Thursday, July 24, 2014

YuChun's Sea Fog (HaeMoo) Reviews (Updated)


Dec 4
Interview: Shim Sung Bo on Cutting Through the Haze with , South Korea's Thrilling Oscar Entry

Interview: Shim Sung Bo on Cutting Through the Haze with “Haemoo”

The co-writer of "Memories of Murder" on his thrilling seafaring debut.
Han Ye-ri in Shim Sung Bo's "Haemoo"
It speaks to the quality of “Haemoo” that when Shim Sung-bo reflects on what was the most difficult day of filming the technically complex high seas thriller about a fishing crew that attempts to smuggle a group of Korean immigrants back from China, it wasn’t the physical challenge of ‎shooting one of the film’s harrowing action sequences that got to the director. It was how it could be as emotionally devastating as possible that he took great pains to get right.

“The most difficult moment was the last scene because we had to shoot it earlier [than expected] because of our production schedule,” says Shim, speaking through a translator as the film made its Los Angeles premiere at the AFI Fest. “I had to make some different choices than was originally written on the scenario, [and] doing that first, without going through all the other transitional parts, was hard.”

You wouldn’t know it from the final film, which exudes a confidence from start to finish that would hardly suggest Shim was a first-time director. Then again, he’s been waiting for this opportunity for over a decade since he first made a name for himself internationally as the co-writer of Bong Joon-ho’s breakthrough sophomore feature “Memories of Murder.” To return the favor, Bong helped Shim produce “Haemoo,” which like the “Snowpiercer” director’s work combines the exhilarating highs of well-crafted action and suspense with a social consciousness that makes every twist and turn feel like a punch to the gut.

Based on a real-life incident that was originally adapted for the stage, the film posits the those traveling on the boat as a microcosm of Korean society in the wake of the economically IMF crisis of the late ’90s with every individual decision made affecting everyone else onboard, with the question of whether each passenger is acting out of self-preservation or for the general good as much as a driving force for the story as the furious waves that pound the ship and have everyone fear for their survival, particularly when it comes to a burgeoning romance between a member of the crew named Dong-sik (Yu-Chun Park) and an immigrant named Hong-mae (Ye-ri Han). Boasting an unusual two-gimbal approach to the camerawork that brings audiences right into the stormy waters, Shim creates an all-consuming experience that won’t let go either viscerally or psychologically and after being selected as South Korea’s official entry into this year’s Oscars, he spoke about how important casting was to the film, making the most of a limited setting and how he’s only just getting started.

Han Ye-ri in Shim Sung Bo's "Haemoo"
How did this film come about?
Director Bong Joon-ho of recommended a stage play based on a true story, so I read it. I liked it because it was about these regular people, just like you and me, but somehow they got involved in a crime and that eventually led to their destruction, but the whole story was unfolding from their point of view. Another important theme of the play was the love story between Dong Sik and Hong-mae’s characters, so together I thought okay, I’m going to make a movie out of this.
Was this difficult to visualize since it came from a stage play?
Actually, the entire play happens in a fishing vessel, so once I thought that my film could focus on the ship, it wasn’t hard. I liked the claustrophobia of the limited setting. People were put together and ‎there was a sense of nowhere to go, so I used that element [for tension]. In the play between scenes, they also make the transitions just by using only sound and I tried to visualize that sound.
You also hired Hong Kyung-pyo, who is known for his work on the water in such films as “Typhoon.” How was he a help?
Yes, the cinematographer is a consummate craftsman, [specifically skilled in] the coloring and positioning of characters. He’s known for all of those things and for how he utilizes the smog for filming – yes, he made “Typhoon,” but he also made a film called “Ghost.” Honestly, in Korea, unlike Hollywood, we don’t accumulate a lot of technology that can deal with this type of movie, so beyond being a cinematographer, he was more like a producer. His contribution was very essential for the movie.

Park Yu-Chun and Han Ye-Ri in "Haemoo"
Was it difficult to accommodate such a large cast of characters?
It wasn’t easy. I’m a new director, so dealing with all these actors wasn’t an easy job. But another thing is that a lot of my actors are well-known. They’re rather famous actors in Korea, even though some of them play the smaller roles and it was because the story unfolds in a very claustrophobic, limited space. That means a lot of the time, you have to have to focus on these characters’ subtle movements, like their facial expressions, so I wanted good actors who could handle not just the dialogue, but when I put the camera on their faces, they could show what they’re feeling.
The captain is played by Kim Yoon-Seok, who is best known for playing villains in “The Chaser” and “The Yellow Sea,” but in this film, you’re never quite sure whether he’s good or bad. Did you want to take the personas some of your actors were known for and subvert them?
First of all, I didn’t try to change his image from this well-known villain character actor to a good guy. That wasn’t it. But you’re right, Kim Yoon-Seok has played many villainous roles. However, he has played regular guys, like a father who struggles to support his family too, so he can embody both of these different characters. He can be strong and rather imposing, but also he’s an everyman, so I thought maybe in my movie is where these two types of characters he plays could intersect. Also, the guy is very sensitive, very subtle. There’s a lot of subtlety and a lot of times he can be touchy-feely, so that’s why I cast him in the role of Captain Kang.

