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2005 Saw Most Plays Turned Into Films

2006/01/05 Source

The Korean film industry last year saw the most number of new releases that were based on stage plays.
Judging from what critics say what these films had in common were a well thoughtout plot that had already won over theater-goers.
Son Hee-kyung reports on the trend.

This was Korea's top-grossing movie of 2005.
More than 8 million people saw Welcome to Dongmakgol last year.
The film, depicting the tragedy of the Korean War, which ended in 1953, got its start not as a screenplay, but on the stage of a Korean theater.
Korean filmmakers have drawn upon plays in the past, but 2005 represented a breakthrough for these adaptations.

SON HEE-KYUNG, REPORTER: "With the popularity of Korean movies based on plays last year, such as "Welcome to Dongmakgol" and "The King and the Clown", there are hopes for more collaborations of this type. Critics say, "Memories of Murder" released in 2003 was seen as a turning point, for plays that have been remade into movies."

Memories of Murder, a gritty thriller about a serial killer in Korea, was a box-office hit, attracting 5.7 million moviegoers.
The film was based on the 1996 play called "Come to See Me".
The key to a successful adaptation, critics say, is a solid story that has already gained acclaim as a play.

RECORDED: "When a play is made into a movie, then it's taken into consideration that the play had already received positive responses from both the audience and critics. So in turn, it's less risky for the producer, as he or she doesn't need to worry about whether the public will like the film."

The film "The King and the Clown" is a good example.
The producer says his writers had the huge advantage of using the original story of the play "Yi," which was first performed in 2000.

RECORDED: "I think the positive response comes as people can easily relate to the story. We were able to expand our imagination to redesign clothes and add more color to make it more interesting in the eyes of the audience."

The movie is about the true story of King Yonsan, and his jester during the Joseon Dynasty.

RECORDED: "The film is full of action. My favorite scenes are where clowns perform rope and mask dances. Traditional performances from street opera to the acrobats are very colorful."

Critics say as producers get selective, more of them are opting to base their films on popular cartoons, novels and plays.
This trend in Korean filmmaking doesn't appear to be ending anytime soon.

Son Hee-kyung, Arirang News.

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