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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, February 19, 2010

'Good Morning, President' opens at Ward 16

By Jeff Chung

"Good Morning, President," starring megastar Jang Dong-gun, opens today at the Consolidated Ward 16 multiplex, for what could be a short Honolulu run.

Jang Dong-gun is South Korea's most popular star, celebrated for both his looks and his acting skill.

This film release comes after the successful release of the Korean natural-disaster film "Haeundae" last September.

Jang Dong-gun, born in 1972, is known for his role in the hit film "Taekukgi: The Brotherhood of War," which co-starred Won Bin. The two actors played brothers separated during the Korean War who are reunited at the end of the film.

Jang's other hit film was "Friend," in which he is a gangster who confronts a close childhood friend who has become a leader in another gang in the city of Pusan.

Coincidentally, the directors of both films, Kang Jae-gyu and Kwak Kyung-taek, have been to Hawai'i for the Hawaii International Film Festival.

Jang Dong-gun has seen success in both TV and film, appearing in "All About Eve," "Love," "Medical Brothers," "Typhoon," "The Promise," "Coast Guard," "2009 Lost Memories," "Nowhere to Hide" and "Anarchists." Jang Dong-gun plays a young president in "Good Morning, President."

"Good Morning, President" was the opening-night film at the Pusan International Film Festival last October. At the festival, I met Jin Jang, the film's writer and director, over coffee, and also saw him mobbed by fans while eating at a restaurant known only to local foodies like himself.

When I met with the personable Jang, he provided me with more insight into the film industry in South Korea while I promoted HIFF and encouraged him to send more of his films to our festival.

The respected director, born in 1971, has many credits, including writing and producing the hit 2005 film "Welcome to Dongmakgol."

Jang also wrote and produced the 2007 film "Going by the Book," and he wrote the screenplay for "A Hot Roof," the first Korean film I ever saw. That film stars actress Song Ok-sook, who used to live in Hawai'i and worked for KBFD briefly. She has since returned to South Korea and is currently seen in dramas such as "Smile Honey" and "Queen Seondeok."

"Good Morning, President" gives us vignettes of three fictional presidents. One, President Kim Jong-ho, wins a lottery and must cope with the ensuing complications.

The second president, Cha Ji-wook, played by Jang Dong-gun, is a young single dad with a 5-year-old son. He had a longtime affection for the former president's daughter, Kim Ee-Yeon.

When North Korea takes military action because of Japanese military training in Korean territorial waters, Cha's approval rating plummets.

The leader of the opposition, Han Gyung-ja, succeeds to the presidency after Cha. Her husband, Choi Chang-meyon, feels uncomfortable with his restricted life in the presidential home. Han asks herself how an unhappy president can make the people of her country happy.


'Smile, Honey'
Episodes 29 and 30
Tonight at 7:45: Geumja tells Junggil she'd do anything to protect Hyunsu, and tells him to name his price for taking his family and leaving the house. Geumja offers to give him his old house back for leaving her house. However, Junggil can't believe Geumja's offer.
Tomorrow at 7:45 p.m.: Hyunsu finds out his mother offered Junggil their old house in return for moving out. Furious, he confronts his mother and leaves home with Jungin. Manbok also finds out Geumja gave the house back to Junggil, but tells her to do as she wishes.
'Love You 1,000 Times'
Episodes 25 and 26
Sunday at 6:45 p.m.: Gang-ho and Eun-nim are having problems with Gang-ho's relatives, who are very much against their dating. Se-hoon can't find an investor and things are looking more dire for the company. Gang-ho's the only one who can save the company by agreeing to date Soo-jong, the daughter of a Saegwang Group official. In a desperate effort to separate Gang-ho and Eun-nim, Se-hoon fires Eun-nim.
Sunday at 7:45 p.m.: Gang-ho's father collapses and asks Gang-ho to save the company by meeting with Soo-jong. Gang-ho strikes a deal with his dad and tries to find another investor, but has no luck. Hyang-sook and Sun-young meet with Eun-nim and offer her money to stay away from Gang-ho. Chul proposes to Nan-jeong, but she turns him down.
'Wish Upon A Star'
Episodes 3 and 4
Monday at 7:45 p.m.: Gang-ha and Joon-ha hear a baby's cry in the night, but Red tells them it's a stray cat. Next morning, Red wakes up too late to make breakfast, but she throws away rice and tells the boys there was no rice to cook. Orange gets caught in front of Joon-ha while stealing baby formula.
Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.: Red tells Joon-ha Orange is her brother, but doesn't tell him about others at home. But Gang-ha catches Yellow at home making porridge. Eventually Blue and Green are also caught and Gang-ha tells Red to leave. Tae-gyu and Joon-ha beg Gang-ha to let Red and her siblings stay.
'Will It Snow For Christmas'
Episodes 9 and 10
Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.: One year passes and Jiwan is at a grandmother's house in a slum area. Taejun visits her and the two spend time together while doing laundry. Gangjin goes to a Japanese restaurant with Jaehyun and meets Woojung and her father. Gangjin tells Woojung's father that there is nothing to worry about, his relationship with Woojung since they're not officially together.
Thursday at 7:45 p.m.: Jiwan goes to Gangjin's place mad and kicks his door. Gangjin asks Jiwan if she ate and tells her that she does not scare him. Woojung comes by and asks if the reason why he tried to save Taejun was because of Jiwan, whom he dearly loves. Suddenly, the cops appear at Gangjin's place and arrest Gangjin and seize his documents. Jiwan, shocked and confused by the whole situation, asks Woojung what is going on.

Jeff Chung is general manager of KBFD TV, which televises Korean dramas with English subtitles in Hawai'i. Reach him for comment at 521-8066 or jeffchung@kbfd.com.