Korean film industry scores at Cannes
By Jeff Chung
The Korean film industry took the global stage last month at the Cannes Film Festival, as Lee Chang-dong's film "Poetry" was selected for best screenplay. Two other Korean films also earned recognition: "The Housemaid" was an Official Selection, and "Ha Ha Ha" was the winner in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival. A Thai film, "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," won the top prize this year — the Palme d'Or.
"Poetry" director Lee, also a veteran screenwriter, has many awards in his career, most of which were from international film festivals. Born on July 4, 1954, Lee established himself as a novelist in the mid-1980s and then turned to filmmaking. He won the Director's Award at the 2003 Venice Film Festival. He also served as the Minister of Culture and Tourism in the South Korean government from 2003 to 2004.
At Cannes in 2007, star Jeon Do-yeon in his film "Secret Sunshine" won the best actress award.
In "Poetry," actress Yoon Jung-hee plays an elderly lady in her 60s, raising her grandson alone while working as a caregiver for the sick. She learns that her grandson was part of a group of kids who gang-raped a girl from school who later commits suicide. She is fighting Alzheimer's, yet she dreams of becoming a poet — using poetry to seek happiness while the reality of life has her suffering.
Director and screenwriter Hong Sang-soo's "Ha Ha Ha" is about two friends going down memory lane. Filmmaker Cho Moon Kyung plans to leave for Canada and meets his close friend Bang Joong-shik, who is a film critic. After a few rounds of makgeolli (rice wine), they find they have been visiting the same seaside town — at the same time, meeting the same people.
Hawaii International Film Festival program director Anderson Le was at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and he will be doing his best to get highly regarded films for the 30th HIFF, this October.
'LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL'
Episodes 7 and 8
Tonight at 7:45 p.m.: Grandma pushes Grandpa on the stairs, and the two fall, Grandpa falling on top of Grandma. Byungtae, who witnesses the scene, is embarrassed beyond words. Grandpa complains of pain, and Byungtae and Byunggul takes him to hospital, afraid he broke a bone. Tomorrow at 7:45 p.m.: Jihye is adamant about giving up her baby, saying it'll cost too much to raise another child. The whole family gets up in arms trying to persuade Jihye to keep the baby. Taesup even tries to give her a logical explanation as a doctor, but Jihye won't listen to anyone.
'LOVE YOU 1,000 TIMES'
Episode 55 (final episode)
Sunday at 6:45 p.m.: Gang-ho is doing everything he can to keep Eun-nim alive. The chemo treatment works and the cancer has shrunk. Now that she's able, Eun-nim wants to have surgery, but Gang-ho and her father struggle with this decision. Eun-nim convinces them and has surgery. Before the surgery, Sun-young surprises everyone by bringing Yoo-bin to see Eun-nim. Sunday at 7:45 p.m.: A special one-episode "Drama City" will air following the last episode of "Love You 1,000 Times."
'OH! MY LADY'
Episodes 13 and 14
Monday at 7:45 p.m.: Min-woo says he's seeing Gae-hwa at the press conference, causing a riot. Gae-hwa is just as shocked as anybody when she see the press conference on TV. Gae-hwa goes to work but is mobbed by reporters and Min-woo's fans. She barely escapes them and makes it to the office, but Byung-hak comes over and starts yelling and screaming at the staff. Tuesday at 7:45 p.m.: Yura follows Min-woo to the hotel and finds Gae-hwa and Ye-eun in the room with him. Yura asks Mr. Jung what's going on, and he tells her Gae-hwa blackmailed Min-woo into doing the musical. Jung-ah tells Si-joon she's moving out. Gae-hwa decides to move out of Min-woo's place.
Episodes 7 and 8
Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.: Hyeri and Inwoo are both shocked to find out that they have moved into the same building. The next morning, Inwoo wakes Hyeri up and tells her that she needs to hurry if she wants to catch a ride with Seajun. Hyeri gets ready quickly and goes to work with Saejun. Hyeri tells Jungsun that she likes Saejun but Jungsun says that she also likes him. Thursday at 7:45 p.m.: Inwoo hugs Hyeri all of a sudden and kisses her on her lips. He shocks her even more by saying that Saejun is watching them. Saejun ends up seeing the two of them and leaves mad. Hyeri kicks Inwoo and asks what he's doing but Inwoo says that he did it on purpose to make Saejun jealous.
Jeff Chung is general manager of KBFD TV, which televises Korean dramas. Reach him at email@example.com or 521-8066.