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Korean Film News

Three Noteworthy Korean Genre Films

Feb 22, 2013
  • Writerby LEE Eun-sun
  • View5002
Two Dramas First Recognized Overseas and a New Kind of Thriller
 
 
The True Meaning of Coexistence - BEAUTIFUL MISS JIN
 

▶ information
Director
JANG Hui-cheol | Starring JIN Sun-mi, HA Hyeon-gwan, CHOI Woong | Genre Drama | Rating 12+ | Running Time 98 min | Release Date Mar 14
 
▶ synopsis
  
Strange people gather at the Dongnae train station in Busan. ‘Miss Jin’ with a little girl next to her and a big case in her hand and the noisy alcoholic man ‘Dong-jin’ look suspicious. They get on Su-dong’s nerves while he wants to spend a calm day watching a railroad crossing.
 
This film is funny and moving at the same time. When the film screened at the 16th Busan International Film Festival, it received comments saying it conveys various social issues in a hopeful manner. HA Hyeon-gwan's performance as Su-dong received the Best Actor prize from the Directors Guild of Korea. Later on, the film went to the Dubai International Film Festival in 2011 and was invited to the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival and Deauville Asian Film Festival the following year. This year it was invited to the 31st Fajr International Film Festival, where it will screen along with The Hunt and Amour, both of which screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
 
Relatively unknown actors who have practice their acting skills on the stage played the characters with strong personalities in a very distinctive way. The film's protagonists lead low lives; one as a homeless woman and the other as an alcoholic man. Although people around think they are pathetic, they demosntrate to spectators what the ‘true meaning of coexistence’ is.
 
Director JANG Hui-cheol focused on relationships between people rather than what made Miss Jin become homeless or what troubles she has to go through at the moment. The story of the film tells those who are busy toiling after benefits that true happiness can be found in the preciousness of surviving together.
 
It contains the message that what we need the most in a world obsessed with riches is not happiness for each individual but happiness that arises from small changes. What makes Beautiful Miss Jin really beautiful is that the characters in the film enjoy a life of empathizing and caring for others despite their poverty.

 
 
▶ A True Story of A Director and Her Family - OUR HOMELAND
 

▶ information
Director
YANG Yong-hi | Starring Sakura ANDO, Arata IURA, YANG Ik-june | Genre Drama | Rating 15+ | Running Time 100 min | Release Date Mar 7
 
▶ synopsis
  
One day, my brother came from North Korea, the so-called the ‘homeland’ of my family. He was not alone, but followed by a chaperone. When I said, “I hate you. And your country, too”, the observer answered back, “That country is where your brother and I have to live until the end of life.” Then my brother told me, “I want you to travel around watching as many things as possible and doing what you want to.”
 
YANG Yong-hui is a second generation North Korean living in Japan. She made herself known with two documentaries, Dear Pyongyang and Goodbye, Pyongyang. The director YANG in the film flies back and forth between Osaka, where she spent 15 years of her life, and Pyongyang, where her brother and other family members live.
 
She released the documentary Dear Pyongyang, which portrays the story about her brother and his child living in North Korea as well as her father, who devoted his political faith to North Korea in 2006. The film brought her the Jury Special award at the World Cinema section for documentaries at the 22nd Sundance Film Festival and the NETPAC award at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival. In 2011, she directed Goodbye, Pyongyang, which showed how and where her niece grew up and lived. This film once again demonstrateed her artistic value and directing capability.
 
Her third family film Our Homeland was made in the form of a documentary, but it is an appealing fiction film of what she wanted to talk about converning her family but couldn’t. After spending three months healing her illness, trhe family she couldn’t meet for 25 years shows up but they are followed by a chaperone.
 
Later, they are forced to part just like those who had to lose family members to the North or South. Calm and warm eyes and relations between the family and people stand out like in her previous films. Her delicate directing and the ensemble of actors make it a touching film. The overwhelming reunion moment of the family who had to suffer the pain of time and their expected parting increase the dramatic tension.
 
The film was awarded at 18 film festivals in 15 nations including the CICAE (Confédération internationale des cinémas d'art et d'essai / International Confederation of Art Cinemas) Prize at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival. It was particualry popular in Japan, winning numerous awards.
 
 
 
 
▶ Cold Mystery with Hot Action - THE GIFTED HANDS
 

▶ information
Director
GWON Ho-yeong | Starring KIM Gang-woo, KIM Beom | Genre Mystery Thriller | Rating 18+ | Running Time 108 min | Release Date Mar 7
 
▶ synopsis
   
YANG Chun-dong, a third-year detective in the violent crime section hears that an abduction and murder case happens in his district. Remembering that he saw a graffiti that perfectly matches the crime scene the other day by chance, he arrests Jun, a graffiti painter. But in fact, he was not the culprit, he simply has the psychometric ability to read the history of the objects he touches.
 
The keyword of the film is psychometry. It is the ability to read the past record of an object by touching it. For example, if one who has the ability touches a clock or a photo, he can figure out information about the person who it belongs to. It is often used to trace suspects or victims with their belongings in Western countries. This creates an interesting background for the film's narrative and has aroused viewer's curiosity and expectations.
 
The director KWON Ho-yeong, who produced a sensation with his previous work Parallel Life says, “I wondered what it would be like if someone with this special ability had a hard time because of it, going so far as to feel like a nightmare. Situations where a character who has an ability he or she never wanted augment viewer's interest in a unique way.”
 
The Gifted Hands starts with a real serial child abduction case widely reported on the news. When the case was just about to close because of lack of evidence or witnesses, the enthusiastic detective YANG Chun-dong reopens it. Jun, the psychometry user is the only suspect. The film triggers suspense through the duel between a man with a fantastic skill and the other wanting to be a hero in the real world. The tight tension of the chase and the action of the detective put in a corner only add to the appeal of this mystery thriller.
 
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