South Korean director captures historical tragedy while producing epic entertainment, Xu Fan reports.
China’s screens have been flooded by productions on the war against Japanese invaders in recent months. Many viewers complain such films can become stereotyped, and they will feel delighted to see an unlikely epic from neighboring South Korea.
Assassination, the highest-grossing movie so far in the South Korean market this year, will be released across the Chinese mainland’s theaters on Sept 17, about two months later than its homeland premiere. The action thriller will set a record on becoming the fastest South Korean title to reach the Chinese market.
Set in 1933, during Japan’s 191045 colonial rule of theKorean Peninsula, the tale fictionalizes three talented prisoners dispatched by the exiled provisional Korean government to assassinate a Japanese commander and a traitorous Korean tycoon.
High praise prevailed after sneak previews on Monday. Viewers say it’s refreshing to see a wartime title, which are usually serious in China, produced like a Hollywood action thriller, thanks to many plot twists and occasional humorous lines to ease the tension in several crucial scenes.
“I heard that,” director Choi Dong-hoon said, smiling, at a Beijing media event.
He gave a one-hour interview alongside the two lead actors, Lee Jung-jae and Ha Jung-woo, with Chinese newspapers on Tuesday.
“In South Korea, few movies featuring this subject (Koreans’ fight against Japanese colonists) have earned commercial success before,” he says.
The veteran director explains that Assassination is not a propaganda title pushing patriotism, but one in which he hopes its audiences can sense “something unusual”.
“South Korea had been colonially ruled by Japan for 35 years. It was quite a long time and became a
The characters depicted in my movie want to convey that we never stopped fighting for freedom.”