Tag Archives: movies

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Korean Film Archive Adds 94 Rediscovered Korean Films to Collection

by COURTNEY LEE
courtney@iamkoream.com

A Seoul-based nonprofit that functions as Korea’s film archive center announced this week the acquisition of 94 Korean films released between 1949 and 1981 that once were considered lost.

The Korean Film Archive (KOFA), which collects and preserves Korean films in order to pass down the country’s cultural heritage to future generations, said it received a total donation of 450 films from Han Gyu-ho, the former head of a film company. Within the collection were 94 titles believed to be lost from the likes of such notable directors as Lee Man-hee, Im Kwon-taek, Jung Jin-woo and Kim Su-yong, according to the Korea Herald.

Korean Film News reports that Han kept these films in his personal storage when his company, Union Media Company, closed. KOFA visited the storage collection in November and “spent two months to restore and identify” the films, KFN said, before Han decided to give the films to the archive.

The acquisition of these new titles is a major accomplishment for KOFA, which aims to keep films as close to their original condition as possible and restores older films through digitization. KOFA also works to make its library accessible to the public, showcasing classic films for free in its theaters as well as releasing DVD restorations.

Followers of South Korean cinema were left ecstatic by KOFA’s announcement this week. “I’m at a Korean Film Archive press conference, and there is very exciting news,” Darcy Paquet, a longtime Seoul-based film critic who runs koreanfilm.org, wrote on his Twitter page. “The recovery of 94—yes, 94!—previously lost films.”

The entire list of all 94 rediscovered films can be seen here:

The Korea Times reported that the rediscovered films include Korea’s second-to-debut female director Hong Eun-won’s, A Female Judge, (1962), Jung Jin-woo’s debut film, The Only Son, (1962) and No Pil’s Pilot An Chang-nam, (1949). Only five of the films will be screened this year since the rest require more restoration work, Paquet indicated on his Twitter feed.

Paquet, who attended the press conference, said that the screened clips of the five films “all look interesting.”

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Featured image courtesy of Huffington Post Korea

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Magic Mike 2

Korean Girls React to Channing Tatum in ‘Magic Mike’

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

These Korean gals aren’t strangers to sexy videos—they offered their thoughts on Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” music video a few weeks ago. But how will they react to seeing the ripped bods of Channing Tatum & Co. in Magic Mike?

Youtuber sw yoon may have made their day. Beginning with the trailer for the Magic Mike sequel and then working in clips from the first movie, the YouTuber asks the girls what they think the movie is about.

But apart from their reactions to men in thongs and the like, the girls also provide some surprisingly stark, honest opinions on how strip clubs would be accepted in South Korea. Most of them were willing to check it out at least once, or on “special days.” But there are some concerns associated with strip clubs.

“You have to be careful in maintaining it,” said one girl, “because stuff like sex trafficking could occur.”

“If the atmosphere is anything like in the movie I’d probably go,” her friend added. “But in South Korea it probably won’t be anything like that so I think it’s best if they don’t make one.”

“First off, in our country, the women don’t enjoy things like that in such an outright manner,” she continued. “They might like it on the inside, but outwardly they’d be like, ‘Oh why would you go somewhere like that’ and curse at you and label you.”

You can hear the rest of their comments in the full video below.

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Hack

North Korea Refuses to Deny Hacking Sony Pictures

by JAMES S. KIM | @james_s_kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

New evidence suggests that North Korea may have been behind the cyber-attack that crippled Sony Pictures last week. The tools the hackers used are very similar to those used to attack South Korean television stations and ATMs in 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal.

North Korea was one of the initial suspects in the hacking, which disabled the Sony Pictures computer network and forced employees to work with their cellphones, pen and paper. Before screens went dark, they displayed a red skull and the phrase “Hacked By #GOP,” which reportedly stands for “Guardians of Peace.” A message also threatened to release sensitive data stolen from Sony servers if certain demands were not met.

The threat apparently didn’t include five Sony movies, including Fury and the unreleased Annie, as they were leaked to torrent sites over the weekend. Investigators and Sony executives have assumed the leaks were connected to the attack, although there is no evidence of that yet.

