[K-FILM REVIEWS] 웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol)
웰컴 투 동막골
Welcome To Dongmakgol - KOREA 2005
Welkeom Tu Dongmakgol (lit. Welcome To Dongmakgol)
133 Minutes - 35mm Cinemascope 2.35:1 - Colour
Produced by: 필름있수다 (Film It Suda)
Distributed By: 쇼박스 (Showbox)
International Sales: 쇼박스 (Showbox)
Opening Day: 08/04/2005
Budget: 8.0 Billion Won
Box Office: 8,002,594 admissions nationwide (All Time 4th)
Note: The extra features contain spoilers. The review is pretty much spoiler free.
Director - 감독: 박광현 (Park Gwang-Hyun)
Screenplay/Adaptation - 각본/각색: 장진 (Jang Jin), 박광현 (Park Gwang-Hyun), 김중 (Kim Joong)
Executive Producer - 제작: 장진 (Jang Jin)
Producer - 프로듀서: 이은하 (Lee Eun-Ha), 지상용 (Ji Sang-Yong)
Cinematography - 촬영: 최상호 (Choi Sang-Ho)
Lighting - 조명: 이만규 (Lee Man-Gyu)
Music - 음악: 久石讓 (Hisaishi Jo)
Editor - 편집: 최민영 (Choi Min-Young)
Art Director - 미술: 이준승 (Lee Joon-Seung)
Visual Effects - 시각효과: 조이석 (Jo Yi-Seok)
정재영 (Jung Jae-Young), 신하균 (Shin Ha-Gyun), 강혜정 (Kang Hye-Jung), 임하룡 (Im Ha-Ryong), 서재경 (Seo Jae-Kyung), 류덕환 (Ryu Deok-Hwan), Steve Taschler, 정재진 (Jung Jae-Jin), 이용이 (Lee Yong-Yi), 박남희 (Park Nam-Hee), 조덕현 (Jo Deok-Hyun), 유승목 (Yoo Seung-Mok)
General Ri Soo-Hwa: '위대한 영도력'의 비결이 뭐요? (What's the secret of your 'Great Leadership'?)
Village Chief: 머를 마이 멕에이지, 머 (Mmmh... you just have to feed them a lot.)
웰컴 투 동막골 中 (from 'Welcome To Dongmakgol')
남북분단, the South/North divide. Over 60 years in the making, and we still haven't found a solution. Several Six Party Talks, Sunshine Policies, Unification Meetings left, right, up and down later, and we're still there. Kim Jong-Il fulfilled his lifelong dream becoming a baddie in a Hollywood film, Dubya and his cronies call the NK regime with mean names, and the Blue House worries about tiny little islands with lots of fish, and schoolbooks not telling the story straight. But the problem is still there, for all those people unable to meet their families for decades; for those who can't live a day without thinking about their hometown, the place they can't go back to; for those whose nutrition depends on the mood swings of someone they were taught to treat as a God, but treats them like pawns of his little power game. But, hey, If you're a big time producer in Chungmuro, the solution is already there: make a film! Lament the tragic situation the country is in, cry crocodile tears while hordes of Koreans go watch your film, make a fortune exploiting the hottest issue in popular culture for the last half century, and that will make the divide a little sweeter to accept, right? We're divided, it's a tragedy, waahhh... cry me a river.
A few years ago a certain director called Park Chan-Wook commented that this divide is more ironic than tragic, causing a lot of controversy. How dare! How could he talk about something so serious in such an 'irresponsible' manner? And, sure enough, the moment his 공동경비구역 JSA (Joint Security Area) hit theaters, all those people who took 똘이장군 (General Ddol) -- where North Korean soldiers were wolves, and Great Leader Kim Il-Sung a pig! -- a little too seriously in their youth attacked him, for doing the unthinkable: portraying North Koreans as people like him, them, and everyone else; victims of something bigger, something subconsciously operating in the background, keeping them apart even when together. And that this dividing line was propaganda, ideology and politics on both sides is what angered them the most. How could a South Korean soldier cross the line, disobey orders, go listen to Kim Kwang-Seok with his Northern 형들 (brothers)? But Park wasn't the only one to use humanism to colour the divide, the only one to use people like us to show the consequences of the divide. The characters in his film didn't make any epochal change, they lived within the boundaries their microcosmos set for them.
