Behind the Scenes of Oldboy

Oldboy is probably THE most popular Korean movie in the world, and has proved itself as a great starting point for many movie fans who are discovering Korean cinema for the first time. And it's a starting point for this blog as well, being first post made here.

While browsing I accidentally stumbled upon this amazing video that was included with collectors edition of Oldboy and which some good soul uploaded has Youtube. A behind the scenes / Making Of documentary.



Cinematography, acting, story. Everything in this movie is on the highest level. And now we have chance, for more than three hours to be a part of it.

To see genius personality of director Chan-wook Park in person. To see famous actors like Byung-hun Lee and Kang-ho Song paying casual visits to set just to have a few laughs with friends. Interaction of crew and actors. Technical difficulties and filming techniques. And to see how many octopus were eaten during famous scene? Priceless.

It's amazing insight into Korean working culture and brilliant personalities who are behind this movie.

A treat to any movie fan. And with american remake of Oldboy soon hitting cinemas, it's about time to remember what made the original so great.



Oldboy you ask? Oldboy, Spike Lee replies. (2013)



UPD: Trailer has been released can be viewed here

10 years have passed since release of the original and now it's time to have a look at first official poster for Hollywood's remake of Korean classic Oldboy.

You can see the actor Josh Brolin who will portray Min-sik Choi's charming character whom we all come to love so much from the original. I don't have high hopes for this, but Spike Lee can sometimes surprise with his moviemaking skills and it will definitely be interesting to see western take on such unusual and cruel story.

To be released in October, 2013.

(don't bother visiting the site mentioned on the poster as it's not yet working)

By clicking Read more button below you can see some unused posters that had been leaked before.

I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance














Who said that master of vengeance Chan-wook Park can't film romantic comedies? I don't know, but if someone did say that, I'd present to him I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (Ssaibogeujiman Gwaenchanha) and ask to check again.

Cha Young-goon (Su-jeong Lim), a young factory worker that is sent to mental institution, because she think's shes a cyborg. She refuses to eat food and constantly attempts to expose herself to electric shocks, believing that it will recharge her instead.


Park Il-sun (Rain), a young man, that's hospitalized for his antisocial behavior and schizophrenia induced kleptomania tendencies. He also believes that he can steal and posses other people souls, often mimicking their manners of behaving.

Park Il-sun takes interest in Cha Young-goon well being after her condition gets even worse after medical electroshock treatment. Both of them start spending their time together, living though their own weirdness and the ones of other patient that surround them in this asylum.


The structure and narrative of the movie is quite bizarre and at times confusing, but so is minds of the characters portrayed in it. Even though these characters are complex and puzzling, the story told is quite simple.

Visually really colorful and robust movie deals about darker and familiar to Chan-wook Park themes, workings of human mind, but this time he is taking it a little bit lighter, tying to fix it instead of damaging.

Korean pop superstars Rain's first role in movies that many thought was only a marketing ploy to promote himself and film, not expecting young star to perform well, but they were wrong, he's not only a good (I suppose) singer, but a good actor as well.  Su-jeong Lim should too be complemented on her acting abilities. Being crazy is not that simple.

A little bit of comedy, drama and absolutely crazy fantasy sequences, directed by Chan-wook Park, whats there not to see? It's worth watching even if only to check out a different side of this famous director.

DVD from Amazon

Thirst (2009)

Genre: Drama, Horror














Thirst (Bakjwi) is a vampire movie by one of the best South Korean directors - Chan-wook Park, famous abroad for his Oldboy. This horrific love story earned director prestigious Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

Sang-hyeon (Kang-ho Song) is a well liked and devoted catholic priest who is helping at local hospital, providing reconciliation to patients at their last hours. While appearing strong on outside, Sang-hyeon is internally hurting by the suffering in the world and his inability to help. Giving everything, he participates in risky medical experiment to find a cure for deadly virus. Things go wrong and he (nearly) dies, but is saved by blood transfer, and quickly recovers fully.


A days pass and he became aware of changes that happen in him, physically and psychologically. After these event, he is being viewed as messianic figure in his town. People flock to him for some kind of salvation. Among them is his childhood friend, and his wife that he fells in love with. Struggling with what little of humanity is left in him, being used by the wife and others, doing things he would never have imagined doing  he tries to make it right.


Another great work from Chan-wook Park, having excellent cast at his disposal, he makes a different kind of vampire movie, trademarked by his use of excessive violence an beautiful cinematography. Some unseen and impressive displays of supernatural powers of creatures of the night.

Abusive and grotesque love story, full of (blood) lust, sex and violence. Where everything ends in a beautiful sunrise in a memorable finale.

Exceptional. Highly recommended.

Blu-rayDVD from Amazon
Blu-ray (UK) | DVD from YesAsia

Stoker TRAILER

Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and some others. What is common between these masterpieces? Park Chan-wook. One of the finest directors that South Korea and movie industry in general can offer.

Now a trailer for his Hollywood debut, Stoker, has just been released. With Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode and Mia Wasikowska, it seems like really promising movie, with directors trademarked twisted vengeance at it's core. Set to be released in 2013, and I just can't wait to watch it.

 Enjoy.
 

As you might remember, few weeks ago there was trailer for Jee-woon Kim's Hollywood debut, action movie, The Last Stand with Arnold Schwarzenegger in lead role (you can check out trailer here).

