Korean Korner

This is the place to talk about films from around the world.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby A » Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:13 pm

Yes, I liked the documentry inserts at the end, though they didn't tie in too well with the rest imo.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Mon Jun 25, 2007 9:06 am

Marriage Is a Crazy Thing (Gyeolhoneun michinjishida) (2002)

Directed by Ha Yu

Starring Kam Woo-seong, Eom Jeong-hwa

With a title like Marriage Is a Crazy Thing, I was expecting a lightweight romantic comedy, nothing more, nothing less. Im glad to say it went way beyond my expectations.

Despite the westernization of much of South Korean society, coffee bars, KFC etc, there is still a very strong, traditional mindset in terms of marriage and relationships, particularly amongst the professional / middle classes. As with other far east countries, age old customs still prevail, people are expected to be married by a certain age and match-makers are still employed within certain cultures to help find suitable partners. You have to ask yourself, whats love got to do with it?

Social mores and current sexual politics are questioned within the relationship of a 30+ university teacher who is feeling the pressure from his family to tie the knot, though it's something he doesn't want, and a woman approaching 30 who feels the need to settle down, preferably in a loving relationship.

After meeting and going through the routine of a first date, polite conversation, drinks etc, they end up in a cheap motel for the night, sparks begin to fly as they connect physically.

They meet on and off during the following weeks/ months, for both of them, sex appears to be the primary reason, because although there is a deep affection, neither can change their position, he feels the need to retain his freedom while she is still looking for Mr. Right.

In its own way, the affair goes through the stages of a relationship until the pressure for each of them becomes a little to much. Sexually, they are a perfect match but with each wanting more in different ways, you can only wonder, where the relationship is heading.

Apart from an interesting look at the clash between customs and needs, what makes this drama stand out is the electricity between the leads, the sex scenes are not explicit, certainly not by current Western standards but there is an intensity between the pair, and not just between the sheets that literally makes the screen sizzle.

Bravura performances, excellent casting and a good tight script all help to raise this film far above the norm making it one that is well worth seeking out.

Cheers Trev.

No BBFC rating but Id say suitable for 15+.

The region 3 dvd I have is rated Category III and contains some basic extras including a basic look at the story, an intro to the director and the leading cast.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby hengcs » Thu Jun 28, 2007 1:02 am

Hi trevor,
I have actually watched it a few years ago. unfortunately my memory of the details is failing me. nonetheless, i recall my friend liking it a lot.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jul 01, 2007 9:59 am

The dvd was sat on my shelf for a long time purely because I thought it wouldn't really appeal to me, thankfully it was worth the wait.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Sun Jul 15, 2007 1:04 pm

Ardor (Milae) (2002)

Directed by Byun Young-Joo

Starring Kim Yunjin (Lost), Lee Jong-won

Mi-heun believes her life is pretty much perfect, a loving husband and a pretty eight year old daughter, what more could she desire.

Her perception is destroyed by one of her husbands students who rudely interupts the happy home in a drunken state to disclose that she has been having an affair with the husband. To cap it off, the student whacks Mi-heun across the head causing serious injury.

Six months later, Mi-heun along with her husband and daughter have moved into a small village in the country side, the knock to her head has caused long term problems for which she needs clean air and constant medication. She appears to be wasting away, a shadow of her former self, no longer the contented housewife but a victim of her husbands adultery and thanks to the medication, caught in an almost comatose lifestyle.

Life carries on the same way until one day, Mi-heun realises her tablets have run out, rushing down to the local doctors she has no idea how much this minor event will change her life.

The doctor is a bit of a ladies man, he has devised a game to play with women who he finds attractive but are very obviously lacking something in their lives.

Want to play a little game with me?

Having fun is the best medicine for headaches.

For four months, until summers end, lets pretend were lovers.

Well have fun together and have sex.

Sound intriguing?

But theres one rule.

If one of us tells the other I love you, then its over.

These sentences spoken by In-gyu (Lee Jong-won), the doctor provide the pivotal moment in the plot and for Mi-heuns (Kim Yunjin) future. Spoken as they are by a doctor and the fact that they are said to a woman whose life was shattered by her own husbands infidelity makes the whole premise seem fairly ridiculous but

For Mi-heun its an awakening, this stranger finds her desirable and unlike her own husband, In-gyu doesnt just want the self satisfaction of the act of sex, no, he makes love; he touches, holds, kisses and caresses his woman. Primal desires and self confidence return to Mi-heun as she turns the tables on her husband and then on In-gyu. As she takes control, the doctor falls under her spell and though he never says it, he does love her.

Gossip spreads like wildfire through the village until the two lovers decide to make what started out as a game, a more permanent arrangement but like all great love stories, tragedy has to strike at the moment of triumph.

Ardor is a fantasy style romantic drama that is very obviously aimed at a female audience, the acceptance of the game takes a leap of faith from the audience but without it, there is no story.

As it stands, Kim Yunjins performance just about keeps it believable and its a slow paced but well structured romance, enjoyable but not one worth going out of your way for.

Cheers Trev.

No BBFC rating but I'd say it's suitable for 15 and above.

The god quality R3 dvd I have, distributed by Cinema Service is choc-full of extras including a 45 min making of, deleted scenes, interviews and the very good soundtrack amongst other things.

Re: Korean Korner

Postby hengcs » Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:43 am

I have watched this too, but like what you say, I cant recall anything now ...

Re: Korean Korner

Postby trevor826 » Mon Aug 13, 2007 6:52 pm

The Quiet Family (1998) Choyonghan kajok

Directed by Kim Ji-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters)

Starring Choi Min-sik (Oldboy), Song Kang-ho (Memories of Murder)

Excellent black comedy following the fortunes of a family that buy a guesthouse in the middle of nowhere only to be cursed with patrons who wind up dead.

Suicides, murder and mayhem ensue as this wonderfully dysfunctional family try to secrete the corpses while putting a brave face on it all despite the misfortunes that befall them.

The North/ South divide comes into play though only in a minor way, the emphasis is on thrills, chills and sublime comedy and this, the inspiration for Miikes Happiness of the Katakuris truly deserves to be ranked amongst the best of South Koreas recent film output.

A thorough recommendation as the sometimes hammy acting that unfortunately proliferates a great deal of South Korean cinema works wonderfully here.

Well worth seeking out especially if you have seen Happiness of the Katakuris, you cant help but compare the two and the differences are readily apparent though I must admit, Id have to say that overall, The Quiet Family was surprisingly, the more enjoyable of the pair.

Catch it if you can.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.

An unusually good quality dvd from the now defunct (at least in the U.K.) Taiseng.

Extras in this above average 2 disc release include:

Subtitled director's commentary,
Making of,
Music Videos,
Storyboard comparison,
Short film - Coming Out (2001) & more.


Return to Film Talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests