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Rough Cut

The disquieting tendency in South Korean cinema toward ever more senseless alpha-male violence is given a film-buffy spin in "Rough Cut."

With:
With: So Ji-seob, Gang Ji-hwan, Go Chang-seok, Hong Su-hyeon, Jang Heui-jin.

The disquieting tendency in South Korean cinema toward ever more senseless alpha-male violence is given a film-buffy spin in “Rough Cut,” scripted by local maverick Kim Ki-duk. Basically one long faceoff of competitive testosterone between a hardened gangster and a cocky actor, this first helming outing by Kim alum Jang Hun makes a small point about the worlds of real and fake violence colliding at a personal level. However, it also wallows, repetitively, in the world it supposedly critiques. Release last fall scored a warm 1.4 million admissions, partly due to the teen appeal of lead So Ji-seob.

Su-ta (Gang Ji-hwan), a short-fused actor who thinks he’s a tough guy, and Gang-pae (So), a real-life tough guy who’s always wanted to be an actor, meet in a nightclub. When Su-ta hospitalizes a stuntman, he asks Gang-pae to step into the production; the latter agrees on the condition that the violence isn’t faked, thereby testing Su-ta’s limits. Male perfs run the range of Korean male attitudinising, but even the memorable final slugfest is diminished by the foregoing violence. Tech package is standard; Korean title means “A Film Is a Film.”

Rough Cut

South Korea

Production: A Studio 2.0, Sponge Entertainment release of a Kim Ki Duk Film, Yeomhwamiso production. (International sales: Showbox/Mediaplex, Seoul.) Produced by Kim Ki-duk, Jo Seong-gyu. Directed by Jang Hun. Screenplay, Kim Ki-duk; adaptation, Jang, Ok Jin-gon, Oh Se-yeon; story, Kim.

Crew: Camera (color), Kim Ki-tae; editor, Wang Su-an; music, No Hyeong-woo; art director, Lee Hyeon-ju; costumes, Ma Yeon-heui. Reviewed at Shanghai Film Festival (competing), June 14, 2009. (Also in New York Asian Film Festival, 2008 Pusan Film Festival -- market.) Original title: Yeonghwaneun yeonghwada. Running time: 113 MIN.

With: With: So Ji-seob, Gang Ji-hwan, Go Chang-seok, Hong Su-hyeon, Jang Heui-jin.

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