Although a lot of people are convinced that Kang Je-Gyu's 쉬리 (Shiri) started the trend of humanizing North Koreans, Jang Jin did it as well with his 1999 film 간첩 리철진 (The Spy). The story? A spy from the North, Ri Cheol-Jin (Yoo Oh-Sung) infiltrates in the South. What would his mission be, stealing national secrets about new strategic weapons to use against the South? No. Plant the seeds for an attack on the President by a group of North Korean soldiers? Nope. Plant himself as a Double Agent 'cause he wanted to see Jung Yoon-Hee naked in her films? Nah. It's much simpler: he comes to the South to steal a secret formula for a 'super pig'. A pig which will feed more people than usual. Feed. See? He's not there to kill, ravage, set up traps... no, he's just hungry and poor, and pissed off because of that like a lot of his fellow countrymen. He just wants to steal this incredible formula which will make him a little less hungry, and a little less poor. Of course Jang's film was more of a comedy, with a lot of absurdities, but the core of the story was much more striking than the majority of those North/South divide films? Can't we solve problems like that first, then worry about unification and politics later?
Although films squarely planted in this 'tragedy seeking' facade will continue to be made, there's been an emerging trend of films covering the divide from a more down to earth angle as of late; looking at it from the point of view of normal people, without necessarily trying to make huge statements, but nonetheless offering food for thought. Take the recently released comedy 간큰가족 (A Bold Family), starring Shin Goo as a pater familia whose main concern is returning to Pyeongyang and meet his family there. Amidst all the comedy, there's a streak of realism as well, painting this uneasiness about unification in purely economic terms. But it also shows, without resorting to facetious melodramatics, how much of a burden the division is on those who experienced it first hand, how all those divided families are living an invisible, incomplete life because of it. Take 웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol), which went on to sell 8 Million tickets through the sheer force of word of mouth. Because it kept politics and ideologies at bay, because it used humanism to define the problem. Because it showed there could be a better place for all of us, if only...
I still vividly remember sneaking out of school (only every now and then, OK!?) to watch Chinese and Korean films at a friend's place in my early teens. Discovering, re-experiencing that movie magic suddenly became more important than remembering which day a certain war started, how you'd write a word in French even French people can't write, or how many sacks of rice some guy had before another stole some from him, and build some three pages long equation out of that. Films became my food, my water, my oxygen, and I wouldn't have been able to live without all that, just like today. That kind of obsession touches many people, including some of the directors who are making movie magic of their own nowadays. In Korean culture, this obsession even has a name, that of the 'Hollywood Kids'. Take Choi Min-Soo in Jung Ji-Young's marvelous 헐리우드 키드의 생애 (Life and Death of The Hollywood Kid), or the many TV Dramas focusing on those kids living, breathing and dreaming movies, like the adorably cheesy 1994 MBC Drama 도전 (Challenge). Director Park Gwang-Hyun was one of them, growing up in the countryside with his grandmother. When he was in Primary School, he started watching his first films, like Superman and 로보트 태권 V (Robot Taekwon V), and fell in love with the art forever. He'd talk about films with his friends all day, and go to the theater any chance he got.
Hongdae (Hongik University) is still one of the most varied and important spots in Korea when it comes to music and arts. Most of the best indie bands go through Hongdae clubs before becoming famous, and many artists, designers and writers emerged from this environment. Park might have been an offspring of this urban artistic hotspot, but at the core of most of his work is a kind of humanistic nostalgia, a look at the good old days he experienced when he was little. In a word, going back to when he first experienced that movie magic. Park started his own company with a few friends, and went on to become one of the most acclaimed figures in the CF field. He shot several famous commercial with top stars, from the Kyobo one with Choi Min-Shik, to the McDonald's series with Shin Ha-Gyun and Im Won-Hee. It was obvious what his dream was: becoming a film director. While going to work, he'd keep writing his own script, in the hope that one day it would turn into his first feature. Then, all of a sudden, he approached Jang Jin in 2001, saying he was a fan and wanted him to read his script. Jang was so impressed he welcomed young Park into his 'Suda Family', which featured mostly theater-trained actors and directors. He was the oddity in Jang's group, the sole 'style man' out of all those people mostly concerned with dialogue and situation-based Drama or Comedy.
