Born in 1969. This is his first feature film after being recognized for his two short films which were very successful at short film festivals. “Sunflower Blues” (1999) screened at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival and the New York Independent Film Festival, while “Three Hungry Brothers” won special awards at the Mise-en-scene Genre Film Festival, the Asiana International Short Film Festival, and the Seoul Digital Film Festival.
[Guest Film Review] "Hand Phone" 2017/02/25,
Despite being a 2009 film based on the concept of the mobile phone, when smart phones were not the rule yet, "Hand Phone" seems to be even timelier today, since people seem more attached than ever to their phones,...More
[HanCinema's Image Gallery] "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" @ 24fps 2015/01/17, Kim Han-min's "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" @ 24fps…
There are so many films flashing furiously past our eyes nowadays that it's hard to remember some of the devilish details, moments, and ideas from our favourite features. Add to that all the music videos, T.V. series, news broadcasts, digital advertisements, YouTube playlists and gaming, and it might well start to feel like there's an insurmountable backlog of compelling content, and you'd be right (sooner or later). Our lifetime is slowly being replaced by digital dream streams that if we were to watch all the classics, the critically acclaimed, personal recommendations and cultural must-sees, our lives would no longer have a convincing anchor in reality, and screen-time would be our only time,...More
[HanCinema Feature] Korea's Favourite Foreign Films of 2014 2015/01/10,
This time last year "The Attorney" was enjoying its final weekend at the top of the Korean box office. Yang Woo-seok's potent political piece drew millions to his Song-studded story of undead civil rights and modern righteousness, but a foreign blizzard was brewing, one that would soon usher in the nation's favourite alien invader of the year.
Its theme song, "Let It Go", was played, parodied, and pumped throughout the year as our Pale Blue Dot danced and dreamed of white noise and snowmen (a sobering event that one of the film's director, Jennifer Lee, recently apologised for; forgiven, not forgotten). Disney's "Frozen" hit Korea on the 16th of January, 2014, and the bruise was bad; $75.2 million in damages bad, in fact. Korea was obviously not alone here, the world had frozen over and thrown millions at this over-zealous zeitgeist qua animated anomaly,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Admiral: Roaring Currents": A Lionhearted Legend 2015/01/03, In the spotlight this week: Kim Han-min's "The Admiral: Roaring Currents"...
Admiral Yi Sun-shin was an astonishing naval commander who, despite political persecution, personal tragedy, illness, and imprisonment, managed to successfully halt the Japan's invasion of Korea during the end of the 16th century. Toyotomi Hideyoshi's (Japan's 'great unifier') dreamt of expanding Japan's empire and needed Joseon to secure a solid foothold to mount an attack against the mighty Ming.
Hideyoshi was denied free passage for his forces across the Korean mainland (King Seonjo and his cabinet thought that allowing the Japanese to cross unmolested would result in Korea being bloody battleground between their powerful neighbours), and so amassed a force and fleet and began their Invasion of Korea (1592-1598),...More
[HanCinema's Feature] Korea's Top Five Favorite Films of 2014 2014/12/20,
2015 is nigh upon us, a fresh year with its own host of hits waiting to entertain and be enjoyed. There is still a little time before 2014 passes us by, and before it does I wanted to glance back and take stock of this year's most successful spectacles and see what rose to top in terms of ticket tallies.