Shim Sung Bo's "Haemoo"
You’ve said a big part of Bong Joon-ho’s contribution was to help simplify things. Was there a specific thing he really helped with? [minor spoiler ahead]
You remember the boatswain [Ho-young, played by Kim Sang-ho] who holds Hong-mae from the engine room and [plans] to throw her into the sea? Originally, my idea was the boatswain was going to save her, and of course, at that moment, the captain is out of his mind. So the boatswain was going to deceive the captain, saying yes, yes, I’m going to kill her, but he was actually going to save her. But Bong Joon-ho suggested if you make the boatswain a good guy like that, that was going to be a burden for Dong-Sik later. So I decided that supporting character should be consistent. That way, I made that audience focus on Dong-sik, seeing the struggle within himself between good and evil.
After waiting patiently to make your first feature, what is it like to now be taking it around the world?
Through my film, I’ve been able to meet a lot more people than I’m used to, not just Korea, but from all over the world. Also, of course, I realize there’s still a long way to go. I know my own shortcomings, so I’m resolved to go deeper and study more. I think this is a new beginning. This is going to be my set point that will help me find my next stop to go.
“Haemoo” does not yet have U.S. distribution. It will next play at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in early January.



AFI Fest 2014: Ripped from the Headlines

A lot of time at AFI Fest is spent waiting in line. Even holding a press pass doesn't mean I get to trot into certain screenings. Tuesday night, I wondered if it was possible to wait in two lines for back-to-back events at the Egyptian Theater. No Indiana Jones archeologists came forward with a secret passage between the beginning of one line and the beginning of the next so I passed up the promise of the first 30-minutes "Selma" and Oprah Winfrey in order to attend a secret screening of Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper."
"American Sniper" was one of the three movies inspired by true events that I saw at this year's AFI Fest. The other two films were "Foxcatcher" and the Korean film "Haemoo." "Foxcatcher" was the AFI Festival closing gala movie. The backers of all three movies hope to generate Oscar buzz.

"Haemoo" is based on a 2007 play about an incident in 2001 in which 25 illegal immigrants died while being smuggled into South Korea. Directed by Shim Sung-bo, the movie is South Korea's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film for the 87th Academy Awards.
On 7 October 2001, the vessel Taechangho dumped into the ocean the bodies of immigrants who had suffocated while being hidden in the fish storage tank. According to a BBC reportthe boat had taken on 60 Chinese and ethnic Korean Chinese but threw the bodies of the dead overboard southwest of the port Yeosu. The majority of the illegal immigrants were from the Fujian Province and South Korea made an official apology to China about the incident. The South Korean police arrested the captain Lee Pan-keun and seven crew members. I could not find more information online in English about what happened to these men.

The movie "Haemoo" (Sea Fog) takes place on the fishing ship Jeonjinho and becomes a love storythe Captain Cheol-joo (Kim Yoon-seok) for his ship and young Dong-sik (Park Yoochun) for a young female immigrant Hong-mae (Han Ye-ri). When his crew fails to catch enough fish to pay his debt, Cheol-joo decides to smuggle thirty illegal immigrants.
A few things begin to go wrong. First the fog obscures their rendezvous and creates an eery setting. The immigrants must jump over the abyss of black water and into the gray unknown. One woman, Hong-mae, falls into the water and is rescued by Dong-sik.
Hong-mae is one of two women in the group. A woman on the ship is bad luck; two are double trouble and that might not just be superstition. One crew member Chan-wook is willing to allow a woman into the warm engine room in return for sex. Even sex with a grimy stranger is better than being exposed to the cold or being hidden in the stinky, stuffy refrigerated hold meant for the day's catch.

Poverty and desperation pollute every aspect of these people's lives. What would one do to survive, especially when things go seriously wrong. A visit from the sea patrol lasts a little too long, although the captain's bluff rings false yet ever so theatrical, worse things are to come.

When desperation leads to death in large numbers, it may make the news. In 2008, 58 Burmese illegals on their way to Thailand suffocated in a seafood lorry when the air-conditioning failed. There were 67 survivors. In 2000, 58 Chinese illegals died in a tomato freight container as they crossed the English Channel to Dover. In 2003, a truck driver abandoned a trailer in South TexasThat milk trailer contained 60 illegal aliens. Of that number, 15 died, including a 5-year-old boy. While Southwestern U.S. human traffickers are called coyotes, in Asia, these people are called snakeheads. I don't think it is a mistake that when the captain in "Haemoo" makes the deal to smuggle humans that we see eel-like fish swimming around in a large aquarium.

