Kazoku Cinema in Korea

stephen cremin asianfilmlibrary
Thu Dec 3 22:05:18 EST 1998

I saw "Kazoku Cinema" in Seoul last month, but with no interpreter and 
having not read Yu Miri's novel, I wouldn't dare judge its qualities.  
Of course, visually it's very different in style to both "Push! Push!" 
and "301-302".  Doesn't appear to fall into the trap of so many 
foreign directors making films in Japan, except perhaps in casting.  
(The reason for the predominance of ex-"roman porno" actors in the 
cast is apparent from the opening scene.)  It seemed to go down well 
at the screening which was attended by Korean critics.  There had 
previously been a private screening in Tokyo where Sato Tadao was 
apparently very impressed.

There should still be an English-subtitled print at the Kawakita Film 
Institute if anybody has access to their screening room.  Park Chul-
Soo Films in Korea have a new web site, "parkchulsoo.co.kr" which in 
addition to information on "Kazoku Cinema" has a section where viewers 
can submit their comments.  So perhaps more useful/informed opinions 
can be found there.

Regarding the poor box office, this has always been a problem with 
Park's films, which are never particularly successful in Korea.  He 
works with his cast and crew on a profit share basis to minimise costs 
of production.  And he works very fast: the editing of "Kazoku Cinema" 
took just two days.  I think the main market for the film was always 
going to be in Japan, but I'm also surprised by the low turnouts in 
Seoul and very curious to hear how "Hana-Bi" does this weekend.  
Twenty cinemas for Kitano also seems very ambitious, especially given 
the number of screenings per day in Seoul compared to Tokyo.

Stephen Cremin
The Asian Film Library / London P

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