With the nationwide release of Beyond the Years (천년학, aka Thousand Year Crane) in Korea today, Im Kwon-taek reaches an amazing milestone: his 100th film. And it’s supposedly his first love story, according to the Chosun – though it has to be said that devoted lovers have appeared in his earlier work – for example Chunhyang. It’s also a sequel, 14 years on, to the film for which he is probably best known, Sopyonje, and from the same series of novellas (Nando Saram – People from the Southern Provinces) by Yi Cheong-jun.
Followers of Im’s work will need no further incentive to go and see it. Others may find it a good introduction to his work. According to Robert Koehler, writing for Seoul Magazine,
Im initially wanted to [make Beyond the Years] together with Sopyonje, but felt constrained mostly for technical reasons, namely the specifications of computer graphic technology at the time that were capable of producing the dream-life atmosphere for the film.
The cast retains the same female lead as Sopyonje, Oh Jung-hae, and her brother is now played by Cho Jae-hyun (Bad Guy).
An interesting little factoid for us Brits: according to Koehler, the soundtrack is played by the London Symphony Orchestra, and was recorded in the famous Abbey Road Studios.
- Buy the new Chung Sung-il book on Im at Seoul Selection
- Buy Im Kwon-Taek: The Making of a Korean National Cinema at amazon.co.uk, and read a review here
- Translation of a November 2005 Chosun interview, at Twitch
- Translation of a March 2006 Cine21 interview, also at Twitch
- Im Kwon-Taek’s 100th Film Risks Collapse: Cine21 article at Twitch (8 Dec 2005)
- KBS feature on Im
- Korea Times article (4 April 2007)
- Trailer over at Antti LeppÃ¤nen’s blog
- ‘Beyond the Years’ fails to attract audiences: Hankyoreh, 3 May 2007