Category Archives: Korean movies

São Paulo’s International Film Fest brings Korean flicks

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There’s been quite a lack of Korean movies this year, so I was quite excited when it was time for São Paulo’s International Film Festival to start, since they always screen some flicks made in South Korea. Lee Sang-woo’s fictional work Barbie (2011), Tae Jun-seek’s documentary Mother (2011) and Lee Dae-hee’s animation Padak (2012) were the chosen ones and I’m really looking forward to see them all.

The best thing about this selection is the variety; I’ve never seen a Korean documentary before and this is as good an opportunity as any other. And they’ll be screened quite a few times each, which increases my chances of being able to catch all three. If you’re in the area, be sure to go watch one (or all) of them! Movie times here.

Last year I got to watch the four Korean movies being shown and then talked a bit about it here. Click to see how things went down!

A quick link…

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… to a post in YAM Magazine in which the author talks a bit about the differences between Korean cinema and Korean TV dramas when it comes to showing physical interaction of any kind between its characters. It is from over a year ago, but I still find it interesting, because, well,that was the thing that most caught my attention when I first watched a soap – Boys Over Flowers, it was.

Do check it out:

Korean cinema X Korean television, by Julyssa Diaz.

Park Chan-wook’s Paranmanjang is in YouTube!

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While checking links on some of my old posts to make them work in this new blog, I found out that Park Chan-wook’s Paranmanjang, a short film made entirely with a iPhone 4, is available on iPhone Film Festival’s YouTube channel. It is a 33-minute video and, though there are no English subtitles, the images captured are quite beautiful and need no translation. Do check it out!

Hansel and Gretel images/comments from hello-zombie

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Yesterday, I watched the first episode of Grimm, so when I saw this on my reader, I thought it was quite appropriate. I’ve tried watching this movie before, but I can never find a good downloadable file. =p

hello-zombie:

here’s one most of you probably haven’t heard of—it’s creepy, magical, and gorgeous, Hansel and Gretel is absolutely one of my favorite fantasy movies.

Made in Korea, screened in Brazil: a brief review of São Paulo International Film Festival

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The São Paulo International Film Festival ended last weekend and I’m glad to say that I managed to see all four Korean movies being shown, yay! I was afraid of not being able to see The Yellow Sea because the movie got stuck in Customs when entering Brazil, but things were sorted out and the organization scheduled three sessions so no one would be disappointed. Wanna know how it all went down? Well, I’m more than glad to share the experience with you all*!

It was the first time that I selected movies with such a specific end in mind. I usually go watch something because I like what I know of the plot or because I’m interested in the director or actor, so it was definitely interesting choosing only the Korean flicks to watch. It was like a second Korean Film Festival (read more about it here), albeit a much smaller one.

I started my “odissey” with Dance Town (댄스 타운), the third in Jeon Kyu-hwan’s trilogy of city tales (the other two are Mozart Town and Animal Town, both of which I wasn’t aware of). It shows Lee Jung-nim, a North Korean middle class woman, who defects to South Korea after being accused of watching a porn movie. In Seoul, she’s given an apartment by the government, finds a job and awaits news of her husband, who wasn’t able to go with her. It was a good start and I enjoyed the acting, but there was a sub-plot with a teenage girl which was quite unnecessary and didn’t really seem to fit or to flow well with the main story. Overall, though, it was quite good.

The second one in the queue was Haunters (초능력자), a pretty cool action flick. It revolves around a young man that can control people within his eyesight. One day, while trying to rob a pawn shop, he meets this other guy who is unfazed by his power. From this moment on, of course they get into a sort of cat and mouse game that will end badly for one of them. The action scenes were pretty good and the actors delivered good enough performances. Now, it is not perfect and there are many flaws and situations that are left unexplained, but it was highly enjoyable. My only big complaint is about the ending, which sucked big time and was very disappointing. Besides, it didn’t really seem like a likely sequence for what the director was doing ’til then, you know? The final minutes caught me unawares and left me very disappointed. But, as I said, it was great fun and I’d recommend it.

Then came The day he arrives (북촌방향), a black and white feature that shows a movie director on a quick visit to Seoul, looking for a friend and then going out with him and friends. As the days go by, things seem to repeat themselves and there’s this sort of annoying lack of real action that impregnates every single second of the movie. I read a review that said that it shows well how repetitive our daily lives are and how it is a good portrait of times when we think we’re going forward but, in fact, we’re walking on the same spot or, even worse, backwards, and it was like that for me, at least.

The last one was The Yellow Sea (황해), another action movie that left me quite depressed.The screening I attended happened after a long and tiring day and it was totally worth it! I must admit I still prefer The Chaser (추격자) – a movie by the same director and with the same main actors -, but this one was every bit as exhilarating as the former and barely lets you catch a breath. It was also quite fun to see Ha Jung-woo and Kim Yoon-suk sort of reverse the roles they played in The Chaser. The plot revolves around a taxi driver that lives in the China-North Korea border and is neck-deep in gambling debts. His wife went to Seoul to work and get money but hasn’t contacted him ever since, leaving him to pay for the money necessary for this, too. So, desperate, he accepts a job offer from a local gangster: he has to go to Seoul and kill a man. Obviously, this cannot turn out well and you already know that tense moments will follow.

The audiences for these movies were reasonably large, I’d say. Dance Town and The day he arrives were the ones in which people were more respectful, I guess. One thing that really annoys me is when something a bit absurd happens onscreen and the whole cinema comes down laughing. That happened a lot when I watched Lady Revenge and, let’s face it, that is not a light movie. It happened a bit in The Yellow Sea, too, as a result of the combination of the over the top action sequences (and I mean that in a good way, I loved them all) and the leading character’s resilience.

All in all, I thouroughly enjoyed all movies. It’s not like we have many chances to watch Korean films in Brazilian cinemas, so it was definitely a great opportunity!

* Please, keep in mind I’m not a film critic, I’m just expressing my personal and amateuristic views of what I watched! And click on the names to check more lenghty synopsises (this word looks really odd in the plural).



Check out more posts from this collaboration HERE.
Check out the other collaborators’ blogs here.
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