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"Cloud Atlas" Movie: As Risky As "Inception" says Tom Hanks, Once in a Lifetime Role, Says Halle Berry

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My Tutor Friend

This movie is about the lives of Kim Ji-Hoon (Kwon Sang-Woo) and Choi Su-Wan (Kim Ha-Neul), both 21 years old. Su-Wan is in her second year at university while Ji-Hoon is still in the process of repeating his third year of high school. Su-Wan’s mother works in their family business, selling fried chicken. To help out, Su-Wan earns money by tutoring other children, but often gets fired after hitting the students. Her mother has a rich friend with a son in need of a tutor. The friend, Kim Ji-Hoon’s mother, wants a tutor that will make her son study so that he can pass his exams. This salary is able to pay for an entire semester (half of a school year) of Su-Wan’s college education. Ji-Hoon is always able to attract the girls and draw attention through his love of fighting. He fought at his new high school, Surim High School and managed to offend Jong-Seo Lee, the leader of the triad group at Surim. He was able to attract his girlfriend, Ho-Gyung Yan, through his fighting. He had problems with everyone. Including the entire gang at his high school, he beat up a member of another gang after they took things from his little brother. Besides studying, Ji-Hoon is actually fairly well rounded. As a child, Ji-Hoon was sent to America to study abroad. Because of his parents' decision, the relationship between them and Ji-Hoon becomes strained. Ji-Hoon’s Father, Kim Bong-Man is threatening to send him back to the USA if he continues to get into trouble with fighting and bad grades. To avoid being sent back to America, Ji-Hoon needs to get at least a 50% on the upcoming mid-term exams. The only problem is that his usual average mark was much lower than that. Will he make it?

Yes, he manages to do it. At the end of the term, he barely ends up with a passing grade (50.1), but passing nonetheless. As a result from a bet that the two, Ji-Hoon and Su-Wan, Su-Wan must dance in front of a crowd during a festival that was taking place. While embarrassed and shy at first, she eventually gets really into dancing and so does the audience. Ji-Hoon is starting to really like Su-Wan at this point and is angry when he sees all of the guys watching her and running up to the stage. Near this point is also when Su-Wan’s boyfriend comes back home. When spying on the couple, Ji-Hoon learns that Su-Wan’s boyfriend is breaking up with her. The next day, Ji-Hoon shows up at his house and beats him up for leaving her. Later, however, he finds out that the reason that he was leaving Su-Wan was because he was becoming a priest. After the service, Ji-Hoon lets Su-Wan beat him up for a little bit. Once she settles down, he decides to take her sky sailing. This is when Ji-Hoon decides to tell Su-Wan that he likes her. Su-Wan does not know how to respond and pretends she cannot hear him. Later on, they go to an amusement park. Just when Ji-Hoon is about to give Su-Wan a present, Su-Wan sees her close friend at the park with her boyfriend. This is the friend that Su-Wan previously confided in about dealing with this student. Originally, Su-Wan’s friend thought that Ji-Hoon was her boyfriend, but Su-Wan, however, says that she would never go out with him. This makes Ji-Hoon mad and he throws her present into the fountain and leaves.

Eventually, all of Ji-Hoon’s fighting catches up with him. Near the end of the movie, Ji-Hoon has to deal with all of the problems that have been building up. First, his girlfriend is mad and is making him choose between her and Su-Wan. Once he chooses Su-Wan, he isn’t finished. He still needs to deal with the high school gang and the real gang members. Ji-Hoon and Su-Wan manage to run away for a little bit, but they get cornered and Ji-Hoon has to fight everyone on the beach. Once all of the other gang members are down, Ji-Hoon still has to deal with the best fighter of all. Ji-Hoon is at the man’s mercy, but Su-Wan is able to save Ji-Hoon. And then Su-wan and Ji-Hoon drive away on Su-Wan's motor skooter, Su-Wan is driving while Ji-Hoon sits behind and holds her waist and they go off together. In the end the movie ties up with Su-wan and Ji-hoon becoming boyfriend and girlfriend.

