[FOUNTAIN]Infantile pop culture?Park Chan-wook and Hong Sang-soo are two leading Korean film directors who have earned recognition on the international stage. Movies by these directors usually feature sex and violence and thus they get ratings that say the movies are only suitable for ages 18 and up. The phrase “age 18 and up” symbolizes their mentality and filming style, in a way.
But they stopped that practice, at least for the moment. Mr. Hong’s latest film, “Woman on the Beach” received the rating for ages 15 and up. Mr. Park’s romantic movie “Cyborg Girl” is rated as suitable for those who are older than 12. His three serial movies on vengeance, including “Oldboy” and “Lady Vengeance,” were only for ages 18 and up. This might look like a little bit of a change in the ratings for certain directors’ movies. It is worth paying attention to. Both directors said they wanted to show their movies to their daughters.
Lim Sang-soo, the director of the controversial movies “A Good Laywer’s Wife” and “The President’s Last Bang” also joined this trend. The movie “The Old Garden” is based on a novel by Hwang Suk-yeong and is scheduled to play in cinemas early next year. When asked about the reason for turning a serious novel into a movie suitable for teenagers as well as adults, Mr. Lim answered that he wanted to show that he had the capacity to make movies suitable for all ages.
They are not alone. These days, Korean filmmakers and producers want to have their movies get ratings suitable for youth. The lower the age, the better. While the Media Rating Board is becoming less strict with its standards when giving ratings for movies, producers plan to make movies featuring less sex and less violence in order to gain a wider audience. “The Host” hit record-high sales of more than 10 million tickets, thanks to the rating for ages 12 and up. As movies have become entertainment for families, the perception that a rating for the young guarantees a box office success has come widespread. The “kidult” movie market has become wide open. A director’s ability to attract a variety of generations is regarded as most virtuous and important. “The Host” is a good example of that. Elementary school children see it as a monster movie, while adults view it as a satire of politics. People of different ages can find different things of interest in the movie. That is their best merit, and a result of a director’s talent, people say.
As a result, adults and children end up watching the same movies. Adults develop childish tastes, while children become too mature.
This infantile pop culture has suddenly become the portrait of modern society.
*The writer is a culture and sports desk writer
of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Yang Sung-hee