Korean Korner

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Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Tue Nov 01, 2005 2:38 pm

Mulgogijari (2000) Pisces

Directed by Hyung-tae Kim

Starring Mi-yeon Lee (Addicted), Woo-jae Choi (Phone), Ji-hye Yun (Whispering Corridors)

Where do you draw the line between love and obsession?

Ae-ryun (Mi-yeon Lee} owns a video store called Sad Movie, she loves French films and has a thing about Kurt Cobain. Dong-suk (Woo-jae Choi) is a singer/songwriter and shares the same tastes, they form a friendship based on their mutual interests.

Dong-suk is also a bit of a depressive, he cant seem to get a recording contract no matter how hard he tries and ends up getting drunk and reeling off quotes about how You can get anything you want in life as long as you want it enough. This is the sort of talk that Ae-ryun needs to hear, she knows that he has a long time girlfriend but tries to make a move on him, although flattered he tells her that all he wants is friendship, nothing more.

What started off with the air of a gentle romance turns into something a little darker, Ae-ryuns nature takes over, shes taken his drunken comments to heart and is determined to win him over. Feelings that appeared to be genuine and warm become obsessive and deceitful causing friction in Dong-suks relationship.

The plot takes an even bigger twist towards the end, which makes you re-evaluate everything thats gone before adding an extra dimension to the story.

This film belongs to Mi-yeon Lee, an excellent performance as a woman obsessed, the other actors are fine but she dominates the film. This is no bunny boiler and at the end you feel sorry for all the central characters that things work out the way they do.

I have to mention Woo-jae Chois singing, its dire! No wonder he cant get a recording contract in the film, others may disagree but I didnt like his singing voice or his music.

Overall then, not an essential film by any means but a very different treatment in comparison to the way Hollywood has presented this type of story of obsessive love.

Cheers Trev.

No BBFC rating but Id put it as probably a 15.

Region 3 dvd available from several suppliers

Re: Korean Korner

Postby smurfrevolt » Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:05 am

I've finally seen The Isle! Wow. That's really all I can say. I never felt so many emotions while watching a film.

And I also saw Bin-jip. Just wondering why it's 3-iron...

anyway, I'm recognizing a pattern, from the 3 Kim Ki-duk films I've watched (Samaria aside from the other two I mentioned). I've just noticed that his films are really quiet and at the end, there's a poetic commentary by the director. Wow, he's just so great. I'm looking for his other films but can't seem to find them here...

Will watch JSA later too. I'm so excited! =D

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Mon Nov 07, 2005 11:47 am

Hi smurfrevolt, I did make a seperate thread for Kim Ki-duk's films, hengcs has already linked for 3-Iron and a link exists on the first post of this thread to his films.

Sounds like you had the same sort of reaction to The Isle as I did, have you tried "Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... and Spring" yet?

Cheers Trev

Re: Korean Korner

Postby smurfrevolt » Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:07 pm

I think I'll ask my friend in Korea to get it for me. How would you rate the Kim Ki-duk films you've watched, I mean, which is the best, in order? Thanks. Just want to know. =D I've only watched three, so I might not be the best judge of this.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Mon Nov 07, 2005 3:13 pm

No scores or grades but in order of preference.

1. The Isle, affected me like no other film I can remember.

2. 3-Iron, still one the best films I've seen this year.

3. Samaritan Girl, constructed out of three very different passages.

4. Spring, Summer etc, life in a nutshell.

5. Birdcage Inn, early film, strangely beautiful, well worth seeing.

6. Bad Guy, a tough film to watch still way above average.

7. Real Fiction, more an experiment than a film, interesting.

I haven't had the chance to watch Address Unknown yet so can't give an opinion.

All the films listed are far above the average in terms of cinema and carry his own unique style.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby smurfrevolt » Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:35 am

I have watched the top three films you've listed and this is how I'd rate them:

1. The Isle
2. Samaria
3. Bin-jip

I'm still looking for the others... =D

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Wed Nov 23, 2005 12:16 am

Following nates comments, here are my thoughts on Failan (2001)

Directed by Hae-sung Song

Starring Min-sik Choi (Oldboy, Happy End), Cecilia Cheung (One Night in Mongkok)

Kang-jae (Min-sik Choi) is a lowlife thug of a gangster, despised by everyone including himself. His life is going nowhere and even the other gang members treat him as a joke, a has-been, garbage and pitiful.

