After the Korean Wave, the dragon wars?

Juli 1, 2008
Written by Samuel Jamier
Sunday, 16 September 2007
I have not had the occasion to comment on the hallyu (Korean Wave) panel that I had the chance to moderate, on August 23rd. Nor did I have much time to blog much, of late… swamped as I was in my recent duties.

At any rate, since I am evoking the “Is the Korean Wave dead” roundtable, I should mention the release of Dragon Wars (D-War) in the US yesterday. I briefly commented on the phenomenon that the movie has become in South Korea during the discussion (Kim Yong-Hwa had a few things to say about it too). It is indeed quite a big piece of news for Korean cinema (if you consider it a Korean film at all), as the blockbuster is opening in no less than 2,275 theaters. It raises many questions and eyebrows, and I will come back to this as soon as I get to see the film.

In the meantime, here is a sample of the press coverage (The Korea Times, among others) of the Korean Wave forum.

panel 1
From right to left, Ernest Woo (new media expert and translator extraordinaire), director Kim Yong-Hwa (and Ernest’s instant bosom buddy), Michael Huh, VP at Imaginasian… and me, sweating over my introduction.
(Photo: Ariel Kavoussi)

“While positing that repeated and formulaic plots, high movie production costs, the small size of the local film market, the tendency to use the same group of popular stars over and over again are elements that contributed to the ebbing of the Korean Wave, the panelists unanimously expressed that they do not believe “the Korean Wave is dead.:” […]Director Kim said “Korean films have been made in poor surroundings until now and while they have not been popular or commercial like Hollywood films, their strength is in the storytelling”. He added: “There are ups and downs not just in Korean cinema but also other film industries and cultures, so I don’t agree that the Korean Wave is dead, nor that the Korean film industry will have any significant hit just because of it.”Comparing the Korean cinema industry with the Hollywood movie business, Michael Huh, the vice-president of marketing at ImaginAsian TV, pointed out that “the lack of creativity, cooperative promotion and marketing are what the Korean film industry must overcome.”

The debate on the future of Korean pop culture filled the newly renovated conference hall of The Korea Society with a diverse crowd of tv-drama fans, journalists, independent moviegoers or simply, curious people.

The audience is listening… while the panelists are dying of thirst (the air-conditioning was not working well and water was rare)
(Photo: Ariel Kavoussi)

taken from : http://www.koreasociety.org


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