Tag Archives: South Korea

Hyun Bin film ‘Confidential Assignment’

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Riddhiman Mukhopadhyay

South Korean star Hyun Bin’s latest action movie called ‘Confidential Assignment’ is expected to be distributed to an impressive 42 countries. This is indeed great news for fans of the ‘Secret Garden’ actor.

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As reported by website Soompi, on January 27, CJ Entertainment, the company that is in charge of distributing the film, announced that ‘Confidential Assignment,’ also known as ‘Cooperation,’ would be released in many countries across the globe. Currently, the distribution company has set its eyes on the United States, Australia, and New Zealand on February 9, Hong Kong and Macau on February 16, Taiwan on February 17, and Vietnam on March 3.

As per a statement released by CJ Entertainment, they have already sold the film to several countries, including India, countries in the Middle East, Mongolia and Philippines. They also mentioned that Hyun Bin is quite popular in countries apart from South Korea, which is what drawing the crowd to the movie.

“Hyun Bin is highly popular overseas due to his drama roles,” CJ Entertainment said.

However, the movie has a topical element as well: tensions between North and South Korea. But to what extent this political and social issue is addressed in the film remains to be seen. The movie seems to be mostly a Die Hard-esque action thriller with Hyun Bin as the titular handsome but tough good guy, playing a North Korean special investigator. His comic sidekick is played by Yoo Hae-jin, who is a South Korean detective.

The trailer for the film looks good, and promises two hours of escapist fun at the least. The movie also features popular actors Kim Joo-hyuk and Girls’ Generation‘s Im Yoona in supporting roles.

Hyun Bin has often been in the limelight for his relationship and marriage plans with girlfriend Kang So-ra. He recently said he is busy with his work and will think about going out on a date with her later. During an interview for ‘Cooperation‘ Hyun Bin also gave his two cents regarding the responsibility of an actor towards society.

“An actor isn’t someone who is voted in by the people, but just someone who is famous. I don’t think we need to be perfect and take responsibility for our actions, but since there are young people who look at us and follow us, I don’t think we can just say that we have no responsibilities, either,” Hyun Bin said, as quoted by Soompi.

(Source: ibtimes.sg)

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Note from Roger – The Handmaiden

Before getting to Mr. Durling’s note, I saw this film yesterday. It’s an extraordinary effort from the South Korean Director Park Chan-Wook. Already an admirer of his now seemingly classic works of Old Boy (2003), and Lady Vengence  (2005), I experienced an entirely new level of his artistic craft with The Handmaiden. Mesmerizing and undaunting with a raw, creative, narrative flair, Mr. Park delivers an explosive human drama – thrilling and compelling. Park’s best work to date. (See below review by Manohla Dargis, The New York Times)

11162014-Roger-Durling_t479Dear Cinephiles,

“Far too good to be watched in one sitting,” exclaims the Philadelphia Inquirer about THE HANDMAIDEN, and I couldn’t agree more.  Gorgeous, classical, and erotic, I don’t think you’ll see a more delicious film this year.  If you love cinema AT ALL, you have to see THE HANDMAIDEN.  It’s the visual equivalent of drinking champagne!

Below find the New York Times Review. It plays tonight (Tuesday) at 5:00pm, tomorrow (Wednesday) at 7:30pm, and next Sunday through Wednesday at the Riviera Theatre.

See you at the movies!
Roger Durling

Click here for tickets.

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‘The Handmaiden’ Explores Confinement in Rich, Erotic Textures
By Manohla Dargis – The New York Times

The art of the tease is rarely as refined as in “The Handmaiden.” Set in Korea in the 1930s, this amusingly slippery entertainment is an erotic fantasy about an heiress, her sadistic uncle, her devoted maid and the rake who’s trying to pull off a devilishly elaborate con. The same could be said of the director Park Chan-wook, whose attention to voluptuous detail — to opulent brocades and silky robes, luscious peaches and creamy shoulders — turns each scene into an invitation to ooh, aah and mmm. This is a movie that tries to ravish your senses so thoroughly you may not notice its sleights of hand.

It’s not for nothing that one of its heroines, Sookee (Kim Tae-ri), is a pickpocket, though that’s getting ahead of her story. It opens with Sookee weepily saying goodbye to some adults and wailing children, their gushing matched by the torrential rain. She’s off to work for Lady Hideko (a sensational Kim Min-hee), a pale beauty who lives with her tyrannical uncle, Kouzuki (Cho Jin-woong), a collector and purveyor of art and rare erotic books whose darting tongue has turned black from his ink pen. The realms of his bibliophilic senses are suggested when a client asks if one of his books is by the Marquis de Sade. “It’s Sade-esque,” the uncle says, all but winking at the audience.

