After success at home, last year's Cannes Film Festival and at festivals around the world, Kim Jee-woon's "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" is finally opening in Japan. The film, released almost a year ago in Korea July 17 2008 will open in Japan August 29. In Japan it will play on 100 screens including the high profile Toho Cinemas Chanter in Ginza and T-Joy Shinjuku Wald 9. Distribution is being handled jointly by CJ Entertainment and Japan's Show Gate, the first time a consortium has been created to handle the international release of a Korean film. Even though the film has garnered much attention worldwide its success in Japan remains to be seen given the portrayal of the Japanese army who pursue the lead characters throughout the film during the annexation of Manchuria in the 1930s. Japan is also famous for its own unique blend of avante guarde, spaghetti style, kung fu cult movies.
"The Good, the Bad, the Weird" is set during the early part of the century when Korea too was in the hands of the Japanese. An eccentric thief, a dark, anime like hit man and a bounty hunter each embark on an action filled race, across the dusty expanse of Manchuria to liberate a treasure map, often from each other. The film stars current 'it' actor Song Kang-ho who recently played the vampire in Park Chan-wook's "Thirst". Lee Byung-hun who played in the same director's "A Bittersweet Life" (2005) and currently in U.S. adventure flick G.I Joe also appears in the film.
After it debuted at Cannes last year the film went on to attract 6.8 million audiences when it was released in Korea. The film then appeared in a myriad of international film festivals and won the best director award at the 2008 Sitges International Film Festival. "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" was also released in the U.S. at the beginning of the year.
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