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Korean Genre Master In New York

Thursday, February 22---Korean director Bong Joon-Ho will be feted with a min-festival retrospective of his signature cinema of black comedies, gritty crime dramas and horror thrillers, including the 2006 Cannes Film Festival sensation THE HOST. The IFC Center, downtown Manhattan's most ambitious cinema complex, will present the program on Monday, February 26 and Tuesday, February 27, with the director himself in attendance at the Tuesday evening screening of THE HOST.

Bong Joon-HoBong Joon-Ho

The film series begins on Monday, February 26 with the 7:00pm screening of BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE (2000), a darkly funny black comedy about a professor who tries to take revenge on the dog who's been disturbing his sleep. Mixing outrageous sequences with piquant social critique, the film is marvelously unsentimental about the absurdities of modern Korean life. The film won  the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at the Hong Kong International Film Festival, as well as special prizes at the Munich and Slamdance Film Festivals.

In 2003's MEMORIES OF MURDER, two rural cops and a special detective from Seoul investigate a series of brutal murders. Their crude measures become more desperate with each new corpse found. Based on a true case that rocked the military dictatorship in South Korea circa 1986, the film was widely praised for both its gory intensity and its razor-sharp tension. The film won major awards in its native South Korea, as well as prizes at the Cognac Festival, the Tokyo Film Festival (as Best Asian Film) and the San Sebastian Film Festival (for Best New Director).

Two short films, SINK AND RISE (2004), Bong's contribution to an omnibus film project made for the 20th anniversary of the Korean Academy of Film Arts, and INCOHERENCE (1994), an early short black comedy, will be screened on Tuesday, February 27th at 6:00pm.


The highlight of the two day series will undoubtedly be the premiere screening of THE HOST (2006) on Tuesday evening at 8:30pm (with the director present). The film revolves around a man in his late 60s, who runs a small snack bar on the banks of the Seoul's Han River and lives with his two sons, one daughter and one granddaughter. One day, an unidentified mutant suddenly appears from the depths of the Han River, spreading panic and death, and kidnapping the old man's daughter. The family resolves to rescue her. To download the film's trailer, log on to:,_The

The film, a scary freakout that combines classic horror technique with Asian manga comic book fantasy, was a critical favorite at the Cannes Film Festival, and will be distributed in the United States by arthouse company Magnolia Pictures. For more information on the series, visit the websites of the IFC Center: and co-presenter the Korea Society:

Sandy Mandelberger, Film New York Editor 

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The Ultimate Guide to the New York Film, Video and New Media Scene.

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