The kinks grow more outré and twisted, the winks dirtier and broader. The uncle has raised Hideko from childhood, away from the world, intending to wed her for her fortune. He’s also turned her into a puppet, having trained her to read erotic fiction aloud for the delectation of his potential customers. Fate in the form of the con man (Ha Jung-woo) intervenes. Disguised as a count, he insinuates himself into the uncle’s home and seemingly into the niece’s affection, enlisting Sookee in the ruse as Hideko’s new maid. The count plans to marry Hideko and then ditch her, a plan that seems doomed when Sookee and Hideko’s lady-maid intimacy steams and then boils over.

The inspiration for all this intrigue is Sarah Waters’s ambitious 2002 novel, “Fingersmith,” a lesbian romance set in Victorian Britain in which she slyly has her way with established literary themes like avaricious male guardians and cloistered female wards. In adapting the movie, Mr. Park, who wrote the script with Chung Seo-kyung, has moved the story to Korea during the Japanese occupation. This setting initially seems more thread than cloth, conveyed in the smatterings of soldiers who pass through the story and in the mixing of languages, although it also factors into the villainy of the uncle, a Korean who’s embraced a Japanese identity, asserting, “Korea is ugly and Japan is beautiful.”

Mr. Park is a genre virtuoso, known for thrillers like “Oldboy,” whose filmmaking is notable for its visual order and extreme violence, a combination that creates a seductive, at times unsettling aesthetic of immaculate frenzy. The violence in “The Handmaiden” tends to be more restrained than in some of his other work, more psychological and rather less blunt and bloody. A notable exception is some sadomasochistic whip-work that’s far more vigorous than is found in, oh, say, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” There’s also a characteristic Grand Guignol flourish toward the end that’s outrageous enough that you may find yourself at once laughing and gasping, only to hastily avert your eyes.

It’s one of the rare times you want to look away in “The Handmaiden,” which Mr. Park has turned into an emporium of visual delights. Part of Sookee’s journey is one from perdition into opulence, from a lowly thieves’ den into the sumptuousness of the mansion. Yet appearances remain deceiving, which is one of this story’s themes. Everything inside the manor and out has been calculated to enchant, from the grounds with their carpets of green and bursts of flowering trees to the interiors with their wood paneling and floral wallpaper. Nothing is more perfect than Hideko’s petal mouth with its lusciously carnal red lipstick.

Yet beauty can be a curse; a prison, too. Hideko’s uncle has forbidden her to leave the grounds, turning her into a bird in a gilded cage. Under his steady gaze and severe hand, with the ever-present threat of violence (there are rightfully ominous allusions to a basement), she has been raised amid material plenty with luxuriously appointed rooms as well as drawers and shelves stuffed with elegant feminine frippery — gloves, hats, gowns. Mr. Park loves displaying all these goods, much like a proud merchant (or Gatsby), even as moment by moment he pushes the narrative into ugliness, scratching off the gilt to reveal a grim drama in which Hideko plays both the leading lady and slave.

Mr. Park’s attention to this world’s sumptuous surfaces at first can seem at odds with the underlying evil, as if — like the uncle — he were putting his aesthetic sensibility above all else. Mr. Park just seems to be enjoying himself too much, as the camera glides over satiny robes and bodies or pauses on an exquisite tableau. In one such display, as another of the uncle’s confined women narrates a tale, two shoji screens behind her part, an opening that mirrors the sexual conquest she’s relating. Yet Mr. Park also slips in little jokes, comic line readings and clownish faces that ease the tension, lighten the mood and suggest there’s freedom in laughing into the void.

The void is by turns enslaving and emancipating in “The Handmaiden,” which plays with familiar form as a way to deliver unexpected meaning. A rebus, a romance, a gothic thriller and a woozy comedy, “The Handmaiden” is finally and most significantly a liberation story. Mr. Park may not seem to be doing all that much with the big ideas simmering here, including how the relentless pursuit of aesthetic perfection — especially when it comes to inherently imperfect human beings — can serve as a means of terror. But the ideas are here, tucked into a different kind of erotic story, one that alternately jolts and delights as Sookee and Hideko laugh their way to a new ending.