So far, North Korea has refused to deny their involvement in light of what has only been circumstantial evidence. BBC News reported that when asked, a North Korean spokesman for the government replied, “Wait and see.”

If North Korea is indeed behind the attacks, the Verge noted, it would be the first time a Hollywood studio has come under attack from a foreign power.

Investigators believe that Sony’s upcoming movie, The Interview, would explain a connection to North Korea. The comedy film that involves two journalists (James Franco and Seth Rogen) on a mission for the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-un (Randall Park). North Korea has not held back in expressing their distaste over the film. Back in June, a Foreign Ministry spokesman promised a “merciless counter-measure” if The Interview becomes released and also denounced the movie as “the most undisguised terrorism.”

The Interview

“A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the U.S. has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine,” read a statement by Kim Myong-chol, North Korea’s executive director of the Center for North Korea-U.S. Peace. “And let us not forget who killed [John F.] Kennedy—Americans.”

In the statements from the hacking group behind the attacks, the Verge found that one of the recent messages singled out The Interview in a similar manner:

“Our aim is not at the film The Interview as Sony Pictures suggests. But it is widely reported as if our activity is related to The Interview. This shows how dangerous film The Interview is. The Interview is very dangerous enough to cause a massive hack attack. Sony Pictures produced the film harming the regional peace and security and violating human rights for money. The news with The Interview fully acquaints us with the crimes of Sony Pictures. Like this, their activity is contrary to our philosophy. We struggle to fight against such greed of Sony Pictures.”

Another portion of the message reads, “We won’t give up this attack unless Sony Pictures collapse to the end.”

theinterview01Randall Park as Kim Jong-un.

Since August, Sony had already planned to edit out a few controversial portions of the movie, including a Raiders of the Lost Ark homage where Kim Jong-un’s face melts off in slow motion. They also digitally altered the buttons worn by multiple characters because they “depict the actual hardware worn by the North Korean military to honor” Kim Jong-un and his late father, Kim Jong-il.

The Interiew is still set to hit theaters on Christmas Day, at least in the U.S. It will not be screened in South Korea, however, as a Seoul-based Sony Pictures official cited concerns of inter-Korean relations.

Photo courtesy of The Verge

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White Fox

Korean Superhero White Fox to Join Marvel Universe

by JAMES S. KIM

A Korean superhero will be featured in American comics, Marvel’s Senior Vice President C.B. Cebulski announced on Wednesday.

White Fox, who was created by Youngh-hoon Kim, originally debuted in Avengers: Electric Rain, a “webtoon,” or a short webcomic, produced by Disney Korea and Daum, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The character is based on the Korean myth of the nine-tailed fox and appears alongside the movie incarnation of the Avengers, although it is unclear whether she will show up as an Avenger herself in the U.S. comics.

Electric Rain features serialized stories that appear in a vertically scrolling format that are viewable on web pages or in apps. The webtoon format is apparently hugely popular in Korea and is gradually taking the place of print comics. Currently, the Korean webtoon is on its sixth episode, and the ninth installment will explore White Fox’s origins.

Ko created the character himself and approached Marvel, according to ICV2. Marvel approved it with a few minor tweaks, and a successful reception in Korea convinced the company to add her to the U.S. comic community.

White Fox will be joining a growing number of Marvel superheroes diverging from the “traditional white male lead.” Ms. Marvel features a 16-year-old Muslim teenager who takes on the identity of Captain Marvel; Sam Wilson, formerly known as the Falcon, took over the role of Captain America last month; and a new female Thor was revealed back in July.

Marvel has had recent success in Asia as well. Japanese magazine Brutus features a crossover between Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy with Attack on Titan. In addition, the anime series Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers, a collaborative production with Bandai and Toei Animation, debuted on Japanese television earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of Young hoon Ko/Marvel

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March Issue: Kim Yoo-Jung Was Born To Act

Born to Act

South Korea’s most famous child actress, Kim Yoo-jung, makes her U.S. debut in a horror-mystery short film inspired by a dark chapter in East Asian history.

by STEVE HAN

Fifteen-year-old Kim Yoo-jung doesn’t like scary movies. Acting since age 3, she has already starred in 15 films and 17 television dramas, but as diverse as her roles have been, horror is one genre she will never get used to.