Last year Korean cinephiles were treated to an array of awesome attractions ("The Face Reader", "Snowpiercer", "The Attorney", "Miracle in Cell No.7"), but still Bong Joon-ho's 2003 hit "The Host" remained the nation's cash king with over 13M admissions. It would take something supremely special (historic) to rally such record-breaking support and slay this iconic stub-guzzler,...More
'The Attorney' Sweeps Blue Dragon Film Awards 2014/12/18, Source, Cheon Woo-hee (left) and Song Kang-ho"The Attorney" directed by Yang Woo-seok won three awards including best film at the 35th Blue Dragon Film Awards on Wednesday. Inspired by a famous 1981 human-rights case led by late President Roh Moo-hyun, who was then a successful tax lawyer in Busan and turned to human rights law to defend the accused, the film is the sixth biggest box office hit in the history of Korean cinema. It attracted 11.3 million viewers since its release in December last year,...More
'Roaring Currents' Heads to China 2014/10/22, Source,
The film "The Admiral: Roaring Currents", which drew 17.6 million viewers in Korea, will open in 3,000 theaters throughout China by the end of the year, the film's distributor CJ E&M said on Monday. China's largest state-run distributor, China Film Group, is in charge of the film's distribution in the world's populous country,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.09.26 ~ 2014.09.28 2014/09/29, "The Maze Runner" remains unchallenged at the top…
Wes Ball's science fiction film "The Maze Runner" managed to remain Korea's top showing over the last week of September. Ball's adaptation has been a huge success, and has already grossed over $148m worldwide. The film's second weekend in Korea was less than stellar, but the 572K admissions (43%) it claimed was enough to secure its place at the top of pile,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.09.12 ~ 2014.09.14 2014/09/15,
"Tazza 2" keeps its roll going…
"Tazza: The Hidden Card" had a fantastic week and managed to extend its lead at the top of pile. Kang Hyeong-cheol's comedy drama attracted over 540K filmgoers (26.7%) over the weekend to move its total tally now to 3.1M ($24.6M), which makes it the ninth highest-grossing Korean film of 2014 having just overtaken Director Chang's "The Target". Kang's closest competition came in the form of the American musical drama "Begin Again" and its 351K (17.1%), but otherwise the top ten remained largely unchanged except for Frank Miller's neo-noir "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" creeping in at ten,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.08.29 ~ 2014.08.31 2014/09/01, Lee's "Pirates" still rule the roost while "The Admiral" spies 17M…
The last few weeks have seen Korea's box office figures soar thanks to two seafaring delights: Kim Han-min's epic "Admiral" and Lee Seok-hoon's "Pirates". The last weekend of August, however, saw a slight return to normalcy as ticket sales sunk in the wake of Kim and Lee's period powerhouses coming down from their profitable reigns at the top.
Last weekend Lee's "Pirates" stole first from "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" with 951K, with Kim's naval strategist following close behind it with 802K. "Pirates" second term at the top, however, yielded just 620K (25.5%) while "The Admiral" was bumped down to third with 333K (13.7%). Together these two action attractions have amassed nearly 24M admissions and are still going around scooping up survivors as the new season is ushered in,...More
[HanCinema's Take] The "Admiral" and his Impossible Fleet 2014/08/23,
I'm always intrigued when patterns emerge in space-time; plausible improbabilities that speak to universal truths, or magically mirror the collective's consciousness. These uncanny alignments aren't always meaningful, or random, but there's a persistent allure to be found in such synchronicity; as if, when aligned, a precious pinhole appears, a vague vantage point awaiting some some golden thread to pierce and grab the message in bottle before it's too late.
Last week a new Korea box office champion was crowned as Kim Han-min's "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" (2014) cruised past Bong Joon-ho's hybrid hit "The Host" (2006), becoming the peninsula's highest grossing film of all time,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.08.08 ~ 2014.08.10 2014/08/12, Kim's "Admiral" surpasses 10M in record time…Kim Han-min's cinematic celebration of the legendary Korean admiral Yi Sun-sin continued its record-breaking form as it powered past the 10 million admissions mark with ease. Over this past weekend Kim's period epic claimed over 2.5M stubs (58.8%) over 1,335 screens to become the fastest Korean film to reach that milestone, and now stands as the tenth highest grossing Korean film of all time. The film depicts Yi Sun-sin's famous victory at the Battle of Myeongnyang where, against all odds, he defeated the Japanese navy on the Myeongnyang Strait by forcing the Japanese fleet into the narrow pass and made strategic use of the straights strong and shifting currents. "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" now has a total tally of 10.7M admissions ($81.1M); an incredible achievement considering the film was only released on the 30th of last month,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" 2014/08/09,
Admiral Yi Sun-shin (played by Choi Min-sik) has a reputation as one of the greatest tactical geniuses in world history, a fact recognized even by his contemporaries. Consequently, his portrayal in "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" may initially come off as a bit of a shock. Far from the all-powerful Übermensch who single-handedly saves the world, Yi Sun-shin lacks confidence, charisma, or even much in the way of political support. He just stubbornly adheres to the most strategically sound plan even as troop morale is hopelessly plummeting,...More
