This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

25Feb/10

MEMORIES & MURDERERS

Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) is searching for his missing daughter in THE HOST

Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) is searching for his missing daughter in THE HOST

THE FILMS OF BONG JOON-HO
BAMcinématek
BAM Rose Cinemas
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
February 25 – March 1
718-636-4100
www.bam.org

In 2006, South Korean writer-director Bong Joon-ho burst onto the international cinematic landscape with the sleeper hit THE HOST, a modern-day monster movie with a lot of heart. He followed that up with the touching segment “Shaking Tokyo” in the compilation film TOKYO! and now is back with the highly anticipated MOTHER. BAMcinématek is paying tribute to the director with a five-day festival that includes all of his work, from 2000’s BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE through 2003’s MEMORIES OF MURDER, THE HOST, and a collection of shorts. Bong will be on hand for the February 26 screening of MOTHER and the February 27 6:30 screening of THE HOST, introducing the films and participating in postscreening Q&As. Bong will also take part in a special program at the Korea Society on February 25, featuring a reception, clips from MOTHER, and a discussion moderated by film professor Michael Atkinson ($15, 212-759-7525, 6:00)

Local detectives are searching for a serial killer in MEMORIES OF MURDER

Local detectives are searching for a serial killer in MEMORIES OF MURDER


MEMORIES OF MURDER (SALINUI CHUEOK) (Bong Joon-ho, 2003)

Thursday, February 25, 7:30
www.magpictures.com

Inspired by actual events, Bong Joon-ho’s MEMORIES OF MURDER is a psychological thriller set in a rural South Korean town. With a serial killer on the loose, Seoul sends experienced inspector Suh (Kim Sang-kyung) to help with the case, which is being bungled by local detectives Park (Song Kang-ho) and Cho (Kim Roe-ha), who consistently tamper with evidence, bring in the wrong suspects, and torture them in both brutal and ridiculously funny ways. But as the frustration level builds and more victims are found, even Suh starts considering throwing away the book and doing whatever is necessary to catch the killer. Bong’s first major success, earning multiple awards at film festivals around the world, MEMORIES OF MURDER is a well-paced police procedural that contains just enough surprises to overcome a few too many genre clichés. The film is beautifully shot by Kim Hyung-gu, from wide-open landscapes to a busy, crowded factory. But the film is dominated by Song’s (THE HOST, THIRST) big, round face, a physical and emotional wonder whether he’s goofing around with a prisoner or dead-set on catching a criminal.

THE HOST (GWOEMUL) (Bong Joon-ho, 2006)
Saturday, February 27, 6:30, 9:30
www.magpictures.com

Several years after the government improperly disposes of chemical waste, a huge monster appears under a bridge on the Han River. The lazy, childlike Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho), who works at his grandfather’s food stand on the shore — that is, when he’s not sleeping — tries desperately to save his young daughter, Hyun-seo (Ko A-sung), from the creature’s grasp, but when the monster runs off with her, Gang-du does everything in his limited power to try to get her back — if she’s even still alive. He gets help from his well-dressed brother and Olympian archer sister, who are determined to rescue their niece, but the creature has no intentions of just coughing her up. THE HOST wants to be more than just another monster movie, injecting humor and strong family bonds, but it never quite pulls itself together. For every great scene with the creature, there’s a silly scene with the family that misses the mark. Still, Song is a hoot to watch, and the special effects folks have created one heck of a cool monster.

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