ENTERTAINMENT

Three films, three cities

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 22, 2011 - 18:25
  • Updated : Dec 22, 2011 - 19:06

 Special project offers films shot in Bucheon, Pohang and Gwangju


It’s been to Seoul, Busan, Jeju, Chuncheon, Daegu, Incheon, Yeosu and Gangleung.

English language network Arirang TV’s annual film project featuring Korean cities is back with its third edition, this time offering three movies shot in Bucheon, Pohang and Gwangju.

The upcoming films are not about the cities (no road movies to the cities!) but rather use them only as their background. The three featured directors ― Kim In-sik, Lee Sang-woo and Kim Young-bin ― each came up with original scripts with some powerful narratives. All of the directors shot their films in the given cities in just two weeks.

Among the three, Kim In-sik’s mystery romance “Invitation” is arguably the most anticipated. Kim, who is known for his controversial feature debut and queer film “Road Movie”(2002) and psychological thriller “Hypnotized”(2004) starring heavyweight actress Kim Hye-soo, is making a comeback after a seven-year hiatus with this project. Starring “Hanji” and “Old Miss Diary” actress Ye Ji-won, Kim’s upcoming film tells a story of a man living in solitude in Gwangju, waiting for the woman who left him for his younger brother some 17 years ago. 
Scenes from “Barbie” (top) and “Invitation,” two of the three upcoming films shot in the three cities of Bucheon, Pohang and Gwangju. (Miro Vision)

The movie unfolds as the woman suddenly returns to the man, willing to share some painful secrets behind her betrayal. Using his well-known flair for vivid colors and mise-en-scene, Kim turns the city in South Jeolla Province into the place of mystique and allure.

For the city of Pohang, Kim Ki-duk-trained director Lee Sang-woo, who has been making cutting-edge, controversial films including “Mother is a Whore” (2009) and “Father is a Dog” (2010), is bringing another disturbing cinematic account, this time about overseas adoption. Based on a true story which took place in Korea some 20 years ago, the film tells the story of an impoverished family whose uncle tries to sell off one of his nieces for overseas adoption to the U.S. ― which later turns out to be an illegal organ trade.

“Such things may not happen in Korea nowadays,” director Lee told reporters during a press conference on Thursday. “But it’s happening almost everyday in Southeast Asia,” he claimed.

Actor Lee Chun-hee, who previously starred in the Kim Ki-duk-written movie “Beautiful” in 2008, plays the ignorant and cruel uncle character for the film.

“The character obviously does it for the money,” Lee told reporters. “He does not quite understand what he is getting himself into. And when he finds out, he shrugs it off thinking, there’s nothing he can do about it.”

Former chief of Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) and film director Kim Young-bin created a relatively lighthearted romance flick “City in Blossom.” It deals with a young couple who breaks up over a trivial misunderstanding, and reunites at PiFan a few years later.

The movies are scheduled to open in theaters early next year. They will be also be broadcast in more than 160 countries through Arirang TV.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)