“I watch scary movies with my eyes shut,” Kim said in Korean. “I keep my eyes closed and take peeks. I can’t really watch scary movies from beginning to end.”

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And, yet, Kim was in Los Angeles in February to film Room 731, a horror mystery short film directed by Youngmin Kim, an award-winning graduate student at the University of Southern California’s film school. The film, expected to hit the festival circuit this summer, depicts the fate of an amnesiac young girl who finds herself abandoned in a prison cell. 

The film, also Kim’s first outside of Korea, sheds light on the dark history of East Asia during World War II. Kim plays Wei, a tortured 15-year-old Chinese girl who has been traumatized from suffering at a Japanese torture camp. Asian American actors Tim Kang and Nikki SooHoo are co-starring with Kim. Kang, best known for his role in The Mentalist on CBS, also serves as the short’s executive producer.

“It was great for me that our director is Korean,” said Kim, during an interview in the lobby of The Line hotel in Los Angeles. Kim said she received instructions from the director, a South Korean native, in Korean during the filming process. “I can understand a lot of English, but just can’t speak it well enough,” she said. “When I talk to Uncle Tim [Kang], I speak to him in Korean because he understands Korean, and he’ll respond to me in English.”

If Kim was scared of watching horror films before this project, acting in Room 731 only heightened that fear. Even the set where Room 731 was filmed, Willow Studios near downtown L.A., which is often used to shoot scary movies, gave off a spooky vibe, she said. But, like a seasoned professional, she channeled that genuine fear into her performance.

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“It was so dark,” said Kim of the set. “I went in there with our director to get used to the set, and as soon as I entered, I just wanted to get out of there because it was just really scary. I mean, really. Even as the director was giving me directions, I was getting teary-eyed, and I was truthfully feeling fear as we were filming.”

Kim and her mother, Mok Sun-mi, decided she should take on the role in Room 731 not only because they thought it was a good opportunity to work in the U.S., but also because it gave the teenager a chance to learn an important history lesson. Until recently, the actress admitted she knew nothing about the premise of the film, which centers on Imperial Japan’s alleged medical experiments on hundreds of East Asians during World War II.

“I didn’t even know why or how World War II started before this,” said Kim. “I only started doing research after I was cast. I read about it on blogs and I was really shocked. One of the reasons I chose to participate in this film was actually because this film had a message. If this film never came to me, I would have known nothing about any of this.”

Because Kim started acting at such an early age, she has no memory of those earliest days of her career.

Since debuting on TV in a Seoul Milk commercial in 2004 after Kim’s mother submitted photos of her for an online contest, she has emerged as perhaps the most famous child actor in Korea. Many of her 17 TV dramas—notably Dong Yi on MBC—were aired during Korean primetime, and her filmography includes a role in internationally acclaimed director Park Chanwook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeanceand the 2008 thriller The Chaser.

“I only realized that I was an actress later on in my life,” said Kim, who has earned the Best Child Actress Award at all three of Korea’s terrestrial TV networks—SBS, KBS and MBC—between 2008 and 2010. “I realized that, at a certain point, I’d accepted that I was an actress without really knowing how it even started. So I’ve always thought of it as destiny.” Kim, who’s currently attending her last year at Daesong Middle School in Goyang, South Korea, inevitably misses school for a large part of the year because of her career.

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“I actually feel anxious when I’m not acting,” Kim said. “Whenever I’m on a break from acting and go back to school and start to have fun with friends and classes, I start this self-doubt and ask myself, ‘What if I start to dislike acting and like school more?’ And that scared me.”

Kim is fascinated by the differences in the working environments for actors in Korea versus the U.S. She was especially surprised to see how much more protective the American film industry is for child actors, who aren’t allowed to be on set for longer than seven hours per day to ensure that they get enough rest.

