Guest Film Review The Crimson Whale

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[Guest Film Review] "The Crimson Whale"

"The Crimson Whale" is a product of the Korean Academy of Film Arts' Advanced Program. The prestigious school sees the worth in encouraging South Korea's potential-packed animation industry.

The story takes place in 2070, where constant earthquakes and volcanic activity shutter the Earth, with the Korean peninsula being the one that has been hit the most. In the dystopian setting of an almost completely destroyed Busan, Ha-jin, an orphan girl, tries to survive by stealing and selling drugs. Eventually, her crimes lead her to prison, since the police seems to be the only institution still functioning. However, corruption is at large and soon Ha-jin finds herself in the hands of human traffickers. As she tries to escape, a one-armed woman named Baek Sang-won rescues her, who proves to be the leader of a band of pirates. Their goal is to reach some precious crystals in a volcanic island, which is defended though, by a legendary volcano whale. Baek seems to know Ha-jin's secret, that she can actually communicate and summon whales, and needs her for her plans. The girl is initially reluctant, but as she meets the members of the crew, she starts to make friends among them, and eventually becomes a member of their " family ", additionally agreeing to help them in their goal.

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[Guest Film Review] "Mrs. B. A North Korean Woman"

Winner of the Best Film of the Documentary Competition in Moscow and Best International Documentary Film in Zurich Film, "Mrs B" is a very impressive documentary, shot in true guerilla style.

Jero Yun was conducting a research for North Korean refugees in China for his previous film, "Looking for North Koreans" and spent time with a network of smugglers working between North Korea, China, South Korea and the United States. That is where he met Mrs. B. (whose actual name is not mentioned in the film), who put him in contact with North Korean refugees living clandestinely in China, and eventually in her farm where she told him her story, thus becoming the focus of this film.

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[Guest Film Review] "71-Into the Fire"

John H. Lee, whose blockbuster filmmaker status was established in 2004, with "A Moment to Remember" and found its apogee last year, with "Operation Chromite" presents another movie that aims at commercial success and achieves it on every aspect.

The film is based on a true story of a group of 71 undertrained and outgunned student-soldiers during the Korean War, who were mostly killed on August 11, 1950, during the Battle of Pohang-dong. For 11 hours, they defended the local Pohang girls' middle school, a strategic point for safeguarding the struggling Nakdong River perimeter, from an attack by overwhelming North Korean forces, specifically the feared 766th Unit.

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[Guest Film Review] "A Moment to Remember"

Based on the 2001 Japanese television drama "Pure Soul", John H. Lee's second feature film was his first in the Korean language, and a huge success, becoming the highest grossing domestic film in the romance genre in the history of Korean cinema. Furthermore, upon its release in Japan in 2005, became the most successful Korean film ever in the country.

The story revolves around Cheol-soo, a carpenter working in construction who aspires to become an architect, and Soo-jin, the daughter of the contractor Cheol-soo is working for, and a fashion designer who has been recently spurned by her lover, a colleague who was also a married man. The film is split in two parts. The first one describes the courtship of the two and the second their lives together, which are shattered when Soo-jin is diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

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[Guest Film Review] "Faceless Beauty"

Kim In-sik's second and last film takes a rather strange approach to the concept of hypnosis and psychiatry in general, through an even stranger narrative.

Ji-soo is a woman committed to a psychiatric hospital after she experiences a nervous breakdown. Seok-won, the psychiatrist who is treating her diagnoses a Borderline Personality Disorder. A bit later, both of them leave the hospital, Ji-soo to continue her life with her adulterer husband, Min-seok, and Seok-won to open his own practice, after a tragedy involving his wife. One year later, the two of them meet again by accident and they agree on a treatment plan, as they also become friends. Through hypnosis, Seok-won manages to steady her, but as he learns the facts of her life, he starts losing himself and gradually becomes obsessed with her. At the same time, her husband's guilt for his behaviour starts getting the better of him.