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Film Review: Birthday (2019) by Jong-un Lee

With her feature debut “Birthday”, young director Lee Jong-un, supported by Chang-dong Lee as her executive producer and Jeon Do-yeon and Sul Kyung-gu in lead roles, brings an emotional story of the Sewol ferry tragedy.

On the morning of April 16, 2014, on a route from Incheon to Jeju in South Korea, the Mw Sewol ferry tragically sank. On a ship that carried 476 passengers more than 300 high school students lost their lives.

The film opens up three years after the tragedy, following the lives of a family that lost their son/brother Su-ho (Yoon Chan-young). The boy’s father Jung-il (Sul Kyung-gu) returns to Korea, after a complicated job abroad has gone wrong, to find a dissipated relationship with his wife Soon-nam (Jeon Do-yeon) and daughter, Ye-sol (Kim Bo-min) awaiting him. To make things worse, Su-ho’s birthday is approaching, and Jung-il would like to be part of a memorial with the help of a support group.
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

AMC Teams With #GoldOpen To Help Support Asian And “New Majority” Films

  • Deadline
AMC Teams With #GoldOpen To Help Support Asian And “New Majority” Films
With the success of Asian-led films such as Crazy Rich Asians, Searching and Aquaman, #GoldOpen has partnered with AMC Theatres to help continue their initiative of championing Asian films. The first-of-its-kind partnership with AMC is designed to streamline group movie-going, theatre buyouts and bulk regular-price ticket purchasing through a ticket buying system that includes a dedicated ticketing web page, purchasing support, and special events throughout the year.

“#GoldOpen is at the eye of a perfect storm — a community with pent up demand and an abundance of untapped talent and resources to spare,” #GoldOpen co-founder Janet Yang tells Deadline. “One need only look at last year’s box office, recent hires of tentpole movies, and Sundance. And now with #GoldOpen, there is no stopping us.”

#GoldOpen was founded by Gold House, a collective of pioneering Asian founders, creative voices, and leaders, dedicated to uniting communities through cross-cultural collaboration. In 2017, the collective
See full article at Deadline »

‘Burning’ Review

  • Nerdly
Stars: Ah-in Yoo, Steven Yeun, Jong-seo Jun, Soo-Kyung Kim, Seung-ho Choi, Seong-kun Mun, Bok-gi Min, Soo-Jeong Lee, Hye-ra Ban, Mi-Kyung Cha, Bong-ryeon Lee | Written by Chang-dong Lee, Jung-mi Oh | Directed by Chang-dong Lee

Beoning, or more commonly known in international territories as Burning, is the first feature from South Korean director and auteur Chang-dong Lee after a staggering eight-year absence. His latest feature (much like its namesake) is a slow-burning fuse to a warhead of colossally disturbing and deeply amatory radiance of vibrant, albeit nightmarish mysticism.

At an eye-watering one hundred and forty-minute running time, Chang-dong Lee just about manages to pull off his daring tightrope trick of atmospheric tension and build up with a deliciously enigmatic and divisive thriller. Even the likes of his contemporaries in Quentin Tarantino and Luca Guadagnino, often fail to truly balance the grasp of entertainment/intoxication of their story and running time to balance said art.
See full article at Nerdly »

Movie Review – Burning (2018)

Burning, 2018.

Directed by Chang-dong Lee.

Starring Ah-In Yoo, Jong-seo Jeon, and Steven Yeun.

Synopsis:

Jong-su, a part-time worker, bumps into Hae-mi while delivering, who used to live in the same neighborhood. Hae-mi asks him to look after her cat while she’s on a trip to Africa. When Hae-mi comes back, she introduces Ben, a mysterious guy she met in Africa, to Jong-su. One day, Ben visits Jong-su’s with Hae-mi and confesses his own secret hobby.

Don’t let the monstrous running time steer you away from Burning, Chang-dong Lee’s latest meticulously crafted effort, that cleverly explores a wide variety of subjects ranging from the dark side of the male gaze, the double lives that people hide, societal class rankings, various incarnations of mental instability, and Korean political issues all wrapped up into a glacially paced thriller that, despite its snail-like crawl to its fireworks grand finale, always
See full article at Flickeringmyth »

Asian World Film Festival Casts Spotlight on World Cinema’s Most Dynamic Region

  • Variety
With Asia representing a whopping 65% of the earth’s population, it’s small wonder that the continent’s film industries are becoming more influential on the world stage. By some measures, China’s rising box office numbers have already surpassed those of the U.S., and India’s film business is the world’s largest by number of films produced.

