Tuesday, August 28, 2012

KOREAN MOVIES: Kim Ki-duk’s 2012 Film “Pieta”

Kim Ki-duk’s 2012 Film “Pietà” (김기덕, 피에타)
by MovieGoerK

Kim Ki-duk, a Korean movie director and star of international movie festival circuit, appeared on a cable TV Talk Show, "Baik Ji-yeon's People Inside” (PI) Episode 226 (aired on 8/23/2012) and chatted about his latest movie "Pietà."  Along the way, he also talked little bit about his movie making philosophy and his perspective on the life itself. Also, in the show, Actress Jo Min-soo who played one of title roles in the movie, joined the chat and shared her thoughts about the movie. Together, they talked about the movie more in detail. Based on what I know and understand, the movie features one of the baddest woman (Jo Min-soo) in the movie history. Opposite Jo Min-soo, Actor Lee Jung-jin plays a merciless henchman for a cruel loan shark. Who could be badder than him?  The woman is supposed to be badder than this already bad henchman. Is she going to be like another Hee-jin in the movie "The Isle"? The movie will be world premiered during the 69th Venice International Film festival (August 29 – September 8, 2012).

Filmed in 21 days of incredibly hard work during one of the coldest February-March of Korean history, the movie has many of Kim's signature features such as toughness, cruelty, darkness, confusion, betrayal, violence, fantasy, and hope. After editing the movie, Kim Ki-duk first released a 2-minute trailer in early July 2012, and a very short synopsis. The movie was originally scheduled to go public at the end of August but the invitation from the Venice International Film Festival (VIFF) to be one of the feature films in competition section changed the plan and postponed the release date to early September. Since July, Kim has gradually unveiled his movie through trailers, newspaper interviews and small public promotional events. Although the VIFF's invitation boosted the movie's public exposure and interest, Kim’s still played a very cautious and calculated game in marketing his movie throughout this summer.

And again, we get to witness Kim appear on this "shallow" talk show, "Strong Hearts" (SH), as he is determined to utilize the public appearance as one of the marketing pitches for his movie contrary to his previous reclusive attitudes. Of course, this kind of movie marketing is nothing new in the Korean entertainment industry.  But the news that Kim will make his first ever appearance on the show surprised me. The man has been known for his shy personality and hermit-like life style for a long time. And his relationship with the general public and film industry members have been rough at best, rocky at worst.  He has so far directed and produced all of his 18 movies but has not been successful commercially as most of them flopped at box office except a few. I don't know what made him change his mind this year but he appeared on PI already and is scheduled to appear on SH next week.

On PI, he already hinted his departure from his long standing position to keep himself away from public exposure and it was evident that he's now a changed man and becoming more aggressive in his marketing strategies.  As I absolutely feel for this passionate movie director, I hope him to continuously work in this field; but on the other hand, I also feel bad because he’s been deprived of opportunities to promote his “small” films.  The Korean movie industry has been dominated by way too commercial-minded executives for decades, and no wonder why he’s been upset.  I’m feeling little uneasy because I understand why Kim had to change and at the same time because I hate to see him change. However, I hope the movie "Pietà" hit the bull's eye so that this talented movie maker can continue to produce many more movies for years to come.

 This blog post was contributed by MovieGoerK.

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  1. Because of your review above I'm going to search this film out now. After you watch The Secret, hunt me down & tell me your thoughts please, & I'll do the same here after I watch Pietà!!

  2. BeatriceBlue, the movie is not released yet in the US but I think you'll probably be able to watch it sometime around February, 2013 'cause the relevant Korean authorities said they would enter it for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

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