message is one of tolerance and trust, but tempered by a feeling of pessimism. The feeling is that the governments on each side are the source of all the trouble, but it is the people who are suffering as a result. The role of the United States in the situation is questioned too. Ultimately the message is a sad one, a lamentation of the state of affairs as they are. But implicit in that is the hope that things can change in the future.

I don't know much about the history or politics in Korea - more than I did before watching JSA, clearly, but not nearly enough to know if its assessment & message are fair and reasonable. It certainly sounds like it, but I'm sure that there are many other factors that the movie doesn't address. The central theme that governments make decisions but people bear the consequences is one that rings true to me, however.

Outside the message & morals, is JSA a good movie? Certainly yes - beautifully filmed and scored, a tight script and excellent performances. It doesn't possess the kind of blockbuster-potential that SHIRI has, but it certainly offers a lot more food for thought.

Credit: mj07 http://soompi.com/?q=node/450

For more movie reviews @ soompi.com

http://soompi.com/?q=moviereview

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JSA (Joint Security Area)

Review by John Wallis. Posted May 1, 2002 at DVD Talk

The Story: A murder has occurred at the extremely volatile Joint Security Area on the 38th Parallel between North and South Korea. Two North Korean soldiers lay dead and one wounded soldier, Sgt. Oh, survives, while the two South Korean officers have escaped back over the border, one nearly catatonic, the other, Sgt. Lee, is tight-lipped about what happened. Neither sides story adds up and a neutral Swiss arbitrator, Major Sophie Lang, has been assigned to investigate the killings and find out what really happened. The unlikely story that unfolds is of men from opposing sides of a notoriously divided country, who form a friendship, a bond that transcends the political ideologies that have kept their countries apart. But, how did such a unique relationship turn into a tragic bloodbath?

The Film: Over the past few years that the Korean film industry has opened up and begun a greater export. Allowing their films to trickle out, there comes an occasional gem, a film that wouldn't be quite as relevant if it were made in any other country. JSA is one such film, and in these times of opposing countries who are close enough to rub shoulders and intermingle, with no end to thier fighting in sight... well, its all too touching a tale.

Basically, told in two parts, the flashback tale of how the soldiers become friends which takes up the middle section of the film, bookended by the actual investigation and the final reveal of how it all went wrong. And it is during the tale of how these men become friends that the film really shines. Basically while on night maneuvers, Sgt. Lee's troupe gets lost and they find themselves on North Korean territory. The men fall back, except for Sgt. Lee, who has stepped on a land mine. He is unable to call out for help and risk alerting the North Koreans that he is there, but Sgt. Oh and Private Jeong appear anyway and find him stuck there. What ensues goes from tense to funny, as the contrasting soldiers first face off, only for Oh and Jeong to then walk off and Lee asks them to come back not leave him alone. It is a situation that both sides have been trained to treat as a conflict, a soldier on his enemies land, but each quickly realizes they have no desire to fight and instead lend a helping hand. What then unfolds is a very moving story of how the men become friends discovering what life is like on each side, and it is so well told, it makes the circumstances and the aftermath of the murder all the more heart wrenching.

The direction has some positively beautiful moments, a nice visual palette. The violence is gory, abrupt, and appropriately shocking. Likewise most of the film is in low light/nighttime conditions casting a pall over the proceedings which adds a nice counter to the whimsical scenes. Such moments include, a spitting contest during the day between the two soldiers as they are supposed to be stone faced, standing in font of each other on their respective sides, and the great scene when Sgt. Lee is trapped by the mine, standing in a field, wind sweeping through the tall grass. The conclusion of the film is incredibly bleak. Too bleak?, it is hard to say. The film was a smash, shattering the box office in Korea, leading one to assume it pinpoints how dire Koreans see their situation. The standout performances are by Byung-hun Lee as Sgt. Lee and Kang-ho Song as Sgt Oh. Byung-hun Lee gives Lee fitting a wide eyed, disillusioned, and easy going manner, while Kang-ho Song imbues Oh with a much more mature and stalwart appearance but a willingness, a charm, and open mindedness.

