Indiana University’s Institute for Korean Studies presents three films from one of South Korea’s most interesting and successful commercial film directors, Ryoo Seung-wan. Influenced by Hong Kong action films from the 1970s, his thrilling films feature fast-paced plots and well-choreographed action scenes. His 2015 film, Veteran, sold more than 13 million tickets and is the fourth all-time highest-grossing film in Korean cinema history. Notable for bringing attention to pertinent social issues such as corruption and social inequality, Ryoo Seung-wan is a central figure in the thriving Korean film industry, attracting South Korea’s best actors for his films.
Darcy Paquet, an IU alumnus with a master’s degree in applied linguistics, is one of South Korea’s most prominent film critics and the creator of the website koreanfilm.org. He moved to Korea in 1997 to teach English at Korea University, but became fascinated with Korean cinema and made it his life’s work. He also teaches classes on cinema at Kyung Hee University and Korea University and does freelance subtitle and screenplay translation and radio and television work. In addition to his criticism, he has written extensively on the Korean film industry with pieces featured in Screen, Variety, and the Korean film weekly Cine 21.
All three screenings will include words from the director, Ryoo Seung-wan, and Darcy Paquet. This partnership is supported through IU Cinema’s Creative Collaborations program. This series is sponsored by the Institute for Korean Studies and IU Cinema.
Beterang (Veteran) - Thursday, February 7, 7:00 pm at IU Cinema
Veteran follows a veteran policeman as he investigates the apparent suicide of a truck driver. His investigation leads him to the highest levels of a mega-corporation and brings him into conflict with the corrupt world of the super-rich. The movie is suspenseful and visually exciting with intricately choreographed car chases and fight scenes. The film’s extraordinary success, with the fourth highest Korean box-office record, was partially due to the prominence of stories about corruption and misbehavior by members of the wealthy elite that erupted onto the front pages of newspapers during the time of the film’s release.
Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Program - Ryoo Seung-wan, Darcy Paquet, Kyu Hyun Kim, and Molly Kim - Friday, February 8, 4:00 pm in the Global and International Studies Building Shreve Auditorium. Reception following.
Jjakpae (City of Violence) - Friday, February 8, 7:00 pm at IU Cinema
Ryoo Seung-wan wrote, directed, and starred in The City of Violence, an action film set in a fictionalized version of Ryoo’s hometown of Onyang. The movie opens when a policeman from Seoul returns to his hometown for a funeral of his childhood friend who has just been murdered. The policeman teams up with another old friend’s younger brother (played by Ryoo) to avenge his friends’ death. The film is most impressive for its intricately choreographed fight scenes. Jeong Du-hong, who plays the policeman is “Korea’s most famous action
choreographer/stunt artist” (Kyu Hyun Kim), and this film is a spectacular display of his skills.
Gun-ham-do (The Battleship Island) - Saturday, February 9, 4:00 pm at IU Cinema
The Battleship Island is set duringWorld War II on a Japanese prison island where Koreans were drafted into forced labor in undersea coal mines. The movie emphasizes the brutality of the prison and depicts the suffering of the prisoners with realistic wretchedness, while also drawing attention to their humanity through interesting and morally ambiguous characterizations. The action is staged on a specially constructed a two-third-scale recreation of the island and shows off Ryoo’s cinematic skills with battle scenes centered on a fictionalized mass escape led by a Korean independence fighter.