Korean Film Newsletter #12 -- December 15, 2001


Welcome to the twelfth edition of the Korean Film Newsletter. This letter is distributed every 2-3 months to inform the reader of the latest events in the industry. An archive of past newsletters is available at http://koreanfilm.org. If you wish to be removed from this mailing list, or if you have any questions, send an email message to darcy@koreanfilm.org.

New at Koreanfilm.org: (a) reviews of My Sassy Girl, Musa, and One Fine Spring Day; (b) an essay on Japanese films in Korea; (c) a page of links to Darcy's articles at Screendaily.com; (d) a review by Adam Hartzell of Hyangjin Lee's book Contemporary Korean Cinema; and (e) an essay by Michelle Svenson about how to organize your own film festival.


NEW RELEASES (August - December 2001)

I Love You ["Ai-reobeu-yu"] Written and directed by Mun Hee-yung. A woman named Hyun-soo runs into an old classmate Jihu after many years. Jihu is in anguish after his girlfriend commits suicide, and Hyun-soo tries to comfort him. Starring Kim Nam-joo, Oh Ji-ho, Lee Seo-jin and Suh Rin. Cinematography by Heo Sung-rong. Produced by Cream Entertainment and Mythos Film. Distributed by AFDF. Rating: 18+. 90 min. August 25. (http://www.cross-love.co.kr)

Besa Me Mucho ["Bae-sa-mae-mu-chyo"] a.k.a. "Kiss Me Much." Written and directed by Jeon Yoon-su. A family faced with severe financial problems must decide how far they are willing to go to find a solution. Starring Lee Mi-sook, Jeon Kwang-ryul. Cinematography by Park Hee-joo. Produced by KangJeGyu Film. Distributed by Sinabro Entertainment and KangJeGyu Film. Rating: 18+. 110 min. August 31. (http://www.kissmemuch.co.kr)

Musa ["Musa"] Written and directed by Kim Sung-su. A period epic set in 14th-century China about a group of Koryo (Korean) envoys who are arrested and sent into exile by the Ming. On their way back to Korea, they manage to rescuse a Ming princess from the rival Mongol forces. Note that a new international version has recently been made, which is significantly shorter. Read more about this film on the '2001' film page. Starring Jung Woo-sung, Joo Jin-mo, Ahn Sung-ki and Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi. Cinematography by Kim Hyung-gu. Produced by Sidus. Distributed by CJ Entertainment. Rating: 15+. 157 min. September 7. (http://www.musa.co.kr)

My Wife is a Gangster ["Jopok-manura"] Directed by Jo Jin-kyu. Screenplay by Kang Hyo-jin and Kim Moon-sung. A female gang boss is persuaded by her long-lost, dying sister to get married. Eventually she finds an insecure, na´ve man who marries her without knowing anything about her life as a gangster. Starring Shin Eun-kyung, Park Sang-myun, and Ahn Jae-mo. Cinematography by Jeon Jo-myung. Produced by Hyunjin Film Co. and Suh Se-won Productions. Distributed by Korea Pictures. Rating: 15+. 107 min. September 28. (http://www.wifeisgang.co.kr)

One Fine Spring Day ["Bomnareun Ganda"] Directed by Hur Jin-ho. A sound engineer and a radio producer fall in love while recording the sounds of nature for a radio program. Read more about this film on the '2001' film page. Starring Yoo Ji-tae and Lee Young-ae. Cinematography by Kim Hyung-gu. Produced by Sidus (Korea), Shochiku (Japan) and Applause Pictures (Hong Kong). Distributed by Cinema Service. Rating: 15+. 106 min. September 28. (http://www.springday.co.kr)

Guns & Talks ["Killeodeul-ui Suda"] Written and directed by Jang Jin. Four hired killers live and work together in harmony, until they accept a job which is a bit more risky than what they are used to. A comedy starring Shin Hyun-jun, Jung Jae-young, Shin Ha-kyun, Jung Jin-young and Won Bin. Cinematography by Hong Kyung-pyo. Produced and distributed by Cinema Service. Rating: 15+. 120 min. October 12. (http://www.4killers.com)