Unfortunatley all is not emotionally moving and perfect. In the English language scenes it is painfully obvious that English, or should I say 'Engrish', is not the actors strong suit. The film becomes a little too mired in the procedural investigation by including timecodes on the flashbacks, as if we need to be reminded that this is a flashback and a military investigation is underway. By far the films biggest drawback is Yeong-ae Lee as Major Sophie Lang. Her performance is wooden, and her character is given an unneeded backstory, a scene that although raises more political history (it even has stock footage), but it felt like an unnecessary addition to the narrative. The movie has enough message, that is at times hammered over our heads, without bringing up the fact that her father is an expatriate who refused to side with either Korean nation. And while it is a bit heavy-handed, bombastic, and preachy, it is a serious subject and the humanity of its characters far outweighs any overused symbolism, obvious foreshadowing, or plot clichés.

But, how may films can have a scene with two opposing armies on a hunt in a snow swept countryside bump into one another. The Communists in old standard, drab fatigues, carrying outdated AK-47's, the opposing independent army in military garb, snow fatigues, holding new, sleek M 16's. The two commanders walk over too each other, each breaking out a cigarette, the Communist fumbling with a match, his independent opposite taking out a wind resisant Zippo. There arent many countries that can produce that scene and it be so devastatingly relevant.

The DVD: Available in barebones or a 2 disc (with mainly Korean friendly extras) edition. This review is of the barebones. Coded for Region One and Region Three. Picture- Widescreen. One of the most expensive films made in Korea, and the first to use Super 35mm, the DVD image is not without its flaws. Much of the film takes place at night or in dimly lit surroundings which the contrast conveys nicely. Colors are strong, but the sharpness is a little lacking. There is some wear, minor spots, and two or three very brief scenes/shots where there is fading at the corners and top and bottom of the frame. Technical defects lie in some slight ghosting, artifacts ,and edge enhancement that will catch the eyes very observant DVD junkies, but overall the image does look okay and is acceptable. Sound- Three audio options, Korean Dolby Digital Stereo 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and DTS 5.1 Surround with optional Chinese or English subtitles. Sound is one of Korean films strongest assets, and here JSA's mix proves this further. Great sound, from dialogue, to the music mix, to the fx. Extras- A standard DVD keepcase is stored in an additional slipcase cover.--- 12 Chapters--- Trailer--- Music video "Song for a Private"

Conclusion- Tremendously affective movie, with its share of flaws, but overall , tight, moving, and important enough in its statements to forgive its story stumbles and pretentiousness. Likewise the DVD isn't perfect and the image transfer could be better, but it is good enough to leave most viewers pleased.

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Joint Security Area

"Everything about Making Movies: Seoul Film Studio Complex"


Forty minutes away from Seoul by car is heavily forested Seoul Film Studio Complex-the Mecca for Korean film enthusiasts in Yangsuri, Gyeonggi-do. This is where various outdoor movie sets, film studios and movie theaters are assembled. Furthermore, this is where Korea's now-a-classic movie, Joint Security Area, (JSA for short) was filmed.

Joint Security Area, JSA, the Korean blockbuster released in 2000, depicts the tragic reality of the world's last divided country. It is set on Panmunjeom in the DMZ (De-Militarized Zone). Only eight hundred meters2 in total, Panmunjeom is a security area protected by both North Korean and South Korean-UN military forces. Actually, it is a restricted area for civilians, thus the filmmakers of JSA conducted thorough research and field studies in order to recreate the true essence of Panmunjeom at the Yangsuri Film Studio Complex. Costing about 900 million won, the re-creation of Panmunjeom took a little more than a year in 1999, and now it has become a must-visit place for Korean film-lovers of JSA. When you pay a visit to this film studio complex, you will find many people taking photos at the re-creation of Panmunjeom.

In fact, JSA is not the only reason many find this film studio complex so attractive. Along with four well-equipped film studios and numerous movie theaters and realistic outdoor sets, visitors can visit the Film History/Culture Room and Film Experience Room where you can not only view, but also experience movie-making techniques. Moreover, you can also discover antique-looking costumes and interesting props.

Yangsuri Film Studio Complex also offers Korea's largest set based on the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), which was the location for the film, Chihwaseon, a movie based on the life story of the great painter Jang Seung-Up. The complex also houses the set for Sinjang Gaeup, which depicts Korean small towns in the 1980s. At the Chihwaseon set, visitors can especially enjoy themselves traveling back in time to the 19th century. There are 61 buildings all together, bringing you back to a reincarnated version of Seoul in the 19th Century. Each building is detailed with antiques and other historic relics. The undang (traditional Korean mansion) stands out among the buildings. The undang offers not only the pleasure of authentic architecture but beautiful scenery as well.