내 나이키 (My Nike) was Park's own story, in a way. A teenager growing up in the Korea of the 80s, always with a dream in mind, dream which put everything else in second place. The script had that wonderful sense of nostalgia, tinted with fantasy and Park's own childhood memories (note the wonderful homage to E.T.). All Jang did was add a few colourful characters (the kid's family), and paint the short with his unique comedy. There have been several good films reminiscing about the 70s and 80s, like 품행제로 (Conduct Zero), the dorky 해적, 디스코왕 되다 (Bet on My Disco) and Kwak Kyung-Taek's 친구 (Friend). But this little short, part of the 2002 Suda Family omnibus 묻지마 패밀리 (No Comment), was in a league of its own. Jang was so impressed with Park's cinematic humanism he gave him a script for a new project. Once again it was an adaptation of one of his successful stage plays: that film was 'Welcome To Dongmakgol'. One of Jang's few real problems as a director was translating his magic touch with the pen into visuals which fit with the big screen experience. His debut 기막힌 사내들 (The Happenings) was still too immersed in the theater world to appeal to viewers, and although by 킬러들의 수다 (Guns & Talks) he had already become an accomplished filmmaker, it was always hard to combine his talent for writing with the demands of filmmaking. But once Park came on board, Jang had finally found someone who could translate visually and emotionally the great little dialogue he wrote.
The real problem now was adapting the play itself, and funding the film. After 18 months of brainstorming between Visual Supervisor Kim Joong, Jang and Park, a final script came out. Jang was busy doing other things, like his two most recent films -- 아는 여자 (Someone Special) and 박수칠 때 떠나라 (Murder, Take One) -- and the Film It Suda producers kept running around the country to find investors for this little monster. It was supposed to cost only about 4 Billion Won, as there were no huge stars, mostly people from or acquainted with the Suda Family through their past work, so they didn't expect to face so many difficulties. The budget sky-rocketed to 8 Billion, putting Jang's company in trouble: for a small production company like Film It Suda failing with this film would be catastrophic. Ask Lee Joon-Ik, whose Cineworld went 3-4 Billion Won in the red between 2000 and 2002, and is finally getting some air to breathe after the major success of his latest work 왕의 남자 (The King and The Clown). 'Dongmakgol' also took much longer than expected, and the final, most important obstacle was just behind the corner. Who would score the film?
Ever since he watched 未來少年 コナン (Future Boy Conan) in his childhood, Park always loved the work of Miyazaki Hayao. That ability to create warm and exciting stories but also add a layer of seriousness always appealed to him. But more than that, it was the music which captured his attention. And one of Miyazaki's most faithful companions had always been Hisaishi Jo, who helped the master director's images fly into our imagination, in films like 紅の豚 (Porco Rosso), となりの トトロ (My Neighbor Totoro) and more. Park liked Hisaishi so much he wrote the script thinking about his music, visualizing the scenes in his mind while listening to his past work. During pre-production, PD Lee Eun-Ha asked Park who the best music director for the project would be, and he didn't hesitate a moment, saying Hisaishi Jo. Most people would have laughed at that, considering him crazy for trying to get someone like Hisaishi, with the limited power (financial or in terms of clout) they had at their disposal. But Lee was different. She wrote a very heartfelt letter to Hisaishi, explaining their situation, translating the script in Japanese for him, and saying that even if he rejected the offer, they'd still remain his fans forever. But then the guy surprised everyone, and said the magic words: 'I'll do it'. Hisaishi Jo for the music, Jang Jin for the dialogue, Park Gwang-Hyun for the visual and fantastic elements. 'Welcome To Dongmakgol' started to look like a potential gem. That it ended up becoming this good is down to one simple thing: sincerity.
Yes, sincerity. From the way they approached Hisaishi to the relationship between Jang and Park, this work oozes sincerity in a way no blockbuster has done since 살인의 추억 (Memories of Murder). Sincerity because Park and all the crew of 'Dongmakgol' put their hearts into this film full force, even at the cost of sounding corny. The humanism, that feel good sense which permeates the film is nothing to be ashamed of, if done right. But Hollywood and their empty, brainless exercises in target demographics have forced a lot of today's audiences to approach films like this with skepticism. They want the ideology, they want the tongue in cheek 'hey, this is not real, you know, we're making a mooovie' stubbornness which kills most Hollywood films. They refuse to let sentiments enter a film, labeling it tearjerking melodrama, never allowing 'larger than life' characters enter the picture. Sucking the life and soul out of blockbusters leaves you with what... nothing? Taking the 'magic' out of movies like this leaves you with what... products, just like bananas and coffee (which is probably the reason 'they' still want to remove the screen quota)? 'Dongmakgol' works so extremely well because it contains some of that movie magic Park experienced as a kid, and which made him become a film director. Some of the magic which caught my eye when I was a kid, and made me become... uhh... a crazy movie lover.
