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It was a great performance, at times she seems vulnerable, at times she seems as hard as stone.

It's the third part of the revenge trilogy that features Sympathy for Mr Vengeance and Oldboy. I found the ending of Oldboy too freaky, and although without doubt it's a great a film, I can't think of a film with a more disturbing ending. Sympathy for Mr Vengeance is simply brilliant.

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Just watched Bittersweet life.

It's an OK film, but I wouldn't say it's great. However my views may be influenced by my oversaturation of gangster flicks.

It did remind me more of Election 黑社会 than earlier HK gangster type movies.

It is interesting to see the introduction of guns to a Korean film, in HK films everyone instinctively knows how to handle guns etc, so it was refreshingly different in this one.

Excellent bit of road rage, and another great one vs many fight scene (although not as good as the corridor scene in Oldboy).

I don't know if anyone watches the TV series Lost, but Lee Byung Hun's character was quite similar to that of Jin. Is working in a hotel in Korea always a stepping stone to life as a gang enforcer?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just curious. There used to be quite a few North Korean movies shown in Mainland theaters back then. Is any of them worth watching? Is there anywhere I can buy DVD/VCD of North Korean movie?

And I just watched "Take Care of My Cat":


IMO it is very boring. But most films that showed in Sundance are boring.

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At the new IMAX theatre at the Paragon in Bangkok, I saw a huge poster of the new film "My Girl & I", played by the adorable Cha Tae-hyun (車太鉉) and the lovely Song Hye-gyo (宋慧喬) and I almost melted then and there.

It is a bit disappointing, though, that the film is an adaptation of the Japanese film "Crying out love at the centre of the world", which I also like a lot.


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BTW, I saw another korean film called "Sad Movie" today (it is called 真的愛你 in HK). I think it strikingly resembles "Love Actually", except that all the stories have sad endings. The film makes people cry, but whether or not it is a good film I am not sure. But I like Jung Woo-sung (鄭雨盛) more and more. And Cha Tae-hyun (車太鉉) is also in it.

Trailer (This one has Chinese and English subtitles.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

The low-budget film King and the Clown has turned out to be a mega-hit in Korea. http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/opinion/200602/kt2006021216291254040.htm

BTW, I believe My Girl and I is Song Hae Gyo's film debut. One of the likely reasons why the film was not as successful as the Japanese version is 1) Remakes are rarely as well produced as the original, and 2) Song Hae Gyo has yet to break out of her experience in the television industry.

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  • 3 weeks later...

King and the Clown is expected to become the highest grossing film ever in South Korean cinema by the end of this weekend. It will surpass the current recordholder Tae Guk Gi in total ticket sales.

What is unique about this phenomenon is that it is the first time that a non-political film (one that does not deal with the North-South divide; or a government conspiracy like in Silmido) has transcended across all ages (it has been a hit with young and old people alike), gender, and socioeconomic status.

Furthermore the fact that this film deals with a love triangle between a king and his male court jesters is certain to shatter perceived taboos about the subject of "gay" in South Korean society.

I am interested in watching the film when it becomes available. The theme in the movie reminds me of the emperor Qianlong who supposedly had an infatuation with his notorious servant He Shen. The film starts off with the tyrant king giving the sentence of execution to his jesters for infringing on court protocol, but gives them a chance to live if they can make him laugh.


"``King and the Clown,'' a story about a love triangle between a king and male court jesters in Choson Kingdom, is expected to become the No. 1 hit in the nation's film history this weekend.

According to the film's distribution company Cinema Service, the film will break the previous record of 11.74 million ticket sales set by the 2004 war movie ``Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War.'' By Sunday, it will have taken 67 days to break the record after being released on Dec. 29. The number indicates one out of every four people in the entire South Korean population has watched the film.

Based on the acclaimed play ``Yi,'' the film took three historical figures from Choson Kingdom _ tyrant King Yonsan, his concubine Chang Nok-su and court jester Kong-gil _ and tells a fictionalized account of their relationship with the addition of fictional characters.

With its growing popularity, the film has become a cultural phenomenon and critics believe its success has opened a new era for the local film industry.

The film's success, despite its homosexual theme that has been a taboo subject in Korean cinema, purportedly indicates that conservative society has become more open to sexual minorities...."

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  • 3 weeks later...

There is a joint Hong Kong-Korean production called Daisy, which Andy Lau directs. It stars Jun Ji Hyun, the actress who starred in My Sassy Girl; with the setting in Amsterdam. The film is a love triangle between Jun, an Interpol agent, and a gangster who works for a Chinese gang.

It is currently showing in South Korea. I have read mediocre reviews.



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  • 2 weeks later...

NYTimes posted an article on King and the Clown today.


"King and the Clown" lacked a single top star from South Korea's booming film industry, or the other usual ingredients of a surefire blockbuster.

And in a country where homosexuality was removed from the Youth Protection Commission's list of "socially unacceptable" acts only in 2004, the film centered on a gay love triangle in a 16th-century royal court: a young male clown torn between his love for a fellow clown and an amorous king.

But to everyone's surprise, not least the director's, in mid-March the movie became the most popular ever in South Korea's history, seen by more than 12 million people, or one in four residents. In American terms, it would perhaps be the equivalent of "Brokeback Mountain" — to which this movie has been loosely compared — grossing as much as "Titanic."

As a cultural phenomenon, "King and the Clown" has led to sometimes confused, sometimes uncomfortable discussions here about the nature of homosexuality, something that was rarely discussed publicly until a few years ago.

At the core of the movie, which the producers hope to take to the United States, are two male clowns, a masculine one named Jang Saeng and a feminine, delicate-looking one named Gong Gil, who assumes the female part in skits. Itinerant performers who depend on handouts for their survival, they are condemned to death one day for a bawdy skit insulting Yonsan, a king remembered in Korean history for his tyranny. But after succeeding in making the king laugh, the clowns are pardoned and allowed to become court jesters....

"One or two films tried to describe gay relationships in a serious way, but were unsuccessful commercially," said Tcha Sung-Jai, one of the country's best-known producers and a professor of film at Dongkuk University. "That's why everyone in the industry was so surprised when 'King and the Clown' became a hit.

"I cried when I saw the movie," Mr. Tcha added, "and I'm a very strong heterosexual."...

...But Mr. Oh said "King and the Clown" was a "positive step" because "there is a discourse now that did not exist before."

The discourse, though, was often confused, Mr. Oh said. Because the love triangle hinges on a feminine male clown, some viewers say the relationship is not a gay one at all. "In the minds of many Koreans now, 'pretty males' equal gay," he said.

The movie's title in Korean is more direct about the nature of the relationship: "The King's Man."

Still, its director, Lee Jun Ik, was hesitant to define his movie as a gay-themed one and played it down as breaking taboos.

"This is not homosexuality as defined by the West," Mr. Lee said in an interview. "It's very different from 'Brokeback Mountain.' In that movie, homosexuality is fate, not a preference. Here, it's a practice."

Mr. Lee said he had been more interested in evoking the world of itinerant clowns, many of whom were involved in same-sex relationships.

One person the director consulted was Kim Gi Bok, 77, who is considered the last surviving itinerant clown. Mr. Kim was amused at the attention he had gotten because of the film...

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I tried to ask at the DVD shop where I get all my latest korean drama if this film "The King's Man" was available. But they don't speak anything besides Chinese and I didn't know the Chinese title of the film. So, is there a Chinese title?

BTW, here is a trailer of the korean film Daisy / 雛菊 directed by HK director 劉偉強(director of 無間道) -> http://www.cinema.com.hk/broadcast/trailer/Daisy-1.wmv

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