Coming to America: South Korea's top directors on hitting Hollywood with English language films


Cafe owner Yoo-Suk (Kim Ju-Hyeok) sits in a bank next to female police officer Ae-Yeon (Lee Yoon-Ji). Suddenly, a group of masked men bursts into the bank and attempts to rob the bank. All the customers in the bank are tied together by rope. Yoo-Suk attempts to calm down a middle-aged woman by whispering in her ear that "the robbers will go away once they get what they want." The already highly agitated woman looks over at Yoo-Suk and sees him staring down her shirt. She assumes he is sexually harassing her. This causes the woman to lean away from from Yoo-Suk and this causes the entire group to fall down on top of each other. Yoo-Suk's face is buried in the woman's cleavage. She screams.

At the police station the woman accuses Yoo-Suk of sexual harassement. Yoo-Suk denies the charge, but the police seem to be favoring the woman. This is when police officer Ae-Yeon, who was next to them during the robbery, stands up for Yoo-Suk and helps him get cleared of the charges.

Outside of the police station, Yoo-Suk thanks Ae-Yeon and they go their separate ways. Later that day, Yoo-Suk receives a phone call from his pal Bok-Nam (Oh Jung-Se). Bok-Nam tells Yoo-Suk that he is at a restaurant with Yoo-Suk's estranged girlfriend Na-Ri (Lee Si-Young) and to come over there quickly. Bok-Nam leaves his house immediately and goes to the restaurant. In his excitement, he doesn't think of bringing of his wallet with him.

Yoo-Suk's estranged girlfriend Na-Ri had disappeared about 2 months ago. Yoo-Suk had asked his friend Bok-Nam to help find her. Once, Yoo-Suk arrives at the restaurant he sees only Bok-Nam sitting down at a table. Bok-Nam tells Yoo-Suk to just forget about Na-Ri, she's not a good person and, furthermore, she is going to marry another man soon. Then Bok-Nam gets up and goes to the bathroom. He doesn't come back. Yoo-Suk starts to feel uncomfortable, realizing that he didn't bring his wallet. Furthermore, he sees police officer Ae-Yeon sitting alone at a nearby table.

Police officer Ae-Yeon came to the restaurant to meet her friend, but her friend has stood up. Ae-Yeon is also in an uncomfortable bind, because she just realizes that her purse was stolen out of her handbag and now she doesn't have any money to pay for her order.

Finally, Yoo-Suk walks over to the table and says hello to Ae-Yeon. They both gladly welcome each other, thinking the other person will be nice enough to pick up the tab. Later that evening, Yoo-Suk's estranged girlfriend Na-Ri makes a sudden appearance.

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This Is Not A Foreign Film


Ba-Bo - Miracle of Giving Fool

A simple, moving film about the effect a young man, with the mind of a six year old, has on a number of people around him.  Based on the web-comic of the same name by Kang Pool (Kang Do-Young) and Directed by Kim Jeong-Kwon, this heart-warming, 2008 South Korean comedy-drama is sure to bring some tears to your eyes as well as a smile to your face. Seung-Ryong is a very simple man who focuses on the two most important things in his life: his little sister and his first love. However when those close to him begin to face hardships, it seems that Seung-Ryong may be the only one to set things right.

As in any other town there exists a village fool.  The resident fool in this case is the Hero of the movie Seung-Ryong (Cha Tae-Hyun).  Seung-Ryong is a very peculiar looking character with scruffy, dirty attire and there are those that poke fun at him because of the way his weird ways. babo35 Apart from making egg sandwiches, there isn’t much Seung-Ryong is capable of, for due to an incident when he was young, he is left with the mind of a six year old.  To make matters harder for Seung-Ryong not only did his parents died when he was at a young age, he has a younger sister, Ji-In, to look out for. Though no matter how bad his situation ends up, he is always smiling.