Also, if you have time, you can watch some free movies offered at Cine Movie Theater located right on the film studio complex. 

 

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Okay for those who have seen and remember the ending of the movie... what happened?! how did the murder in the army house come about? And how did the ending of the movie involve Sophie (the investigator)? My class was watching this movie until class ended and we never got to finish it.. and im sooo curious lol. thanks.

The soldiers were discovered by the N.Korean officer who had been awhile suspecting something amiss and came to check on the post. Everyone panicked and in a moment of fear, things got out of hand. Major Sophie in her investigation found out about the secret of the guys and what really triggers the incident.

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November 28, 2006

Lee Byung Hun, "Want to express irreversible compassion"

Source: broasia.com

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Actors strive for variance. They want to attempt different characters and that is the desirable path. But even the actors good at changing characters meet the perfect match and the audience feels it before the actor does, and falls in love with the actor.

To Lee Byung Hun (36), that is a melodramatic role. As one of the few top stars that can gain trust just through acting, there is no genre he cannot digest from 'A Bittersweet Life' under noir to drama in 'JSA: Joint Security Area' just to mention a few.

Even so, there is a moment where it seems the role fits him too well. The drama series 'All In' and 'Beautiful Days,' along with the movie 'Bungee Jumping of their Own' seem to be it.

And once again he acts in a melodrama in the upcoming movie 'That Summer' that will open in theatres on the 30th. Lee Byung Hun plays the role of Yoon Seok Yeong that is forced to give up the love of his life in the turmoil of the era.

[Copyright 2006 Yonhap News. All rights reserved.]

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Not really about the movie (only a mention or two) but mainly about the movie director who made it happen -

Feb 20, 2007

Director Park 'Overwhelmed' by Berlin Film Fest Prize

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“I'm more than overwhelmed, since Berlin was the first film festival I'd ever attended. Back then I was more like a loutish country boy. To think of it now, Berlin is the festival I've attended most, since this is my fourth visit after 'Joint Security Area: JSA' in 2001, 'Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance' in 2003, and a lecture during a workshop in 2006. I'm delighted to receive a prize this time.”

Director Park Chan-wook took part in a phone interview with the Chosun Ilbo on Sunday from Berlin, where the previous day he had been awarded the Alfred Bauer Prize at the 59th Berlin Film Festival for his dark sci-fi comedy “I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK”. The prize named for the founder of the festival is one of the event's eight main awards and is given to filmmakers who open new perspectives in cinema.

Park's acceptance speech was quoted by AFP and other foreign news agencies and was selected as one of the best speeches of the day. Park asked that his wife forgive him for spending so much time on his work, and said, "When I get home, I hope she will tell our friends, 'My husband is a director but that's OK.'"

Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, known in Korea for his roles in “The Science of Sleep” and “Babel", was one of the jury of seven that chose the winner. “I heard that Bernal recommended our movie," Park said. "It was probably just him being polite, but he said he'd like to appear in one of my films -- and he even imitated Rain's yodelling from the movie.”

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Although his film saw disappointing box office results in Korea with just 730,000 viewers, Park said the award couldn't be compared to ticket sales. “The DVD sales might comfort me, but this prize and the box office are separate issues,” Park said.

Another Asian film, Chinese director Wang Quanan's "Tuya's Marriage”, took home the Golden Bear, the Berlinale's top prize. Meanwhile, the Jury Grand Prix was given to Argentinian producer Ariel Rotter for his movie “The Other”, Best Director went to Israeli Joseph Cedar for “Beaufort”, Best Actor went to Julio Chavez from Argentina for “The Other” and Best Actress was given to German Nina Hoss for “Yella”.

Source: englishnews@chosun.com

http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/new...0702200006.html

Award Winner

FEBRUARY 20, 2007 06:49

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I came to Berlin for the first time six years ago for the movie, Joint Security Area. Back then people thought Korean movies were unfamiliar and I felt rustic. I feel proud seeing Korean films being acknowledged in the global arena now.”

