Monday, November 05, 2007

The connections: Korean cinema edition

In "The Bong Show," my essay on Bong Joon-ho's first two (pre-Host) films, originally published in Cinema Scope, I mention a TV show that the cops are watching in one scene: Inspector Chief. Man-of-many-hats Mike Atkinson (Babylon Fields! Zero for Conduct! Some novels! Flickipedia!) is compiling the index to Exile Cinema, an anthology of film writing in which the piece will appear; he asked if I knew whether the show was real or a fiction created for the film. A few mouseclicks revealed...It's real!:

Now their upcoming project has been announced: Han Hyung-Mo's 자유부인 (Madame Freedom) from 1956. The film is perhaps the prototype for future Korean melodramas, describing social and popular trends in postwar Korea, along with Director Han's usual eye for composition, innovative editing and filming techniques (he was the first Korean director to seriously take advantage of crane shots). The film was adapted from a work by Jung Bi-Seok, which was serialized over 8 months in the Seoul Shinmun from Fall 1954. It aroused a big debate in the Korean Press over the issues depicted, the morality and social values of the characters, with Professor Hwang San-Deok criticizing the film so much it became even more popular. It starred Park Am - who would later star on many TV Drama, including the landmark 수사반장 (Inspector Chief) - Kim Jung-Rim and Joo Seon-Tae.

The connections: When I spoke to Gina Kim this summer about her film Never Forever, she cited Madame Freedom as an influence.

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Blogger Levi Stahl said...

Time to display my ignorance: given that The Host is, like, the best movie ever, should I seek out Bong Joon-Ho's earlier movies?

9:56 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Yes! They are both well worth your while; Bong's first movie, BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE, is one of my favorites. And in the same way that THE HOST isn't your typical monster movie, MEMORIES OF MURDER isn't your typical police procedural/serial killer film...

What I'd really love to see is Bong's student film (name escapes me), which is supposed to be fantastic. (A job for WHOLPHIN???)

11:04 AM  
Blogger selfdivider said...

just a minor correction: the name of the actor should read 'choi bul-am', not 'park am,' if i'm not mistaken...

this is weird b/c i was planning on blogging about 자유부인 at my blog,

this is a great site here.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

"Park Am" is what I say to myself every morning!

I'll keep checking your blog for the Madame Freedom post....Can't wait...

3:53 PM  

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