Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cinema On the Park Review: Paju (Park Chan-ok, 2009)

We welcome another new member to the blogging team today, with Sam McCosh delivering her first article on PAJU. If you are interested in joining the team just drop us an email at Otherwise if you are in Sydney come along to the Korean Cultural Office's free weekly film night, Cinema on the Park, each and every Thursday from 6:30pm. Did I mention its FREE! Read on to see what she thought of the film!

Russell Edwards at Cinema on the Park

Paju (파주) is an unconventional film which tells an emotionally-rich story about the relationship between two compelling characters. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to see this film at 'Cinema on the Park', which is hosted by the Korean Cultural Office. This film was playing as part of a month of films which share the theme of 'dramatic relationships'. The film was introduced by Variety Magazine film critic Russell Edwards, who offered audiences some insight about the film and a way to appreciate the film's complex nature.

We first meet Choi Eun-mo (Seo Woo) as she stares absently mindedly out of a taxi window while the driver makes unneeded and unwanted conversation. She looks sad and reflective, and we soon come to find out why. Eun-mo is returning to her hometown of Paju after an extended period away travelling in India. Paju is not really somewhere that she was happy, and it’s certainly not a joyful homecoming. Before we get to find out why she has returned the film jumps back 8 years an introduces us to Kim Joong-sik (Lee Sun Gyun). Although it’s not initially apparent who he is, we soon learn that he becomes Eun-mo’s brother-in-law, and the film is going to centre around the relationship and interactions between the two.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cinema On the Park Review: The Yellow Sea (Na Hong-Jin, 2011)

In the build up to this years Korean Film Festival we are going to be developing the discussion around Korean cinema once more. From reviews to articles, interviews and news, we hope that this blog satisfies your hunger for film from the region. 

A new addition to the KOFFIA blogging team is Andrew Buckle, who is a Sydney based film enthusiast just beginning his discovery of Korean film. You can read more of this film thoughts over at The Film Emporium, but first up, check out his experience with The Yellow Sea at Cinema on the Park, which sparked his interest in Korean cinema. 

The Yellow Sea is a Korean action-thriller written and directed by Na Hong-Jin (The Chaser), which has screened in the Un Certain Regard at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, and at the Fantastic Asian Film Festival (FAFF) in Melbourne last year. I was lucky to attend a Sydney Premiere session of the film the other night at the Korean Cultural Office as part of Cinema On the Park's fantastic X-treme Korea program.

In Yabian, Korean Autonomous Prefecture, a town on the China-Russia-North Korea border, Cu-Nam (Ha Jung-woo), a Joseonjok (what I took to be a derogatory term to describe Chinese people of Korean descent) lives day to day as a taxi driver. He frequents at seedy gambling rackets, accumulating a substantial mahjong debt, and drinks frequently. His wife has recently left him to work in South Korea. Fearing she is having an affair, and disturbed by her lack of contact, he agrees to a job that will take him illegally across the border into South Korea with an opportunity to find her, but also provide a means to appease his debts. The job: the assassination of a businessman.