Seung-Ryong is a very simple man who focuses on the two most important things in his life: his little sister and his first love.  However when those close to him begin to face hardships, it seems that Seung-Ryong may be the only one to set things right.

South Korean movie star shines in L.A.

Seducing Mr. Perfect

Min-joon (Uhm Jung-hwa) is a believer in true love and always very dedicated to her current boyfriend. However, men always break up with her - her latest boyfriend ends their relationship on her boy friend's birthday. Distracted by the latest break-up, she bumps into a car and a man steps out of it - who turns out to be her new boss, Robin Heiden (Daniel Henney). Heiden has very clear ideas about a relationship and love: both are a game of power and Min-Joon seeks advice from him, as she doesn't want to get dumped again. However, when she starts to treat men like Heiden treats women, she realizes that she prefers her older behavior, even if that means that she gets dumped again; she doesn't see love as a game of power and never will. Heiden, who has to deal with his own heartbreak, as he loved a woman so much that she had to shoot him to get the message across that she wasn't interested in him, starts to soften at Min-joon's attitude towards life. He eventually falls in love with her and both get into a real relationship and a happy ending of their own.

One of the unique concepts of the movie is that Robin Heiden speaks only English because he finds Korean hard to speak, while Min-Joon speaks mostly in Korean. The two seem to understand each other perfectly without any outside translation. This was a new style of dialogue for Korean films, and it is partially credited for the film's success.

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200 Pound Beauty

Han-na is an overweight phone sex employee and a ghost singer for Amy, a famous pop singer who actually lip syncs. Instead of being famous for her own amazing vocal talent, Han-na hides behind Amy's performance stage and sings during Amy's concerts, and records all of Amy's songs. One day, Amy ungratefully humiliates her in front of the music company's director Sang-jun during his birthday party, knowing full well that Han-na has a crush on him. While crying in the bathroom, Han-na overhears Sang-jun telling Amy that even though they are just using Han-na for her voice, they must be kind to her so she will not walk out on them. Heartbroken, Han-na attempts suicide but is interrupted by a phone call from one of her phone sex regulars who happens to be a top plastic surgeon. She decides to get head-to-toe plastic surgery instead. The surgeon at first refuses to operate on Han-na, but Han-na threatens to blackmail the surgeon by telling his wife about his calls. Then, Han-na makes a moving speech that she does not want to undergo surgery merely to be beautiful, but for the sake of love and as a boost in confidence, and the surgeon is deeply moved. Han-na puts herself in seclusion for a year as she recovers from the changes.

When she comes back from the hospital, Han-na is incredibly beautiful and slender. No one, not even her best friend, Jung-min, recognizes her. With Jung-min's help, she creates a new identity for herself; she is now a Korean-American from California named Jenny. After auditioning to be Amy's secret vocalist again, she earns her own recording contract instead from Sang-jun, claiming that she is "all-natural". In the meantime, Amy, oblivious just like everyone else of Han-na's new identity, desperately tries to find Han-na so that she can record her own postponed album (since she cannot sing the songs herself) by spending time with Han-na's father who is in a hospital due to mental problems, possibly Alzheimer's. Meanwhile, romance begins to blossom between Jenny and Sang-jun, as he continues to promote Jenny, in effect boosting Han-na's confidence in her new self. However, Amy, through spending time with Han-na's father and Jenny, eventually realizes that this Jenny is actually Han-na in disguise.

During a date one night, as sparks fly, Jenny strips for Sang-jun in the character of a nurse, through a phone sex session. After Jenny has fallen asleep, he sees the African character Jenny had drawn on the glass and realizes that he had seen it before. He remembers that Han-na had drawn exactly the same signs on a sheet of music. Then he adds up all of the signs and realizes as well that Jenny is actually Han-na but he keeps this information to himself.