"Haemoo" won the Best Narrative feature at the Hawaii International Film Festival and the Korean Association of Film Critics awarded Park Yoochun a Best New Actor award. Park Yoochun is a K-pop star transitioning into acting. The movie has been nominated for five Grand Bell Awards (Motion Pictures Association of Korea).

(Parts about the other movies , mentioned above are omitted on link below to read the full article)

Of the three movies, "Haemoo," definitely exploits the gore of murder or at least the aftermath where one must get rid of the bodies. That's fair because "American Sniper" and "Foxcatcher" are about a particular character, a real person, who is somehow involved. "Haemoo" has a better developed female character in Hang-mae although none of these movies has a happy ending. All the movies take a real incident, adapt and interpret it and give us something to think about after we've forgotten the headlines.



Movie Review: “Haemoo” Screening at AFI FEST Presented By Audi


“Haemoo” is well written, a carefully crafted drama and character study in human nature of various personality types when they are placed under exceptional and stressful circumstances. The story starts with the fishing boat fresh out at sea with a crew of mostly familiar faces who are expecting to catch fish, but unbeknownst to them that Captain Kang Chul-joo, played by Kim Yoon-seok, has made different arrangement for this expedition for fast cash to save his boat he fears will be taken away from him. Shortly after they are out to sea the crew becomes aware of a clandestine rendezvous that had been previously arranged by Kang to pick up ethnic Koreans from China who are illegally migrating to Korea. This activity is a high risk and illegal endeavor put all 5 crew members on the boat at in great jeopardy with prison as an obvious outcome. The saga of Haemoo, which translates “Sea Fog”, is a story that details the maddening downward spiral that goes strangely askew when the most unexpected situation befalls the illegal migrants that test the crew and the boat’s Captain.

Nested in the horrifying story line is the romance that becomes the emotional core to this story. Dong-sik, played by Park Yu-chun, the youngest and newest member of the crew who rescued Hong-mae, played by Han Ye-ri, after she fell into open rough seas during the clandestine transference of these illegal immigrants from boat to boat, while being buried in the dark night’s fog. Once Dong-sik successfully rescues Hong-mae, he falls into the role of nurturer: eventually, he becomes her lover and provider. In his efforts to win her over he found a special place for her in the engine room, outside of his official domain, where she dries out. After a certain amount time and Dong-sik efforts to please her Hong-mae put away her misgivings. She discovers Dong-sik offers earnest security form the other members of the crew, who seek opportunities to exploit the situation to their advantage. The Captain Kang tries to manage the ever disintegration of morale of his crew, while the crew fragment into self-interest and bickering competitiveness. Dong-sik stands alone as the high moral figure in the movie and Kang holds sway over the ever-increasing disintegrating of civility among the crew.

Once the harrowing incident happens during the negotiation or more precisely the payoff between Kang and a Commander of what is the equivalent of the Coast Guard all hell breaks loose in the most unexpected manner. The un-ideal situation descends into pure madness that would be equal to the sobering moments of anything Jeffrey Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy could have delivered. This becomes the most engaging moments in the film that is instinctual and base as any predator could devise and exact. All member of the crew including Kang are faced with a grave moral dilemma that exacts a toll mentally and emotionally to survive this catastrophe that end in great human depravity. The only sanity that prevails the ever-growing love affair between Dong-sik and Hong-mae.

The decent into the madness of Haemoo’s is palpable at times that are cringe worthy, while the direction remains relatively dispassionate for the viewer only adds to the chilling reality this movie brings to the creating a believable and harrowing narrative. Haemoo is beautifully shot film and every detail is attended to sustaining believability of the unimaginably horrifying situation. These actors that inhabit the darkness and desperation of these characters deliver stunning performances that speaks to the grim elements and noblest behaviors that human’s are capable of being. Heamoo is a powerful statement of inhumanity and humanity, when men are placed in the most desperate of situations. Haemoo rings true as a fascinating tale portrayed in a stunning manner that is well worth the watch.
The Los Angeles Beat


LKFF 2014: Haemoo Review

Sea Fog

Director: Shim Sung Bo.
Starring: Kim Yun Seok, Park Yoo Chun, Han Ye Ri, Lee Hee Joon, Moon Sung Geun, Kim Sang Ho, Yoo Seung Mok.
Running Time: 111 Minutes
Synopsis: A desperate group of fisherman take on a job of transporting illegal immigrants, but things go from bad to worse during the lengthy voyage.