Failan (Cecilia Cheung) is a young pretty woman who has lost all her relatives apart from a couple who live in Korea. Its only on arriving there that she discovers theyve moved to Canada, leaving her stranded, nowhere to go and trying to find some way of staying in Korea.

Kang-jae marries Failan (for a price) but they never actually meet. She is taken to a town and put to work in a laundry, the only time that Kang jae hears about his wife, is when he is informed of her death, this is where the story really begins.

Flashbacks show Failans life after the marriage, letters she has written to him (which he reads for the first time while travelling to her funeral) connect the past with the present. Something, a tiny little thing, affects Kang-jae. A tiny comment slowly but surely causes a genuine sense of feeling, of guilt, of affection and loss.

This man who the day before couldnt sink any lower finds something, a kindness from a stranger so touching that it literally tears his whole being apart.

As he goes through the inevitable ID and funeral service you can sense the change, this woman has given him something that nobody else can or has ever wanted to, a reason to live, a missed opportunity but a chance to gain some self respect.

Where will this lead him, how will the other gangsters especially his boss (who wants him to take the rap for a murder) react?

A well constructed melodrama with very good performances from the leads, definitely recommended and quite an affecting/effective film.

Cheers Trev.

No BBFC rating but at least 15 (swearing and violence)

Region 3 ntsc dvd available from several suppliers.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby Unregistered(d) » Sat Nov 26, 2005 6:05 pm

Just like to say that I've watched "Failan" & "address Unknown" this week end. Suffice to say that "Failan" had me weeping buckets . A thoroughly enjoyable, emotional film. Superb acting. I'll have to ask the expert, Trevor, if the male lead playing the washed up gangster is the same actor who starred in " Old Boy"?

For me "Address Unknown" rates above " The Isle" in Kim Ki Duk movie work. I love the way he brings the seperate strands of the story together

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Sat Nov 26, 2005 7:29 pm

Yep, Choi Min-sik was the principal actor in both films, he's also the lead in Happy End, a very different restrained performance, probably his scariest performance. He's also the lead in Chihwaseon as the artist Jang Seung-up, again a different performance, a brilliant artist but a drunken womaniser with more than a touch of arrogance.

Although I've had Address Unknown for a while, I haven't had (or made) the time to watch it yet.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Sun Nov 27, 2005 12:06 am

Yeogo goedam (199 Whispering Corridors

Directed by Ki-Hyung Park (Acacia)

Starring Roe-ha Kim(Memories of Murder), Mi-yeon Lee(Addicted), Jin-hie Park(Love Wind Love Song), Ji-hye Yun(Pisces)

A traditional style ghost story, slow paced and lacking the flash editing and effects that are overused in most modern horror films. Notable for a couple of reasons, as a platform for launching the careers of a fair few of its cast and for helping to create a better, healthier environment for learning within the Korean education system.

Strange things are happening at an all girl school, a teacher is found hanged (assumed to be suicide) while an ex pupil returns to take up teaching. There seems to be a cycle of odd events recurring every three years since the sad death in the school of a student who had been ostracised from her peers and friends.

Death appears to be marking the teachers who take pleasure in bullying and brutally stamping their authority on the pupils, who or what is causing the deaths and why? Meanwhile the strict educational system is having a traumatic effect on the current pupils, one in particular has been pushed far too close to the edge.

The film ran into trouble by depicting the cruelty and punishments meted out by some teachers but it also did some good by bringing this taboo subject into the open and this alone makes this film stand out from the crowd.

The acting isn't outstanding but it is certainly adequate, the film's success relies on the plot rather than shock value. In essence, an old-fashioned ghost story with the disclosure of the real horrors that were happening in Korean schools.

Not essential but certainly educational/controversial as well as entertaining.

More likely to remain a cult favourite than to achieve the success of a film like "Oldboy"

Cheers Trev

BBFC rated 15

R2 Pal dvd available from Tartan, R3 ntsc also available.


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