“Korea doesn’t have any of those restrictions,” Kim said. “I was so used to filming for 24 hours in Korea, but over here, I actually went to bed early!  It’s impossible to get enough sleep in Korea, and I almost think that stunted my growth a little bit.”

Kim, who’s listed at 5-foot-2, has aspirations of bringing her career to the U.S. if the opportunity arises. She also has a specific role in mind that she wants to play.

“I want to play an evil role,” Kim said. “But it’s never been offered to me yet. My biggest goal as an actress is to play an evil role so well to the point where the audience would curse at me.  That would really mean that my acting was accepted and done well. I want to be a bad person.”

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This article was published in the March 2014 issue of KoreAmSubscribe today! To purchase a single issue copy of the March issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).

 

Wednesday's Link Attack: Kim Jong-un, NK Death Camps, Danji Restaurant

New Kim Jong Eun Film for the Troops
Daily NK

A documentary film glorifying the achievements of Kim Jong Eun is being shown to soldiers in North Korea, part of ongoing efforts to burnish the image of the successor and establish his power base.

Kim, a 28-year old male in the middle of his military service near Nampo in South Pyongan Province revealed the news to The Daily NK today, saying, “They have been showing us the documentary film ‘One Year under the Banner of the Supreme Leader’ since the start of September.”

The expression ‘supreme leader’ lends weight to the supposition that Kim Jong Eun’s takeover of power in the military sector is proceeding well, although it is clearly very early to be producing such propaganda.

Inside Kim Jong-il’s Death Camps
FrontPage Mag

Clearly detailed satellite photos released by the South Korean government reveal a rapidly growing network of six slave-labor camps, home to more than 200,000 North Koreans, one-third of whom are believed to be children.

Located in the rugged, isolated mountain terrain of central North Korea, the gulags are the repository for those unfortunate North Koreans who have committed perceived “political offenses” against the despotic regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong​ ll.

The prison system is divided into areas called “Total Control Zones,” from which no prisoners are ever released. As such, these camps hold up to three generations of North Koreans, many of whom have been born into permanent captivity.

Separated families in Washington
Korea Times

This article was written in support of a documentary made by amateur filmmakers Jason Ahn and Eugene Chung called “Divided Families” about Korean Americans with relatives living in North Korea.

My dad was 16 years old in Pyongyang the last time he saw his mother and baby sister. He is now 78 and living in New Jersey, more than 6,000 miles and 60 years away from his family.

When he left Pyongyang, following the steps of the retreating U.N. forces during the Korean War, he couldn’t have imagined that he would never see his family again. The separation was to be only for a few days, just to avoid the initial onslaught of the communist forces who were sweeping down.

Danji Brings Bargain Korean, Great Tartare to Broadway: Review
Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Danji is still something of a work in progress, and that’s okay given the prices.

Does [Chef Hooni] Kim’s yellowtail with jalapeno have that same signature sting as at Gari? No, but the fish has a fresh oceanic oiliness.

Korean fried chicken is famous for its addictive, phyllo- like crust. Here, the so-called “KFC” wings are closer to any respectable version around town.

Bossam, braised pig with cabbage wraps, doesn’t have the same chewy skin as Momofuku’s $200 version — hardly a deal breaker since the sharable dish is $18 here. Avoid pork belly buns, whose natural high-fat levels are sent into overdrive with a slick of mayo. And kimchi paella is unappealingly mushy.

And yet beef tartare, sold-out on three of four visits, is one of the city’s best. Toasted pine nuts, sesame oil and pear add sensuous fruit to a dice of raw beef.

‘The Crucible’ Brings Demons of Child Molestation Case Back to Life
Chosun Ilbo

A slew of sex crimes against children with disabilities that took place from 2000 to 2005 at a special institute for deaf youngsters remain unsolved six years after they were first brought to light, sparking anger among social groups.

Author Gong Ji-young in 2009 published a novel inspired by the case that reignited public interest in it. Now a new film adaptation is once again stirring controversy among viewers, who are calling for the case to be reinvestigated.

