Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ku Hye-sun's first feature pic "Magic" invited to JIMFF

Official poster for Ku Hye-sun's film "Magic"

Korean actress Ku Hye-sun
will be presenting her first feature film "Magic" at the 6th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (JIMFF) next month, according to her agency YG Entertainment (YG) on Monday.

YG announced in a press release that actress-turned-director has been invited to show her film at JIMFF, to be held in the city of Jecheon in North Chungcheong Province from August 12 to 17.

JIMFF -- a music and film festival held under the concept 'harmony among movies, music and nature' -- introduces various music films from Korea as well as overseas. "Magic" will be presented in a section called 'Today In Korea's Music Films.'

Set in an art school, "Magic" is a story about the passion and competition among young musicians and features various music genres including classical music, folk songs and Korean pop music. Two notable tunes in the film are reinterpretations of traditional folk melody "Arirang" and "You In My Arms" by the late Korean singer Yoo Jae-ha.

"Magic" was previously shown at the Jeonju International Film Festival earlier this year prior to its theater release on June 24.

In June, the actress was also awarded the "Spotlight Award" at the 12th Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia for her 2008 short feature "The Madonna."

The pic had been shown at several film events last year including the Asiana International Short Film Festival, the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival and the Pusan Asian Short Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award.

Ku, 25, had originally planned to debut as a singer with South Korea's major talent agency YG Entertainment but she started acting in several TV dramas and made a breakthrough with a role in 2006 KBS TV series "Pure in Heart".

She then became a household name throughout Asia after starring in the mega-hit TV series "Boys Over Flowers" (KBS, 2009) as the character Geum Jan-di. Ku is also a talented singer and songwriter, artist, novelist and scriptwriter.

She will be returning to the small screen through upcoming TV series "The Musical," in which she plays a medical student who dreams of becoming a musical actress.

Reporter : Lynn Kim lynn2878@
Editor : Jessica Kim jesskim@
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

Song Hye-kyo ponders new film by Lee Jung-hyang

Korean actress Song Hye-kyo may be returning to the big screen through a new film by director Lee Jung-hyang, best-known for 2002 hit pic "The Way Home."

"She is considering appearing in director Lee Jung-hyang's new film but it has not been finalized," an official at Song's agency Eden 9 Entertainment told Asia Economic Daily over the phone on Tuesday. "It is hard to decide on her next project since we have not been notified of when the movie she is currently filming in China will end."

Lee Jung-hyang's upcoming movie, which remains untitled, is a story about the conflicts and growth a television producer experiences after losing her fiance in a hit-and-run accident.

It is Lee's first film since "Home," which turned then-child actor Yoo Seung-ho into a household name, became a local box office hit eight years ago.

Song, 28, shot to fame throughout Asia after starring in several hit TV dramas including "Autumn In My Heart" (KBS, 2000), "All In" (SBS, 2003) and "Full House" (KBS, 2004) alongside Asian pop sensation Rain. She was last seen in the drama "The World That They Live In" (KBS, 2008) and made headlines for dating her co-star Hyun Bin.

She has also done some work on the big screen including "Hwang Jin-i" (2007), "Poetry" (2008) and Asian omnibus pic "Carmelia" (2010), directed by Jang Joon-hwan and co-starring Gang Dong-won.

The actress is currently shooting Wong Kar-wai pic "The Grand Master" in China.

Reporter : Ko Kyoung-seok kave@
Editor : Lynn Kim lynn2878@
<ⓒ10Asia All rights reserved>

'Man'hardboiled but touching

Won Bin, right, and Kim Sae-ron star in a scene from "The Man From Nowhere.’’ The action drama by Lee Jeong-beom opens in theaters on Aug. 4.

It’s bloody and brutal, and harrowingly so ― as it pins down a soft spot in the hearts of viewers.

While featuring some of the most memorable child acting, this hardboiled action flick really must be kept far away from the young ones. "The Man From Nowhere’’ is quite predictable in many ways, but the manipulative jabbing effect is sorely felt because all the cruelty leaves you as vulnerable as the victimized children in the film. Breathless and flabbergasted, you’re bound to find solace in the tender melodrama, like a parched sojourner at an oasis in the middle of the desert.

Director Lee Jeong-beom has nevertheless crafted a convincing story that stands on its own two feet. Its strength lies in the fine details such as the carefully chosen supporting cast, witty dialogue and zesty comic relief, as well as character development and flashes of impressive cinematography.

Leading man Won Bin, moreover, makes it loud and clear that the project marks the full-fledged flight of his "second life as an actor,’’ which he once said about his international breakthrough role in Bong Joon-ho’s "Mother.’’