Shim Sung Bo, who wrote MEMORIES OF MURDER over ten years ago, returns to the big screen for his feature film debut as a director. He’s brought MEMORIES OF MURDER director and co-writer, Bong Joon Ho, along as co-writer and producer for his first effort, and Bong’s influences can be felt throughout. Fortunately Shim has enough of a voice not to be drowned out by his more familiar counterpart, but this still very much feels as though it takes place in the darkly humorous and bleak world the famous Korean serial killer flick.

Opening with a montage of a failed fishing excursion, Shim sets the scene for a bunch of fisherman living through difficult times. It’s a fast paced opening that quickly juxtaposes with the quiet and bland lives the men live on shore. With money a hard commodity to come by, Captain Kang (Kim Yun Seok), decides to take on a job transporting Korean-Chinese immigrants, without informing his crew until they are already out at sea. The drama that arises and social themes may be obvious to begin with, but the film takes a number of surprising turns throughout that truly start to question characters’ and audiences’ values.

The caring side towards the immigrants soon makes way for their demanding of fairer treatment, and as the fisherman begin to slide into crueler roles, we see the gradual breakdown of this once happy family of colleagues. The ulterior motives begin to shine through, but we also see a level of incompetence, displayed well when an immigrant questions the fact that they are given salty food, knowing full well they will have to go a long time with little water. The film does well to balance the necessity that the fishermen perceive their actions to be, while also showing what the cost is. The film is particularly powerful when addressing hatred towards immigrants, as we see the risks they are willing to take and the reasons they do so. The film may hit a nerve with audiences worldwide in fortunate countries.

An all star cast has been assembled for the roles of the fishermen, and each crafts a wonderful character. Kim Yun Seok is the dark and controlling captain, while Park Yoo Chun is the naive latest addition to the group who believes there can be a happy ending. This allows for an explosive final third in which the men turn on each other in an act many unfamiliar with Bong and Shim may see as exaggerated. It certainly is, but that’s the joy of it. They push their cast to the extreme in order to effectively get their points across, which also allows for a tense and action packed finale. Many smart films are scared away from excitement and entertainment, but here is an example of how to marry the two perfectly.

HAEMOO has been put forward as South Korea’s entry into the race for Best Foreign Language Picture, and it certainly stands a chance. The majority of the film should reach international audiences on some level, and the visuals are truly beautiful. The film looks crisp and gritty at every turn, as we go from fish hold to engine room. Although set on a small boat, the rooms themselves come alive and have much to say themselves. The engine room is both warm and welcoming, but also cold and industrial, so it’s no surprise that a lot of conflicting actions take place here. A fantastically crafted thriller that asks what average men do in extraordinary situations. One hint…it sure ain’t pretty.
5 Stars (5 / 5)


TIFF Review: Korean Thriller 'Haemoo' Co-Written By 'Snowpiercer' Director Bong Joon-Ho

by Nikola Grozdanovic
September 5, 2014 4:58 PM

Haemoo, Shim Sung-bo,

South Korean cinema has a special way of smacking you upside the head as soon as you settle in and feel like you’ve gotten a grip on its characters and the story’s direction. Take a look at any of the most popular films out there, particularly from internationally renowned masters Bong Joon-ho and Park Chan-wook, and you’ll see what we’re talking about. This year, a single South Korean film, directed by relatively unknown Shim Sung-bo, found its way into TIFF’s prestigious Gala program (usually reserved for the glitziest star-filled movies of the season). In fact, it’s Shim’s debut feature as a director, with only a couple of writing credits under his belt. So how did “Haemoo” end up sailing its way into the significant international waters of Toronto, exactly? Having Bong producing and co-writing your project certainly helps, but making South Korean cinema still feel fresh and vital with its genre-swerving storytelling practically seals the deal. 

Set in 1998, during the aftermath from the IMF financial crisis of 1997, “Haemoo” follows a ragtag trawler crew, scraping to survive as fishermen in economically desolate times. Captain Kang (Kim Yoon-seok) is the kind of man who considers his rusty, old and half-broken ship ‘Junjin’ a family member, stubbornly ignoring everyone’s suggestions to do away with it. Meanwhile, when he comes back home and catches his cheating wife in the middle of the act, he merely express his annoyance with a tiresome sigh. With a five-man crew under his leadership, including a wise old engineer who comically hides from debt collectors, and 26-year-old Dong-sik (Park Yu-chun) who prides himself in being a sailor, the walls are closing in on Kang because there’s no catch big enough to fish his way out of the financial woes that are drowning him and his brothers-at-sea. With his back up against it, Kang sees no way out other than to accept an illegal smuggling job from a local shyster known for transporting contraband from China. The cargo? Chino-Korean immigrants. 

