Guest Film Review Split New York Asian Film Festival

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[Guest Film Review] "Split" - New York Asian Film Festival

I have to admit, sometimes I forget the appeal a good mainstream movie can have and the entertainment it can offer. "Split" does exactly that, through a Korean version of "Rain Man".

Cheol-jong used to be the best professional bowler in the country, but a tragic car accident destroyed his leg, his career, and even his family. Now, he plays in underground bowling matches that are organized by Hee-jin, an owner of a bowling alley who is in deep debt. The betting in this games is quite heavy, with some outsiders "patrons" participating, and Hee-jin hopes to repay her debt through the abilities of a limping Cheol-jong. However, his partner in the matches is not as good, and the two of them end up losing a lot of money, in a series of events that ends in violence. Their fate, though, changes when Cheol-jong meets Yeong-hoon, an autistic youngster with an incredible ability in bowling, but uncountable quirks. As the three of them start gaining money again, an old foe, Toad appears again threatening everything they have gained, while the tragic past of Yeong-hoon is revealed.

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[Guest Film Review] "Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned" - New York Asian Film Festival

Sci Fi is probably the genre least visited in Korean cinema. Eom Tae-hwa, however, decided to tackle the category, and by using a rather unique perspective, manages to transcend its borders and present a great film.

Thirteen-year-old Soo-rin has moved to a remote island with her stepfather, who is overseeing a large construction there. She befriends Seong-min, a local orphan day, and as the two of them start sharing their dreams, fantasies and a common interest for the occult, their relationship becomes something more than friendship. One day, Soo-rin follows Seong-min and his three friends into a visit towards the construction site, deep in the mountains, in order to witness a big explosion that is about to take place. During their trip, they stumble upon a cave and decide to explore it. In a lake inside the cave, they find an egg, which, according to a local folktale, contains a time-eating goblin. Eventually, an accident occurs, the egg breaks, and the three boys end up in a continuum where time seems to have stopped. In the beginning, they have fun doing whatever they like, but as they realize they cannot escape and the years pass, they start worrying, and sickness and depression takes over. After a number of years, Seong-min manages to return, but he is now a full- fledged young man, while everyone else is of the same age, since just a few days have passed in the real world. As he revisits Soo-rin, he has to face society, her father, and the police, all of which consider him a dangerous pedophile.

Kang Dong Won Wins Award At 16th New York Asian Film Festival
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Kang Dong Won Wins Award At 16th New York Asian Film Festival

Actor Kang Dong Won recently attended the 16th New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), where he took home the Star Asia Award.

The festival posted an official announcement regarding this honor through social media, and also shared a live video of the actor actually receiving the award.

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In his acceptance speech, he relayed, Im very happy to have been invited to such a great movie festival, and to be awarded a huge honor. [This movies] genre is an uncommon one in Korea as well and many people worked together to challenge this new movie, so Im thankful to be able to meet the audience in New York.

Gang Dong-won Receives Award at New York Asian Film Festival
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Gang Dong-won Receives Award at New York Asian Film Festival

Actor Gang Dong-won received an award for his performance in "Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned" at this year's New York Asian Film Festival last week.

"Thank you for inviting me to this film festival and giving me such a huge honor", Gang Dong-won said in his acceptance speech. "It was an uncommon genre, but many people worked hard together to make the film. I'm happy to be able to meet audiences in New York".

He is currently working on the new film "1987" about the 1987 pro-democracy movement in Korea, and preparing for another project based on the Japanese animated film "Jin-Roh" by Kim Jee-woon.

[Guest Film Review]
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[Guest Film Review] "The Senior Class" screening at Fantasia International Film Festival

What I like the most about Korean animation, especially regarding the comparison with Japanese anime, is that the films are addressed to adults, for their most part, and not to children or teenagers, as is the case with the majority of anime. In that fashion, "Seoul Station", "King of Pigs", "The Fake" and this particular one (all of which have the same script writer, Yeon Sang-ho, who also directed "Train to Busan") include some deep and harsh social comments, sex and adult themes in general, and a realism that is rarely seen in their Japanese counterparts.