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2005.06.06

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Darcy


Hi Filmbrain,

Loved your review. Just thought you'd be interested to know that the NY-based distributor Kino International has picked up this film. They're apparently planning a release in October of this year.

--Darcy

Pingae

Filmbrain,

Park was not a corporate pawn. The first thing he did when he took control was throw Korea's top corporate chieftans in jail. He gave the orders. He made them reinvest their profits in infrastructe -- at gunpoint.

While Park enjoyed a good scotch and a lady of the evening (he was a Korean man after all), he did not have the tacky tastes of most dictators. He lived in relatively humble quarters and preferred home style Korean food to filet mignon.

Yes, he was iron-fisted with unions. He did not want wildcat strikes messin' with his foreign capital. But Korean wages rose ten-fold during his reign. Korea's GDP was lower than that of Ghana when he took over from a corrupt pawn. He laid the foundations and built the infrastructure that allowed Korea to become the very wealthy country that it is as we speak. At last count the 13th economy in the world and climbing.

The left in Korea is very xenophobic and socially conservative. They paint their enemies as foreigner-lovers and libertines and thus tainted. Park was evil and he liked Japan. He liked Japan and he was evil. He was evil so he liked Japan. What is the message of this movie?

Park was probably not a great man. But I am sure that few third nations would turn down a leader like him. Park promised Korea he would develop the country. He kept his promise. For that he deserves a modicum of respect. Or at very least, a more balanced movie than this piece of garbage, which Koreans wanted nothing to do with.

Dan Dredger

In your review of 'A Good Lawyer's Wife' you said, 'The opening scene of the lawyer ("Good" due to his genuine concern for his clients) moving the carcass of a large dead dog blocking the motorway works not only as metaphor'...

I'm curious about how it works as a metaphor? I guess I just don't see it, but I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts. Thanks. I, too, love the film, though much of the subtext is lost on me.

Filmbrain

Pingae --

I'm certainly no expert on Park, but I've read in several recent articles that his labor practices drove a tremendous number of people into poverty.

As for his obsession with Japan, given the history between the two nations I think you're white-washing it a bit by saying he simply "liked" Japan.

Lady of the evening? Didn't he have taxpayers pay for "Security House" which was little more than a brothel?

And are you speaking for all Koreans when you say they wanted nothing to do with the film? In the first two weeks of its release there were 1,058,000 admissions.

As for the message of the movie -- have you seen it?

Park may have turned Korea around, but at what cost? Do you approve of his decision to take compensation funds from the Japanese that were intended for victims and use them on infrastructure projects? Is the quashing of all dissent and use of torture justified in order to create an economic miracle? Perhaps we disagree on these points?

Filmbrain

Dan --

I don't want to go into too much detail here for it would give too much of the film away. The dead animal on the road, blocking his car, is a domestic animal, not wild. The combination of death and domesticity (both literal and figurative) runs through the whole film. (Not to mention a later road incident that will have an unforeseen result.)

Then there is the simple humor of the scene -- a man who is having an affair calls his wife to say he'll be late because of a dead animal in the road -- a clever excuse that just happens to be the truth.

Adam

FilmBrain,

In case you weren't aware, Koreanfilm.org just posted an interview with IM Sang-soo that Italian critic Paolo Bertolin did at Cannes - http://www.koreanfilm.org/imss.html

Adam

Filmbrain

Thanks for that Adam. Very interesting interview.

And Darcy, thanks also for the comment, and the wonderful news about Kino.

Jolla

You seemed to have forgotten to mention that Park Chung Hee's son was and probably still is a druggie with a smack habit in the land of a drunkers.

nkw88

SHIN Sang-Ok's 'Cheung-On The Testament'(1994) may be helpful to understand the Park Regime.
It may be unavailable in North America.
The film, which is actually Shin's personal filmic vengeance to Park, showed the process of
corruption of his regime.

nkw88

Sorry, It's not 'Cheung-on the Testament' but 'Cheung-bal The Missing'.

Ed

What ever happened to Erzsebet Foldi? I guess that's for her to know and for us to find out! Her performance in "JAZZ" was spectacular!

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