[ENTERTAINMENT]Spoof is proof of robust film industry

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Spoof is proof of robust film industry

The highpoint of the Korean movie resurgence can be traced to March 30, 2001, when "Chingu" ("Friend") opened. The movie sold more than 8 million tickets nationwide, a number that until then was considered by many as virtually impossible.

Since then, the local movie industry has grown by leaps and bounds, with ticket sales soaring. In the first three months of this year, 16 films out of 60 opening here were local productions, up from 13 of 73 in the same period last year. Korean films took 37 percent of the market share in the January-March period, selling 3.5 million tickets. Though no prominent film, like "Friend," emerged, plenty of others did well.

"Gonggong-ui Jeok" ("Public Enemy"), an action-comedy directed by Gang Woo-seok, topped that list by selling 1.16 million tickets during the period, followed by the action film "2009 Lost Memories," a Korean-Japan collaboration directed by Lee Si-myung. Other notables were "Dusabu Ilche" ("My Boss, My Hero"), an action-packed comedy, and "Nappeun Namja" ("Bad Guy") directed by Kim Gi-duk.

The promising movies for the second quarter look to be "Jibeuro..." ("The Road Home...") and "Jaemitt-neun Yeonghwa" ("Fun Movie"). "The Road Home" is a drama by the director Lee Jeong-hyang, who did "Misulgwanyeop Dongmulwon" ("Art Museum by the Zoo," 1998). The film deals with the relationship between a small-town grandmother and her big-city grandson.

With all the fuss about Korean movies these days, it was probably inevitable that a parody would pop up. "Fun Movie" is just that. If the title sounds familiar, that's because it's a tweak on the Hollywood parody "Scary Movie."

"Fun Movie" is based on the premise of the 1998 breakthrough film "Shiri," but contains allusions or references to some 28 Korean movies, such as "Joint Security Area" (1999), "Friend" and "Yeopgijeogin Geunyeo" ("My Sassy Girl," 2001).

The actress Kim Jeong-eun stars as a North Korean secret agent with a dark design to ruin the Korea-Japan World Cup. But in South Korea she falls in love with a South Korean security agent. The film follows a reasonably well-structured story line even as it strains to include connections to the 28 films. In one scene, Kim Su-ro, who plays another North Korean spy in the south, loses it near some railroad tracks and says "I'm going mad!" which sounds similar to the "I want to go back!" line that figured prominently in the drama "Peppermint Candy." An action drama "Nowhere to Hide" (1999) is no exception, with a scene where a professional killer stabs his victim to death is featured. The bloodcurdling scene in the original gets challenged, picturing a funny-looking middle-aged woman selling street food pouring ketchup all over her victim.

The film is not seamless, however, as the parodies sometimes are forced. One example is a description of an absurdly friendly relationship between Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il, who held their final get- together in a church after a summit, vowing everlasting friendship. The scene is a parody of the romance "Yaksok" ("A Promise," 1998).

But by virtue of being the first parody of Korean films, "Fun Movie" deserves credit. Since it opened April 12, it's sold more 400,000 tickets more than a respectable start. Kim Mi-hui, who heads the production agency Fun and Happiness, which released the film, said, joking, "If things go as well as we expect, the film will sell 22 million tickets, which is the total of tickets sold for the 28 parodied films."

by Chun Su-jin

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