Aug. 23, 2017

Media contacts:

Lesa Griffith

Tel: 808-532-8712

Taylour Chang
Tel: 808-532-3033


Spanning the 16th century to the present, 10 must-see films cover everything from international spy intrigue to first love

WHAT: Korean Cinema 2017
WHEN: Sept. 2-23, 2017
WHERE: Doris Duke Theatre, 901 Kinau Street, between Ward Avenue and Victoria Street
INFO: Phone, (publishable)
High-res images available on request.

HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I—Korean art and culture have been a part of the Honolulu Museum of Art since it opened in 1927 with a gallery dedicated to Korean ceramics. The museum continues to develop that relationship with its growing annual spotlight on Korean cinema at its Doris Duke Theatre. This year brings a lineup of 10 films—if it's not a blockbuster, it is an indie quietly pushing the Korean film envelope, or a Korean-American film looking at a community not often depicted.

The festival is presented by Korea Foundation. Special thanks to Jeff Chung and media sponsor KBFD.

The series opens on Sept. 2 with a reception featuring a buffet by O'Kim's Contemporary Cuisine, traditional Korean dance, and a screening of the star-studded historical epic Warriors of the Dawn at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $35, and $30 for members.

People don't have to be Hallyu fans to enjoy this series—every film is a well-crafted, insightful work that is just plain good cinema. From the political thriller A Taxi Driver about the 1980 Gwangju Uprising that salutes a hero who remains unidentified to this day to the pioneering LGBTQ indie drama Our Love Story, the Korean Cinema series is the visual pulse of contemporary culture. 


Warriors of the Dawn (대립군)
Directed by Jeong Yoon-cheol. South Korea. 2017. Starring Yeo Jin-Goo, Lee Jung-jae, and Kim Mu-yeol. Korean with English subtitles. 130 mins.
Saturday, September 2 at 6pm
Sunday, September 3 at 4pm
Wednesday, September 6 at 1pm + 7:30pm
Thursday, September 21 at 1pm
This star-studded period epic takes place during the 1592 Imjin war between Korea and Japan. When King Seonjo flees north, abandoning his people, it's up to the sheltered, teenage Crown Prince Gwanghae (Yeo Jin-Goo) to defy the advancing Japanese invasion.

See the trailer.

A Taxi Driver (택시 운전사)
Directed by Jang Hoon. South Korea. 2017. Starring Song Kang Ho, Thomas Kretschmann, Yoo Hai-jin, and Ryu Jun-yeol. Korean with English subtitles. 137 mins.
Sunday, September 3 at 1pm
Thursday, September 7 at 1pm
Saturday, September 9 at 7:30pm
Wednesday, September 13 at 7:30pm
In August, this film, based on the true story of an unsung hero, had Korea's third largest opening ever, earning $30.7 million in five days. In the midst of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising, a critical event in modern South Korea, Song Kang Ho (Snowpiercer) is a down-on-his-luck Seoul taxi driver hired by German journalist Jürgen Hinzpeter (Thomas Kretschmann, The Pianist) who wants to cover the unrest. What begins as an easy fare becomes a life-or-death struggle.

See the trailer.

The Mayor (특별시민)
Directed by Park In-je. South Korea. 2017. Starring Choi Min-sik, Kwak Do-won, and Shim Eun-kyung. Korean with English subtitles. 126 mins.
Sunday, September 3 at 7pm
Friday, September 8 at 7:30pm
Saturday, September 9 at 4pm
Wednesday, September 13 at 1pm
In the world of politics, everyone’s hands get dirty, and it’s no different for the beloved two-time mayor of Seoul, Byeon Jong-gu (Choi Min-sik, Oldboy). Seeking a third term that will set him up for a run at the presidency, Byeon will stop at nothing to keep his darkest secrets hidden.

See the trailer.

Bluebeard (해빙)
Directed by Lee Su-Yeon. South Korea. 2017. 117 min. Korean with English subtitles.
Tuesday, September 5 at 1pm + 7:30pm
When a doctor learns a murderous secret from a sedated patient, he finds himself in the middle of an unsolved serial murder case. As dismembered bodies start showing up close to home, the doctor realizes he must solve the riddle before the killer realizes what he may know.

See the trailer

The Net (그물)
Directed by Kim Ki-duk. South Korea. 2016. Starring Ryoo Seung-bum, Lee Won-gun, and Kim Young-min. Korean with English subtitles. 114 mins.
Thursday, September 7 at 7:30pm
Friday, September 8 at 1pm
Saturday, September 9 at 1pm
In this spy thriller, when a North Korean fisherman's boat engine conks out, he drifts into South Korean waters and is picked up by border guards. After enduring brutal investigations in the South, he is sent back to North Korea and finds himself trapped between the divided countries and their ideologies.

See the trailer.

