By Kim Tae-jong
The stars of actresses are shining brighter than those of their male counterparts in local films.
It's not only their physical beauty, but also the range of different characters they play that have been attracting moviegoers and better box office results.
Obviously, the movie-going audience now wants to have more choice than the gangster films, which male actors tend to dominate. But also, actresses have proved they are not just the pretty girlfriend of a leading male character any more.
One of the actresses leading the "female wave" in the big screen is Kim Ah-joong
She has successfully completed her first "heavy" role in her latest film, "200 Pounds Beauty
", which sold over 6 million tickets nationwide. In this film version of "The Ugly Duckling", Kim had to become her ugliest, a role which most actresses would avoid.
During the hot summer season, she wore special makeup all over her body which took four hours to apply; a makeover which led the film to become the seventh most successful film in history. The movie is the only one in the top 10 most successful films that does not deal with death and violence.
Her hidden talent in singing also came through with the original sound track of the movie topping local music sales charts for weeks.
Another actress not shying away from challenging roles is Kang Hye-jung
, and her efforts have usually borne fruit.
In her latest film, "Herb"
, she played the part of a 20-year-old woman with the intelligence of a 7-year-old.
Although the film has many conventional tearjerker elements, Kang's superb performance as a mentally retarded woman successfully impressed audiences, and the film sold 1 million tickets nationwide.
Unlike Kang, actress Ha Ji-won
has challenged herself physically.
In her new film, "Miracle on 1st Street
", she plays a female boxer. She joined a gymnasium where professional boxers train and went through intensive training for months for the movie.
Through the new role she shows her tough side after the popular TV historical drama in which she played a renowned kisaeng, a Korean female entertainer similar to a Japanese geisha. Thanks to her superb performance, the film came first at the box office during the Lunar New Year holidays.
Actresses such as Kim, Kang and Ha aim to play a wide range of different roles in movies, but Hyun Young
comes to the screen in a different way.
With her unique nasal voice, which many found dislikable when she debuted, she has successfully trademarked it, combining it with her comic and cheerful characteristics.
In the past she played minor supporting roles, usually of a comic nature, including the leading female character's wacky friend in "The Art of Seduction
" (2005) and an ethnic Korean from Yanbian as the Korean translator in "My Wife is a Gangster 3
" (2006) that starred Shu Qi
In her latest film, "The Perfect Couple" ("The Best Romance
"), she plays her first leading role. The low budget romantic comedy drew audiences of over 1 million.
Another actress who has successfully facilitated her strength in recent films is Kim Hye-soo
She has long been a sexy icon and starred in many popular television dramas, but despite her 20 year popularity was not so successful on the big screen until last year's hit film "Tazza: The High Rollers
' ("Tazza: The High Rollers
In the film, she played a femme fatale who organizes a gambling game with her seductive charms. It sold 6.8 million tickets and garnered her the best actress award in the Blue Dragon Film Awards.
Her new film, "A Good Day to Have an Affair
", is now showing. She takes on a bolder character, that of a married woman in the early 30s who enjoys dating a much younger man and having sex. The film has been moderate success, coming third at the box office over the weekend.
Her next film "Shim's Family
" opens on March 1, and the audience is expected to see her new side.
The film is a story about family members who have little in common, and she plays an unemployed woman who lives with her sister's family.