Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This Week in Korean Cinema (5 July - 12 July 2011)

Welcome back to the column where the definition of 'week' is flexible, but the quality is always high. You may have noticed a change of colour scheme and that's because the KOFFIA 2011 banners and posters are now out, so please feel free to stick them on your own sites and spread the word.

If you have been following the Blog, you'll notice that we've already announced two short films have been announced for KOFFIA 2011: Park Chan-wook’s Paranmanjang (Night Fishing) and Yang Hyo-joo’s Pu-Seo-Jin Bam (Broken Night). The respective winners of the Berlin Film Festival's Golden and Silver Bears for Best Short Film, these will join an amazing list of films that we will reveal in the coming weeks.


Since our last column, only a handful of major realase have come out, but the most recent one is one of the most highly anticipated Korean horror films of the year. Byun Seung-Wook's The Cat made its debut in Korea last week, and follows So-Yeon (Park Min-Young, City Hunter) who starts seeing a mysterious girl (Kim Ye-Ron) after bringing home a cat. Kim Ye-Ron, the younger sister of Kim Sae-Ron (the award winning The Man From Nowhere) makes her feature debut in this chilling film. Cat lovers be warned: this is no Milo & Otis (although that reportedly had some unfortunate endings for the kittens, so we best no go down that path this week).


Unsurprisingly, The Cat made its way straight to #2, unable to conquer the monolith that is Transformers:: Dark of the Moon. Indeed, there was about a 13,000,000,000 won difference in taking between the two for the week. Sunny, Poongsan and White filled in the #3, #4 and #7 slots at the Korean box office, and new entries You Are Umasou (Japan) and The Men Who Stare At Goats (US) also made appearances. (Source).


MIFF 2011: The Melbourne International Film Festival launched its 60th program last week, and the Accent on Asia section has a strong showing of Korean films. There are in fact 8 South Korean films listed in the program, including seven features and one short film. Hong Sang-soo is represented twice with his latest film The Day He Arrives, and one from last year, Oki's Movie. Bong Joon-Ho (Mother) adds Barking Dogs Never Bite to the program, while Ryoo Seung-wan's epic crime drama The Unjust makes its Australian debut.The festival-favourite feature film debut by writer, director and lead actor Park Jung-bum (who was the assistant to the legendary Korean director Lee Chang-dong) Journals of Musan is a must-see at MIFF, and Na Hong-jin's The Yellow Sea is another film that comes highly recommended. Sydney Film Festival's only Korean film, End of Animal, also screens at MIFF. Finally, short film Ghost will also float past audiences during the massive festival. Stay tuned for news on how you can win tickets to see some of these films.

Spike Lee to Remake Oldboy: Cries went out from the masses at the new Park Chan-wook's masterpiece Oldboy would be remade, but these were somewhat sobered by the news the equally legendary Spike Lee would be directing. Reportedly being a "Departed-style remake", referencing Martin Scorsese's version of Hong Kong's Infernal Affairs films, this gives us some hope that it will not be a complete write-off. How is conservative Hollywood going to deal with that twist ending though?

We hope your are enjoying this weekly column, so if you have any news to contribute, please email the Blog Editor with the scoop.

Richard is a KOFFIA Blog Editor and a Marketing Assistant for KOFFIA. He can be contacted via email on

He is also the Editor-in-chief of DVD Bits and The Reel Bits. He can be found on Twitter @DVDBits and @The_ReelBits. In this guise, you can also reach him at

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