Right Now, Wrong Then (지금은맞고그때는틀리다)
Directed by Hong Sang Soo. South Korea. 2016. Starring Kim Min-hee and Jung Jae-young. Korean with English subtitles. 121 mins.
Sunday, September 10 at 4pm • Free
Director Hong Sang-soo's intricate comedy of manners is about a middle-aged film director (Jung Jae-young) attending a retrospective of his work in Suwon, where he meets an aspiring young painter (Kim Min-hee). Hong tells the story two ways. Winner of the Golden Leopard prize at the 68th Locarno International Film Festival.

See the trailer.

On the Beach at Night Alone (밤의 해변에서 혼자)
Directed by Hong Sang-soo. South Korea. 2017. Starring Kim Min-hee. Korean with English subtitles. 101 mins.
Sunday, September 10 at 1pm + 7pm
After an affair with a married man, celebrated actress Younghee (Kim Min-hee, The Handmaiden) takes time off. On a trip to Hamburg, she examines her feelings, withdrawing to a deserted beach. Kim Min-hee won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival for her performance.

See the trailer.

Our Love Story (연애담)
Directed by Lee Hyun-ju. South Korea. 2015. Starring Lee Sang-hee and Ryu Sun-young. Korean with English subtitles. 99 mins.
Thursday, September 14 at 1pm + 7:30pm
Sunday, September 17 at 4pm
In this Korean indie, art graduate student Yoon-ju, who has "never had time" for dating meets bartender Ji-soo while looking for materials for her installation. Lee Hyun-ju's beautifully crafted debut is a moving portrayal of budding love between two women.

See the trailer.

The Battleship Island (군함도)
Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan. South Korean. 2017. 132 min. Korean with English subtitles.
Wednesday, September 20 at 1pm + 7:30p
Saturday, September 23 at 4pm
The newest film from Ryoo Seung-wan (Veteran, Berlin File) is one of most anticipated releases of the year. Hallyu fan—don’t miss this A-list Korean cast that includes Hwang Jung Min (Ode to My Father, The Himalayas) and Song Joong Ki (Descendants of the Sun)

Based on a true story, The Battleship Island takes place toward the end of World War II, when hundreds of Koreans attempted to escape forced labor on the 16-acre Japanese island of Hashima—where undersea coal deposits were discovered in 1887. The film focuses on a jazz bandmaster, his only daughter, and a thug who are lured under false pretenses to the island—a coal mine labor camp owned by Mitsubishi. As the Pacific War nears its end, a Korean independence activist is on a mission to rescue a Korean spiritual leader from the island. When the U.S. launches its massive counterattack on Japan, the Japanese government attempts to bury the truth about Battleship Island. The workers conspire to escape before the island is destroyed. Movie buff note: Hashima Island was the creepy, crumbling villain’s lair in Skyfall.

See the trailer

Written and directed by Justin Chon. USA. 2017. Starring Justin Chon, Simone Baker, and David So. 94 mins.
Friday, September 22 at 1 + 7:30pm
Eli (Justin Chon, The Twilight Saga, Seoul Searching) and Daniel (David So) are two Korean American brothers who run their late father’s Los Angeles shoe store. As Daniel dreams of becoming a recording artist and Eli struggles to keep the store afloat, racial tensions build to a breaking point on the first day of the 1992 L.A. Riots.
Local connection: Executive producer James Sereno is also a Honolulu filmmaker.

See the trailer.

Anarchist from Colony (박열)
Directed by Lee Joon-ik. South Korea. 2017. Korean with English subtitles. 129 mins.
Thursday, September 21 at 7:30pm
Saturday, September 23 at 1 + 7:30pm
Park Yeol (Lee Je-hoon), the self-proclaimed anarchist and revolutionary activist who organized the Heukdohwe anarchist group during the 1920s Colonial Era of Japan, plots to assassinate the crown prince of Japan. But this isn't your somber period film. Imagine Guy Ritchie going full Hallyu.

See the trailer.


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About the Honolulu Museum of Art

One of the world’s premier art museums, the Honolulu Museum of Art presents international caliber special exhibitions and features a collection that includes Hokusai, van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Picasso and Warhol, as well as traditional Asian and Hawaiian art.

Located in two of Honolulu’s most beautiful buildings, visitors enjoy two cafés, gardens, and films and concerts at the theater. The museum is dedicated to bringing together great art and people to create a more harmonious, adaptable, and enjoyable society in Hawai’i.


Honolulu Museum of Art: 900 S. Beretania Street
Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House: 2411 Makiki Heights Drive
Honolulu Museum of Art School: 1111 Victoria Street
Honolulu Museum of Art at First Hawaiian Center: 999 Bishop Street
Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theatre: 901 Kinau Street (at rear of museum)


Honolulu Museum of Art: Tues–Sat 10 am–4:30pm; Sun 1–5 pm; closed Monday.

Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House: Tues–Sat 10am–4pm; Sun noon–4pm

Admission (permits entry to both museums on the same day):

$20 general admission; $10 Hawai‘i residents and active duty military living in Hawai‘i; children 18 and under are free.

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