Over the phone, director Park Chan-wook’s voice conveyed more surprise than joy. Park received the Alfred Bauer prize for the movie, “I’m A Cyborg, But That’s Ok” on the night of February 17 (local time) at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival awards ceremony. The prize is one of the main awards given to a work that “takes the art of film in a new direction.” Director Jang Sun-woo’s movie “Hwaeomkyung” also received this award in 1994.

For the final selection, 22 out of the participating 370 works competed, and the Chinese film “Tuya’s Marriage” (Directed by Wang Quan’an) took home the highest Golden Bear prize, while the director of the Israeli film Beaufort, Joseph Cedar, received the Silver Bear for best director.

In his acceptance speech, Park said, “I’m fascinated by the interest given to me, and by the hospitality given to Korean movies. People in the industry here ask me, ‘Why have you changed your style so much?’ It’s evidence that they’ve seen a lot of my movies. Some say that it’s a unique interpretation of a schizophrenic’s delusions, and a judge sang a yodel song that a character named Il-soon (Singer Rain, Jung Ji-hoon) sang in the movie right in front of me.”

Did he expect the nomination? He replied, “The day before the ceremony, I got a call from the committee telling me to stay in the country for the award, but I didn’t know which award it was for. I’ve neglected my family, so I’m hoping that my wife will say, ‘It’s okay for my husband to be a film director’ on behalf of this award.”

Park confessed that the film had tormented him for some time. Released in late 2006, the movie was the talk of the town even before its premiere, with a pop star singer and a famous actress cast as the leads. But after its opening, it was said to be complex and boring, and failed at the box office.

“It was made into a commercial film and because we didn’t even break even, I felt sorry for the investors. I wanted the audience to accept the metaphors and symbolisms in the movie as they were instead of abstractly. I still can’t see what’s so complex about this film. I guess the investors won’t be sorry since it got recognition abroad and the deficit will be covered by exports of the film.”

After spending the holidays in Berlin and returning to Korea, he added, “I wish it will be a good New Year’s Day for my family and for the Korean film industry.”

“As soon as I get back to Korea I want to brag to Il-soon and Young-gun (Lim Soo-jung). Other directors got up on stage with their actors and I was envious of that. I guess it’s really okay now for Il-soon and Young-gun to be Cyborgs,” he laughed.

Source: The DongA Ilbo

http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?...d=2007022020918

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03-06-2007

Actor Song's New Show Goes On

By Kim Tae-jong

Staff Reporter

Surefire hit maker Song Gang-ho is back with a new film _ however, it is a gangster film, a genre that is now regarded as trite.

He said that the new film, "The Show Must Go On," is different from other gangster films as it sheds light more on a man, a family man, rather than a member of a criminal gang.

"I tried to do my best to show a man in an ordinary world, rather than in a criminal circle," Song said Monday during a news conference at the Lotte Cinema in Chayang-dong, Seoul. "This man wants to lead an ordinary life with his family but his job makes it impossible.’’

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Directed by Han Jae-rim, the film revolves around Kang In-gu (by Song) in his 40s, who is a gangster but dreams of living in a rural area peacefully with his family. But his agony begins as his life begins to unravel.

To successfully create and play his character, Song drew on his personal life.

"My character in the film resembles me in many ways. As a man in his 40s, I've been married for 11 years. I try to do my best to be a good father and husband and a respected social man outside the family," Song said.

Given the success of his films, it is, at least, true that he is one of the most successful actors and his efforts outside his family has been quite fruitful.

His hit films include last year's "The Host," which has become the most-viewed film in Korea, selling more than 13 million tickets; the 2003's thriller movie "Memories of Murder," which sold over five million tickets, the 2000's blockbuster "JSA" (Joint Security Area) , which drew over six million moviegoers.

What's his secret in selecting a film with high commercial potential?

Although he is regarded as a surefire hit maker, he said that he does not choose a film for its commercial potential, not to mention that he has no talent in the selection of would-be-hit films. He attributed all the success of his films to their directors.

"I think I have been simply lucky to work with talented directors," Song said.

Director Han, with whom Song works together for the first time, is well known for his 2005 hit "Rules of Dating." In his debut work, Han talked about a couple's romance and love in his own twisted yet interesting way.

Also starring Park Ji-young, Oh Dal-su and Kim So-eun, "The Show Must Go On" will open nationwide on April 5.

e3dward@koreatimes.co.kr

Source: The Korea Times

http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/culture/20...20135011710.htm

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