One of the great things about Ghibli's animation films is making almost a festival out of their works. That sense you're experiencing something special, something people have worked on intensely for years, to make you happy (and fill their pockets, yes. But that's never obvious, dominating the screen and taking the fun out of everything like in Hollywood movies), to make themselves happy, to make a great movie. And besides the wonderful little touches of Jang Jin-styled comedy, this is one of the first live action films I've seen able to capture that magic of Ghibli's features. The popcorn rain, the wild boar scene, the festival in the village, the final battle scenes, it all conveys a spectacular feeling. Watching the film, for a moment I forgot about the impressive CG work, the predictably excellent acting of Kang Hye-Jung, Jung Jae-Young, Shin Ha-Gyun, the 'Suda Family' supporting actors, and even comedian turned actor Im Ha-Ryong, who populated a lot of Jang's films in the past, but turns the performance of his life here, in his first real film role. Carried by Hisaishi's majestic score, by the pitch-perfect script by Jang and Park, and the visual splendor the director added, I forgot I was watching a film, and just enjoyed the experience. And it reminded me of the good old days, when I'd watch obscure Shaw Brothers films, even more obscure Bae Chang-Ho, Lee Jang-Ho or Jung Ji-Young films on crappy 2nd generation tapes, and love it. When the movie magic hit me like a typhoon and made me a fan for life.
So, after I kept this big, fat smile on my face for the entire ending credits scene, two things came to mind, two things I wanted to say to Director Park and all the people involved in the making of this film: I'm happy, and thank you.
AUDIO, VIDEO, SUBTITLES
This DVD made the news as a record breaker: the most expensive Korean DVD production of all time (10 times the average, which is usually around the 20-30 Million Won), with encoding and telecine done in the US by seasoned veterans. And, well, it's not surprisingly fantastic, one of the best looking Korean DVDs ever released. Natural skin tones, incredible colours and no problems with the transfer whatsoever. I'm talking reference level here, and although I don't have the knowledge to say if this compares to the best of the year all over the world, I haven't seen something looking so good in a long time, R3 or otherwise. The audio is excellent as well, and even though surround activity is not what you'd expect, the DD5.1 track makes up for it with incredibly clarity, and taking full advantage of Hisaishi Jo's great score. The fact it doesn't explode with surround activity in the battle scenes is not the DVD's fault, as the sound design was the same in theaters.
The best subtitles of the year? Quite possible. To be honest, no translator in Korea or abroad would ever be able to convey why Kang Hye-Jung's Kangwon Province dialect is so funny, or conveying the unique colour of Jang Jin's dialogue, so staying as literal as possible is the best way. Surprisingly, the subtitles also effectively translate the jokes around Smith's name, or the very important 형 (Elder Brother) - 동생 (Younger Brother) relationship which is established between Seo Jae-Kyung and Im Ha-Ryong, something that rarely happens. By keeping it simple, literal and never trying to act cute, the subtitles end up doing their job better than any other English subtitle track on Korean DVD I've seen all year round.
DISC 1 - EXTRA FEATURES
Audio Commentary with Director Park Gwang-Hyun, Shin Ha-Gyun, Jung Jae-Young, Kang Hye-Jung, Ryu Deok-Hwan
WARNING! MAJOR SPOILERS
Not a great commentary, but decent fun. Park adds quite a few details about the shooting conditions, what he wanted to convey with particular scenes, and some anecdotes from the shoot. Not everyone gets involved on the same level, but it's a good listen. Here's a few highlights:
- Park opens the commentary asking the actors to comment on their feelings during the shoot, not focusing so much on what the director wanted from them. The group comments that Steve Taschler, who plays Smith, must have had it really hard, as he didn't speak a word of Korean, and was pretty much alone in having to deal with translators. Jung feels that if put in the same situation, shooting a film overseas without speaking the languages, it would be something really difficult for him to accept. The other people who make up the US Army were actually other actors who auditioned for the role of Smith, but the director felt they were so passionate in trying to get the part he wanted to give them a space in the film. Although the director always had to watch out in terms of pacing, he felt they really give their all.
