Korea’s top pic prospects

A look at films on deck for 2008-2009

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the death of the Korean film biz has been highly exagerrated. According to the Korean Film Council Kofic, the B.O. share of Korean films until August was 39.7%, healthy in a country with liberal screen quotas for imports and compared to Western and Eastern Europe. Blockbusters “Forever the Moment,” “The Chaser,” “The Good the Bad the Weird” and “Public Enemy Returns” pushed the local B.O. this year. But local films keep the momentum going? Variety takes a look at some of the top prospects on deck for 2008-2009.


Director: Lee Yoon-ki (“This Charming Girl”)

The return of the queen. Cannes actress winner Jeon Do-youn (“Secret Sunshine”) toplines a relationship drama with Ha Jung-woo (hit “The Chaser”).

Sales company: Fine Cut

“GOGO 70S”

Director: Choi Ho (“Bloody Tie”)

This rock ‘n’ roll drama revisits the harsh and hot nights of young bloods under the oppressive society of Korea in 1970s. Protag Cho Seung-woo makes full use of his talents as a stage-musical star.

Sales company: Fine Cut


Director: Yoo Ha (“A Dirty Carnival”)

A triangle of lust is portrayed in this $10 million historical epic, centering on a king, his bodyguard and the king’s wife. Backed by Showbox.

Sales company: TBA


Director: Jung Ji-woo (“Blossom Again”)

Another film in the recent spate that deals with Seoul under Japanese colonization. Kim Hye-soo (“Tazza”) plays a femme fatale, with musical numbers shot on elaborate sets.

Sales company: CJ Entertainment


Director: Jeon Yun-su(“Le Grand Chef”)

Historical melodrama starting with the premise that one of the most famous painters of the Chosun dynasty might be a woman disguised as a man. Helmer Jeon Yun-su, who led last year’s surprise hit “Le Grand Chef,” controls the tense performances by Kim Min-sun (“For Eternal Hearts”) and Choo Ja-hyun (“Bloody Tie”).

Sales company: CJ Entertainment


Director: Shin Jung-won (“To Catch a Virgin Ghost”)

Since the success of “The Host” and “D-war,” the creature feature genre has been revived in Korean cinema. The story unfolds in a small village under attack by a huge man-eating boar.

Sales company: Fine Cut


Director: Kim Ki-duk

Korean maestro Kim returns. Japan’s Odagiri Joe co-stars with Korean beauty Lee Na-young for this story of sad dreams that unspooled in San Sebastian to appreciative auds.

Sales company: TBA


Director: Min Kyu-dong (“All for Love”)

Based on a popular comic book series, which do very well at the Korean B.O., pic stars four beautiful male actors in a blatant targeting of the female audience — who happen to be the most influential ticket buyers consumers in Korea. Produced by Lee Eugene.

Sales company: Fine Cut


Director: Yeo Kyun-dong (“Silk Shoes”)

Historical drama set in Chosun dynasty, which fuses comedy, action and eroticism all in one. SidusFNH uses its production know-how in reinterpreting the manners and customs of gangsters and their gisaeng. Female lead Kim Ok-bin (“Thirst”) stars as a gorgeous gisaeng, while Lee Jung-jae’s comeback after “Typhoon” is also notable.

Sales company: TBA


Director: Lee Kyungmi

“Oldboy” helmer Park Chan-wook is attached as a executive producer; he picked director Lee Kyungmi after seeing her short films for this pic. Gong Hyo-jin plays a high school teacher who suffers from facial flush, and struggles in love. Pic premieres at Pusan.

Sales company: Fine Cut


Director: Kim Jeong-joong (“Hers”)

Korea-Japan co-production pic preems at Pusan. Based on her huge popularity in Korea, Japanese actress Ikewaki Chizuru (“Josee, the Tiger and the Fish”) stars in this Sponge-produced story if singer dealing with career-threatening health problems.

Sales company: Showbox


Director: Roh Gyeong-Tae (“The Last Dining Table”)

Unspooling in Pusan’s New Currents, pic tells a story of a transgender man and two Filipinos that lays out a desolate landscape of lonely characters. Korea’s Teddy Bear Films and France’s Neon Prods. co-produced.

Sales company: Studio2.0