Take Care of My Cat ["Goyangi-reul Butak-hae"] Written and directed by Jeong Jae-eun. The story of five young women from Incheon who have just graduated from high school. As they cope with the challenges of adulthood, their friendship becomes strained by their differing dreams and circumstances. Starring Bae Doona, Lee Yo-won and Ok Ji-young. Cinematography by Choi Young-hwan. Produced by Masulpiri Pictures. Distributed by Warner Brothers Korea. Rating: 12+. 111 min. October 13. (http://www.titicat.com - English section coming soon)

Nabi ["Nabi"] a.k.a. "The Butterfly" Written and directed by Moon Seung-wook. In a near future where acid rain and lead poisoning have ravaged the population, a mysterious virus which causes memory loss becomes the center of a new tourist industry targeted to those with painful memories. A woman of Korean descent arrives from Germany to erase her past. Read more about this film on the '2001' film page. Starring Kim Ho-jung, Kang Hye-jung and Jang Hyun-sung. Cinematography by Kwon Hyuk-jun. Produced by D- Production. Distributed by Buena Vista International Korea. Rating: 15+. 116 min. October 13. (http://www.d-nabi.com)

The Scent of Love ["Ip-se"] Directed by Kim Jung-shik. Screenplay by Kye Yoon-shik. An electrical worker tears down 'Missing Person' posters from the telephone poles that he works on. Meanwhile, a young woman stubbornly puts them back up in hopes of finding her younger brother. Eventually the electrical worker and the young woman meet... Starring Park Jung-chul, Choi Yoo-jung, Pang Eun-jin. Cinematography by Lee Ki-tae. Produced by Young Venture Cinema. Distributed by Dong-A Import Co. Rating: 15+. 90 min. October 20.

Waikiki Brothers ["Waikiki Beu-ra-deo-seu"] Written and directed by Yim Soon-rye. A band named the Waikiki Brothers travels the country in search of gigs, eventually settling in the hometown of the lead singer. While there he must cope with how life has changed for him and his former circle of friends. Starring Lee Eol, Park Won-sang, Oh Ji-hye, Ryu Seung-bum. Cinematography by Choi Ji-yeol. Produced by Myung Film. Distributed by CJ Entertainment. Rating: 18+. 109 min. October 27. (http://www.waikikibrothers.com)

Ray Bang ["Rai Bang"] Directed by Jang Hyun-soo. Screenplay by Song Min-ho and Jang Hyun-soo. The story of three taxi drivers and their struggles with work, life, and money. When their supervisor runs off without paying back the money he borrowed, the three devise a desperate plan. Starring Kim Hae-gon, Jo Jun-hyung, Choi Hak-lak. Cinematography by Noh Hyo-man. Produced by Shinhwa Film. Distributed by Mirovision. Rating: 18+. 91 min. November 2. (http://www.ray-bang.com)

Hera Purple ["Haera Peopeul"] Written and directed by Jung Kil-chae. A woman goes to see a psychiatrist, plagued by memories she can't recall. While under hypnosis, it is revealed that she is possessed by a strange force that impels her to voraciously pursue men, have sex with them and kill them. This film was rejected by the ratings board on several occasions before finally being approved this fall. Starring Kim Chung, Lee Se-chang, Hong Seok-chun. Cinematography by Heo Eung-hoe. Produced by Jung Kil-chae. Distributed by Sinabro Entertainment. Rating: 18+. 89 min. November 3. (http://www.herapurple.co.kr - Korean National ID required)

Hi, Dharma ["Dalmaya Nolja"] Directed by Park Chul-kwan. Screenplay by Park Kyu-tae. A group of gangsters are forced to go into hiding, so they take refuge at a remote Buddhist temple. While there, they come into conflict with the resident monks, who want nothing more than for them to leave. Starring Park Shin-yang, Jung Jin-young, Park Sang-myun, Kim Soo-ro, Kang Sung-jin, Hong Kyung-in, etc. Cinematography by Park Hee-ju. Produced and distributed by Cineworld. Rating: 12+. 95 min. November 7. (http://www.hi-dharma.com)

RUN=DIM ["Reondim: Naeseoseu-ui Banran"] Directed by Han Ok-rye. A computer-animated film set in the year 2050, when nuclear war has resulted in all of the earth being submerged under water. The film charts the efforts of a group called Green Front to combat a ring of criminals who pollute the oceans with nuclear waste and hope to gain control of the planet. Starring the voices of Kim Jung-hyun, So Yu-jin. Produced by Digital Dream Studios. Distributed by Cinema Service. Rating: general. 83 min. November 10. (http://www.rundim.co.kr)

