Film Movement to Bow Four-Film Blu-ray Collection of Korean Director Lee Chang-dong’s Features

Film Movement has acquired and will release in summer 2024 a four-film collection of Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s features, including Green Fish, Peppermint Candy, Oasis and Poetry. All feature 4K restorations.

The release will be preceded by theatrical screenings of the new restorations in select theaters in North America in the spring.

Lee Chang-dong

After his debut as a novelist in 1983, and his early forays as a screenwriter and assistant director, Lee Chang-dong made his directing debut with Green Fish in 1996 and quickly became one of Korea’s most lauded auteurs, taking his place alongside Bong Joon-ho, Park Chan Wook, Kim Ki-duk and others as one of the leaders of  Korean New Wave cinema.  His films feature dark stories of innocence lost, suffering, alienation, tragedy, psychological trauma and doomed romances and intricately woven narratives focusing on complex characters from the corners of society.

In Green Fish (1996), after his mandatory military service, naïve young Makdong (Han Suk-kyu), returns home to an Ilsan he no longer recognizes — a dull city that has rapidly modernized and gentrified in his absence.  When he crosses paths with a young woman being harassed at a train station, his life takes an unexpected turn when he is lured into the underworld of criminal gangs, with the promise of material comfort beyond his imagination. Unprepared for this environment of violence and exploitation, Mak-dong must face the dire consequences of his choices.  Green Fish captured the Best Film and Best New Director Awards from the Korean Film Critics Association and at the Blue Dragon Awards.

Peppermint Candy (1999) — Lee’s second directorial feature — spans 20 years in the life of one man, Yongho, from his callow teens through his fraught, self-hating middle age. Presented in seven chapters in reverse-chronological order, the film begins with Yongho’s untimely suicide and ends with a first date full of the promise and verve of youth. The moments in between these events as seen through lens of Yongho’s life observe South Korea’s fraught political history during the late 20th century, and in turn elegize a generation of marginalized people. An Official Selection of the Director’s Fortnight in Cannes, and numerous other notable fests, it won the Special Prize of the Jury at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Oasis

In Oasis (2002), after serving time for killing a man in a hit-and-run car accident, Hong Jong-du (Sul Kyung-gu) is released with no money and nowhere to go. His family has abandoned him, and while trying to make amends, he meets Han Gong-ju (Moon So-ri), his victim’s adult daughter. She is wheelchair-bound due to cerebral palsy and all but abandoned in a cheap apartment by her callous family. Gong-ju’s innate tenderness appeals to the uncontrollably impulsive Jong-du, and the pair begin an improbable relationship.  The film was the winner of the Silver Lion for Best Director and Best Young Actress at the Venice Film Festival. It also won the FIPRESCI Prize and was nominated for Best Film at the Independent Spirit Awards.

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In the drama Poetry (2010) — winner of the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury — Special Mention and Best Screenplay at Cannes — Korean grandmother Mija comes to terms with the early onset of Alzheimer’s while dealing with the fallout from a brutal family crime. Her teenage grandson is linked to the violent death of a girl, and she finds herself caught up in a conspiracy to pay hush money to the dead girl’s family. Mija’s tendency to become lost in poetry, and the wonders of nature, causes her mind to wander at the wrong time, with unfortunate consequences.

Korean Horror Flick ‘The Ghost Station’ Headed to Digital, Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 19 From Well Go

The Korean horror flick The Ghost Station — from the screenwriter of The Ring and The Ring 2 — will debut on digital, Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 19 from Well Go USA Entertainment. 

In the film, after a young reporter covers a suspicious accident, she learns from police that her source was supposedly already dead at the time of their interview. As more mysterious deaths occur, she and her partner dig deeper into the case and come face to face with a horrifying truth.

Directed by Jeong Yong-Ki (The Doll Master, Once Upon a Time) from a screenplay by Takahashi Hiroshi (The Ring, The Ring 2) and Lee So-Young (Robot Sound), the film stars Kim Bo-Ra (Ghost Mansion), Kim Jae-Hyun (“Love You as the World Ends”) and Shin So-Yul (A Violent Prosecutor). 

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Korean Horror Film ‘The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra’ Available on Indiepix SVOD Service Oct. 20

Indiepix will release the Korean horror film The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra on its SVOD service Indiepix Unlimited Oct. 20.

It will also be available via the Eventive virtual cinema platform.

In the film, after a mysterious mold starts spreading across the surface of an abandoned mattress, a sentient creature begins to take shape from within. Feasting on its unsuspecting victims’ vertebrae while they rest, the creature grows stronger, finding nourishment not only in the bones and sinew it assimilates but also in the hopes, fears, and emotions of all those it encounters.