The unraveling of the plot begins when one of the immigrants, Hong-mae (Han Ye-ri), accidentally falls into the water mid-transfer. After a second’s hesitation, Dong-sik jumps into the water and saves her, silently vowing, it seems, to be her protector from there on out. Meanwhile, at the sight of two women among the frightened and confused group, Kang mumbles to himself how having women on board his ship is bad luck. Yet, even with these ominous signs and foreshadowing, including a near-fatal incident in the opening sequence of the film, nothing truly prepares the audience for what Bong and Shim have in store once the sea fog (the literal translation of ‘Haemoo’) sets in. Adventure, action, romance, horror and comedy of the darkest kind reign simultaneously once the shocking incident occurs. To reveal this incident would spoil the gumption shown by the filmmakers, but suffice it to say that "Haemoo" becomes an all-together different kind of beast. For better, and for worse.

Never in a million years would someone be able to watch this film for the first time and guess that it’s a debut feature. So assured is the direction, so purposeful is the camera that frenetically follows the characters on the boat, so optimally bleak are the wide shots of the isolated ship, aimlessly stuck between the darkness of the ocean and the darkness of the thundering skies above. The cinematographer Hong Kyeong-pyo truly deserves accolades for imbuing the picture with a ghostlike atmosphere that makes any Tim Burton picture look like a Skittles commercial. Add to this the character of the ship itself, thanks to the screenplay’s intelligent scattering of episodes across various locations on the vessel, and you’ve got yourself a picture of truly epic dimensions. Bong Joon-ho’s influence is felt from rhapsodic start to somber finish, and it’s clear that the two men have built a good working foundation from their first collaboration, Bong’s brilliant “Memories of Murder,” which Shim co-wrote. Mind you, once the titular fog envelops the ship and all the hearts and minds on board along with it, the tone of the film obscures any genuine attributes these characters may have possessed in the first half of the film. 

About two-thirds in, a realization creeps in that this is a carefully crafted story with characters that can only exist in fiction. The effect is one of dispelled movie magic, not unlike Bong’s recent “Snowpiercer”. People begin to lose their minds, and human desires flare up, in comically nightmarish fashion that’s much too quick to properly absorb and admire. This unwelcome feeling still doesn’t stop one from enjoying the devilish fun when one of the crew members calms everyone down by saying “we are all in the same boat. Literally!” The performances from the three leads, Kim in particular relishing his role with subtle viciousness similar to Humphrey Bogart in “Treasure of Sierra Madre”, also anchor the film so that it doesn’t get too lost in the tonal twists and turns. And once the fog clears, despite the questionable pace along the way, Shim has much to be proud of. 

South Korea’s peculiar brand of cinema is doubtlessly thrilling when done right. Similarly though, it can tip the genre scales a little too forcefully at times, making for a nauseous ride. "Haemoo" is bit of mixed bag in that sense, and a certain time-jumping decision at the end will leave many international audiences scratching their heads, while it may very well resonate with a more understanding South Korean crowd. In any case, "Haemoo" is a picture worth seeing for its thrills, scrupulous tension-building and mischievous genre twists that will have you gasping one second, and laughing the next.

More TIFF Reviews Here: JYJ CAFFEINE: HaeMoo Reviews from TIFF


[Herald Review] Under the ocean, ugliest side of human desire

Drama ‘Sea Fog’ centers on true story behind the Taechangho incident

Published : 2014-08-17 20:57
Updated : 2014-08-17 20:57 

Moviegoers have seen quite a lot of the sea this summer, as ocean-themed films filled the silver screen.

Period action flick “Roaring Currents” showed Adm. Yi Sun-sin’s historic victory, while comedy action flick “The Pirates” depicted imaginary and colorful pirates in search of a whale that swallowed the Joseon royal seal.

Nothing like the first two films, “Sea Fog” presents a grim but realistic look at the ocean, depicting human greed lying under the surface.

“Through the life of six crew members of Jeonjinho (the name of the vessel in the film, translated as ‘to advance’) and Chinese migrants, I wanted to illustrate a blended microcosm of our real life into the film,” director Shim Sung-bo said at the film’s press premiere. “This is not a suspense or a thriller. It is a film about humans’ inborn desires, loneliness and ambiguity.”

Scenes from the drama “Sea Fog” (NEW)

The film, set during 1998 during the Asian financial crisis that put thousands of Korean people out of work, forecasts a gloomy outlook as it is adapted from a theatrical performance of “Haemoo” (Korean translation of sea fog) based on a less publicly known tragedy that occurred in 2001.

The Taechangho incident occurred when 25 illegal Chinese immigrants were allegedly dumped at sea by Korean ship crew members, after being suffocated to death inside the ship’s fish storage compartment to hide from the maritime police. The people who suffocated were among 60 Chinese and ethnic Korean-Chinese migrants being smuggled across the border on the Korean vessel Taechangho.

The film follows the basic plot of the accident in detail, piecing together the fictional truth and some of motives behind the ship crew’s action to dispose the bodies.