The Last Witness ["Heuk-su-seon"] Written and directed by Bae Chang-ho. A detective in Seoul is assigned to a strange murder case involving a man in his 70s. While investigating, he finds a diary which recounts events during the Korean War which continue to shape the lives of those involved 50 years later. Starring Lee Jung-jae, Lee Mi-yeon, Ahn Sung-ki and Jung Jun-ho. Cinematography by Kim Yoon-su. Produced by Taewon Entertainment. Distributed by Cinema Service. Rating: 12+. 101 min. November 16. (http://www.lastwitness.com)

Wanee and Junah ["Wani-wa Junha"] Written and directed by Kim Yong-kyun. Wanee, an animator, and her new boyfriend Junah are living together. Their relationship is put to a test, however, by a visit from an old friend and the return of Wanee's stepbrother from Europe. Featuring two animated sequences created by Lee Jong-hyuk (who created the poster for The Gingko Bed). Starring Kim Hee-sun, Joo Jin-mo, Cho Seung-woo. Cinematography by Hwang Ki-seok. Produced by Generation Blue Films. Distributed by Warner Brothers Korea. Rating: 15+. 114 min. November 23. (http://www.wnj.co.kr - bilingual site)

Flower Island ["Kkot-seom"] Written and directed by Song Ilgon. Three women, each recovering from some form of trauma, find themselves stranded together on a mountain. They decide to take a trip to Flower Island, a place where they believe all their wounds can be healed. A slightly longer early version of this film was screened at the Venice Film Festival. Starring Suh Ju-hee, Im Yoo-jin, Kim Hye-na. Cinematography by Kim Myung-joon. Produced by C & Film. Distributed by SRE Corporation. Rating: 18+. 114 min. November 24. (http://flower.hello.tv)

Paradise Villa ["Paradaiseu billa"] Written and directed by Park Chong-won. A series of murders are committed in seven rooms of a housing complex during the quarterfinal match between Korea and Japan in the 2002 World Cup. Starring Cho Han-jun, Ha Yoo-mi, Lee Jin-woo. Cinematography by Jin Young-hwan. Produced by Cine Vision. Distributed by Sinabro Entertainment. Rating: 18+. 98 min. December 8. (http://paradise-villa.movist.com)

Volcano High ["Hwasango"] Directed by Kim Tae-gyun. Screenplay by Suh Dong-hun, Jung An-chul. A contemporary martial arts/fantasy about a high school for students with supernatural powers. One day a new student transfers in, after being expelled from eight previous schools. This time, he's determined to graduate. Starring Jang Hyuk, Shin Min-ah, Huh Jun-ho. Cinematography by Choi Young-taek. Produced by Sidus Corp. Distributed by Cinema Service. Rating: 12. 116 min. December 8. (http://whasango.co.kr)

My Boss, My Hero ["Dusabu-ilche"] Written and directed by Yoon Je-gyun. A gang boss succeeds in taking over all of downtown Seoul, but he soon develops a complex about his lack of education. Finally his superior tells him to go back to high school to get his degree. Starring Jung Jun-ho, Jung Woong-in, Jung Woon-taek. Cinematography by Hwang Chul-hyun. Produced by Zenith Entertainment. Distributed by CJ Entertainment. Rating: 18+. 98 min. December 8. (http://www.doosaboo.co.kr)


COMING SOON

My Beautiful Girl, Mari One of a host of high-profile animated features that are scheduled to hit Korea in 2002. My Beautiful Girl, Mari is about a boy and his cat who come across a magical marble in an old lighthouse. The film is the debut feature of Lee Sung-gang, who won awards and praise internationally for his animated short films. In the local Korean version, stars Lee Byung-heon and Ahn Sung-ki will dub in the voices. The film is expected to reach theaters in January 2002, and a sample of the movie's remarkable images can be seen at the film's bilingual website: http://www.maristory.co.kr.

Homeward Bound The second film by Art Museum by the Zoo director Lee Jeong-hyang. A much lower-profile film than her debut, this latest story is about a boy from the city who goes to live with his mute grandmother in the country. While there, he complains about the lack of excitement and fast food. This film is scheduled to be released in late January or early February.