- The introduction of the three North Korean soldiers is quite serious, and at first they were worried about the audience's reception of that scene. But Park wanted to introduce Jung Jae-Young's character in a very serious manner, showing that there might have been another reason why he acted that way, something deeper. Even in the scene when they meet Kang Hye-Jung, he didn't care much about how light or heavy the tone of the scene was. He focused instead on keeping the reaction of the characters as realistic as possible, so that the absurdity of the situation would add some colour to the comedy. Also, more than showing the villagers as foolish people, he wanted to show how the reaction of stronger people changes, when confronted with weaker people. In portraying the villagers and their introduction, for example, he wanted to create a mysterious ambience, but also show that a very diverse community was living in Dongmakgol. He gave each of the actors a small space to create their characters' uniqueness, and to find their own rhythm.
- As for Steve Taschler, there were people who auditioned who might have been better actors, but he wanted someone who would look like a fish out of water in a war setting, someone who could show this situation, this environment only brought pain to him. So that's why he fits much quicker than you'd expect in Dongmakgol, and why he's so different from the other Americans in the film.
- Again talking about the uniqueness of certain situations in the film, what they wanted to emphasize with the grenade scene was how these seemingly weak people reacted so calmly and nonchalantly to a potentially very dangerous situation. That's why he wanted the soldiers to be as serious as possible: if they reacted in a less serious way, the scene wouldn't be as funny. He didn't want to paint the villagers as fools, but as people with this kid-like curiosity and innocence, nothing more. Also, when the soldiers wake up together in the same room, he didn't want to focus on the comic element of this situation, but more on the irony, of how very serious situations might have a very ironic side to them. Even though people might have asked themselves why Ri Soo-Hwa didn't take advantage of that opportunity, since he was already up before them, Park says he was already thinking about something else, and that he wasn't the kind of man who would kill that easily.
- One interesting thing they discussed about is that, even if she didn't have anything to shoot on that day, Kang Hye-Jung would hang around the set, asking for some cues from the director, but he just let her fool around the set while they were shooting, and some situations were just complete improvisation, with Yeo-Il looking here and there, often only seen in the far background. Talking about the elder Twins (which actually was done via CG. Only one actor for both), he wanted to make a kind of metaphor for the state of the Korean Peninsula. How these two identical twins grew up together, were the same at the beginning, but as the years went on they changed.
- Although during the fantastic wild boar scene everyone is too busy having fun to make any comment which isn't full of laughter and enjoyment, Park takes the time to say what he wanted to convey with this scene. He wanted a Festival-like feeling, something like the World Cup, an event which made all the people in the village feeling the same thing, more or less. Jung jokes this could be a short film of its own.
- An important part of shooting in Korea is that, since there are four distinctive seasons, even though they prepared for an Autumn setting in shooting certain scenes, Winter already started by then. Shooting scenes with a lot of characters (the little Festival at Dongmakgol had around 80-90 people) is not that hard for the director, but a lot more for the actors, who sometimes have to wait until the wee hours of the night. Jung says that, on the contrary, that's when they really have fun, as they can fool around with the other 'villagers'. Jung and Shin started playing games with the kids while half drunk, and completely immersed themselves in the atmosphere. It was as if they were in a village like Dongmakgol for real.
- Finally, Park said the film was supposed to end with the remains of the soldiers in the snow, but that scene with Yeo-Il putting the flower on Taek-Ki's head was his favorite, so he wanted to give it some space. That was the characters' happiest moment, and he liked the idea of ending the film that way.
DISC 2 - EXTRA FEATURES
동막골이 오기까지 (Making Film) [18:57]
The only real nice feature of the entire disc, and it'll be enjoyable even if you don't understand Korean, as it mostly focuses on behind the scenes action over dialogue. Everything from the costume fitting to the rehearsal, the explosions and stunts is covered. There's even parts 'outside' the film, with Visual Supervisor Kim Joong at the airport with Steve Taschler, and the entire cast fooling around during the shoot. Not that long, and not particularly informative, but pretty entertaining.
웰컴 투 동막골 (Welcome To Dongmakgol) [2:50]
A little clip about the title sequence, showing how they used 한지 (Korean paper) to draw that title sequence at the beginning. Painting with very broad strokes, and letting the ink expand, that could give the idea of trees of other forms. Director Park says he was really happy about doing things this way, something which brought him back to his college days.