[HanCinema's Box Office Review] 2014.08.01 ~ 2014.08.03 2014/08/04, Records tumble in the wake of Kim Han-min's awesome "Admiral"…Kim Han-min's period epic "The Admiral: Roaring Currents" soared into the record books over the weekend to become the first film to break a million admissions in a single day. Over the weekend Kim's big-budget blockbuster claimed 3.3M admissions (or 65.7% of ticket sales) over 1,586 screens to force the recently released "KUNDO : Age of the Rampant" down to third. The only other films to sell more than 45K tickets were "How to Train Your Dragon 2" and "Guardians of the Galaxy", the rest simply made up the numbers as these four favourites devoured over 97% of the box office pie,...More
[HanCinema's Film News] New Korean Films Inbound... 2014/07/26, K-Films Coming Soon:★★★★★ "Roaring Currents": A historical epic that depicts the legendary exploits of one of the world's greatest navel strategists, Admiral Yi Sun-Shin. (07/30)
★★★★"HARU": A psychiatrists whose marriage is waning has to treat his wife's daughter and begins to fantasise about about their relationship. (07/31)
★★★★"The Suffered": A woman visiting her sick father gets to close to a mysterious man with dangerous consequences. (07/31),...More
[HanCinema's Afterwords] KOFIC Podcast Review - Ep. 5 2014/01/25, In this Episode: Pierce has a chat withfilm critic Jason Bechervaise about six period films coming in 2014…
KOFIC recently launched "Korean Cinema Today", a bimonthly podcast that's all about the wonderful world of Korean cinema. Hosted by Pierce Conran, the show features the latest Korean cinema news, features, discussions, and interviews with special guests from the industry.
In episode 5 Pierce has Korean film critic, journalist and academic Jason Bechervaise in studio to discuss the host of period films coming our way in 2014,...More
[HanCinema Feature] Historical Hysteria: Korean period films coming in 2014 2014/01/11, Joseon pirates, legends, swordsmen, angels and more coming our way in 2014...
Cinematic journeys back to Joseon and beyond have rewarded the Korean film industry with a string of profitable historical yarns, a trend that has got producers drooling with the prospect of tapping deeper into this regenerative cash cow. Recently, it's been Han Jae-rim's "The Face Reader" (9.1M admissions) that has had locals flustered and, in 2005, it was Lee Joon-ik's "The King and the Clown" that became the first Joseon-era flick to pass the 10 million admissions mark. It's big business with a cultural twist that locals enjoy supporting, international audiences love lapping up, and a trend that 2014 is keen to take advance of as a host of new retrospectives are getting raring to go,...More
[HanCinema's Lists] The Top 5 Korean Period Films of All-Time 2014/01/10,
Korean period features are big business that, when done right, really do bring in the big bucks. The past few years, in particular, have yielded some stellar titles that have seriously resonated with local audiences. This trend is set to continue in 2014 as a host of new historical dramas and action flicks are lining up to try and capture the public's imagination by re-framing the past in unique and exciting ways. Some of the historical films to look out for in 2014 include: "KUNDO : Age of the Rampant", "A Touch of Zen", "Pirates", "The Huntresses", and "Battle Of Myeongryang"; but before we usher in these new historical yarns, here's a quick look at the five highest grossing Korean period films of all-time that this year's entries will hope to challenge,...More
[HanCinema's Hall of Fame] "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon" 2013/11/02, In the Spotlight this Week: "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon" by Kim Han-min
Finding historical shards embedded in modern myths makes for compelling cinema, those nuggety kernels of truth that somehow make the illusion of the dream that much more Real. In "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon", director Kim Han-min's fourth world in his filmic multiverse, we are teleported back to a troubled time in Korea's history; specifically, the Second Manchu Invasion (1636 – 1637) where the Kingdom of Joseon was under heavy military and political pressures from their tiresome Qing neighbours. Many period yarns are prone to taking liberties (creative archeologically shortcuts) when conceptualising and producing stories attempting to navigate historical truths; comparatively, however, "Arrow" is the most popular recent addition to the genre that was able to successfully conceptualise the era without changing the course of history. Historically accurate or not, one piece of archival evidence that will be clear to future gravediggers is that this unearthed gem was a massive success (7.4 million admissions) that became the highest grossing Korean film of 2011 AD. And would have been top overall if it wasn't for Bay's epic third instalment (7.7 million) in the "Transformer" series,...More
[HanCinema's Hall Of Fame Review] "Masquerade" 2013/10/12, In the Spotlight this Week:"Masquerade" (2012) by Choo Chang-min
Trips to Korea's Hermit Kingdom have proven particularly lucrative these past few years, none more so that Choo Chang-min's fourth feature "Masquerade" (2012). Set during Korea's exclusive Joseon Dynasty (1392 ~ 1910), "Masquerade" is a cinematic imagining of the fifteen missing days from King Gwanghae royal journals. Choo's film spent an impressive fourteen weeks in Korea's top ten and attracted 12.3 million viewers during the last quarter of 2012, making it the highest grossing Korean historical drama of all time. "Masquerade" was also honoured at Korea's 2012 Grand Bell Awards (its most prestigious award ceremony), claiming fifteen awards including Best Film, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and the Popularity Award. The film almost walked away as the highest grossing film released that year, but was narrowly outdone by Choi Dong-hoon's "The Thieves" (12.9M), a modern heist flick that dominated proceedings over Korea's sticky summer,...More
The Korean Film Festival comes to Montreal 2013/06/26, Source, In celebration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Korea, a selection of 10 outstanding Korean films will be showcased in Montreal from July 4th to 10th, 2013.
