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The 44th PaekSang Arts Awards

Juli 1, 2008
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Happy happy joy joy

Korean TV and film stars celebrated… themselves, I suppose, for The 44th PaekSang Arts Awards last week (Thursday, April 24) in Seoul (aired on SBS), and the greater good of all things screen-related, big and small. Not much to say about the “content”, since I must admit I haven’t seen a whole lot of the films and shows honored this year. What with the doom, gloom and general lapse in enthusiasm around the pop culture industry these days, there was something vaguely vacant about the display of glamor at the event this spring. Or maybe it’s just me. At any rate, you (well, I do) get a sense of a very self-referential, self-contained world in which the bodies of the celebrities have become intensely (not to say, absolutely) sexualized and commodified as such. As a show, or performance, it works of course: it is narcissitic but it does looks very good. And looking good is certainly no laughing matter in Korea.

Kim Min-HeeHan Ye Seul

Red Carpet: Best Actress and New Actress winners Kim Min-Hee, Han Ye-Seul

To go back to the heart of the matter. the awards, the top prize in the film category went, predictably if I may add, to the critically acclaimed crime thriller The Chaser, directed by Na Hong-jin, who also won the best new director award. The Chaser was a suprise hit: with 5 million filmgoers as of now, it is the biggest commercial success of 2008 so far. As far as I can tell, the film looks pretty good and has a strong premise. I don’t know what it is with South Korea and violent crime thrillers, but there definitely seems to be something going on. The past few good films I got to see recently all belonged to that category. Interesting… It is tempting to compare this phenomenon with the persistent/perennial use of melodramatic conventions: as if Korean filmmakers worked best within pre-determined generic frameworks like the melodrama, the gangster movie, horror, etc. Then it becomes a matter of style over substance, or rather of stylizing (sorry about the wording) the substance: it is what they do with the material that makes it or break it – but somehow, melodrama always returns, like the repressed, and gets re-injected in the narrative as the dominant trope. Darcy Paquet calls it “genre-bending”, I think. As good a term as any other. So yes, crime does the trick. More on The Chaser when I have a chance to see it (could take a while)

The best director award went to Lee Chang-dong of Secret Sunshine and the best picture award to Forever the Moment. Lim Chang-jung (Scout) got the award for best actor and Kim Min-hee (I Like It Hot) for best actress. Kwon Sang-woo and Kim Jeong-eun won the popularity vote. And here’s the complete list of this year’s winners: [click ]

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Classic, but cool: Park Jin-hee and Park Shin-yang

Film Section

Daesang (Top Achievement): The Chaser ???

Best Actor: Lim Chang-Jung (Scout ????)

Best Actress: Kim Min-Hee (I Like It Hot ??? ?? ??)

Best Film: Forever the Moment ?? ?? ??? ??

Best New Actor: Jang Geun-Seok (Happy Life ??? ??)

Best New Actress: Han Ye-Seul (Careful Miss Shin aka Miss Gold Digger ???? ???)

Popularity Award: Kwon Sang-Woo (Fate ??), Kim Jung Eun (Forever the Moment ?? ?? ??? ??)

Best Screenplay: Kim Hyun-Seok (Scout ????)

Best Director: Lee Chang-Dong (Secret Sunshine ??)

Best New Director: Na Hong-Jin (The Chaser ???)

Television Section

Daesang: Kang Ho Dong

Best TV Drama: War of Money

Best Producer: Lee Byeong Hun (Yi San)

Best New Producer: Lee Yoon Jung (Coffee Prince)

Best Leading Actor: Park Shin Yang (War Of Money)

Best Leading Actress: Yoon Eun Hye (Coffee Prince)

Best New Actor: Song Chang Ui (Golden Bride)

Best New Actress: Lee Ji Ah (Legend)

Best Screenplay: Thank You

Best Variety Show: Infinity Challenge

Best Male in Variety Show: Park Myung Soo (Happy Together: Season 3)

Best Female in Variety Show: Shin Bong Sun (Happy Together: Season 3)

Popularity Award: Kang Ji Hwan, Sung Yuri

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OK, I have to admit it: this picture is totally the reason why I wrote this post: the all-encompassing glamorous shot (from popseoul.com)

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

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