Movies inspired by music remain a hot genre

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Movies inspired by music remain a hot genre

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Still cuts from two music-inspired films - “Born to Be Blue,” left and “Sing Street” - landing in Korean theaters. [GREEN NARE MEDIA. ISU C&E]

Music-themed films are especially well-received in Korea.

“Begin Again” hit the jackpot in 2014 when it raked in the most box-office sales in Korea, and last year “Whiplash” became another beneficiary of the trend when Korea became the top-grossing foreign market.

A number of music-inspired films are landing in Korea once again, aiming to reinvigorate the genre and perhaps add some variety to the Korean box office, which is currently being dominated by ruthless, extravagant movies.

John Carney, the director behind “Once” and “Begin Again,” is back this time with a film set in the 1980s in his hometown of Dublin. The film is roughly based on Carney’s life, in which he relies on music to find meaning in life.

“Sing Street,” a heartwarming coming-of-age story, follows a high school boy named Conor (Ferida Walsh-Peelo) who finds his passion in creating music, which he carelessly started doing in order to impress a girl. The girl’s name is Raphina (Lucy Boynton), a model-wannabe who is planning to leave Dublin to pursue her dream. Drawn to Conor’s music, Raphina agrees to star in a couple of his music videos.

What is surprising about this film is that although it is already Carney’s third film using music as one of the main characters, it still manages to offer something new and enjoyable, both in terms of music and plot. Seven of the film’s original soundtrack songs were composed by renowned music director Gary Clark, while familiar music from ’80s bands such as Duran Duran and Aha adds a nostalgic, retro vibe.

From an immature high school boy who didn’t know what to do with his life, Conor grows into a self-assured person who breaks out of his shell to achieve the things he loves.

The movie opened nationwide on Thursday.

Another music-inspired film coming to theaters is “Born to Be Blue,” an autobiographical piece about the 1960s jazz prodigy Chet Baker, played by the multitalented Ethan Hawke.

Directed by Robert Budreau, “Born to Be Blue” chronicles Baker’s rollercoaster ride of a life, where his career as a jazz trumpeter skyrockets him to fame but then quickly dissolves into ashes once his addiction to drugs and women get out of control.

The film received satisfying reviews when it opened the Jeonju International Film Festival earlier this month. It will have its wide release on June 9.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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