That’s why the mission of the Asian World Film Festival, which is to strengthen ties between the Asian and Hollywood film industries, is critical to establishing avenues of communication between filmmakers and film executives in the U.S. and in Asia.

This year, Awff will present films from more than 50 Asian countries and showcase them to members of the Motion Picture Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and all the guilds during a critical phase of the awards season leading up to the Golden Globes and the Oscars.

All
See full article at Variety »

'Birds Of Passage', 'Champions' to bookend Miami Film Festival Gems

This year’s festival runs from October 11-14.

Miami Film Festival Gems will feature a line-up heavy on foreign-language Oscar submissions bookended by Colombia’s Birds Of Passage from Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra and Spain’s Oscar submission Champions by Javier Fesser.

Miami Dade College top brass announced the roster on Tuesday (18) ahead of this year’s festival, which runs from October 11-14.

The selection includes Nadine Labaki’s Lebanese submission Capernaum, Border by Ali Abbasi, which will fly the flag for Sweden, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Polish film Cold War, South Korea’s submission Burning by Chang-dong Lee, Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows,
See full article at ScreenDaily »

AMC’s ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ Sets World Premiere at London Film Festival; Full Lineup Unveiled

  • Variety
AMC’s ‘The Little Drummer Girl’ Sets World Premiere at London Film Festival; Full Lineup Unveiled
The world premiere of Chan-wook Park’s first television series, “The Little Drummer Girl,” will take place at the BFI London Film Festival, alongside U.K. premieres for the latest films from acclaimed filmmakers Luca Guadagnino, Alfonso Cuaron and the Coen brothers. The festival will also feature an increased representation of female filmmakers, with three of its competition strands achieving gender parity.

Announcing the full program for the festival’s 62nd edition Thursday, artistic director Tricia Tuttle said: “We’re always very keen and conscious to represent the global diversity of cinema. London is a global city, and we think the audiences reflect that.”

The festival will feature a world premiere special presentation of the first two episodes of Korean filmmaker Park’s “The Little Drummer Girl.” The six-part drama (pictured) is the BBC and AMC’s latest John Le Carre adaptation following their Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning “The Night Manager.
See full article at Variety »

The 25 Best Female Movie Performances of the 21st Century

  • Indiewire
The 25 Best Female Movie Performances of the 21st Century
Much has been made about the dearth of strong female roles in contemporary cinema, and the problematic depictions of women in many recent movies, but the past two decades have provided plenty of counterexamples. While the onus is on writers and directors to craft strong female characters, the actresses themselves bring these figures to life, and they’re often the main reason we keep being drawn back to these works.

In no particular order, our favorite — and we’d like to think the best — female performances of the 21st century.

Isabelle Huppert, “Elle

Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” begins with a laugh that catches in your throat: A wide-eyed cat looks off-screen to the screams of a man and woman in apparent orgiastic bliss. Then comes the cutaway, which reveals a far more nefarious incident: Middle-aged Michéle (Isabelle Huppert), in the process of getting raped by a masked assailant on the floor of her home.
See full article at Indiewire »

Fortress Of Solitude: Jeanne Dielman…

Warning: The following piece was written without regard to the presence of “spoilers.”

We see the interior of a quiet apartment. It is lit with the waning diffuseness of a grey afternoon, and there is a woman moving about its hallways with a steadiness of purpose. The camera which affords us this look into her living space is fixated at an angle perpendicular to the front door, gazing at eye level down the main hallway toward a closed door. The woman greets the man who walks in the front door with indifferent familiarity, with silence. She takes his coat, hangs it on a hook somewhere beyond the purview of the frame, and they both continue quietly toward the far door, completing the introduction to an encounter they have engaged in many times before. The camera remains motionless as they close the door, and we never see what happens once it shuts.
See full article at Trailers from Hell »

The 25 Best Performances Not Nominated for an Oscar in the 21st Century, From Kristen Stewart to Andy Serkis

  • Indiewire
The 25 Best Performances Not Nominated for an Oscar in the 21st Century, From Kristen Stewart to Andy Serkis
Awards aren’t everything, but no one ever complained about having their hard work recognized. Consider that the impetus behind this list, which looks beyond awards season to shine a spotlight on the performances that have most affected us — if not necessarily the Academy — over the last 17 years. Some were contenders that got snubbed, while others were too out-there to ever be considered; all are worth praising.

Many others were and are, too — so many, in fact, that 25 spots weren’t enough for them all. Consider Denis Lavant’s bravura turn in “Holy Motors” or Maggie Gyllenhaal’s brilliant work in “Secretary,” among so many others, and remember that the first nine months of every moviegoing year feature plenty of performances worth remembering.