Jenny's debut single "Maria" becomes a hit and the recording company holds a party to celebrate its release. On the day of the party however, Amy brings Han-na's father in an attempt to blow her cover. Han-na's father tries to return Han-na's Barbie doll to her, which had always been Han-na's favorite childhood gift from him. Startled by the sudden appearance of her father and not knowing how to react in front of all the people, including Sang-jun, Han-na denies knowing her father and calls him a fan instead when Sang-jun asks her if the old man is her guest. As her father keeps insisting on giving her the doll, Sang-jun drags him away from Jenny and accidentally knocks him down onto the floor. Desperate to keep her true identity a secret, Han-na makes no move to help her father. It is Jung-min who finally helps him up, casts Jenny a furious look and leads Han-na's father away from the party.

After the party, Sang-jun and Jenny are the only ones left in the room. Sang-jun reveals to Jenny that he knows her true identity but is now cold and distant. He seems unable to forgive her for lying to him but says that he will still work to promote Jenny and carry on with her concert scheduled the next day. Han-na breaks down at this point, heartbroken and unable to pretend to be someone else anymore. Han-na tells him that it is incredibly frustrating and painful not being able to just be herself but have to live a lie, especially in front of him. The surgery that took a whole year to recover from was not nearly as painful as realizing that she still could not be close to Sang-jun. As Sang-jun tries to comfort her, she brushes away his efforts saying, "You broke my heart. Tissue paper cannot fix it."

Sang-jun still insists on continuing with Jenny's first concert, despite protests from the company boss. Later, he encourages a distraught Jenny to do this concert, not for the sake of the fans or the company but for herself, thus implying that he has forgiven her and will continue to support her. At the concert, Jenny can't sing and later breaks down from the pressure of seeing her father being dragged away by security and tells everybody to stop. She then reveals to the public that Jenny is a "fake," and that she is not "all-natural", as she had claimed, but is "plastic". However, nobody seems to believe her. She proceeds tearfully to tell the large crowd her story: how she has abandoned everything that is dear to her - her best friend and father - to get to where she is. She also tells the crowd about how on the way to fame and fortune she has also lost her own identity and that she now no longer knows who she is. Just then, the screens behind her on the stage start to show a clip of the old, obese Han-na, singing angelically. Han-na turns around and sees her old image and tells the crowd that the image is the real her. The crowd, moved by her sincere confession, responds by chanting "It's okay," and Han-na rekindles her relationships with her father and best friend. She drops the stage name Jenny and re-releases a CD with her own name, Han-na, and becomes a highly successful music artist, gaining many fans and anti-fans along the way. Sang-jun realizes the very thing about Han-na that had always drawn him to her was Han-na's innocence. However he also realizes that she has moved on and is now content with who she is.

At the end of the movie, Jung-min also asks to get head-to-toe plastic surgery.

North Korean director's romantic comedy has acrobatic twist

Innocent Steps

My Little Bride's Moon Geun Young slips on her dancing shoes for The Innocent Steps, a heartwarming motion picture about innocent love and the power of dance! In this second film from director Park Young Hun (Addicted), teen star Moon plays Jang Chae Rin, a young Korean girl from the poor Chinese town of Yanbian. When her dance champion sister bows out of an upcoming national dancing competition in Seoul, Chae Rin poses as her sister and attends the event in her place. One problem: Chae Rin has zero dancing experience!

Co-starring in this winning romance is Park Geon Hyeong (DMZ) who plays her dance partner, Na Young Sae. As a former member of South Korea's national dance team, Young-Sae exudes professionalism, refusing to get involved with the film’s beautiful heroine. But as their practices continue, a bond between the two soon develops, as she learns not only how to dance from Young Sae, but how to love as well. But what happens when the villainous Jeong Hyeon su (Yoon Chan) enters the picture and tries to break them apart? Will their budding romance survive?

As with her previous hit film, My Little Bride, Moon Geun Young wins over her audiences with her loveable, wide-eyed charisma, but this time around, she brings with her a level of maturity that might surprise viewers. Critically-acclaimed for his performance in the local stage version of Saturday Night Fever, Park Geon Hyeong acquits himself well as the male lead, sure to win the hearts of female viewers with his dancing skills and winning good looks. Fans of old-fashioned love stories with a contemporary sensibility won't go wrong with The Innocent Steps, an entertaining romance that'll make you want to dance the night away!