Senghwal-ui Balgyeon (Korean transliteration)* The highly anticipated fourth film from director Hong Sang-soo, whose previous works, including Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors were strong performers in international film festivals. His latest movie is said to be somewhat lighter in mood than his previous films, and tells the story of a man from Seoul who goes travelling and meets up with two other women. The film will star Kim Sang-joong, Yea Ji-won, and Choo Sang-mi (The Soul Guardians). The film began shooting in September, and it is expected to be ready in time to be considered for the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

Jealousy is My Middle Name A film about a man who repeatedly steals another man's girlfriends. Director Park Chan-ok (not to be confused with director Park Chan-wook) is well respected for her accomplished and somewhat difficult short films, and this film will be her feature debut. Last year she served as assistant director under Hong Sang-soo for his film Virgin Stripped Bare by her Bachelors. Starring Moon Sung-keun, Bae Jong-ok, and Park Hae-il. Shooting began in October 2001.

Funny Movie* Korea's very first parody movie, which will lampoon 30 recent Korean hits such as Shiri, JSA and Friend. The film will star Im Won-hee, reknowned for his role in the internet film Dazimawa Lee, as well as TV star Kim Jung-eun, Kim Su-ro (minor roles in Attack the Gas Station, The Foul King and many more) and Seo Tae-hwa (Friend). Directed by Jang Kyu-sung, the film began shooting from October and will premiere in late winter.

* official English title not yet available


NOTES

Korean movies rule the box office in autumn

In a year in which Korean films have grown stronger and stronger at the box-office, autumn proved to be the strongest season yet, with four smash hits appearing in the space of two months. Combined with the performance of local films earlier in the year, Korean cinema now accounts for the 5 best-selling films of the year, and 7 of the top 10 (nationwide figures, see http://www.koreanfilm.org/kfilm01.html).

Comedies have been the genre of choice in recent months (particularly those involving gangsters), with My Wife Is a Gangster and Hi, Dharma both drawing mobs of viewers at the box-office. Guns & Talks, about four hired killers, and the historical epic Musa have also broken the two-million nationwide admissions mark, which four years ago appeared to be an almost insurmountable level for a local film. In the month of October, 70% of the overall tickets sold were to Korean films.

Attention in the local press is now focusing on whether Korean cinema will be able to break a 50% market share by the end of the year. For admissions in Seoul only, Korean films accounted for 46% of the total by the end of November. Given that Korean films are comparatively more popular in regional areas however, the market share for the nation as a whole is likely to be significantly higher.


The 6th Pusan International Film Festival

The 6th Pusan International Film Festival, rapidly becoming Asia's most respected film festival, took place this year from Nov. 9-17. Opening with the world premiere of Bae Chang-ho's The Last Witness, the festival featured a special section devoted to Thai film, a tribute to French actress Jeanne Moreau, and an eight-film retrospective of the work of Korean director Shin Sang-ok. In total the festival screened 201 films from 60 countries, and due in part to fewer show times attendance reached 143,000, down from 181,000 last year. Closing the festival was the world premiere of Thai box-office sensation Suriyothai.

Many Korean films were singled out at the festival this year for their artistic achievement, including Take Care of My Cat, Let's Not Cry, Flower Island and Bad Guy. At the festival's conclusion, Flower Island by first-time director Song Ilgon was awarded the festival's top prize from the New Currents jury headed by Hou Hsiao-hsien as well as a FIPRESCI Prize for artistic achievement. More information can be found at the festival's website at http://www.piff.org, and a full list of awards is printed below:

Awards presented at the 6th PIFF: New Currents Award ($10,000) -- Flower Island, Song Ilgon (Korea); Special Mention, New Currents - Take Care of My Cat, Jeong Jae-eun (Korea); FIPRESCI Award - Flower Island, Song Ilgon (Korea); Second Prize, FIPRESCI Award - One Fine Spring Day, Hur Jin-ho (Korea); NETPAC Award for Best Korean Film - Take Care of My Cat, Jeong Jae-eun; Special Mention, NETPAC Award - Bad Guy, Kim Ki-duk and Waikiki Brothers, Yim Soon-rye; PSB (Audience) Award - Flower Island, Song Ilgon (Korea); Sonje Fund (Best Korean Short) - Siam: Hard Romance, Kim Jeong-gu; Woonpa Fund (Best Korean Documentary) - Farewell, Hwang Yun.


