Isn’t it about time we had a bit of fun? Two classic screenings coming our way. Big directors, big actors, and loads of action.
Strangers in a Strange Land: two modern classics at Prince Charles Cinema
In The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Kim Jee-woon, 2008) and The Yellow Sea (Na Hong-jin, 2010), outlaws wage war against each other against the backdrop of an alien and unforgiving landscape of chaos. This mayhem is mirrored in the films’ productions, which are notorious to this day for their gruelling shooting conditions, schedule overruns, and the relentless drive of an auteur determined to see his vision come to life no matter the cost. The end results are thrilling epics of genre cinema that embody a relentless kinetic energy enhanced by the theatrical experience. These screenings are programmed by Choi Young Jin Eric, film curator at the Korean Film Archive, and Goh Taekyung, film cataloguer based in Seoul, South Korea.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Directed by Kim Jee-woon (2008)
Starring Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-sung
Monday 15 Aug 8:45pm | Book tickets
In this action-packed western set in 1930s Japanese-occupied Manchuria, bumbling thief Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho, Parasite) finds himself on the run from notorious outlaw Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun, I Saw the Devil) and bounty hunter Do-won (Jung Woo-sung, Hunt) when he discovers a treasure map that could lead to his next big score. As word of the treasure spreads to the local bandits and the Japanese military forces, mayhem ensues in the vast desert of Manchuria.
Celebrated filmmaker Kim Jee-woon (A Bittersweet Life, I Saw the Devil) directs this spectacular homage to both Sergio Leone’s classic from which it derives its title and the ‘Manchurian Western,’ a popular subgenre of 1960s-70s Korean action cinema that itself took inspiration from the Spaghetti Westerns of Italy. The end credits labels the film an ‘Oriental Western’ but director Kim Jee-woon prefers ‘Kimchi Western,’ describing the film as an embodiment of the dynamic and spicy taste of the Korean dish. Whichever term is used to describe it, the film is an exhilarating extravaganza of joyful mayhem that begs to be experienced on the big screen.
While an unconventional choice of Korean film to watch on the National Liberation Day of Korea (15 Aug) due to the film’s deliberate avoidance of the patriotic nationalism that characterises most films set during the Japanese colonial era, its portrayal of disillusioned wanderers without a country to call home resonates in a way that makes it a compelling alternative pick.
The Yellow Sea
Directed by Na Hong-jin (2010)
Starring Ha Jung-woo, Kim Yoon-seok
Monday 12 Sept 8:30pm | Buy tickets
Joseonjok (Korean Chinese) cab driver Gu-nam (Ha Jung-woo, The Chaser) lives a lonely existence in Yanjin, China. Plagued by gambling debts, a desperate Gu-nam is approached by local gangster Myun Jung-hak (Kim Yoon-seok, The Chaser) with the task of carrying out an assassination in Seoul, South Korea. When the hit job inevitably goes wrong, Gu-nam finds himself a fugitive of the law and a pawn in a cross-border gang war.
An epic odyssey divided into four chapters, The Yellow Sea explores the toxic hubris of men and the lengths to which this can manifest in the form of brutality against the flesh. Acclaimed director Na Hong-jin (The Chaser, The Wailing) paints a relentlessly bleak portrait of the world that devolves into farcical chaos where even a leftover steamed pork hog bone can become an instrument of destruction.