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The Schoolgirl's Diary

The Schoolgirl's Diary (or The Journal of a Schoolgirl) is a 2006 North Korean film directed by Jang In-hak. It debuted at the 2006 Pyongyang Film Festival as one of two films produced domestically that year, and was released in France at the end of 2007. The film depicts a North Korean teenager's struggle to understand her father's devotion to his country, and to scientific achievement at the expense of his own family's happiness. Spending the vast majority of his time at work as a computer engineer in a distant town, he leaves his two daughters, wife, and mother-in-law to live in their dilapidated rural home. In questioning her father's values, the rebellious teen begins to defy her mother, a hardworking librarian who spends her evenings translating scientific articles for her absentee husband. The protagonist realizes how selfish she has been only after her father makes a major breakthrough in his scientific research and is lavished with praise for his self-sacrifice and devotion to the state.


For Lucy Liu, it hasn’t been easy being an Asian-American in H’wood

Sexy Teacher

Ji-Young (Kim Sa-Rang) has been placed into a religious all-boys high school as a student teacher. Her arrival brings the entire school to a standstill, with one student even squeezing his milk carton and spurting milk out (guess what that imagery is supposed to represent). Being a Korean high school, the students are ruled by the iron fist of the dean of students, who's called "Slanted Eyes" and literally shoots laser beams at those that cross him. At the school festival, he hears some amorous noises in the library, and soon after discovers a shoe that belongs to Ji-Young. Determined to find out who did it, Slanted Eyes uses his brain's flashback function and pins down three possible suspects: lady killer Tae-Yo (Ha Seok-Jin), who is legendary for being able to get into a girl's pants within five minutes; Jae-Seong (veteran actor Park Jun-Gyu), whose appearance is explained by a mishap with herbal medicine; and class pervert Myong-Sub, who gets right to the point regarding his intentions with Ji-Young. They all have tried at one point or another to go after Ji Young, but there can be only one.

Asian Identity and the Global Economy

100 Days With Mr. Arrogant

After being dumped by her boyfriend just before their 100 day anniversary, Ha-Young (Ha Ji-Won) meets a college guy named Hyung-Joon when she kicks a can that accidentally hits him in the face and causes him to scratch his Lexus. He demands she pay him $3000 on the spot. She escapes from him, leaving her wallet behind.

Hyung-Joon stalks her, demanding money to pay for his car. Since she is a poor high school student Hyung-Joon writes up a "Enslavement Agreement" for Ha-Young in order to pay for the damage to his car. Ha-Young is thrown into a nightmarish slave life for 100 days, running his errands, i.e.: cleaning his house, carrying his shopping, and cleaning his car.

By accident she finds out that the damage to Hyung-Joon's car that's only $10! She then takes her revenge. However, before she knows it Hyung-Joon shows up at her house as her new tutor! He once again takes advantage of her, but soon Ha-Young finds herself falling head over heels for Hyung-Joon. But what happens when he drops out of her life just when she needs him most?

The original Korean title can be literally translated as "my love, the asshole," or, more roughly, as "my love, the no-manners".


Korean American fest comes to L.A.

Welcome to KAFFLA 2012

For the first time ever, KAFFNY is proud to sponsor its first LOS ANGELES film festival (KAFFLA) from August 9-11 at the Korean Cultural Center. Some of the best films screened in NY will be brought to LA. KAFFLA this year is special in that this is the 20th Anniversary of the LA Riots. Our centerpiece films include projects from 5 Korean American directors, each with a unique perspective on the riots. In remembrance of 4.29, we envision this festival articulating the voices of a new generation of Koreans and Korean Americans while recognizing the period that sparked a move to create a strong Korean American awareness. We hope that through this festival, an ethnically diverse audience will participate and create a dialogue within their communities about the dangers of racial tension, the continued existence of cultural divisions, and ways to sponsor understanding.




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