Bong Joon-ho New Films

Bong Joon-ho who directed Parasite told his plan for next work.

Interview with Parasite crew (No English subtitle)

He is writing two scripts.

One is about a unique scary situation taking place in downtown Seoul (The capital city of South Korea). It may be horror thriller.

Another one is based on a real incident in 2016 London.

He said he’s not sure what work he will start first.

‘Time to Hunt(2020)’ Review

Spoiler Alert!

The first scene of ’Time to Hunt’ is interesting. The camera walk is unique. When the film starts, in the dark, we can listen to the conversation between Jang-ho’ and ‘Ki-hoon’. Then, the screen brightens and shows two friends talking. At first, It looks like an objective shot, which is commonly used. However, as soon as the two characters step outside the convenience store, the camera makes a unique move. The camera stops following the two and looks around as if a living person is looking around the world. In other words, this scene appears to be someone’s point-of-view shot. I think the first scene is the moment when someone wakes up. We can guess whose view point it is. Naturally, it’s the view point off ‘Jun-seok’ who is just coming out of prison, because he is the main character and he leads the story. In addition, it can also be seen as the eyes of the audience.

The film has a lot of motives about ‘Dream’ and ‘Sleep’. The tragedy that these boys experienced is due to the dream that ‘Jun-seok’ wanted to achieve. ‘Jang Ho’ pretends to be asleep a lot. In the middle of the film, the nightmare of ‘Jun-seok’ often comes out. ‘Ki-hoon’ says, “This is a nightmare, right? How could this be real?” And the film itself is likened to a dream. If the first scene is the eyes of the audience, it is also worth considering the film itself as a dream. If you watch the film with this logic, you can see quite interesting metaphors all over the film.

To paraphrase it, ‘Time to Hunt is ‘the nightmare like reality’. Or It’s ‘the reality like nightmare’. The reason why ‘Jun-seok’ falls into the tragedy is because he wants a pretty dream that he ca’nt achieve. Jun-seok’s life in Taiwan, the dream of ‘Jun-seok’ is described dryly in the film. Non-realistic reality intervenes in reality in Taiwan. It is beautiful but not the space of ‘Jun-seok.’ The time of nightmare is described realistically. It means that Jun-seok’s space is the nightmare. At first glance, it’s pessimistic, but the film doesn’t say, “So keep living in nightmares.” The unnecessary narration, which shows the director’s purpose directly, says ‘Jun-seok should not avoid the nightmare but should counter to it. If ‘Jun-seok’ wants to have another good dream, he has to wake up from that nightmare first. And when he accepts that hellish space is his space, he can see what he has to hunt to break the nightmare.

This is probably the director Yoon Sung-hyun’s idea about young people. Youngsters, who have no choice but to bounce here and there like pinballs in the fog, live in admiration of pretty dreams that cannot be achieved, whether on TV or in advertising. The dream seldom come true. Even if we achieve the dream, we can’t enjoy that dream if we avoid our responsibilities. It is not growth that has reached that dream. Yoon’s children can grow a little when they accept what they believe to be a nightmare as reality, and they decide to fight with the nightmare.

Time to Hunt trailer

K-drama with Netflix

Do you like K-drama?
Along with the popularity of Korean idol groups including BTS, K-drama is also gaining high popularity in Asia. Koreans have loved TV soap operas since a long time ago. For Koreans who work long hours, watching TV is the best leisure activities that can be easily seen at home at night and on weekends. The Korean TV industry has developed rapidly with the increase of Koreans’ interest in cultural activities. Nowadays, there are various activities to enjoy in South Korea, but watching K-drama is still one of the most interesting leisure for Koreans.

The characteristics of K-drama have changed frequently. Due to the dynamic nature of Koreans, trends and tastes change so quickly that the characteristics of K-drama change dramatically in just a few years. Even these days, as web video contents on YouTube become popular with young people, creators are constantly trying to make various attempts not only through TV but also through online.

Today, I’d like to introduce five K-drama contents that you can enjoy on Netflix, along with the outstanding characteristics of recent K-drama.

  1. Kingdom

Kingdom is the most famous K-drama in the world right now. Kingdom is actually quite a refreshing drama also for Koreans. Most K-drama contents are scewball comedy. In the past, it was because production costs were low. Also, some people said that it was because the majority of viewers was female.

Kingdom combines Korean traditional culture with zombie genres to create a fresh images. This is thanks to Kim Eun-hee, a screenplay writer who is famous for making detailed plots. This writer is a fresh writer especially in the K-drama scene dominated by the screwball comedy genre. She is good at writing Thriller and Horror genre.

Kingdom is a zombie genre and a mix of political thrillers. That’s why you can enjoy more interesting stories.

2. When The Camellia Blooms

When the Camellia Blooms was the most popular soap opera in Korea last year. In fact, if you watch this content, you can understand the approximate characteristics of the current K-drama. When The Camellia Blooms is a mixture of screwball comedy and thriller. This soap opera seemed to mix the two genres as thriller genres became more popular in South Korea recently. Also, K-drama likes to deal with the stories of ordinary citizens. Korean viewers prefer content that sides with people who live in social prejudice. This content also deals with the human rights of women, which is the hot issue in Korean society these days. In fact, it doesn’t have a particularly challenging or strong voice on this issue, but it’s clear that this K-drama stands on the side of women’s human rights.