25. Jeon Do-yeon, “Secret Sunshine”

Lee Chang-dong movies abound in stellar performances — see also Yoon Jeong-hee in “Poetry” and Sol Kyung-gu and Moon So-ri in “Oasis” — but none
See full article at Indiewire »

Lee Chang-Dong’s Delayed Adaptation Of Haruki Murakami’s ‘Barn Burning’ Now Back On

Last fall, cinephiles were pleased to hear that “Secret Sunshine” and “Poetry” director Lee Chang-Dong was getting ready to shoot his next film. There weren’t many details available at the time, other than the picture was slated to star Kang Dong-won and Yoo Ah-in in what was described as a mystery thriller about a woman who becomes entangled with two men, one rich, and the other trying to make ends meet.

Continue reading Lee Chang-Dong’s Delayed Adaptation Of Haruki Murakami’s ‘Barn Burning’ Now Back On at The Playlist.
See full article at The Playlist »

The 25 Best Romances of the 21st Century, From ‘Carol’ to ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’

The 25 Best Romances of the 21st Century, From ‘Carol’ to ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
Eat your heart out, moviegoers. Everyone loves a good love story whether they admit it or not, and the 21st century has brought us more than a few couples worth rooting for: Clementine and Joel, Ennis and Jack, Joaquin and his computer. Often these unions are unconventional or hidden in the guise of something more high-concept — straightforward romances are so 20th century — but at the end of the day, we all want to see a happy ending for our smitten lovers.

Our list goes all over the map, from the mainstream maestro Nancy Meyers to international masters like Wong Kar-Wai. Some were blockbuster hits (“Twilight,” “The Proposal”); others have hardly been seen stateside at all (Lee Chang-dong’s 2002 “Oasis”). However, all of them illustrate some essential element of love, from falling to longing and all the sticky bits in between.

While the zeitgeist has skewed toward the melancholy, that’s
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

The 25 Best Romances of the 21st Century, From ‘Carol’ to ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’

  • Indiewire
The 25 Best Romances of the 21st Century, From ‘Carol’ to ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’
Eat your heart out, moviegoers. Everyone loves a good love story whether they admit it or not, and the 21st century has brought us more than a few couples worth rooting for: Clementine and Joel, Ennis and Jack, Joaquin and his computer. Often these unions are unconventional or hidden in the guise of something more high-concept — straightforward romances are so 20th century — but at the end of the day, we all want to see a happy ending for our smitten lovers.

Our list goes all over the map, from the mainstream maestro Nancy Meyers to international masters like Wong Kar-Wai. Some were blockbuster hits (“Twilight,” “The Proposal”); others have hardly been seen stateside at all (Lee Chang-dong’s 2002 “Oasis”). However, all of them illustrate some essential element of love, from falling to longing and all the sticky bits in between.

While the zeitgeist has skewed toward the melancholy, that’s
See full article at Indiewire »

The Ghosts of China’s past Haunt Wang Xiaoshuai’s Red Amnesia

Drawing a parallel between grim personal history and the dark secrets of a nation’s past, Wang Xiaoshuai’s Red Amnesia, the third part in the director’s Cultural Revolution trilogy, is a ghost story in the figurative (and perhaps also literal) sense, granting solid presence to the mysterious inhabitants of anxious dreams and haunting memories.

What begins as the tale of a blameless, good-natured widow plagued with harassing phone calls slowly unfurls into a sombre meditation on guilt, denial and the lingering repercussions of long buried sins.

Red Amnesia is streaming on FilmDoo

The wordless introductory minutes of Red Amnesia set the film’s quiet, pensive tone with its moody footage of dimly lit interiors mixed with ominous shots of empty streets and dilapidated buildings (though the location of these eerie exteriors will only become clear in the film’s final stretch).

The near-silent opening is interrupted by the
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 10 Favorite Films

One of the year’s most affecting, humanistic films, Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s After the Storm, will arrive in the U.S. this week (our rave review from Cannes), so for the occasion, we’re looking at the director’s favorite films. Submitted by the Japanese director for the latest Sight & Sound poll, it’s perhaps the most varied list we’ve seen thus far — at least next to Mia Hansen-Løve‘s favorites.