Chevy drivers at GM Korea set Guinness World Record with vehicle logo
CNET

In preparation for Chevrolet’s centennial celebration, set for November 3, 2011, GM Korea gathered 1,143 of its customers in Pyeongchang, Gangwon, to create the largest Chevrolet bow tie and set a new Guinness World Record.

The motorcar mosaic was made up of Spark, Aveo, Cruze, Orlando and Captiva models and measured 688 feet (209.9 meters) in length and 221 feet (67.6 meters). The design was recognized as the Largest Car Logo.

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Monday's Link Attack: NK Famine, Moon Bloodgood, Hines Ward

WFP captures heartbreak of North Korean hunger
CNN International

A four-year-old boy looks straight into the camera. His eyes are dull, his tiny legs crossed underneath him. Choi is an orphan, severely malnourished and too weak to stand.

This is just one of the heartbreaking sights captured on film by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) as they traveled around North Korea last month delivering aid to the most needy.

The most deprived are children — WFP estimates a third of those under the age of five in North Korea are severely malnourished, and says it will only worsen if more aid is not delivered soon.

Actress Moon Bloodgood strives to be a role model
Color Magazine

Most celebrities don’t want to think of themselves as a role model.

Moon Bloodgood relishes the idea.

“I wish people thought of me that way, especially young Asian/American girls because it’s so important to have someone like you that you can see in movies or on television and think, she’s just like me,” Bloodgood said. “I don’t know if people even realize I’m Korean – well, my mom is Korean and my dad is Dutch-Irish – but I’m very proud of my heritage. I’ve gone to Korea several times and I identify more with my Korean side than my Dutch/Irish side. I know from experience how good it feels when you see someone of Asian heritage up there on the screen, because there weren’t many of them when I was growing up.”

‘Panda 2′ helmer rings in coin
Variety

Female directors have been gaining ground in recent years — mostly on the specialty scene. But when it comes to blockbusters, it’s still a man’s world. Tell that to Jennifer Yuh Nelson, director of Paramount-DreamWorks Animation’s global hit “Kung Fu Panda 2.”

Ban on Styrofoam to Hurt Korean Businesses
Korea Times via New America Media

Korean grocery stores and restaurants in California told the Korea Times that the passage of SB568, which sought to impose a statewide ban on the use of polystyrene takeout packaging, would more than double their operating costs.

“Take out accounts for upwards of 30 percent of business for most Korean restaurants,” said the owner of one eatery in LA’s Koreatown, adding that while options to using polystyrene are available, the costs are formidable. “There’s a good chance [if the bill passes] that take out places will take a big hit in sales as they will have to raise prices to offset the costs of using alternative packaging.”

10 Best Korean Movies With English Subtitles
Screen Junkies (blog)

I bought the DVD for “Chunhyang” so I could watch it with my mother. When I told her what it was about, she said, “Pansori sucks!” We never watched it. Check out this list, “Oldboy” is noticeably absent.

If you enjoy watching Asian films, check out these ten best Korean movies with English subtitles. Some of them can be downloaded online, and all of them are available for purchase over the Internet.

Concept Korea IV Presentation: Doho, Lie Sang Bong, Resurrection by Juyoung, Son Jung Wan, and Steve J & Yoni P
Racked

Concept Korea IV, a collaborative effort between the CFDA and (this season’s Concept Korea winners) Korean designers Doho, Lie Sang Bong, Resurrection by Juyoung, Son Jung Wan, and Steve J & Yoni P was pretty fantastic. We zigzagged our way through the crowd to get a closer look at the designs and along the way we were nearly knocked over by America’s Next Top Model runway coach Miss J. Alexander, who was on his way to greet designer Juyoung. Also there? Model Hyoni Kang and actress Vanessa Hudgens, who stopped by to pose for some pictures.

Abducted son of SKorean businessman freed in Lima
AFP via ninemsn

The son of a South Korean businessman was freed after a gang held him for 19 days demanding a $1.8 million ransom, police said Sunday.