Court ruling on censorship supports filmmakers

The Media Ratings Board, the body in charge of giving ratings to all films released in Korea, has lost a major court decision at the nation's Constitutional Court which will prevent it from engaging in indirect censorship in the future. The Ratings Board had stirred controversy in recent years for its practice of refusing to rate films it considered inappropriate. Unable to be released without a rating, films such as Yellow Hair and Lies have been forced to wait months before agreeing to self-censorship in return for a rating (see newsletters #2, #3 and #4).

In February, after twice being denied a rating for the independent film Yellow Flower starring Suh Jung (which had screened previously at the Pusan 1998 and Goteborg 2000 film festivals), distributor Indiestory took the Media Ratings Board to court, accusing it of violating Korea's Film Promotion Law which prohibits governmental censorship. The case gradually made its way up to the nation's highest court, leading to a decision on August 31 that the Ratings Board had acted in error.

The ruling was met with both jubilation from local filmmakers as well as consternation on the part of citizens' groups and lawmakers. The decision has reopened the debate on creating special venues for the screening of films judged to be for adults only.


Women directors making their mark on the industry

After almost three years in which not a single film by a female director was made in Korea, a wave of films directed by women are poised to sweep through the industry. The first of these films to be released, Jeong Jae-eun's Take Care of My Cat, won widespread critical praise upon its release in mid-October, although it drew fewer viewers than was hoped for. The movie also screened to great success at the Pusan International Film Festival, and it has reportedly received a large number of invitations to overseas festivals.

Shortly thereafter a second film, Waikiki Brothers was released on October 27. Directed by Yim Soon-rye, whose debut feature Three Friends was released in 1996, Waikiki Brothers also won the praise of critics and it has already played at a number of overseas festivals. Whereas Take Care of My Cat focused on the lives of young Korean women, Yim Soon-rye chose to concentrate on an all-male musical group which travels throughout Korea in search of steady work.

In the coming months, there are a large number of films by first-time women directors scheduled for release. Among these are Bus Stop by Lee Mi-yeon, who worked previously as a successful producer (not to be confused with the actress); Jealousy is My Middle Name by Park Chan-ok, the director of several highly-praised short films; The Best Day in My Life (working title) by Byun Young-ju, who shot an acclaimed trilogy of documentaries about comfort women; and Ddeollim (English title not available) by Pang Eun-jin, a successful actress who starred in 301/302 (1996) and Address Unknown (2001). Lee Jeong-hyang, who directed Art Museum by the Zoo in 1998, will also be returning with her second feature.

When asked the reason behind the large number of films appearing by new women directors, director Jeong Jae-eun points to Korea's new film schools. "In the past it was very difficult to get trained as a filmmaker," she says. "I was part of the first graduating class at my school, and there are a large number of women filmmakers coming up behind me."


2001 Blue Dragon (Chongryong) Awards

The 22nd edition of the Blue Dragon Awards, one of the nation's top two awards ceremonies, was held in Seoul on December 12th. Hosted by stars Lee Byung-heon and Kim Hye-soo, the event honored the year's top films and performers with awards selected by a jury of 11 figures from the film industry. Prizes were fairly evenly distributed, with Hur Jin-ho's One Fine Spring Day winning Best Picture. Despite receiving more nominations than any other film, Kwak Kyung-taek's smash hit Friend left the ceremony empty-handed, apart from an award for the highest box-office of the year. A full list of winners is printed below:

Awards for 22nd Blue Dragon Awards: Best Picture: One Fine Spring Day; Best Director: Song Hae-sung, Failan; Best Actress: Chang Jin-young, Sorum; Best Actor: Choi Min-shik, Failan; Best Supporting Actress: Oh Ji-hye, Waikiki Brothers; Best Supporting Actor: Ahn Sung-ki, Musa; Best Cinematography: Kim Hyung-gu, Musa; Best Screenplay: Goh Eun-nim, Bungee Jumping of Their Own; Best New Director: Kim Dae-seung, Bungee Jumping of Their Own; Best New Actress: Lee Yo-won, Take Care of My Cat; Best New Actor: Cha Tae-hyun, My Sassy Girl. Technical Achievement: Im Jae-young, Waikiki Brothers. A special award for the year's most popular actors was given to Jung Woo-sung, Chang Dong-gun, Lee Byung-heon, Lee Mi-yeon, Kim Hee-sun and Shin Eun-kyung.



ANNOUNCEMENTS, ETC.

