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the director -- named Jang Hyun-seong

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Pusan film ind Korean Film SOUTH KOREA film festivals

The President's Last Bang

Conte de Cinema

Welcome to Dongmakgol

A Bittersweet Life

From left:   "The President's Last Bang",  "Tale of Cinema",  "Welcome to Dongmakgol",  "A Bittersweet Life"

   The year 2005 turned out to be somewhat of a rejuvenation after the comparatively weak offerings of 2004. Although Korean films did not win any major awards from top-ranked festivals in 2005, as they had the previous year, the films themselves provided a much broader range of quality. From large commercial releases to low-budget digital films, from action films to romantic comedies, there was more or less something for everyone in 2005, and audiences responded with strong interest and support.

Commercially, the first half of the year showed an unmistakable drop from the previous year, but a string of major box office hits followed in the second half, including , , Marrying the Mafia 2, , , and in the closing days of the year, King and the Clown. Critics seemed happy as well, with films such as Hong Sang-soo's , Im Sang-soo's , and Lee Yoon-ki's providing much to talk about in addition to the above.

Some government support helped to ensure that small films got released, too. A total of 17 films with budgets of less than $1 million were released in 2005, compared to only 3 in 2004. Many of these releases were only on a single screen, and attendance tended to be light, however for many micro-budget films even a single screen can make a difference. Among critics, Yoon Jong-bin's received the most notice among these smaller releases, although films such as , Spying Cam and had their supporters.

Most of the big news in 2005 was taking place outside of Korea, however. A wave of popularity enjoyed by Korean entertainers throughout Asia, particularly in Japan, reached new levels of intensity. Korean films such as , and then set box office records in Japan. Meanwhile Korean TV dramas such as Jewel in the Palace enjoyed astounding levels of success in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. Japanese film companies paid a total of $76 million for rights to Korean films in 2005, which by itself would be enough to completely fund 28 average-sized films. The infusion of money into the film industry caused a shift in power relations, and set off some ugly public spats between producers and star management companies.

If there was bad news in 2005, it was the dawning realization that the DVD market in Korea would never emerge into a normal, healthy industry. Young Koreans show a clear preference for downloading movies off the internet -- 80% of high school students are said to have tried it -- and in the absence of any viable legal sites, illegal providers of pirated movies flourished. At the same time, however, Koreans got a glimpse of the future, with the debut of satellite and terrestrial broadcasting for mobile phones, and the promise of various new, hi-tech means of watching films set to emerge in the next few years.



     Reviewed below:    (Jan 14)  --  (Jan 27)  --  (Feb 3)  --  (Mar 10)  --  (Apr 1)  --  (Apr 1)  --  (May 4)  --  (May 12)  --  (May 19)  --  (May 26)  --  (June 2)  --  (June 10)  --  (June 10)  --  (June 30)  --  (July 15)  --  (July 15)  --  (July 29)  --  (Aug 4)  --  (Aug 11)  --  (Aug 11)  --  (Aug 18)  --  (Sep 8)  --  (Sep 8)  --  (Sep 15)  --  (Sep 16)  --  (Sep 23)  --  (n/a)  --  (Oct 7)  --  (Oct 27)  --  (Nov 11)  --  (Nov 18)  --  (Nov 23)  --  (Nov 23)  --  (Nov 25)  --  (Dec 1)  --  (Dec 9)  --  (Dec 14)  --  (Dec 29)  --  (Dec 29).



The Best Selling Films of 2005  Korean Films Nationwide Seoul Release Weeks
1   King and the Clown   12,302,831*   3,667,849*   Dec 29   7  
2   Welcome to Dongmakgol   8,008,622   2,435,088   Aug 4   11  
3   Marrying the Mafia 2   5,635,266   1,451,468   Sep 8   7  
4   Marathon   5,148,022   1,552,548   Jan 27   9  
5   Typhoon   4,094,395*   1,229,971*   Dec 14   6  
6   Another Public Enemy   3,911,356   1,167,828   Jan 27   6  
7   Sympathy for Lady Vengeance   3,648,808   1,375,194   Jul 29   5  
8   Mapado   3,090,467   922,647   Mar 10   8  
9   You Are My Sunshine   3,051,134   1,063,480   Sep 23   6  
10   All For Love   2,533,103   902,189   Oct 7   5  


All Films Nationwide Seoul Release Weeks
1   King and the Clown (Korea)   12,302,831*   3,667,849*   Dec 29   7  
2   Welcome to Dongmakgol (Korea)   8,008,622   2,435,088   Aug 4   11  
3   Marrying the Mafia 2 (Korea)   5,635,266   1,451,468   Sep 8   7  
4   Marathon (Korea)   5,148,022   1,552,548   Jan 27   9  
5   King Kong (US-NZ)   4,232,430*   1,352,121*   Dec 15   7  
6   Typhoon (Korea)   4,094,395*   1,229,971*   Dec 14   6  
7   Another Public Enemy (Korea)   3,911,356   1,167,828   Jan 27   6  
8   Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (Korea)   3,648,808   1,375,194   Jul 29   5  
9   Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (US)   3,615,300*   1,239,817*   Dec 1   6  
10   Mr. and Mrs. Smith (US)   3,546,900   1,206,120   Jun 16   7  

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