Although the filmmaker is often compared to Yasujiro Ozu (none of his films are mentioned below), Hirokazu Kore-eda told The Guardian, “I of course take it as a compliment. I try to say thank you. But I think that my work is more like Mikio Naruse — and Ken Loach.” One will find his favorites from both of those directors on the list, as well as Jacques Demy‘s most-praised film, along with lesser-seen works from Hou Hsiao-hsien,
See full article at The Film Stage »

Under the Skin: Andrew Ahn’s "Spa Night"

  • MUBI
At the spa, you're not talking, and you're completely naked. I feel the most Korean that I ever feel, because it's my naked Korean body, in this Korean space.” —Andrew Ahn[1]Moving away from the whitewashed casting controversy of the Ghost in the Shell remake and its calls to replace Scarlett Johansson with an Asian actor, I’ve concluded that there is no need for an Asian-American cyborg, because we already have plenty. In interviews, Scarlett Johansson has described her character, The Major, as someone who is “removed from her sexuality,”[2] “not living a human robotic existence,”[3] and “has no heart.” This list of traits also functions as a list of the three defining stereotypes of Asian-Americans in cinema. They kiss and undress, but never cross the lines or make a mess. They go through the motions of living but never experience joy, ecstasy, or devastation. Like cyborgs, they are human on the outside,
See full article at MUBI »

Park Chan-wook’s ‘The Handmaiden’ Deserves Oscar Nominations In Every Technical Category — Consider This

  • Indiewire
No Korean movie has ever won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that no Korean movie has ever been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In other words, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” — which won a little gold man for Best Art Direction in 2010 — has more Oscars to its name than the entire country of Korea or anyone from it.

That’s odd and rather damning given the self-evident strength of the country’s national cinema, which has been invaluable since long before Shin Sang-ok’s “My Mother and the Roomer” was chosen as their first Oscar submission in 1962. It’s become only more visible on the world stage thanks to the emotionally operatic, auteur-driven melodramas that have defined the Korean New Wave over the last 18 years.

And it’s not as
See full article at Indiewire »

'Cold Of Kalandar' triumphs at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

'Cold Of Kalandar' triumphs at Asia Pacific Screen Awards
I Am Not Madame Bovary’s Feng Xiaogang took the best director prize.Scroll down for full list of winners

The jury of the 10th Asia Pacific Screen Awards (Apsa) has awarded the best film prize to Mustafa Kara’s Turkish drama Cold Of Kalandar. The film won a total of three prizes at the regional film awards, which took place tonight (Nov 24) in Brisbane, Australia.

The best director prize went to Chinese director Feng Xiaogang for his satirical critique of bureaucratic indifference to the populace of mainland China, I Am Not Madame Bovary.

Cold of Kalandar’s Apsa best film win comes after similar honours at the Tokyo Film Festival, and Turkey’s Istanbul and Antalya film festivals.

In September it was selected as Turkey’s candidate for the foreign language Oscar.

The film depicts an impoverished family’s attempt to make a living through farming in Turkey’s mountainous northern region. Tensions between
See full article at ScreenDaily »

Weekly Rushes. Jarmusch & Herzog Videos, Bresson's Notes, Garbo on the Kronor

  • MUBI
NEWSFrom the Busan Film Festival comes word of new projects by Lee Chang-dong (who hasn't made a film since 2010's Poetry and will make "a mystery thriller"), Hirokazu Kore-eda ("a suspense courtroom drama"), and Hou Hsiao-hsien (executive producing a project for Taiwanese TV).As you may know if you read the Notebook, we love the French New Wave's least known filmmaker, Jacques Rivette. News has come that his recently discovered and restored first three short films (which we raved about), as well as a number of his later movies, including Gang of Four and his two-part Jeanne le pucelle masterpiece, have been acquired for North American distribution.Next month, the New York Review of books will release a new edition of Robert Bresson's essential book, Notes on the Cinematograph.Recommended VIEWINGTwo great, lengthy filmmaker dialogues were posted online this week. First, an hour long masterclass with Jim Jarmusch
See full article at MUBI »

Newswire: Poetry’s Lee Chang-dong might finally make another movie

Lee Chang-dong has had an unusual career path. A well-regarded novelist, he decided to take up film directing in his 40s, and made a string of audacious, commercially successful, and critically acclaimed movies: Green Fish (1997), Peppermint Candy (1999), and finally Oasis (2002), which attracted international attention just as South Korean cinema was about to break through in the West in a big way. But instead of following it up with another film, Lee became South Korea’s Minister Of Culture. After leaving his cabinet position, he made a comeback with Secret Sunshine (2007), his finest film and one of our favorite movies of the decade, eventually followed by Poetry (2010), which brought him his greatest international acclaim. And since then, nothing.

Via The Playlist comes news that Lee might finally be getting around to making another movie. According to a panel the writer-director participated in yesterday at the Busan ...
See full article at The AV Club »
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