Ko Bong-su’s debut feature ‘Delta Boys’ to hit theaters

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Ko Bong-su’s debut feature ‘Delta Boys’ to hit theaters

“Delta Boys,” winner of the Korean Competition in last year’s Jeonju International Film Festival, will get a theatrical release next month.

Director Ko Bong-su’s debut feature about four down-on-their-luck men who decide to audition together for a singing competition will hit theaters on June 8.

“Whether the film would get a theatrical release hadn’t been confirmed [for a long time],” Ko said during a press preview on Tuesday, “but I’m truly glad that it has been decided to be screened at cinemas.”

“Delta Boys” features an ensemble cast of Baek Seung-hwan, Lee Ung-bin, Shin Min-jae and Kim Chung-gil playing a factory worker, an unemployed man from Chicago, a fishmonger and a street vendor. Neither of them are particularly talented music-wise, but they collaborate nonetheless to prepare for a singing contest.

The director said he was inspired to make the film after watching a YouTube video of the Delta Rhythm Boys, an African-American vocal group that was active in the mid-1900s, performing “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.” Ko recalled the image as visually striking and wanted to reflect that quality in his own characters, each of whom has his own idiosyncratic hairstyle.

Ko said his movie is also autobiographical of sorts. Like the characters, the director and ensemble see themselves as artists trying not to lose grasp of what they love: making movies.

“I spend more of my time on doing something else [part-time jobs] than on acting,” Baek said. “But I like going to the shooting set, and I find acting very fun.”

“Delta Boys” was a passion project for all members involved, made on a shoestring budget of 2.5 million won ($2,200).

“I hope it functions as a kind of film that encourages young Koreans to strive forward to achieve their dreams,” said Ko, who wrote, shot and edited the film himself.

A similar message can be found in Ko’s second feature, “Loser’s Adventure,” which was part of the Korean Competition in this year’s Jeonju International Film Festival. It is a coming-of-age film about three high school students who lack in talent but persist nonetheless to compete against other schools in wrestling.

The director’s third feature will be a Hollywood Western-inspired romance about a bounty hunter and contain fantastical elements.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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