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Syeyoung Park’s The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra was the winner of Best Director and Audience Awards at the Bucheon Fantastic Film Festival and got a Special Mention at Fantasia Fest.

 

Korean Horror Film ‘Gangnam Zombie’ Due on Digital and Disc Sept. 26 From Well Go

Well Go USA Entertainment will release the Korean horror film Gangnam Zombie on digital, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 26.

In the wealthy Gangnam district in the heart of Seoul, mass chaos ensues when previously normal people suddenly begin viciously attacking other citizens. The zombie population grows exponentially and spreads throughout the region. Long after injuries forced him to quit the national taekwondo team, an elite former athlete is given one more opportunity to use his talent on behalf of his country as he takes on one final match — this time, against terrifying hordes of the undead.

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Directed by Lee Su-seong (Memories, House with a Good View), the film stars Ji Il-ju (Blades of Blood), Park Ji-yeon (Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp) from the chart-topping girl group T-Ara, and CHO Kyung-hoon (North Korean Guys). 

 

Korean Horror Flick ‘Seire’ Due on DVD Aug. 15 From Film Movement

The Korean horror film Seire will be released on DVD Aug. 15 from Film Movement. It has been available digitally since June 16.

In Korean folk traditions, “seire” is the 21 days after a baby is born in which they’re uniquely vulnerable to bad luck, curses — even evil spirits. Many superstitions surround these first three weeks in a baby’s life, and, in Seire new mother Hae-mi carefully follows every one of them. Father Woo-jin is reluctantly willing to play along, but when he attends an ex-girlfriend’s funeral, he unwittingly opens the door to dark supernatural dangers. Plagued by terrible nightmares, the skeptical Woo-jin gradually begins to understand the seire custom, as he is forced to unravel the mystery of what is haunting him and his family.
 
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Seire, writer-director Park Kang’s horror film debut, was an Official Selection in the Fantasia New Flesh Competition, was nominated for Best Film and captured the New Currents FIPRESCI Prize at the Busan International Film Festival, and received a nomination for a Golden Eye Best International Feature at the 2022 Zurich Film Festival.

 

Korean Drama ‘Aloners’ Due on DVD Aug. 15 From Film Movement

Film Movement will release the Korean drama Aloners on DVD Aug. 15. It is available now digitally.

In the film, Jina (Gong Seung-yeon) is the top employee at a call center, but despite talking to customers all day, she has shut out the world beyond her headset; she lives alone, eats alone, sleeps alone, and her cell phone is her constant companion. When one day she’s tasked with training a friendly and naive new hire (Jung Da-eun), her icy armor is threatened. At the same time, she must navigate an incessantly ingratiating new neighbor, and increasingly urgent phone calls from her father, leaving Jina teetering on the edge of an existential crisis, forcing her to confront why she has isolated herself all these years. Riffing on the Korean ‘honjok’ — a phenomenon of young people who live alone and skirt social interaction — the film examines the personal traumas of loss and alienation.

A New York Times Critic’s Pick, Aloners also captured critical acclaim at festivals around the globe, including the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at the 2021 Golden Horse Film Festival and the Jury Award for Best Film at the CinemAsia Film Festival in 2022. Additionally, Gong Seung-Yeon was nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2021 Asian Film Awards and won the Best Actress Award at the 2021 Torino Film Festival.

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The release includes a bonus short film, the Australian The Moths Will Eat Them Up, directed by Luisa Martiri and Tanya Modini. It follows a woman’s normal night train ride home that turns into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a stranger until an unforeseen force emerges.

 

Korean Action-Adventure ‘Night of the Assassin’ Due on Hi-Yah! July 21, Digital and Disc Aug. 8 From Well Go

Well Go USA Entertainment will release the Korean action-adventure Night of the Assassin on the Hi-Yah! streaming service July 21 and on digital, Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 8.

Set in Korea’s Joseon era, the film follows a deadly assassin who comes out of retirement to exact revenge on a group waging a brutal campaign of terror against local villagers. In the film, after a deadly, long-dormant health condition surfaces during a mission, Joseon’s most lethal assassin goes into hiding to seek a cure without revealing his identity. But upon witnessing a ruthless campaign of terror against local villagers, the region’s deadliest killer comes out of retirement in order to exact his own brutal brand of vigilante justice.

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The film stars Shin Hyun-joon (Guns & Talks, Son of a General II and III), Lee Mun-sik (Night in Paradise) and Kim Min-kyung (Pipeline, Spiritwalker).