Ciné-Asie, along with the major support of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, presents the first edition of the Korean Film Festival in Canada – KFF – which will be launched in five Canadian cities, highlighting Montreal in partnership with the Cineplex Odeon Forum and Mosaicultures Internationales Montréal at the Montreal Botanical Garden (an event that expects nearly two million visitors this summer), the KFF anticipates to receive a large number of visitors for its first edition. For the first time, the KFF website is composed in three different languages: English, French, and Korean.
The KFF will present ten full length feature films and five short films.
The feature films are either the highest grossing movies in recent years, totalling 7 to 13 million admissions in South Korea, or have gained international critical acclaims, winning significant awards. Among them include Kim Ki-duk's "Pieta" (Le grand prix at Venice 2012), "Miracle in Cell No.7" (over 12 million admissions in Korea, 2013), and "Masquerade" starring actor Lee Byung-hun (over 12 million admissions in Korea, 2012),...More
[HanCinema Report] Packed house for opening of KOFFIA in Sydney 2012/08/28,
KOFFIA 2012 - 22-28 August, 2012
The 3rd annual Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) kicked off last week on 22 August at picturesque Circular Quay, Sydney, Australia. It was a packed house at Dendy Cinema for the Opening Ceremony which began with an official welcome and a brief run through of this year's festival by KOFFIA 2012 Artistic Director Kieran Tully. Guests were then treated with a delightful performance of a traditional Korean Fan Dance (Buchaechum) by Hyun Kim before the official opening of the festival by Consul-General of the Republic of Korea (Sydney) Mr Jin-Soo Kim. The night concluded with a well-received screening of the highest grossing Korean film of 2011, Kim Han-min's spectacular "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon",...More
Florence Korea Film Fest to open with Always 2012/02/27, Source,
The 10th Florence Korea Film Fest in Italy has announced it will open with Song Il-gon's "Always", last year's Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Opening Film. The festival will screen 32 feature films and 24 shorts during its nine-day run, and close with Kim Ki-duk's "ARIRANG - Movie", which made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
Set to run March 23 – 31 at the Cinema Odeon (Piazza Strozzi, 1) in Florence, the festival is organized by the Tae gukgi – Toscana Korea Association. Sponsors include Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), the region of Tuscany (Toscana), the city of Florence and the Film Institutions of Tuscany Region,...More
South Korean Box Office in 2011 2012/01/14, Source, Korean cinema expert Darcy Paquet looks back at the results of 2011's box office with some unexpected hits and misses, the rise of independent features, and how audiences confirmed they value story over spectacle.
Although the number crunchers in Hollywood estimate that US theatrical admissions sank to their lowest level since 1995, things were not so gloomy in Korea. With an estimated 160 million tickets sold (more precise figures will become available at a later date), it appears that Korea has approached or broken the modern-day record for admissions. In 2010, total admissions stopped at 146.8 million. In monetary terms, 2011 was certainly the best year ever, given the 3D surcharge and rising average ticket prices. Americans may be growing tired of the theatrical movie-going experience, but young Koreans still crowd the multiplexes,...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon" 2011/12/17, Kim Han-min's "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon" quickly became Korea's most successful film of 2011, marching up the ranks to eventually bank 7,459,974 admissions. Since its release in September, Kim's historical action flick has been showered with local awards spanning all major categories. However once you get some of the stardust and glare out of your eyes, the film's success can be pinned down to its ability to be, quite simply, great entertainment,...More
Bittersweet Life: Korean cinema's secret popularity in the UK 2011/12/07, Source,
International distribution expert and analyst and former Screen International journalist Robert Mitchell looks at the gulf between artistic and business successes of Korean cinema in the UK.
