Jjang Jjang Jjang. Mark your calendars this July and August, for Jjang Wednesday. What’s Jjang? It’s a Korean slang to describe all things awesome, super, and terrific.

We’re talking about a line-up of kick-ass never-been-screened Korean flicks screened at Golden Village Plaza and Tiong Bahru every Wednesday, for six weeks in a row starting July 11. Whatever your mid-week mood, there’s a movie to suit it.

The Popping Post recommends who should watch what, or you could just watch all six marvellous movies.

Little Forest
July 11, 7pm

Hye Won (Kim Tae Ri) finds solace in the familiar, childhood friend Jae Ha (Ryu Jun Yeol) (Credit: Golden Village Pictures)

 

 

 

 

Who Should Watch: City dwellers in need of “healing”.  No, not pills nor herbal remedies. “Healing” is a slang used in South Korea to refer to stress relief.

Little Forest is also for fans of Daisuke Igarashi, a critically acclaimed manga artist. If you caught the Japanese two-part film in 2014, it’s time to relive the magic with the Korean adaptation. 

The Story:  Life just isn’t going very smoothly for Hye Won (Kim Tae Ri), a country lass roughing it out in the big city. She fails the teacher qualification exam and isn’t that lucky in love too. Frustrated and fatigued, Hye Won seeks refuge in the rural village where she grew up.  She finds solace in living the simple life, as well as in childhood friends Jae Ha (Ryu Jun Yeol) and Eun Sook (Jin Ki Joo).  

Watch Out For:  Leading lady Kim Tae Ri is the breakout star of Handmaiden (2016), the erotic thriller helmed by Park Chan Woo, the brilliant director behind cult classic Old Boy (2003). The actress beat 1,500 auditioners for a spot on Handmaiden, playing an aristocratic lady’s maidservant who isn’t what she seems to be.  She swept best newcomer awards around the region at the Busan Film Critics Awards, the Director’s Cut Awards and the Asian Film Awards. 

 “She is a natural actress who doesnt decorate or embellish herself. I liked how she blends in naturally to anywhere yet has the clever skills to lead the story to the end,” says Yim Soon Rye, director of Little Forest

She’s one hardworking actress too. She spent a year filming Little Forest to realise the director’s vision of organically capture the changing seasons, from apple blossoms in spring to snowy fields of winter. Now that’s dedication.

 

The Vanished
July 18, 7pm

Jin Han (Kim Kang Woo) is the younger, handsome husband of Yoon Seol (Kim Hee Ae), a chairwoman of a conglomerate. (Credit: Golden Village Pictures)

Jin Han (Kim Kang Woo) is the younger, handsome husband of Yoon Seol (Kim Hee Ae), a chairwoman of a conglomerate. (Credit: Golden Village Pictures)

Who Should Watch: Bookworms with a penchant for mystery novels. If this movie thriller was a book, it would be a real page-turner. Take it from the trio of leads. After reading the riveting script, they signed up without hesitation to star in the Korean remake of the Spanish film The Body (2012).

As actor Kim Sang Kyung puts it:  “From page 1 till the last page, you just can’t put down the script.” Be prepared to be surprised, actress Kim Hee Ae says: “I’ve never seen a shocking final plot twist such as this.”

The Story: A powerful conglomerate chairwoman, Seol Hee (Kim Hee Ae) is found dead. The mystery deepens when her corpse disappears from the morgue before a scheduled autopsy. Who is the murderer? Who stole the body? Detective Joong Sik (Kim Sang Kyung) suspects the president’s trophy husband Jin Han (Kim Kang Woo). 

Watch Out For:  The 34-year-old Lee Chang Hee’s brilliant directing in his feature film debut. The Vanished topped the box office when it was released in South Korea in March 2018, beating Hollywood titan Tomb Raider.

Director Lee first made his mark with the short film The Hideout (2011), which won the top award for the thriller category at Mise-en-scene Short Film Festival. The South Korean short film festival supports up and coming directors, previously lauding acclamed director Na Hong Jin who is behind thriller hits The Chaser (2008) and The Wailing (2016)

Actor Kim Kang Woo says: “He didn’t feel like a newcomer, he even thought about emotions that weren’t included in the script. His vision felt completely mature, and he prepped so much.

 

Seven Years of Night
July 25, 7pm 

Actor Jang Dong Gun plays a father on the hunt for his daughter’s murderer. (Credit: Golden Village Pictures)

Who Should Watch: Thrill-seekers in need of a mid-week reprieve. And fans of South Korea’s most handsome face, Jang Dong Gun. The chiselled actor just topped the annual online survey, by the KBS Broadcast Research Institute, beating over 1,000 celebrities on the list.

The Story:  On a foggy night, an intoxicated Choi Hyun Su (Ryu Seung Ryong) accidentally runs over a young girl. The security guard panics, dumps the body in a lake and tries to go back to life as per normal. But the body is recovered by a search team. This is the start of the guilt-ridden Choi’s nightmare. The victim’s father Oh Young Je (Jang Dong Gun) is out for blood, plotting revenge on Choi’s son (Ko Kyung Pyo) over a period of seven years. 

Watch Out For:  Two of Korean cinema’s acting greats, Jang Dong Gun and Ryu Seung Ryong. The middle-aged gentlemen share one thing in common, acting awards and critical acclaim.

Ryu left an indelible impression on judging panels, sweeping awards for his portrayal as a mentally challenged father falsely imprisoned in Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013).  While Jang made an impression in the 2001 box-office hit Friend, playing a rebellious high school dropout. Jang was cast as the leading man in the highly anticipated Korean remake of Suits (2018), the popular American legal drama.