(Source: sbiff.org)

SBIFF Showcase – The Handmaiden

From Chan-wook Park, the celebrated director of OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE and STOKER, comes a ravishing new crime drama. PARK presents a gripping and sensual tale of two women – a young Japanese Lady living on a secluded estate, and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden, but is secretly plotting with a conman to defraud her of a large inheritance. Inspired by the novel Fingersmith by British author Sarah Waters, THE HANDMAIDEN borrows the most dynamic elements of its source material and combines it with PARK Chan-wook’s singular vision to create an unforgettable viewing experience.

“One of the year’s sliest, sexiest thrillers. The first section is only part of the story. The rest is so suspenseful, sexy and surprising that it would be a shame to say any more.” – Entertainment Weekly

“A feast for all the senses.” – Rolling Stone

“A hugely entertaining thriller. Simmering with genuine sexual tension.” – The Guardian

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Screening:
Sunday, November 27 @ 2:00pm
Monday, November 28 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday, November 29 @ 5:00pm
Wednesday, November 30 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, December 4 @ 2:00pm
Monday, December 5 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday, December 6 @ 5:00pm
Wednesday, December 7 @ 7:30pm
at the Riviera Theatre – 2044 Alameda Padre Serra

THE HANDMAIDEN
Directed by Chan-wook Park
Written by Seo-Kyung Chung, Chan-wook Park
Inspired by the novel “Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters
Starring Min-hee Kim, Kim Tae-ri, Jung-woo Ha,
Jin-woong Cho, Hae-suk Kim, So-ri Moon
Country of Origin: South Korea
Running Time: 144 min
Subtitled

To purchase tickets click here.

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(Source:sbiff.org)

Netflix buys exclusive distribution rights for South Korean film ‘Pandora’

LOS ANGELES, Nov 8 ― Netflix and South Korean film production and distribution company Next Entertainment World announced today an international licensing agreement for the anticipated nuclear disaster film Pandora.

Pandora will be available to stream exclusively on Netflix to its members in 190 countries, excluding South Korea, next year. In South Korea, the film will be available to stream after its theatrical release. Its opening date in Korean cinemas has not yet been set.

This is the first time a Korean title has been pre-sold to Netflix.

“We are excited to work with Next Entertainment World Netflix and South Korean film production and distribution company Next Entertainment World announced today an international licencing agreement for the anticipated nuclear disaster film Pandora.to bring such high-quality Korean titles like Pandora to our members worldwide,” said Rob Roy, vp content acquisition at Netflix. “Netflix is committed to bringing the best of global entertainment to the world and in an era where the Internet knows no bounds, this is another step towards delivering great stories to fans no matter where they live.”

Says Kim Woo-taek, CEO of NEW: “We are delighted to partner with Netflix, a world-class content distributor, to be able to present Pandorato global audiences in over 190 countries. Following the recent success of Train to Busan in Asia, we hope the nuclear-themed Pandora can win much love from the audiences worldwide.”

Pandora, a CAC Entertainment film, is directed by award-winning screenwriter-turned-filmmaker Park Jung-Woo, who is known for the science fiction horror film Deranged. Disaster strikes a nuclear power plant in a small, quiet town when an earthquake unexpectedly hits. The Pirates star Kim Nam-gil plays a man who risks his life to save his family and country from the impending nuclear disaster. The film also stars Kim Young-ae (The Attorney), Jung Jin-young (Miracle of Cell No. 7) and Kim Dae-myeong (Misaeng).

Netflix made headlines earlier this year when it announced that it was investing US$50 million (RM210 million) in Okja, a fantasy film by Bong Joon Ho that is also due for simultaneous release over Netflix and in cinemas next year. Top execs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos stated plans to expand Netflix’s slate of Korean originals in addition to shows such as Drama World that have recently premiered. ― The Hollywood Reporter/Bloomberg

(Source:www.themalaymailonline.com)

#SBIFF The Wave ~ Pan-Asia Full Lineup

All 11 exciting new Asian films and the schedule have been announced!
We are looking forward to sharing this cinematic journey with you this week. Films start today. Get your passes and tickets to The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia now!

Full Lineup Here

 

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Ready to take a trip to Asia!

Patron Pass ~ $250
• Reserved Seating
• Access to ALL Film Screenings
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
– Tuesday May 10 – 5:30pm – 7:30pm
• VIP Giftbag
• Pass is non-transferable
Cinephile Pass ~ $80
• Access to Eleven (11) Film Screenings (one screening of each film)
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
– Tuesday May 10 – 5:30pm – 7:30pmIndividual Tickets
• General Admission $10
• Senior/Student $8 (available at the door only)

Passes Here

 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

(Source: sbiff.org)

3 More Films Announced for the #SBIFF The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia

Take a five day trip to Asia by seeing eleven brand new Asian films including the recently announced Collective Invention, The Chronicles of Evil, and The Accidental Detective!