In his previous film Won showed that the brightest lights cast the darkest shadows, how the most transparent figures can harbor the most surprising secrets. Here he crosses over to the dark side once and for all, and trades in "Mother’s’’ oafish demeanor for sharp wits and really, really quick feet.

Dubbed "the pawn shop ghost,’’ Tae-sik, haunted by some painful past in his former work as a secret agent, lives in reclusion. He doesn’t say much while running an obscure pawn shop, and doesn’t even care to cut his hair.

So-mi, a neglected 10-year-old who lives next door, however, brightens up his stark existence like a ray of light. "People say you’re a child molester,’’ she says, but knows better about her one and only friend, and always invites herself over for a decent meal or to find refuge when her single mom decides to have a dose of drugs. In turn she does small chores like uploading songs onto Tae-sik’s mp3 player.

Korean cinema in recent years has seen pairings of unlikely duos, and Kim Sae-ron, the little girl with big talent of the Franco-Korean collaboration "A Brand New Life,’’ brings a breath of fresh air to the screen. Though children and animal co-stars are a faux pas for adult actors, since their cuteness steals the lime light, Won has no worries since most of the screen time is devoted to Tae-sik running to So-mi’s rescue.

So-mi is kidnapped by a crime ring when her club dancer mother becomes involved in a case, and Tae-sik, who seems to have discovered a pulse in his deadened heart, cuts his hair so he can run around to save his little friend. The viewer is given several tasks ― to wonder what this deep dark secret of his is all about while worrying about So-mi, who, for the black market organ sellers, is more valuable as a corpse.

When considering the illegal organ trade, films like "Dirty Pretty Things’’ come to mind. The skin-crawling realities of the illicit business was rendered palpable by setting it against a heartrending romance, and "The Man From Nowhere’’ plays at something similar, though with a touch of "Leon’’ with a narrative centered on the bond between a little girl and this "ajeossi,’’ or uncle figure.

Like other characters in the film, the audience may initially wonder why Tae-sik, who isn’t even So-mi’s dad, is willing to risk his life for her. Yet as his secrets unravel the film tugs at the heart for the right reasons, as it touches upon basic human needs, like the yearning for a reason to live, or die, and "jeong,’’ the feeling of fellowship that unites people together beyond blood ties.

Also intriguing is the subplot involving the detective handling the case and a powerful member of the crime ring (performed charismatically by Thai star Thanayong Wongtraku).

credit: Lee Hyo-won(Staff reporter)

The man from Nowhere's trailer

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Won Bin: "I Almost Killed Myself While Filming Action Scene"

"When I first tried to perform a wire stunt, I had the impression, It is too tough, I should not do this again. I could die while I am filming this action scene. The most dangerous moment was when I fought holding a sword in my hand. If I did something wrong even slightly, I could hurt my eyes or my face." -Won Bin

In the production presentation for the movie The Man From Nowhere, which was held in Apgujeong CGV on July 8, the main protagonist Won Bin revealed that the action scenes were very difficult for him. In the movie, Won Bin played Tae Sik, who is the former member of a special forces unit and lives alone by running pawnshops. When a girl living next door, who is his only friend, is kidnapped by a criminal organization, he throws himself into the fray to save the girl.

Won Bin said that trained to use a gun and a sword three months before filming began. He said, Action scenes take up a large portion in this movie. I have agonized over how I can deliver my emotion to viewers, the emotions of urgency and impatience to save the girl to the point of giving everything I have.

He explained that he decided to appear in this movie because he was really touched by Tae Sik├ó€™s love demonstrated by risking his life to rescue the girl living next door, who was not even his family or his relative.

Director Lee Jung Chul said about Won Bin, He is soft and delicate. Those aspects are advantages for actors who have to act with a child. Also, I was horrified by his expressionless face when he performed action scenes.

He continued to explain, I have worried about how to show the process of those two people coming to understand each other. I read many postings on the Internet which compares this movie with movies such as Leon and Man On Fire, and I agree with those people's opinion. But, I focused on Korean sentiments, and the action scenes are rather realistic than spectacular, so there are clear differences.

The role of the girl is played by Kim Sae Ron. She received attention for her splendid acting in the Korean-French movie A Brand New Life, 2009, which was directed by Ounie Lecomte. Kim Sae Ron said, At first, I did not know Won Bin, but I found out who he is just before beginning filming when I saw his TV commercial.Her utterance raised a laugh.

The movie The Man From Nowhere will be released on August 5.

source: KBS Global