The film’s realistic portrayal of the accident continues the unique style of Bong Joon-ho, who has painted social realism onto his previous films such as “The Host,” “Memories of Murder” and “Snowpiercer.”

But this time, “Snowpiercer” director Bong takes a different position. He is the executive producer as his “Memories of Murder” cowriter Shim makes his directorial debut. 

Scenes from the drama “Sea Fog”

Bong’s emphasis on taking visually thrilling stories to reflect true humanist details on a visceral level matches detailed storyteller Shim’s discussion of what is under human desire, especially when faced with disaster.

The accident says it all, but it is quite difficult to pinpoint who is at fault for the tragedy in the first place.

The crew members were left with a series of tough choices and they made questionable decisions based on each person’s desire.

Therefore, this film is not geared to judge evil from good or wrong from right. Rather, it illustrates that there is no definite good or evil, and that duplicity and human nature are affected by the environment.

Ironically, the viewers are left with questions of what they would have done if they were in the crewmembers’ shoes. Some might even be able to sympathize with them.

The Jeonjinho leaves the docks hoping to return with a full load of fish only to end up burdened by the weight of human desires.

For captain Cheol-joo, played by Kim Yoon-shik, the Jeonjinho is all he has. Once a dominant fishing vessel in Yeosu, this old vessel lost its worth as the crew failed to catch fish. Cheol-joo plots to make money by trafficking in people rather than selling the ship for its scrap value.

He cries out “Inside this vessel, I am the president,” he tells Chinese stowaways who refuse to go inside the fish storage area. He disposes of dead bodies without any reserve to prevent possible scrutiny.

Unlike Cheol-joo, Wan-ho (Moon Sung-keun), the ship’s engineer who values morality and conscience, is the most sympathetic character in the film. When his morals are tested, he can no longer live normally.

Dong-sik, the youngest of six crew members, played by singer-turned-actor Park Yoo-chun, seems to be the most innocent and strongest character.

He immediately falls for Korean-Chinese migrant Hong-mae (Han Ye-ri), the only girl left on the ship. When Hong-mae becomes the source of the conflict, Dong-sik does everything to protect her. Dong-sik is genuine and less tainted than other older crew members. He values love and humanity even in harrowing circumstances.

As each crew member represents a mutually different desire ranging from social status, sexual desire, money, to love and even morality, the film simply deals with the theme of desire which causes woes for the humankind.

It is not sea fog that dashes the dreams of Chinese stowaways and Korean crew members. It was the ugly side of human desire that destroys everything, leaving few traces behind.

By Ahn Sung-mi (

JYJ Greetings for Yuchun and HaeMoo
with English Subs
cr: uploader


 'Sea Fog' peaking high ranking on movie ticket reservation website'

'Sea Fog' is rising hot.
Movie 'Sea Fog' was officially released on August 13th, and it is peaking high rankings on movie ticket reservation websites.

According to database from website 'Max Movie,' 'Sea Fog' 62% of the audiences are female, and this sales volume is much higher than that of 'Roaring Currents,' and 'The Pirates.' Many ladies are showing particularly great reactions for 'Sea Fog' not only because it includes lots of thrilling and suspenseful scenes, but also because it includes heartfelt romance.

This sales volume is more outstanding than any other films of this season, because this is the only 'adults only' rated film.

In addition, according to another website's database, 'Sea Fog' received over 130 thousand mentions on various websites and SNS during last two months, which is way ahead of that of 'Roaring Currents,' and 'The Pirates.'

Meanwhile, 'Sea Fog is a movie about crews of a 69-ton fishing vessel Jeonjinho going through a series of troubles while trying to smuggle 30 illegal immigrants into Korea to earn more money.

/Reporting by Noh I-seul

Review: Bleak And Gripping, HAEMOO Prizes Character Over Spectacle


By Pierce Conran

To date, the summer of 2014 has seen the majority of mainstream Korean films fall into either of two categories: the noir thriller or the period blockbuster. While a handful of terrific genre pieces, namely A Hard Day and Confession, have succeeded in spite of this inertia, it's been high time for something a little different. Along comes Haemoo, a character-driven blockbuster set on a boat that is based on a play which is itself drawn from a real life incident.

A fishing trawler returns to port with a meager catch and when its captain is offered a pile of money to help some Chinese-Korean illegal immigrants sneak onto the peninsula he is quick to pocket the cash. He heads back out to sea along with his five-man crew and in the dead of night they make contact with another vessel carrying their payday. Soon the youngest crewmember forms an attachment with one of the smuggled girls, but as tensions between the crew and their passengers mount and when the Korean maritime police suddenly appear, things quickly spin out of control.You can often count on Korean cinema to take a familiar setting and turn it on its head. Sea Fog brings other open sea blockbusters such as Jaws (1975) and The Perfect Storm (2000) to mind, but it is a great deal darker than what you would expect from commercial cinema, particularly a blockbuster of this size (at least by Korean standards). First time director Shim Sung-bo and his co-writer and executive producer Bong Joon Ho deliver a film that is as somber as the latter's recentSnowpiercer. But with a far more realistic setting and less of Bong's trademark wry humor, Haemoo
 packs a thunderous emotional whallop.