Awards at international film festivals

After competing at Venice and winning the top award in Pusan, Flower Island by debut filmmaker Song Ilgon won the top prize at the 2nd Tokyo FILMeX festival in late November. The festival was launched last year by Office Kitano in an effort to support young Asian filmmakers.

The short film The Anatomy Class by Zung Soyun won the prize for Best Short Film at L'Etrange Festival in France. The film, about a class in which young schoolgirls dissect the bodies of Korean soldiers, has played at many festivals since the director made it as her graduation project.

One Fine Spring Day by Hur Jin-ho was the winner of a special award for Artistic Contribution at the 14th Toyko International Film Festival.

Park Chan-wook's Joint Security Area was named Best Film at the 22nd Durban International Film Festival in South Africa, held from September 17-30. The film also won an award for Best Screenplay.

Kim Dae-seung's Bungee Jumping of Their Own won the Golden Tesafilm Reel award for new filmmakers at the Filmfest Hamburg in Germany. The award was chosen by the audience among 11 films by first-time directors.

Director Song Hae-sung was honored as Best New Director for his film Failan at the annual Leeds International Film Festival, held in England. The festival was held from Sept 27 - Oct 12.

Farewell by Hwang Yun won an Award of Excellence from the New Asian Currents jury at the Yamagata International Documentary Festival, held from October 3-9 in Japan. The jury commented, "From the viewpoint of animals living in cages, the filmmaker approaches a very ordinary place like the zoo with bias neither to ideas of wilderness conservation nor animal protection." Sky-Blue Hometown by Kim So-young and Pansy and Ivy by Kye Un-kyoung were also awarded Special Mentions.

The 46th Asia-Pacific Film Festival, an awards ceremony for Asian film held in a different country each year, was held from October 16-20 this year in Jakarta, Indonesia. Korean films took home four awards, including Best Actor for Yoo Oh-sung and Best Supporting Actor for Chang Dong-gun in Friend, Best Editing for Kim Hyun in Musa, and Best New Director to Im Jong-jae for his film My Beautiful Days. The festival is scheduled to be held next year in Seoul.


Korean film releases abroad

A significant stir was caused in the industry this fall when remake rights for the film My Wife is a Gangster were sold to Hollywood distributor Miramax for $1.1 million. The deal, which includes distribution rights for the original film, has focused attention on Korean films among Hollywood studios. Several other films are rumored to be the target of further deals for remake rights. Incidentally, My Wife is a Gangster's Shin Eun-kyung was also recently cast for the lead female role in a Hollywood film starring and directed by Andy Garcia. Meanwhile, Tell Me Something (1999) suffered abysmal box-office returns in its initial New York release due to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Since that time the film has slowly spread out to other cities in North America. The release of the terrorist-themed Shiri (1999), originally scheduled for October, has been postponed to February 8.

This year a remarkably high number of Korean films have been released in Hong Kong, with a stunning 17 features reaching theaters since the start of the year. This is the largest number of films released by any country in Hong Kong outside of local films and the U.S. In recent months the most successful performers have been Il Mare on a 4-screen release in August (HK$1,995,157); La Belle on a 10-screen release in mid-September (HK$1,572,848), school thriller A Nightmare on 13 screens in November (HK$1,492,084 to Nov. 25) and the low-budget splatter film Record (HK$1,229,782 on 19 screens). Scheduled for release in the opening months of 2002 are Joint Security Area (Jan. 3), Friend (Jan. 17), My Sassy Girl and An Affair. The release of Joint Security Area will be the first example of a Korean company distributing a film directly into a foreign country, with CJ Entertainment releasing the film through its Hong Kong branch office. Box-office figures for all Korean films released in Hong Kong in 2001 can be found at http://www.koreanfilm.org/htdocs/dcforum/DCForumID1/592.html

Meanwhile Japan saw releases of six Korean movies: Il Mare (Shochiku, Sept. 8), Interview (Gaga Communications, Oct. 5), Ditto (Dragon Film, Oct. 20), Yonggary 2001 (Comstock, Nov. 10), Libera Me (Shochiku and FRAP, Nov. 17), and Memento Mori (Only Hearts, Dec. 15). In addition, the official Japanese remake of the film Ditto was released on November 24 by Dragon Film. Titled Remember Me, the film is directed by Yamakawa Naoto and stars Fujiishi Kazue (website at http://www.rememberme-jp.com/). Films scheduled for release in early 2002 include La Belle, An Affair and a big-budget Japanese-Korean co-production titled Seoul directed by Nagasawa Masahiko and starring TV star Nagase Tomoya and Choi Min-soo.


