Korean Korner

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Re: Korean Korner

Postby smurfrevolt » Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:33 am

Hi trevor, I also saw Sympathy for Lady Vengeance about a month or so ago. I don't know if it's just me, but if Old Boy, or the other one, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance weren't made, I'd have to say, I like this one best. Maybe because there's a female, and it's very stylish--very nice to look at--from that red/zebra room, and geum-ja's polka dot dress. Seems like Park Chan-wook was just enjoying himself with this one. He's not as serious as he was in the other two films...Also, I find this film less contrived than Old Boy, and more enjoyable than Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. I guess I'm just sick of brutality...and I'm mellowing out... =D
smurfrevolt
 


Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Wed Apr 12, 2006 10:28 am

Thanks smurfrevolt, I did enjoy the stylish nature and lightness of the majority of the film. it was only when it came to the actual scenes of revenge that I went off it, the change in tone was too much. I'd assume that you saw the full version? Rather than the shortened "Westernised" release.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Korean Korner

Postby smurfrevolt » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:29 am

I agree with you that the pacing of the film seemed to change towards the end. But I was willing to forgive that for the overall effect of the film...
smurfrevolt
 

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Tue May 02, 2006 8:47 am

As the dvd for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is released here next week I'll be able to see how I feel after a second viewing. At least it should have decent extras.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Wed May 03, 2006 6:55 am

Once Upon a Time in High School aka Spirit of Jeet Keun Do (2004) Maljukgeori Janhoksa

Directed by Ha Yu (Marriage Is a Crazy Thing)

Starring Kwone Sang-woo (Volcano High), Lee Jeong-jin (Bloody Beach)

Another film that along with Whispering Corridors highlights the grim side of the Korean education system up until recent times. Whereas Whispering Corridors wrapped it up in a traditional style ghost story, this film includes scenes of almost gross out comedy and seriously o.t.t. martial arts action.

Set in the 70s with strict codes of almost militaristic discipline in schools, a transfer student manages to muddle his way through becoming best friends with another boy due to a shared passion for Bruce Lee films. He falls in love though this is unrequited, falls out with his best friend and goes through a series of (at times cliched) episodes that seem very familiar and universal.

Personally I felt the story and accurate portrayal of 70s Korea and of the schools in particular were enough to make this film successful. By adding the teen style comedy and martial arts they have no doubt widened the prospective audience but in my opinion it does cheapen and weaken the overall impact.

Another niggle, I think you can sometimes get away with passing off someone in their early twenties as a school senior, (even easier when they are female) but several of the main characters were in their mid to late twenties, and it showed.

None of these problems will stop the film being a major hit but Id imagine that because the fighting etc are over the top that most audiences outside of Korea will see the whole film as a kind of fantasy whereas in fact key elements of the strict discipline and physical bullying from teachers were the norm.

The song that plays over the end credits manages to say more about the damage inflicted by this form of educational system than the film manages in its almost 2 hour running time.

Sorry if the comments seem perfunctory, but theres nothing I can add except that this film has taken a troubling issue and turned it into an entertaining fantasy.

Cheers Trev.

R2 Pal dvd available from Premier Asia, extras include interviews with the secondary characters, these are at times genuinely funny and info on the martial arts sequences.

R3 ntsc also available in several forms.
trevor826
 

Re: Korean Korner

Postby smurfrevolt » Sat May 20, 2006 3:27 am

I have seen Once Upon a Time in High School as well...I enjoyed it, although, if your looking for a more serious film, maybe the comedy parts might be out of place, but then, Koreans seem like people who can laugh at themselves...but I totally agree with you about the actors; they looked too old to be in high school...
smurfrevolt
 

Re: Korean Korner

Postby nate » Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:59 pm

Hi trev,

You mentioned that you have 2 Ho Sang-soo movies to review, I'm anxious to read what you think about his movies.

I've only seen A Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors but I have a copy of his other films, The Day a Pig Fell into the Well, Power of the Kangwong Province and Turning Gate

Haven't got the time to see it
nate
 

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jun 04, 2006 7:53 am

Hi nate.

Yes I do have a couple of Ho Sang-soo movies including A Virgin Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, The Day a Pig Fell into the Well and Woman is the Future of Man. I'll try and crack on and re-do my comments soon. Maybe you could write some notes on the others.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:25 am

Re: Once Upon a Time in High School.

Sorry for the delay in answering your post smurfrevolt, I did expect a more serious piece despite the rather silly title simply because I'd read some of the comments on IMDB. It is good that Koreans can look back and make light of what must have been a harsh time and of course the film needed to be financially viable but I guess I had my expectations set a little too high.

Cheers Trev.
trevor826
 

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Thu Jun 29, 2006 11:54 pm

My Sassy Girl (2001) Yeopgijeogin geunyeo

Directed by Kwak Jae-young (The Classic)

Starring Jun Ji-hyun (Il Mare), Cha Tae-hyun (Windstruck)

The basis of this film apparently originated through a series of letters posted on the internet concerning the writer and his rather bizarre girlfriend. Whatever the case, this is a fun movie, distinctly Korean with a charming cast and plenty of humour (though a little is a bit low-brow).

The relationship starts when Gyun-woo prevents an attractive but very drunk girl from being hit by a train, they both take the same train and somehow he ends up having to take care of her after she has been sick. From then on they appear to be constantly fated or maybe doomed to run into each other.

The girl, (the only name she is known by in the film) is certainly forthright and sassy in every term of the word. Despite Gyun-woos efforts he consistently fails to break away from her, she orders him around, hits him and expects him to drop everything for her and for some reason he cant work out, he keeps coming back for more.

The film is episodic, just as the original internet posts must have been and the reasons for the girls behaviour and attitude are gradually revealed leading to an ending that lays a few coincidences into the mix to make their romance seem predetermined by fate.

Im not particularly one for romantic comedies but I would hardly term this as a romance (certainly not by Western standards). It is comical and clever, the cast are pleasant and certainly get into their roles. Jun Ji-hyun is very attractive but doesnt mind gurning for the camera while Cha Tae-hyun plays the student slacker with ease.

If you like comedies, especially fairly lightweight rom-coms, youll almost certainly enjoy My Sassy Girl, I did, my sons did, my wife who very rarely watches foreign films enjoyed it as well, she particularly appreciated the lack of smut or sexism.

Recommended as probably the best Korean comedy.

Cheers Trev.

No BBFC rating (I find it hard to believe this hasnt been released in the UK or USA) but Id safely suggest a 12 rating.

Several dvds are available, mine is the Directors cut with quite a few extras, the only problem with it is that the English subs are written for the hard of hearing and often include descriptions of sounds.
trevor826
 

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