Collective Invention

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Written & Directed by Oh-Kwang Kwon, Starring: Cheon-hee Lee, Kwang Soo Lee, Bo-yeong Park, from South Korea with a running time of 92 minutes.

 

“It all starts when idealistic aspiring journalist Sang-won (Lee Chun-hee) accepts an on-spec assignment to investigate what is surely an urban legend: the rumour of a man who turned into a fish after participating in clinical trials for a major pharmaceutical company. It’s only upon interviewing the irreverent Ju-jin (Park Bo-young) that Sang-won discovers the legend is all too real: Ju-jin’s boyfriend Gu (Lee Kwang-soo) is a bona fide fish-man, complete with webbed fingers and a giant fish head. Gu rapidly becomes a media sensation, and an enterprising young human-rights lawyer endeavours to nail the scientists who rendered him a monster — though there are others who feel they deserve the Nobel Prize. It’s only upon reaching the height of his fame that Gu is caught doing something that reminds his fans that, for all his outward weirdness, he is all too human and perhaps not as perfect a role model as the world wants him to be.

Hero or con man? Victim or poseur? The more his renown grows, the more Gu comes to represent whatever is projected upon him.

Riddled with witty twists and goofy detours, Collective Invention examines how popular culture operates by its own capricious logic, and proposes that our best option is to flee the hype and simply get on with life — no matter how wacky that life becomes. – Giovanna Fulvi, tiff

 

The Chronicles of Evil

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Written & Directed by Baek Woon-hak
Starring: Son Hayun-Joo, Daniel Choi, Park Seo-Joon, Ma Dong-Seok
Country: South Korea
Runtime: 102 min

Highly decorated homicide detective Choi Chang-sik has an enviable record and the respect of his peers. Days before a promotion, he dozes off on his way home after a celebratory drink with his colleagues. He wakes up to find that his taxi driver has taken him to a remote mountain trail and has pulled a knife on him. The two struggle, and Choi manages to kill the taxi driver in self-defense. Afraid that the incident would negatively impact his career, he covers up the crime scene and flees. The next day, the taxi driver’s dead body has been strung up on a crane in front of the police station, and Choi is assigned to the case amidst widespread media attention. Realizing that he is caught in a trap, he must now untangle past mistakes to figure out why he was targeted in the first place.

The Accidental Detective

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Written & Directed by Kim Jung-Hoon
Starring: Kwon Sang-Woo, Sung Dong-Il, Seo Young-Hee, Park Hae-Joon
Country: South Korea
Runtime: 120 min

Kang Dae-man is a popular blogger who writes about cold cases, and head of a profiling online forum. But in real life, he runs a comic book shop, is always scolded by his wife and assumes the role of a glorified babysitter. His Sherlock Holmes-level deduction skills are of no use in his daily life. His only joy is hanging around at a local police station and interfering with ongoing police investigations. Nicknamed ‘the White Shark’, homicide veteran detective Noh Tae-su was a legend in his heyday but was demoted many years ago and is now forced to work under his junior. One day, a horrific murder takes place and Dae-man’s friend and Det. Noh’s partner, Joon-su, is framed for the murder. Time of death is clearly given away by the broken wristwatch of the victim, and the murder weapon was discovered wrapped in Joon-su’s clothing. Not wanting to see Joon-su rot in prison for 30 years, Dae-man and Det. Noh have no choice but to partner up and uncover the plot behind the murder. As more bodies surface without any solid connection between them, the two men know that they are running out of time…

Stay tuned for more film announcements!

Patron Pass ~ $250
• Reserved Seating
• Access to ALL Film Screenings
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
Tuesday May 105:30pm7:30pm
• Access to daily Patron Pass Happy Hours from 6:30pm – 7:30pm
• Pass is non-transferable

Cinephile Pass ~ $80
• Access to Eleven (11) Film Screenings (one screening of each film)
• Access to the Passholder Reception
– Engel & Völkers – 1323 State Street
Tuesday May 105:30pm7:30pm

Individual Tickets
• Not available for purchase until film schedule is released in early May
• General Admission $10
• Senior/Student $8

Passes to The Wave Film Festival ~ Pan-Asia are available: Click here!

(Source: Press release courtesy of sbiff.org)

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