Ask any cine-literate film-goer, critic, blogger or tweeter in the UK about Korean cinema and you'll be greeted with an enthusiastic response. They will talk of the Hallyu period of the past decade, a wealth of some of the most creative and interesting film-making in the world. They will speak with passion about Park Chan-wook, Kim Ki-duk and Bong Joon-ho.
International festivals like Cannes play a major role in building this awareness. "The route to the international market is through festivals", says Danny PERKINS, CEO of StudioCanal UK, which released Bong's "The Host" and Kim's "3-Iron" amongst other Korean titles. "If a director's film features in one of the bigger festivals it can put them and their work permanently on the map",...More
[HanCinema's Film Review] Highest Grossing Korean Films of 2011 2011/11/26, Highest Grossing Korean Films of 2011
2011 has produced a range of successful Korean films that have captured the public's imagination, tugged at their heartstrings, caused a few laughs, and asked some serious questions. Although the year is not quite done, the big films of the year have largely had their say at the box office. This week I wanted to take a look at the top domestic films of 2011 and see just what type of films captured the public's interest in 2011,...More
British blown away by performance from K-pop group SHINee 2011/11/04, Source,
SHINee in London: SHINee members, from left, Key, 20, Jonghyun, 20, Taemin, 18, Minho, 19, and Onew, 21, perform at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, Thursday. The show opened the Sixth London Korean Film Festival as the opening gala concert. SHINee sang its hit tracks in front of British fans. Tickets for the concert sold out faster than those for the Harry Potter movie series, causing the ticketing website's server to shut down one minute after sales started, the Odeon Theater said,...More
VCR2 Weekly star scene 2011/10/20, Source, It's the battle of the stars! Arirang Today set off to get a closer look at the 48th Daejong Film Festival. Our first stop: the red carpet.
Hours before the event, the sidelines of the red carpet were already filling up with fans determined to get a glimpse of their favorite star.
[Interview : ] "Why did you bring the flowers
[Interview : ] "I'm a fan of the actor Lee Je-hoon. I want to give these to him".
[Interview : ] "What do you like about Lee Je-hoon
[Interview : ] "He's very talented at portraying whatever character he is given. He's a fantastic actor",...More
The Front Line top winner at Korea's Grand Bell Awards 2011/10/19, Source, By KOFIC Staff
"The Front Line" won Best Film at the 48th Grand Bell Awards on Monday, Oct. 17. In addition to this top award, director JANG Hun's Korean War drama snapped up a total of four awards - Best Planning LEE Woo-jung, Best Lighting for KIM Jae-min and Best Cinematography for KIM Wu-hyeong.
The film is about North and South Korean soldiers battling over a small patch of mountainous terrain and the complicated relationships that grow between them. The Front Line is also the Republic of Korea's entry to the Academy Awards Foreign Language Film nominations,...More
'Arrow' aims for new horizons 2011/08/04, Source,
Actor Park Hae-il appears in a scene from Kim Han-min's epic archery action film "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon". / Courtesy of Lotte Entertainment
By Lee Hyo-won
Finally, a film that ties enduring soul-searching themes with exhilarating action and dashes of tasteful comedy, all set in a familiar yet exotic backdrop.
"Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon", a well-directed and craftily edited "kill all with a single arrow" period piece, could have consulted a better VFX supervisor. Still, it offers thrilling, multi-textured entertainment that makes modern snipers seem boring. Strong box office sales are highly probable along with ancillary potential overseas as distribution rights have been sold to 13 countries,...More
In conclusion, the interrelationship is inverse proportion according to the trend in 2007 box-office success in Korean film industry. Among the 100 movies released this year, only 4 movies had more than,...More
44th Grand Bell Award Nominations 2007/06/05, Source, One of South Korea's top two annual film awards ceremonies will take place June 8th in the city of Daejeon. The 44th Grand Bell Awards, which is televised nationally, will be accompanied by the week long Daejeon Film Festival which will showcase 66 domestic films including last year's sensational <,...More
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