Much like Bong was confronted with when shooting an ambitious film within the limitations of a train, Shim and cinematographer Hong Kyung-pyo (also the DP onSnowpiercer) are tasked with running the audience through a gauntlet of thrills and emotions within the confines of a small fishing boat. The brooding weather, which veers from stark daylight and ominous night to thick batches of creeping fog, ably amplifies the foreboding tone of the film. Equally impressive is the claustrophobic interior lensing. Every shot is permeated with a dank warmth that acts as a refuge from the literal and figurative tempests that take place on deck before turning the space into an oppressive tangle of burning pipes offering no exit from the encroaching terror. Throughout, the fluidity between shots, which evolve as actors move within or in and out of frame with clear precision, makes the film's visual tone rich and expressive.Haemoo, which secured a choice mid-August release date, is presented as a summer blockbuster, but it is far more concerned with characters than visual spectacle. While the film is expertly made, all its visual thrills are present to serve the characters and their complexly interwoven moral trajectories. But a sagacious mise-en-scene can only get you so far. Thankfully, the film's greatest strength lies in its cast.

Most familiar to viewers will be Kim Yun-seok, whose droopy, yet keen eyes have brought some of the most fearsome characters in modern Korean cinema to life. His turn here recalls his roles in The Yellow Sea (2011) and Hwayi: A Monster Boy
, both for its commanding presence and ruthless practicality. In a position of authority and placed in a horrifying situation, Kim's Captain is a man who makes quick decisions and follows through at all costs.


Park Yoochun, a member of the Kpop group JYJ, convinces in his first major film outing as the youngest crewmember. He and Han Ye-ri, a rising star who does her best work to date, serve as the emotional core of the film. Theirs is an unlikely romance, but the young thespians sell it by avoiding histrionics in favor of soft palpitations and pellucid expressions. As the remaining members of the crew, veterans Moon Sung-geun, Kim Sang-ho, Lee Hee-joon and Yoo Seung-mok each manage to turn their gruff fisherman into unique and complex individuals.

Haemoo explores some bleak territory and considering its setting and plot, unfortunate but inevitable similarities with the recent Sewol Ferry Sinking do arise. Given how fresh a memory that is and how powerful a film this is, it may act as a painful reminder to some. It remains to be seen whether this affects the film's eventual returns, but it doesn't make the film any less compelling.

The only place where Haemoo stumbles is in its final reel. By rehashing a few well-worn genre tropes and temporarily abandoning its engaging character arcs, it feels as though the production is ticking a few boxes that its big budget requires it to. However, the film does still end on a strong note. As dark and daring a blockbuster as they come, Haemoo is a terrific summer tentpole, and one like no other.


Source: Modern Korean Cinema


‘Wish for a Full Load of Fish’-Still Photos of Film ‘Sea Fog’ Taken by the Director of Photography to Be Released

Posted by: ,
This post is also available in: Japanese, Korean
The still photos taken by Hong Gyeong-pyo, the director of photography of film ‘Sea Fog’ and the one who maximized the sense of reality in the film, have been released.
In the photos, ‘Dong-sik’ and‘Hong-mae’ look like a shy couple. Appearances of the crewmen at the kitchen in ship ‘Jeonjin’were captured in the photos, too.
Actors in this film shot more than 70% of the scenes in the sea for the purpose of showing more realistic characters and pictures.
The film ‘Sea Fog,’ is currently out in the theaters.


Park Yoochun as the youngest crewman ‘Dong-sik’ on the ship ‘Jeonjin’
Park Yoochun is pareparing sashimi in the corner of the kitchen.
Actor Yoo Seung-mok is pleasant touching the light bulb.
‘Hong-mae’ (Han Ye-ri)’s eyes look empty and warm at the same time.
Moon Sung-geun who plays chief engineer is making ramen.  

Written by Han Jihee, Photography by NEW, Translated by Park Kayla
from getitk

Sea Fog Promotions and News

[ENGSUB] 140724 Yuchun's promo ad for 'Sea Fog''s CGV Star Live Talk

via t4rw3n

Reports from Korean Media about HaeMoo (Sea Fog) to be shown at 2014 TIFF

via AllTV

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Cast Interview at Busan Showcase

via Thirtytoes

JYJ- Just Us

JYJ Just Us

Updated 7/28/14 (7/29/14 K Time)



JYJ Just Us
New Album
Available Now

Credit: -everdeen


Making film of Back Seat MV

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JYJ Just Us
Album 6 Min Digest

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JYJ Pics






3년 만에 돌아온 JYJ, 그들의 뮤직비디오 촬영 현장 대공개!

