In this Episode: Pierce has a chat with film 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.
Before the two get to discussing some of this year's hottest historical flicks, Pierce starts the show by mentioning some current Korean film news. The two winners of CJ E&M's "Butterfly Project" were announced this month (an initiative launch back in 2010 to support up-and-coming filmmaking talents) and the competition chose Jo Seul-ye for "Young A's Silence" and Choi Jeong-yeol's "Glory Days" as the winners. These nascent filmmakers where selected from 79 submission (then whittled down to 11 hopefuls), and may still be awarded KRW 300 million ($290,000) to help fund their features.
North American audiences will soon have the chance to watch the big blockbuster "The Attorney". Yang Woo-seok's hit came in late last year to claim a top ten finish, and has recently pass the 10 million admissions mark locally. The film, which stars that unstoppable Song Kang-ho, will be released in 14 major cities on Feb. 7-so if you in that side of the world be sure to catch it when and where you can. Pierce then gives us some festival news from around the world, mentioning Korea's best indie film "The Fake"; a film Jason describes as a "stupendous feature" that's dark, disturbing, and "full of substance".
Some casting news was also shared. Ryoo Seung-wan's "Veteran" (the story of a detective on the trail of a plutocrat) will star Hwang Jung-min alongside Yoo Ah-in in an exciting crime drama. The final figures for 2013 (Korea's biggest year to date) were also given. 213 million tickets were sold during the record-breaking year, 127 million of which came from Korean features. Nine of the country's top ten films were local flicks, a truly remarkable achievement that few countries can claim and it's a testament to the growing support local flicks are receiving.
"The Face Reader" was the only period film to be released last year, but 2014 has a host of them lined up that will be hoping to attract big crowds throughout the year. Before presenting six of this year's hopefuls, Pierce and Jason briefly mention some of the period yarns that have done extremely well in the past and that they enjoyed. The big past hits include "Masquerade", "The King and the Clown", "The Face Reader", "Arrow, The Ultimate Weapon", and "The Grand Heist". Korean period films have been a constant feature in Korea's film history, but they have become scrumptious cash cows that many producers and companies are hoping to see slaughter this year. Jason and Pierce note that modern period films have become fast-paced, are less didactic, contain more "body humour", and are generally more contemporary in their story-telling style and approach to the genre.
The big six period films coming in 2014 include: "The Huntresses", "KUNDO : Age of the Rampant", "The King's Wrath", "Pirates", "Memories of the Sword", and "Battle Of Myeongryang" (aka "Roaring Currents"). Jason has his eye on Kim Han-min's "Battle Of Myeongryang" and Park Heung-sik's "Memories of the Sword", while Pierce adds that "KUNDO : Age of the Rampant" is likely to do rather well. Be sure to take a listen to the podcast to hear these two insiders share their thoughts on them all though.
Pierce closes this episode out by putting Park Chan-kyong's "Mansin: Ten Thousand Spirits" in focus; a documentary by Park Chan-wook's brother that made its world premiere at the DMZ film festival last year. Although the film is about Korea's national shaman, Pierce tells us that the film doesn't go into too much detail about actual shamanism and instead personalises its impressive tale through colourful and immersive/dynamic filmmaking, percussive music, and extensive reconstructions. Should be worth a watch.
THOUGHTS ON THIS EPISODE:
Having another on-the-ground film critic made for an interesting and informative episode 5, and the topic of Korean period features is another hot topic that makes this one a goodie. There are a lot of intriguing period yarns coming out this year, and this episode painted the scene in terms of past hits and future hopefuls. I particularly enjoyed hearing how Pierce and Jason thought this popular genre has changed over the years, as well their insight into which of these six features where likely to cash in. Due to the difference in time between the recording and its release, some of the news was not a fresh and informative as I would have liked, but that's a small criticism against this great chat. Pierce's choice of "Mansin: Ten Thousand Spirits" sounds interesting, and sparked my curiosity enough to seek it out in the near future. Overall, episode five was topical and informative episode that helped wet our appetites just that little bit more as we look ahead to 2014 and the period magic and might coming our way.
Episode 1: Director Kwak Gyeong-taek Talks "FRIEND 2"
Episode 2: New Direction for Korean Film Maverick
Episode 3: Korean Film Critic Darcy Paquet Reflects on 2003
Special Episode: Korean Cinema in 2013
Episode 4: Interview with indie actress Kim Kkobbi
Did you enjoy this episode? Share your thoughts on this podcast with others in the comment section below.
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