 

Korean Horror Flick ‘Seire’ Premieres Digitally June 16 From Film Movement

The Korean horror film Seire will debut for digital purchase and on VOD June 16 from Film Movement.

In Korean folk traditions, “seire” is the 21 days after a baby is born in which they’re uniquely vulnerable to bad luck, curses — even evil spirits. Many superstitions surround these first three weeks in a baby’s life, and, in Seire new mother Hae-mi carefully follows every one of them. Father Woo-jin is reluctantly willing to play along, but when he attends an ex-girlfriend’s funeral, he unwittingly opens the door to dark supernatural dangers. Plagued by terrible nightmares, the skeptical Woo-jin gradually begins to understand the seire custom, as he is forced to unravel the mystery of what is haunting him and his family.
 
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Seire, writer-director Park Kang’s horror film debut, was an Official Selection in the Fantasia New Flesh Competition, was nominated for Best Film and captured the New Currents FIPRESCI Prize at the Busan International Film Festival, and received a nomination for a Golden Eye Best International Feature at the 2022 Zurich Film Festival.

 

Crunchyroll Acquires Rights to Animated Series Featuring K-Pop Group BTS

Crunchyroll has acquired rights to the upcoming animated superhero series “Bastions” — featuring the K-pop group BTS — from Korean producers Thymos Media and will begin airing the five-part series on Saturdays, beginning May 13. 

The global streaming rights extend worldwide, excluding China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, North Korea and South Korea.

“Crunchyroll has an extraordinary opportunity to introduce fans to more animation styles from Asia, and this exciting new series from Korea does just that,” Asa Suehira, Crunchyroll’s chief content officer, said in a statement. “And having the music of so many K-pop stars really broadens the appeal of ‘Bastions.’”

The series is about a group of rookie superheroes in a world where superheroes compete for popularity. The young dynamos emerge as full-fledged heroes after saving Earth from a crisis by uncovering the identity of a villain responsible for environmental pollution.

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The series fuses K-Pop and animation, with several K-pop original songs, including the main track and theme song by BTS. It’s the first project by BTS as a group since it released its anthology album “Proof” in June last year. “Bastions” will also feature music from K-pop girl group Le Sserafim and singers Heize and AleXa participating on its soundtrack.

“BTS is expected to provide an overwhelming sense of immersion to the emotions and action scenes of the series by singing the theme song in perfect harmony,” read a Thymos Media statement.

Chinese Films ‘The Sparring Partner,’ ‘Too Cool to Kill’ Among Titles Available Digitally From Well Go

Available now through digital retailers from Well Go USA Entertainment are the Chinese crime thriller The Sparring Partner, the Chinese comedy Too Cool to Kill, the Greek adventure thriller Short Fuse, and the Korean court drama Herstory.

The Sparring Partner is based on actual events. In the film, after a man murders his parents with the help of a friend, the truth proves difficult to untangle in court, leaving the jury to wrestle with their own ideas of right and wrong as two men’s lives lay in the balance. Directed by Ho Cheuk-tin, the film stars Alan Yeung, Mak Pui-tung, Louisa So, Michael Chown and Jan Lamb.

 

In Too Cool to Kill, while pursuing his lifelong dream of landing a starring role, amateur actor Wei Chenggong (Wei Xiang) receives an invitation from famous actress Milan (Ma Li) to play her leading man, “Killer Karl.” However, unbeknownst to Mr. Wei, the new gig has landed him directly in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. As the brutal truth inches closer and closer, he is left to rely on only his good luck and (somewhat questionable) acting skills to survive. Directed by Wenxiong Xing and Ru Qian, the film stars Li Ma, Xiang Wei and Minghao Chen.

 

In the ticking clock action-thriller Short Fuse, a courier’s last delivery of the day may also be the last day of his life. Strapped with explosives, he must fight for his life while trying to solve a mystery involving both his family and a criminal empire. Directed by Andreas Lampropoulos and Kostas Skiftas, the film stars Apostolis Totsikas, Tasos Nousias and Evgenia Dimitropoulou. 

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Herstory is based on the story of 10 Korean women fighting for a formal apology from the Japanese government for their horrific ordeal as WWII “comfort women.” In the film, after learning of the horrors her housekeeper faced during forced sexual servitude as a WWII “comfort woman,” a Korean businesswoman takes on the Japanese government in a trial seeking reparations and a formal apology for ten plaintiffs. Directed by Kyu-dong Min, the film stars Kim Hee-ae, Kim Hae-sook, Ye Soo-jung, Moon Sook, Lee Yong-nyeo and Kim Sun-young.