3. Reply 1988

In recent years, retro has been popular in South Korea. Born from such an impact, all season of Reply Trilogy was popular. Each season deals with different stories. The background of Season 1 is 1997 and that of Season 2 is 1994 and that of season 3 is 1988. Everyone has different tastes, but I highly recommend Reply 1988. In 1988, South Korea was a time when the Seoul Olympic held, and its reputation was increasing internationally. Also, there was a strong desire for democratization in Korean society. In the 1980s, South Korea still had not so many apartments, and people lived in a small community in a village. In fact, current South Korea is full of apartments, and sometimes lives a selfish life beyond individualism. Reply 1988 deals with the story of teenagers in a village in South Korean society where the warmth of the small community remained. The main plot of this series is to guess who the heroine’s husband is. The romance and family stories in the midst of a turbulent 1988 Korean society present laughter and touching. Furthermore, you can enjoy Korean masterpiece songs in 1980’s through this soap opera.

In Korea, the soap operas on some minor channels began to threaten the existing major broadcasts from the time when this series was aired, and some of those channels become major channels. Until the 2000s, major broadcasting companies had been highly acclaimed for their contents production, but as the 2010s had entered, Koreans increasingly preferred non-major broadcasts’ contents. That’s why Korean broadcasts have begun to make more and more various attempts to survive the competition.

4. Sky Castle

If last year’s best Korean hit soap opera was When The Camellia Blooms, 2018’s best Korean hit soap opera was the Sky Castle. In fact, the success of this drama was quite sensational. Unlike other Korean dramas, the purpose of this content was not the romance, but the theme of the drama is the Korean education system. Recently, South Korean education system has been under controversy over the frequent change and harsh level in the university entrance system. This content was about the problem. Korean soap operas usually react sensitively to current social issues in South Korea and create works.

Korea is famous for its strong passion for education. However, it also makes some problems. Korean 18-year-old students should study except when they sleep because the their university decide their class. Sky Castle told the story of Dae-chi dong’s elite family members who have the highest passion for education in South Korean society. In fact, this content, although somewhat exaggerated, depicted the process of the collapse of elite families due to excessive competition and the dark side of the Korean education system. In particular, the Korean Teen genres usually has had a focus on romance, but this soap opera puts its focus on education system criticism, by concentrating mainly on mothers who are obsessed with their children’s education.

5. It’s Okay, That’s Love

Screwball comedy genre is the most popular in South Korean TV soap operas, but not all screwball comedy contents doesn’t succeed. Of course, they still tend to have similar plots, but Korean viewers have no interest in them, if they don’t try new things in character making and visual beauty. Korean Screwball Comedy often takes a strategy to tell the unique story of people who are specific professionals.

It’s Okay, That’s Love mainly dealt with the love story of a psychiatrist and a writer with trauma. This soap opera showed the story of not only two people’s romance, but also of people with mental deficiencies who formed a small community to comfort each other. This became the reason why many viewers loved this content. If you want to know the charming points of Korean screwball comedy, I recommend you watch It’s Okay, That’s Love first.

6. Besides…

You can also enjoy Another! Miss Oh, Stranger, My Love from The Star, Signal, Fight for My Way, and so on. There are various K-drama contents on Netflix.

Leslie Cheung

Do you remember Leslie Cheung?

He was one of the most popular Hongkong actor, and showed unforgettable performances for cinephiles. He captivated the audience with his image of a beautiful and bright boy when he debuted, but in the latter of his career, he left a great mark in the history of the film with his unique lonely and gloomy performance. He was the most colorful actor in Asia in the ’80s and ’90s, but he was also the most lonely actor.

Today marks 17 years since the death of Leslie Cheung. On April 1, 2003, he committed suicide by jumping from the 24th floor of the Mandarin Hotel, which made many fans feel sorry for him. It seems like he was left alone in the world and struggled to survive against the world. Sadly, however, he couldn’t stand the depression and left us. Now he’s not in this world, but his films are always in our hearts.

Today, I’m going to introduce five images that represent Leslie Cheung.

#1 A Chinese Ghost Story – Ning Tsei-Shen

He didn’t have a strong masculine image when he debuted. Back then, in Asia, gangster genre and martial arts films were popular, so macho male characters were in vogue. Leslie’s appearance at this time was really refreshing. He showed off his unisexual charm. His image in A Chinese Ghost Story, which stimulates other people’s protective instinct, is his signature image at the time. He gained popularity for his image of a beautiful and lovely boy, though not masculine.

There was an interesting story about his name. His English name, Leslie, was taken from Leslie Howard, who played Ashley in Gone with the Wind. He said he liked the name because it was unisexual name.

#2 Farewell My Concubine – Dieyi

This character is Leslie’s most famous image. A sad actor who puts on heavy makeup and plays Beijing opera seems to express Leslies’s life itself.