“Kyoung Kim Hee, 18, was released about midnight in a neighborhood on Lima’s south end, and is now with his loved ones,” said General Felix Murga, the police investigating unit chief. Police said they did not believe a ransom was paid.

Hines Ward on Ravens game: ‘We’ll remember everything’
CBS Sports

“It leaves a taste in your mouth,” Ward said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The 2-point conversion [when the Ravens led, 27-7]. The passing at the end …

“We’ll remember everything.”

Celtic’s Ki Sung-yeung & Sunderland’s Ji Dong-won Score Goals
Arirang News

Two Korean footballers Ki Sung-yeung and Ji Dong-won playing for different Premier League clubs each scored a goal for their teams on Sunday. Ki Sung-yeung who currently plays as a central midfielder for Scottish Premier League club Celtic hammered in a drive from 25 yards in the second half of the game adding a goal to Celtic’s 4 to nil victory over Motherwell.

Ji Dong-won scored his first goal for Sunderland in a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in the English Premier League.

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Tuesday's Link Attack: Obama Staffer Promoted, Kim Jong Il In Russia

Korean-American named senior counsel to Obama
Korea Herald

Korean-American Christopher Kang was named last week senior counsel to U.S. President Barack Obama for legislative affairs, according to reports on Tuesday.

Kang, who was on Obama’s legislative affairs staff, will be in charge of judicial nominations, it added.

Beechwood Not Closing
Patch.com

Despite a report last week in EaterLA, local hotspot Beechwood is not set to close for any amount of time, according to a tweet the restaurant sent over the weekend. “Contrary to reports, we are OPEN w/ no set plans to close. Roy Choi developed our current menu & will eventually lead a new concept for us,”

Sylvester Stallone, Todd Phillips Projects Scheduled for Release in 2012
The Hollywood Reporter

The Sylvester Stallone-Sung Kang action drama “Bullet to the Head” is set for an April 13, 2012 release date.

On a South Korean isle, a life of squid fishing is slipping away
Los Angeles Times

Kim Yae-sun will tell you straight out: The squid life is a hard life.

For the 72-year-old widow, who peddles the sea creatures from a waterside stand here, it means rising at 4:30 a.m. and going to church to pray for an ample catch. When her fisherman husband was still alive, she asked God to watch over the squid fleet that heads out to sea each night, the boats strung with lines of light bulbs like Christmas garlands.

North Korean Leader Explores City Where He Will Meet With Medvedev
New York Times

The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, spent the fourth day of a weeklong Siberian train ride in the city of Ulan Ude, where he was shown an aircraft factory after taking a boat ride on Lake Baikal and visiting the infrastructure of a tourist zone that is under construction, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.

3 North Korean defectors get U.S. scholarships
Yonhap News

Three young North Korean defectors living in South Korea have won scholarships offered by the U.S. federal government for study and internships at American universities, Washington’s top diplomat in Seoul said Tuesday.

Top Gear Motors Into Korea
The Wall Street Journal

The Journal‘s “Korea Real Time” blog reviews the premiere episode of the Korean version of the popular auto enthusiast show.

Michelle Wie defends decision to mix college and golf
Los Angeles Times

Former LPGA great Annika Sorenstam suggested last month that Michelle Wie was shortchanging women’s golf by pursuing her degree at Stanford. ‘Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,’ Wie responds politely but firmly.

Top 5 summer beauty obsessions in Korea
CNNGo

Now that good weather is finally here in Seoul, the downsides are also back with a vengeance, with temperatures skyrocketing and humidity kicking in. To deal with the sweat and frizz, Seoul women have accordingly been switching up their beauty regimes.

Here are the top five summer beauty obsessions in Seoul.

Blind: Film Review
The Hollywood Reporter

Korean writer-director Ahn Sang-hoon unabashedly designs a thriller inspired by Terence Young’s 1967 “Wait Until Dark” which starred Audrey Hepburn.

S.Korea confirms world status with athletics event
AP via Google News

Hosting the 2011 world athletics championships in Daegu completes a prestigious treble for South Korea after the Olympic Games and the World Cup as the East Asian nation confirms its status as a major destination on the international sporting stage.

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