We wait with bated breath to watch the thespians pit their acting against one another.

 

What A Man Wants
August 1, 7pm

Humour is clearly Song Ji Hyo’s strong suit, she knows how to make an audience laugh in What A Man Wants. (Credit: Golden Village Pictures)

Who Should Watch: Loyal viewers of Running Man, who can’t get enough of the actress Song Ji Hyo in the wacky game show. Go away feeling recharged after watching 100 minutes of pure comedy gold.  If by any chance you love the Czech rom-com Men in Hope (2011), you should catch this Korean remake too.

The Story: Mi Young (Song Ji Hyo) worries for her widowed brother Seok Geun (Lee Sung Min). To fill the void left in his life, Mi Young hires sultry Jenny (Lee El) as a housekeeper for her older brother. But is Mi Yong inviting trouble into her own marriage?  Unknown to Mi Young, Seok Geun is a cheating husband who proves to be a bad influence on her husband Bong Su (Shin Ha Kyun). 

Watch Out For: The best of K-dramas’ acting talents in one production.

Lee Sung Min is an ace at tackling complex roles. We were blown away by his nuanced acting as a tough, but kind superior in Misaeng: Incomplete Life (2014).  The cable drama was an unexpected hit, resonating with the frustrations of office workers regionally. We can expect an equally stellar portrayal of Seok Geun, a man who believes extramarital affairs help to sustain a marriage. 

The charismatic Lee El is another face to watch. This movie marks her meatiest movie role to date, a homewrecker oozing smouldering sexiness. It could be her pouty lips, or almond eyes. Lee exuded the same mesmerising aura as a goddess in fantasy hit Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (2016). 

It’s a small, small world. Lee’s Goblin co-star, drama lead Kim Go Eun used to date Shin Ha Kyun.

 

Marionette
August 8, 7pm

Former detective Kook Chul (Kim Hie Won) is on mission to track down the criminal blackmailing teacher Seo Rin (Lee You Young. (Credit: Golden Village Pictures)

Who Should Watch: If social justice is your calling, Marionette is the movie for you. Director Lee Han Uk touches on taboo topics of child pornography, concerned by the real-life trend of teenagers freely sharing nude selfies and rape videos.

“I wanted to capture social issues in addition to providing an entertaining ride with Marionette,” says Lee, who also penned the script. “The message I want to convey is not stitching up a wound, but to overcome it.”

The Story: High school teacher Seo Rin (Lee You Young) falls asleep after drinking spiked coffee given to her by a student. The next morning, Seo Rin receives an anonymous text message with photos of herself in a state of undress. The trauma of the past returns to haunt her.  Now with the help of a former detective Kook Chul (Kim Hie Won), they set out to track down the blackmailer.

Watch Out For: Leading lady Lee Yoo Young’s award-winning acting. Lee was the first Korean to receive a Best Actress nod at the Milan International Film Festival, dubbed Italy’s Sundance Festival. She won the award for her convincing portrayal in Late Spring (2014), as a struggling mother of two who ends up being an artist’s nude model.

A Tiger In The Winter 
August 15, 7pm

Aspiring novelist Gyeong Yu (Lee Jin Wook) reunites with his ex-girlfriend Yoo Jung ( Ko Hyun Joung), a novelist with a writer’s block. (Credit: Golden Village Pictures)

 

Who Should Watch: If you are in a reflective mood, pondering over life’s what-ifs. Director Lee Kwang Kuk made the film as he contemplated his past, saying: “I suddenly realized that I have acted cowardly in so many moments.  I have turned and run away from my relationships with the people that were important to me because of my vague or banal fear.”

“Although I may never be free of such fear in the time that awaits me, it was my hope to face those moments to the best of my power that has brought this story to the world. I wish that this story could comfort those faced with great and small fears including myself.”

The Story: On a freezing winter day, Gyeong Y(Lee Jin Wook) is dumped by his girlfriend, who has had enough of the free-loader sponging off her. On the same day, a tiger escapes from the zoo too. 

The aspiring novelist eeks out a living as a hired driver when he randomly meets another ex-girlfriend Yoo Jung (Ko Hyun Joung). Yoo Jung is living his dream but the novelist has forgotten how to write. Gyeong Yu offers a quirky proposition to help Yoo Jung overcome her writer’s block. 

Watch Out For: The natural chemistry between co-stars Lee Jin Wook and Ko Hyun Joung.

Both actors have made a name for themselves in the industry. Lee impressed as the time-travelling news anchor in fantasy series Nine: Nine Time Travels (2013). Ko was public enemy number one during the airing of period drama Queen Seondeok (2009), upsetting audiences with her villainous turn as a jealous concubine. 

A Tiger In The Winter marks the first time the actors are starring opposite each other. But director Lee had a good feeling about the pairing even before filming. 

Lee says: “I recall staring at a picture of Jin Wook juxtaposed with a picture of Hyun Joung for a long time during the casting process. I thought it could bring a breath of fresh air into the film world, because they have never met before in their previous works. I had a feeling that they were talking to each other through their images.”

“Even though I didn’t give them extra directing for them separately on the set, they put life into the difficulties and the awkward situation between Gyeong Yu and Yoo Jung based on their deep understanding of the scenario.”

We hope that we’ve helped you decide what to catch after work on the coming Wednesdays. Don’t miss these six exclusive and brand new titles which will be available at Jjang Wednesday: A Korean Film Showcase at GV Plaza and Tiong Bahru starting this week!

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