The Album

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JYJ Recording

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Promo Pics

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Updated 7/27/14

JYJ 'JUST US' 옥외영상


Gifs from their newest promo video that was just released...can't wait! 

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Credit: yoochum

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Updated 7/26/14



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[NEWS] A united JYJ to release comeback album ‘JUST US’ on July 29th


JYJ will release their new full-length album, ‘JUST US’, on July 29th.

CJES Entertainment stated, “JYJ will release their second full-length album on the 29th and begin activities with a showcase and Asia tour after its release. JYJ personally worked with composers to create lyrics and also the album will also include English songs produced by an American studio, totalling 13 songs to be released.”
On releasing teaser photos and behind-the-scenes photos of props via JYJ’s official Facebook account, CJES said “To commemorate the confirmation of JYJ’s album release, we shared the news and teasers with fans first.” The released teaser photos show each of the JYJ members in a close-up cut as well as photos of the colourful flowers and vintage props used on the album jacket photo shoot set, generating hot responses from domestic and international fans.
Each member has been working on solo activities such as dramas, musicals and films but it has been three years since the three members worked together on music. Though it could feel like a burden, JYJ instead felt happy and at ease as they worked together, and received compliments such as “JYJ lives up to their name”.
JYJ revealed their thoughts on the album, “JYJ’s album is titled ‘JUST US’ because we don’t feel the burden that we must look handsome and cool. Instead, we simply want to show our natural state. It’s true that this is music that only JYJ can create, but we were very happy while creating this music and we want to share this happiness with the public.
Source: OSEN
via Intoxicated by Xia

JYJ: All For One, One For All 




JYJ: All For One, One For All
Grand Comeback Ad

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from B yo

Back Seat (MV Teaser)
JYJ- Just Us
New Album


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JYJ: “Chris Brown Wrote a Song for Our New Album”

JYJ: “Chris Brown Wrote a Song for Our New Album”
Boy band JYJ has announced that the group’s comeback release will feature a collaboration with heavyweight American RnB stars, including Chris Brown, who has contributed a song to the group’s new album, “Just Us.”
The track’s name will be “Valentine,” and a spokesperson for JYJ explained that most of the work on the song was done in Los Angeles last year.
The group’s representatives also told the media that Lonny Bereal, a Grammy Award-nominated producer was drafted in to assist with the song’s production. The producer has worked with American RnB artists such as Keri Hilson, Tank and Keyshia Cole, and has also performed with the likes of Kelly Rowland.
Lonny Bereal was quoted as saying he was very pleased with the boys’ performance on “Valentine,” and explained, “We managed to produce something special. I am not sure if anyone other than JYJ could have sung it as well as that.”
“Just Us” will drop on July 29.

JYJ’s New Album to Include Song Written by Chris Brown

2014.07.24 10:19 Newsen Lee So Dam Translation Credit : Yeawon Jung

JYJ collaborated with Chris Brown in its upcoming album.

C-JeS Entertainment announced, “JYJ’s second full length album Just Us set to be released on July 29 will contain a song written by Chris Brown titled Valentine. The song, which was recorded last summer in a studio in LA, has a catchy loop and sexy lyrics, maximizing the vocal charms of JYJ.”

JYJ’s New Album to Include Song Written by Chris Brown
Valentine, which was co-produced by Chris Brown and Grammy nomination producer Lonny Bereal, harmonizes the JYJ members’ voices along with a catchy melody.

Lonny Bereal said, “The result came out so great, to the point where I wonder if any singer other than JYJ could pull of this song."

Meanwhile, JYJ’s new album will be released online and offline on July 29.

Photo credit: C-JeS Entertainment


 New Title song is "Back Seat"
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[NEWS] JYJ 2nd album title song 'BACK SEAT', teaser MV to be released on July 22nd (ohmyjunsu)

has expressed their common belief in music and despite doing solo activities for 3 years, their friendship has become stronger.  (rubypurple_fan)

's album will focus more on their singing abilities in well-harmonized songs. (rubypurple_fan)
BACK SEAT is an urban R&B track with sexy lyrics and a fantasy mood. It has the charismatic feel that was not presented in previous albums (ohmyjunsu)
JYJ "we depend on each other in hard a shelter"
"We feel each other's presence when we are apart. We depend on each other in hard times, like a shelter you come back to take a rest"
"Each of us bring out different music in our own domain, but when 3 of us come back together, we end up searching 4 music well-suited 4 JYJ" (inheaven_wJYJ)


Pics and gifs by fans