문상상의 부기우기 (Boogie Woogie) [3:31]
Seo Jae-Kyung comments about the song he sings in the film, how he got to listen to the CD several times and got used to it, so he ended up singing it in the film. Then, as the song plays in the background, we see a few clips of the scene.
영화 음악 (OST)
Ahhh... disappointing. I thought we'd get Mr. Hisaishi commenting about his work, but you just get to listen to the various soundtrack pieces from the film, taken directly from there. You can't even listen to the music separately.
동막골 원정기 (The Fellowship of The Dongmakgol) [3:19]
This is pretty weird. They took footage from the director and crew location hunting for the film, added a sped up version of the film on the bottom, making it look like a sort of old-school one act Drama (단막극). Funny for a while, but does this have any use at all?
컴퓨터 그래픽 (CG) [5:23]
This could have easily been a 30 Minutes special if they wanted, as the film is full of CG, and it's so well used a little explanation wouldn't hurt. They simply show the finished product for the first part of the clip, then show the different layers (before/after) of CG added. There's some quite impressive shots in here, but they go by so quickly you hardly have any time to absorb anything you're seeing.
포스터 사진 촬영 (Poster Making Film) [3:32]
Your usual quick poster shoot special, like the ones we often link to on the site. We get a few soundbites from the photographer, who asks for a '5 Million pose' (as in tickets sold. Most of the industry knew the film would do around that figure, but then everyone was surprised to find out it would surpass that by far). We get to see the actors playing around with their pose, and thanking the crew at the end.
극장 예고편 (Theatrical Trailer) [2:14]
Have to say I didn't like this all that much. It starts very serious, with the confrontation between soldiers, and Kang Hye-Jung's 'Are You Friends' line, then it gets all cliched and over the top, like one of those creepy tourism CFs (Park is a former CF director after all), creating this sense of a fantastic place hidden inside the war, without giving enough space to the Jang Jin-style comedy. Too many spoilers, and Hisaishi's beautiful score seems there just to say he worked on it. Not too good.
뮤직 비디오 (Music Video) [2:52]
When you have Hisaishi doing the music for your film, you could just put together a bunch of unimportant scenes from the film and it'd still be worth watching, but it's nice to see even the Music Video is good. It shows a few behind the scenes shots, scenes from the film, some animation sketches and similar things, carried by Hisaishi's great main theme. A few too many money shots and spoilers, otherwise very good.
사진집 (Photo Gallery) [3:34]
Really nice collection of film stills, behind the scenes stills and more, with parts of the soundtrack as background music. No fancy graphics taking half the screen, just the stills themselves, in high resolution.
Two things come to mind when describing this DVD: first that, since this is one of the best films of the year, and presentation is on par with some of the best work you'll see on Korean DVDs, this is a must buy. Second is just personal, but might apply to other people as well: why spend 300 Million Won (or more, I don't have exact figures) on a DVD, when 80% goes in the presentation department? I love enterOne's DVDs because they take care of the presentation intelligently, within Korean DVD budgets (which makes any comparison with Japanese, American or other DVDs silly. Where do you find DVDs this good costing 30 Million Won to produce?), but then go all out on the special features front. This thing feels like your average R1 DVD: beautiful to watch and listen to, but empty inside. The commentary is nice, but the rest of the features are nearly useless, as some of those 45 Minutes TV Docs on the Q Channel or KBS do a much better job of presenting the film. These are the kind of extra features you'd put in an official website, not the most expensive Korean DVD of all time. Which of course brings up the question: are they going to release some kind of Super-Duper Collectors' Edition down the line, with 3-4 discs full of special features? I sure hope so, but given the state of the DVD market in Korea, I doubt we'll see that anytime soon. Maybe Japan will take care of that. As for the film, I have nothing but praise for it. This is how you do blockbusters, period. The acting is good, the script is fantastic, merging Jang Jin's talent for comedy with a Ghibli-like fantasy world, and Park Gwang-Hyun's strokes as a master of visuals; it's simple enough to appeal to just about everyone, but not superficial and never falling prey to knee-jerk nationalism. Plus, there's a few great moments of movie magic, the REAL movie magic, not the overhyped empty exercises in 'cinema for everybody' Hollywood passes on as filmmaking. This is how it should be: simple, charming, and entertaining, but with an extremely sound technical backbone subtly operating in the background. Must see.
EXTRA FEATURES 6.5
VALUE FOR MONEY 9
AVERAGE (Film Rating is counted twice) 8.64
외출 (April Snow), Hur Jin-Ho 2005