Tuesday, June 05, 2007

South Korean movies

The history of more than fifty years of division between North and South gave impact on numerous aspects on South Korean culture (literature, song, food, etc.), one of the most prominent being the movie industry. Four out of ten movies in the top box-office record (from 1999) are depicting the conflict between the two (such as Korean War, or espionage activities of North and South), which reflects the fact that this topic appeals to almost every South Korean audiences.

Title of the movie/#of total audiences

3. TaeGukGi: Brotherhood Of War / 11,746,235 (2004)
4. Silmido / 11,081,000 (2003)
6. Welcome To Dongmakgol / 8,008,622 (2005)
9. Swiri / 6,209,898 (1999)

11. Joint Security Area / 5,830,228 (2000)


Jolan said...

Thanks for the post on Korean movies. Do-yeon Jeon, a South Korean, recently won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in the movie "Secret Sunshine".

If anyone knows where this movie can be seen, please let me know. (International film festivals tend to be good for subsequent American releases.) In fact, I'd like to see any Korean movies, so if someone has a specific recommendation, I'd appreciate it.

The E Street Theatre on, well, E Street in Chinatown is a good place to see foreign films, especially those from East Asia. I saw The Host there a few months ago and it was one of the most fun movies I'd seen in a long time.

A link to an article from chinadaily.com about Ms. Jeon:


Min said...

jolan/ I just found out this great website for Korean films and actually there is a Korean Film Festival in DC that's been going on since May 4 - it will end on Jun 28. I went through the list of the movie... it seems that they are quite recent and definitely worth a trip if you have time.

and also, Gelman Lib. has few (recent) if you want to check that out...

here is the link to the website I mentioned above,
Koreanfilm Website

john ney said...

After watching JSA in class yesterday I kept thinking about related films esp. American military dramas such as A Few Good Men and Courage Under Fire. I personally think that Park Chan-wooks film was better but it is interesting to note that JSA lacks any traditional romance between Major Sophie E. Jean and the South Korean soldier Sergeant Lee Soo-hyeok. This is unusual not only because it was a huge blockbuster but in military dramas (ex A Few Good Men) there are romantic subplots. This site "Notes on Park Chan-wook's JSA - http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/cteq/05/35/joint_security_area.html
references a book by Kyung Hyun Kim, entitled - The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema

"As Kyung Hyun Kim powerfully argues in his excellent study of recent Korean cinema, The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema, it could be said that the real romance in JSA occurs between Sgt. Lee and Sgt. Oh Kyeong-pil (Song Kang-ho), the North Korean soldier who saves Lee from a land mine and later befriends, and who is also involved in the shooting. They also each bring a close friend to share in these secret trysts where Lee crosses “The Bridge of No Return” (so called because it was the passageway for North Korean POWs who were made to choose sides after the war), to fraternise with these North Korean soldiers, breaking a major taboo. Actually, more than one. Kim identifies the latent homoeroticism that exists in this scenario:

"The prohibited companionship between the four male soldiers, the breaking of political taboo through games of bodily contact (playing the children's game one-leg wrestling), the exchange of bodily fluid (the spitting game while [Su-hyeok] and Sergeant [Oh] are on guard at a public area while only a few feet apart), and the use of actual guns and bullets as instruments of pleasure, threat and eventual killings all post allegories of same-sex eroticism." from The Remasculinization of Korean Cinema

john ney said...

It seems that JSA and the Korean war movie are no longer the most popular movie of all time in South Korea, the new title holder is a monster movie called The Host. I saw it last week and its very smart for a monster flick, in addition it blames the creation of the fish monster on U.S. scientists.