In particular, there is an impressive scene in this film that shows Leslie’s sadness. Dieyi performed Beijing opera in front of the Japanese army to save his loved one, Xiaolou from prison, but Xiaolou spitted on Dieyi’s face and left him because Xiaolou thought Dieyi sold their tradition. The moment that Dieyi is looking at Xiaolou sadly is the saddest scene in this film. This moment is made of wax figure, and it is displayed in the Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. Madame Tussauds seems to have decided to remember this moment as Leslie’s representative image. This, I think, is because his face at this moment in the film is one of the best scenes that expresses Leslie’s sadness.

The face of Dieyi is Leslie’s hunger for love and sadness.

#3 Ashes of Time – Ouyang Feng

Wong Kar-wai’s meeting with Leslie is a great moment in Hong Kong’s film history. They created three masterpieces, starting with Days of Being Wild. These beautiful and sad masterpieces cannot be created by Wong Kar-wai alone without Leslie. This fact makes our hearts hurt even more.

Wong Kar-wai took Leslie’s characters outside of Hong Kong and left him alone. Wong directed unforgettable performance from Leslie by creating situations that maximized the loneliness and sadness Leslie felt. Especially, In Ashes of Time, Leslie’s character is left in the middle of the desert. He struggles alone there. Just like Leslie was really depressed and struggling with the world by himself.

Ashes of Time redux changed the ending of the original film. It was Wong Kar-wai’s choice. The changed ending is like a letter from Wong to Leslie, who passed away. In the changed ending, Leslie constantly fights alone against countless enemies. This image seems to show Leslie’s real-life psychology when he’s alive, which makes fans feel more sorry. Like this image, Leslie was constantly fighting against invisible enemies.

#4 Happy Together – Po-Wing

Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai were Wang Kar-wai’s personas. These two actors made various masterpieces with Wang. Happy Together, the film starring two of them as lovers, shows two representative human figures from director Wong Kar-wai. Wang Kfar-wai said that Po-Wing played by Leslie is like an airplane and Yui-Fai played by the Toni is like an airport. In fact, Wong Kar-wai always uses these two actors for this image. This is the image of two people he sees.

Po-Wing was a constant wanderer. He can’t love someone forever, so he’s always wandering around, but he’s always looking for love. He leaves his lover first for fear of being abandoned, but eventually he wants his love. So in this film, the last scene in which Po-Wing cries missing his ex-lover makes pathos. He becomes left alone again in a remote place. He feels absolute solitude again. The feeling Po-Wing had suffered is similar with what Leslie had been through all his life. Especially, Po-Wing’s last scene, who tries to live his daily life somehow but suddenly cries in sorrow, reminds us of the last moment of Leslie Cheung.

#5 Days of Being Wild – Yuddy

Leslie’s dance with his underwear in Days of Being Wild shows his narcissism well. He loves himself too much. However, the behind of his narcissism, there is a huge sadness. Yuddy has always been abandoned. Especially, the fact that his natural mother rejected him is a huge trauma for him. He is always afraid of being abandoned, so he leaves someone first and can’t settle anywhere. Before someone rejects him, he leaves. The only one whom he can love is himself.

“I’ve heard that there’s a kind of bird without legs that can only fly and fly, and sleep in the wind when it is tired. The bird only lands once in its life… that’s when it dies.”

It is one of the most impressive dialogue in Days of Being Wild. The fate of the bird, which is forced to wander alone forever, makes a lonely emotion. If there is only one image that represents Leslie, it would be a bird without legs. He had to endure alone in the world, and he wasn’t involved in anywhere, but he was constantly craving love. It is similar with a bird without legs.

This movie is the first collaboration between Wong Kar-Wai and Leslie. After this film, Leslie’s image began to change.

Leslie Cheung was a spokesperson for the weakest and most painful place we had. He was completed with the addition of loneliness and sadness to his pure and lovely image. He had an image of an irreparable wounded boy, and the is now sealed forever. Whenever I reminisce about his performance, I miss him. He was friend who can treat my sadness.

How do you remember him? Why don’t we watch his movie today?

Young Asian Filmmakers (Feat. Bong Joon-ho)

Recently, Bong Joon-ho picked 20 emerging filmmakers whose film he believes will be pivotal to the next 20 years. On the list, there are three Asian filmmakers.

  1. Yoon Gaeun (Korean)

Filmography : Guest(short, 2011), Sprout(short, 2013), The World of Us(2016), The House of Us(2019)

Her films usually deal with stories about young children.

2. Bi Gan (Chinese)

Filmography : South(short, 2010), Diamond Sutra(short, 2012), Kaili Blues(2015), Secret Goldfish(short, 2016), Long Day’s Journey into Night(2018)

He is a poet and photographer as well.

3. Hamaguchi Ryusuke (Japanese)

Filmography : Passion (2008), The Depths (2010), Touching the Skin of Eeriness (2013), Voices from the Waves (2013), Storytellers (2013), Happy Hour (2015), Asako 1&2 (2018), etc.

He once analyzed Bong Joon-ho’s Memories of Murder at the Busan International Film Festival.