Director Hong Sang-soo’s latest film “Our Sunhi” has drawn 50,000 viewers in 19 days, a record for the filmmaker.
According to the state-run Korean Film Council, Hong’s film, which belongs to the local diversity film chart ― a chart for indie and art house films released in fewer than 100 theaters nationwide ― topped 52,359 viewers as of Tuesday.
In the local film industry, the 10,000-viewer mark for indie films is generally considered equivalent to the 1 million mark for a commercial film. “Our Sunhi” is currently being screened in 42 theaters across the country.
An indie film is considered a box-office success in Korea once it hits the 20,000-viewer mark.
|A scene from “Our Sunhi.” (Jeonwonsa Film)|
The current performance of “Our Sunhi” outdoes Hong’s 2010 film “Hahaha” ― the biggest box-office success in Hong’s career thus far ― which hit the 50,000-viewer mark in 56 days. “Hahaha” sold a total of 57,231 tickets in 2010.
“Our Sunhi” is likely to break the total box-office record of “Hahaha” as well, as it has only been screened for about 20 days.
“Our Sunhi” is Hong’s 15th film, starring actress Jeong Yoo-mi and actors Lee Sun-kyun, Jung Jae-young and Kim Sang-jung. It tells the story of a young film studies graduate student named Sun-hi (Jeong Yoo-mi), who is about to leave the country to continue her studies overseas. The main plot revolves around Sun-hi visiting the three men in her life ― one of her professors, an ex-boyfriend and a filmmaker who is also a school alumnus.
The film nabbed the filmmaker the Best Director award at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland in August.
One of the best-known Korean directors in the international film scene, Hong, 52, has received many awards from prestigious film festivals overseas for his low-budget art house films.
Earlier this year, his “Nobody’s Daughter Haewon” was screened at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. His 2010 film “Hahaha” won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and “In Another Country” starring French actress Isabelle Huppert competed for the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year.
Only three local films on the diversity film chart have broken the 100,000-viewer mark. Jeju-based director O Muel’s “Jiseul,” which deals with the 1948 Jeju Massacre, currently holds the title of the highest-grossing indie film, having attracted more than 140,000 viewers following its release in March this year.
Filmmaker Yang Ik-joon’s 2008 drama “Breathless,” about loan sharks and child abuse, and Lee Chung-ryoul’s popular documentary about an old farmer and his 40-year-old cow, “Old Partner,” also broke the 100,000-viewer mark.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)