오로라 공주 (Princess Aurora) Press Screening Report

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A lot of people try it, but many fail. Acting and directing, or going from one job to the other is never an easy ordeal. Although many have done it before, it's mostly been directors trying their hand at acting, rarely the other way around. Jang Sun-Woo, the maverick bad boy director who made one great film after another in the 90s recently joined the acting game, in Kim Soo-Hyun's wonderfully trashy and creative 귀여워 (So Cute); Ryu Seung-Wan starred in his very first film, and appeared on several cameos throughout his career. Park Chul-Soo often starred in his own movies, just like Jang Jin, Yeo Gyun-Dong and recently even Kim Ki-Duk did. Last but not least, the great Bae Chang-Ho recently starred in his own latest film 길 (Road). The examples are many, but they're all males. How about women?

Remember one of the women in 301 302, and many of Park Chul-Soo's other films? That was accomplished actress Bang Eun-Jin, one of the best of her generation, but someone who never chose the easy road of commercial filmmaking. She always starred in diverse, often independent films, often giving excellent performances, building a reputation of being one of the most intelligent actresses in the business. While that talent seemed often misused - or better, under appreciated - in the last few years, she decided to take an extreme step and make her directorial debut. 오로라 공주 (Princess Aurora) is the fruit of a long and hard preparation, and judging from the reaction of the critics, it didn't go in vain.

The reaction of the critics seemed to herald the birth of a new star director. I'll just use the great Kim Young-Jin's first few words to describe the reaction to the film: "A debut film with no excess fat whatsoever." It was described as a really powerful thriller, slowly allowing genre tropes to fade out to make the sadness of its main character emerge towards the end. In particular, they talked about how the film doesn't show any of the usual mistakes first directors make. Although some (Kim himself) mentioned how the film is a little too dense, with a lack of 'thriller-like' suspense and with no space to breathe - which might hamper its chances of success at the box office - all were quick in praising the acting of the leads (especially Eom Jung-Hwa, who completely transformed in a new role for her, stripping herself - literally - of a lot of preconceptions attached to her previous image), the cinematography and especially Bang's directing. A serial murder thriller in the vein of films like 살인의 추억 (Memories of Murder), placing more importance on the 'Why?' than the 'Who?', 'Aurora' stars super-sexy and extremely talented singer-cum-actress Eom Jung-Hwa, veteran Moon Sung-Geun coming back to movies after almost two years, and a host of familiar faces in supporting characters.

Produced by East Film, the thriller had its press screening at the Seoul Cinema in Jong-Ro last October 19. Present at the premiere the director Bang Eun-Jin and stars Eom Jung-Hwa and Moon Sung-Geun. With a budget of 3.3 Billion Won, 'Princess Aurora' debuts on October 27.

Comments and Interviews

Press: I'd like to know your view about Bang Eun-Jin's transformation to a director.

Moon Sung-Geun: Since I was working with an actor-director, discussing about the film was really comfortable. A while ago I saw an old photo of Marlon Brando on the set of 'The Godfather', leading his colleagues while acting. It was one of those photos where you could feel there was no chemistry developing between actors and director, so the film eventually failed. Instead, our film is different. Director Bang gave both guidance to her colleagues, and is an excellent director. I think she could really make a living as a film director.
Eom Jung-Hwa: I didn't go into the shoot thinking it was a female director, or an actor-director. Even when being asked those questions, I didn't think about it. While shooting the film and talking about it with the director, I found out we shared a lot of views on many aspects of the film, which is something I enjoyed. The fact it was a female director this time made things even better. We could go to the restroom together, and we developed good chemistry.

Press: The murder scene in the film is in the heart of Seoul. What kind of place is Seoul for you?
Director Bang Eun-Jin: The original screenplay this film was adapted from was called 입질 (Bite), and it was set in a small town in the countryside, which is a place where you can feel a certain sense of human warmth. You also tend to remember your acquaintances easily, so I think if the murders developed in a place like that, it would become akin to a curse for the viewers, who would constantly suspect any person to be the murderer. On the other hand, if you say Gangnam, a lot of bizarre, unusual things and events come to mind. Of course I tried to find locations where not everybody could go, spectacular places with no human traces, but finding one which fit the arrangements of a murder scene was hard.

Press: It seems like you departed from your usual sexy image.

Eom: I love films, and the feeling of making films itself. I want to become an actress capable of playing several different roles. I always wanted that, but because of my image, the choices of roles were limited. So I wanted to find a breakthrough, and my role in this film was a good chance. This films means a lot to me.
Bang: I think Eom Jung-Hwa is born to be an actress. The lovely, bright image she carries also has an uniquely sad, painful side to it. That's something people rarely disclose, and keep living with it. Jung-Hwa and I connected really well about that part of her performance. We might have never met that person, and she left no traces of her actions, but eventually we could connect with and relate to her. That's why it was so hard for her.

Quick Judgment

Herald Economy's Lee Hyung-Seok
Film Quality: AVERAGE
Box Office Potential: AVERAGE

Movieweek's Lee Ju-Young
Film Quality: GOOD
Box Office Potential: GOOD

Yonhap News' Kim Byung-Gyu
Film Quality: GOOD
Box Office Potential: GOOD

Joynews 24's Jung Myung-Hwa
Film Quality: GOOD
Box Office Potential: AVERAGE

Star News' Kim Hyun-Rok
Film Quality: GOOD
Box Office Potential: GOOD

Sports Hanguk's Seo Eun-Jung
Film Quality: GOOD
Box Office Potential: GOOD

Sports Kyunghyang's Choi Jae-Wook
Film Quality: GOOD
Box Office Potential: AVERAGE

Segye Ilbo's Kim Shin-Sung
Film Quality: EXCELLENT
Box Office Potential: GOOD

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오로라 공주 (Princess Aurora)
Director: 방은진 (Bang Eun-Jin)
Cast: 엄정화 (Eom Jung-Hwa), 문성근 (Moon Sung-Geun), 현영 (Hyun Young), 최종원 (Choi Jong-Won), 권오중 (Kwon Oh-Joong)
Website
Teaser Trailer (Streaming, Windows Media)
Teaser Trailer (Streaming, Real Media)

Making Of

(Streaming, 300k, Windows Media)
Making Of (Streaming, 700k, Windows Media)

Movie Stills/Posters
Produced By: 이스트 필름 (East Films)
Distributed By: 시네마 서비스 (Cinema Service)
Rating: 18 and Over
RELEASE: October 27

Via Film2.0, nKino and Star News

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