Korean-Japanese co-productions

Stephen Cremin asianfilmlibrary
Mon Dec 13 13:39:30 EST 1999

Derek Elley reviewed KAZOKU CINEMA in Variety, on 15 November 1999.  He saw 
it on videotape at the KOFIC (Korean Film Commission) office during the 
Pusan International Film Festival.  Its international premiere was at the 
Chicago International Film Festival in October this year, having been 
released in Korea on 28 November 1998.  Derek's opening paragraph:

"A young woman finds her life and home suddenly invaded by a film crew in 
KAZOKU CINEMA, a satire on Japanese family ties (or lack of them) with more 
than a nod in the general direction of Morita Yoshimitsu?s now-classic 
FAMILY GAME.  Unaccountably overlooked by most fests, this is a zany 
addition to the ranks of Korean helmer Park Chul-Soo?s recent works, with 
less manic energy than the hospital caper PUSH! PUSH! and an overall warmer 
tone than his black comedy 301-302.  Specialised tube play is strongly 
indicated, with even limited offshore distribution a possibility in the 
right hands."

I saw it without subtitles in 1998, but only recently with subtitles on 
video, and was a little disappointed.  It performed extremely poorly in 
Korea on release.  I'm also very interested to know what happened to it in 
Japan: I think it was released in October.  Obviously it didn't break it 
into any box office lists, but did it do okay?  There was certainly a fair 
deal of Japanese coverage during the shooting in 1998, being based on Yu 
Miri's Akutagawa-winning novel.

I can't think what the other Korean co-production is: presumably not 
Horikawa Hiromichi's 1995 "Asian Blue" (Eijian Buruu: Ukishimamaru Sagon) 
which had its fair share of Koreans forced down Japanese mining shafts.  Or 
that Korean film with Ishida Eri which was supposed to be released before 
KAZOKU CINEMA as the first "Japanese" film in Korea since restrictions 
lifted in 1998.

Stephen Cremin
The Asian Film Library

PS: Arnie's END OF DAYS leads the box office chart in Korea with 230,000 
admissions, but LOVE LETTER is still going strong with 100,000 admissions in 
Seoul last week, tying with psycho-horror TELL ME SOMETHING.  No word yet on 
the box office success of RING (Nakata Hideo version) which was released at 
the weekend.

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