New releases with English subtitles

The following are the latest releases of Korean films with English subtitles. Note that subtitles are sometimes available in one format (e.g. DVD) but not in others (Video CD, videocassette). For ordering information, more details and a full list of subtitled Korean films available for purchase, visit http://www.koreanfilm.org/subtitles.html or my wife's online DVD store at http://www.yeondvd.com.

My Sassy Girl (2001). A region-3 DVD from Starmax in Korea.
A Nightmare (2000). A region-3 DVD from Premiere in Korea.
Il Mare (2000). A DVD from Edko in Hong Kong.
Record (2000). An all-region DVD from Widesite in Hong Kong.
Say Yes (2001). A region-3 DVD from 20th Century Fox Korea.
Tears (2001). A region-3 DVD from Atlanta in Korea.
Failan (2001). An all-region DVD from China Star in Hong Kong.
Barking Dogs Never Bite (2000). A region-3 DVD from Spectrum DVD in Korea.
Korea Short Films Collection Vol. 1 (2001). An all-region DVD from Pop Entertainment Asia.
The Power of Kangwon Province (1998). A region-3 DVD from Spectrum DVD in Korea.
Kick the Moon (2001). A region-3 DVD from 20th Century Fox Korea.
The Legend of Gingko (2000). A region-3 DVD from CJ Entertainment in Korea.
Chunhyang (2000). A region-1 DVD from New Yorker Films in USA.
Secret Tears (2000). A region-3 DVD from Spectrum DVD in Korea.
Memento Mori (1999). A region-3 DVD from Spectrum DVD in Korea.
Yellow Hair 2 (2001) a.k.a. Running Blue. An all-region DVD from Saerom Entertainment in Korea.
The Hole (1997). A region-3 DVD from Spectrum DVD in Korea.
White Badge (1992). An all-region DVD from Vanguard Cinema in USA.
Yonggary (1999) a.k.a. Reptilian. A region-1 DVD from Columbia/Tristar in USA.
The Gingko Bed (1996). Two releases: an all-region DVD from Bitwin in Korea and an all-region DVD from Universe DVD in Hong Kong.


Failan (2001). A Video CD from China Star in Hong Kong.
Calla (2001). A Video CD from Modern Audio in Hong Kong.
Ghost Taxi (2000). A Video CD from Edko in Hong Kong.
Il Mare (2000). A Video CD from Edko in Hong Kong.
Record (2000). A Video CD from Widesite in Hong Kong.

Coming soon: Die Bad (2000), Sorum (2001).


International sales

Note that sales to a given country do not necessarily guarantee a release. This is not a comprehensive list; I am merely passing along what I have heard.

USA: My Wife is a Gangster (2001).
JAPAN: A Day (2000); Musa (2001).
HONG KONG: My Sassy Girl (2001); Sorum (2001); Bungee Jumping of Their Own (2001); My Wife Is a Gangster (2001); Guns & Talks (2001); Say Yes (2001).
SINGAPORE: Guns & Talks (2001); My Sassy Girl (2001); Kick the Moon (2001); Last Present (2001); Love Bakery (2000) - TV rights; Indian Summer (2001) - TV rights.
TAIWAN: My Sassy Girl (2001).
THAILAND: My Wife is a Gangster (2001); Musa (2001).
INDONESIA: My Wife is a Gangster (2001).
FRANCE: Musa (2001); Tell Me Something (1999).
GERMANY: Musa (2001).
SCANDINAVIA: Musa (2001).
HUNGARY: My Wife is a Gangster (2001).
GREECE: My Wife is a Gangster (2001).
TURKEY: My Wife is a Gangster (2001).
RUSSIA: My Wife is a Gangster (2001).
FORMER USSR: Musa (2001).
FORMER YUGOSLAVIA: Musa (2001).
BRAZIL: Run=Dim (2001).



Special thanks to Yeon Hyeon-sook, Ryan Law (http://www.krmdb.com) and Stephen Cremin (Asian Film Library) for their help in compiling this newsletter.


December 21, 2001
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Darcy Paquet/ darcy@koreanfilm.org /Posted December 26, 2001