That makes two of the best korean directors working in Hollywood, but there's more, brilliant Bong Joon-ho also is working on his own science fiction movie produced in west, called Snow Piercer. A something to keep an eye on.

First look at The Last Stand (2013)


Here is first look at Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his first lead role since 2003, from the set of The Last Stand. You wonder why I am posting it here? The reason is that this movie is directors Jee-woon Kim (who is known for such fantastic films as I Saw the Devil, The Good, the Bad, the Weird, and A Bittersweet Life) Hollywood debut.

With him, responsible for production, is his long time associate cinematographer Ji-yong Kim, so there already can't be any doubts about visual quality of this movie.

Similar to Jee-woon Kim, another Korean virtuoso of directing, Chan-wook Park is currently involved in his own Hollywood debut - Stoker.

There haven't been many successful Asian directors making transition to Hollywood, so it will be really interesting to see how well they will perform there.

Film's premise from Wikipedia:
Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sheriff of the quiet US border town of Sommerton Junction after leaving the LAPD following a bungled operation. Following his escape from the FBI, a notorious drug baron, his gang and a hostage are heading toward Sommerton Junction where the police are preparing to make a last stand to intercept them before they cross the border. Owens is reluctant to become involved but ultimately joins in with the law enforcement efforts.
Movie is set to  be released in early 2013.

Joint Security Area (2000)

Genre: Drama, Thriller, War














Before Vengeance trilogy for director Chan-wook Park, there was Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA), a movie that skyrocketed his career, and since then he has become one of the most accomplished and critically acclaimed directors in South Korea. Not to forget the cast of the movie, lead actors Byung-hun Lee and Kang-ho Song, while both had rich previous experience in acting, but nothing come close to success of Joint Security Area, which gained huge recognition and immediate status of superstars for them, guaranteeing successful career for next decade.


On border between South and North Korea's, known as Korean Demilitarized Zone, two North Korean border guards get shot. Sgt. Lee Soo-hyeok (Byung-hun Lee) is considered to be guilty in causing this event. Both countries give their own narrative of what happened, South states that he was abducted and killed his abductors while attempting to escape, while North says that he made a deliberate attack on their soldiers. To find the truth,  investigation by Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission is launched to discover what did occur during that fatal night.

A masterpiece thriller from Chan-wook Park that touches sensitive relationships between both, once united, countries. Forbidden friendship, political plots and secrets from the past come into play. Suspenseful story of separation by senseless ideology, ideology that hides actual human beings so deep underneath.

One of the best movies that had come out of Korea in my opinion. Recommended to everyone.

DVD from Amazon.
DVD from YesAsia.

Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller














As a final movie of Chan-wook Park's Vengeance trilogy (movies are not connected by plot, only by theme, so viewing order is not important!), Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Chinjeolhan geumjassi) is likely the darkest one.

After thirteen and half years in prison for kidnapping and murdering boy, a crime she did not commit, Geum-ja Lee (Yeong-ae Lee) is released. With help of her former inmates from prison she plots her gruesome revenge against real killer, kindergarden English teacher Mr. Baek (played by Choi Min-sik).



Movie highly praised for it's spectacular cinematography.

There is Director Cut of this movie called "Fade to Black and White version", where colors slowly fade to black and white as the movie progresses, as if adopting to the general mood of it's characters, really enhancing experience. In west it can be found on Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray.


A must see for any Korean movie fan!


Blu-ray | DVD
Vengeance trilogy Blu-ray from Amazon.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller














Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Boksuneun naui geot) is first movie of directors Chan-wook Park's Vengeance trilogy (movies are not connected by plot, only by theme, so viewing order is not important!), following his previous commercially successful and well received title Joint Security Area.

Story about Ryo (Ha-kyun Shin), a deaf worker with sister who needs a kidney transplant. Unable to help her by conventional means, he meets illegal organ dealers, and the criminals propose that he gives them his kidney and ten million Won to obtain a kidney suitable for his sister. Ryu accepts the trade, but he does not have money to pay for the surgery. His radical girlfriend convinces him to kidnap the daughter of his former employer, Park (Kang-ho Song) and extort money from him. However when least expected, a tragedy happens, which sets this story on path of vengeance.

Brilliant movie and a great start of a trilogy. Highly recommended.

Blu-ray | DVD
Vengeance trilogy Blu-ray from Amazon.

Oldboy (2003)


Genre: Drama, Thriller, Mystery














Oldboy (Oldeuboi) probably is the most famous and well known Korean movie in the west, which has attract many new viewers to Asian cinema. It won many awards in Europe, including Grand Prix of the Jury at 57th Cannes Film Festival. As with many Asian films, currently there are plans for Hollywood remake to be directed by Spike Lee.


It's second movie in Chan-wook Park's so called Vengeance trilogy (movies are not connected by plot, only by theme, so viewing order is not important!).

Story follows man (played by brilliant Korean actor Choi Min-sik) who has been held captive in small apartment for 10 years, and reasons of this imprisonment are unknown to him. Once he is set free, he goes onto quest of vengeance to find his captors. Quite brutal, even shocking to some, yet beautiful movie.

A must see for any movie fan!


Blu-ray | DVD
Vengeance trilogy Blu-ray from Amazon.