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Ko - production in Busan
  • Alice In Earnestland
  • by Pierce Conran /  Aug 14, 2015
  •  
    201590 MIN | Drama
    DIRECTOR AHN Gooc-jin
    CAST LEE Jung-hyun, SEO Young-hwa, MYUNG Kae-nam, OH Gwang-rok
    RELEASE DATE August 13, 2015
    CONTACT CJ Entertainment
    Tel +82-2-371-8147
    Fax +82-2-371-6340
    E-mail filmsales@cj.net
     
    The Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) offers up one of its most unusual feature offerings yet with Alice in Earnestland, a dark drama with surreal comical overtones that falls somewhere between PARK Chan-wook’s ‘Vengeance Trilogy’ and Korean indie social dramas on the style spectrum. This debut film from AHN Gooc-jin premiered earlier this year at the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF), where it picked up the Grand Prize in the Korean Competition.
     
    Soo-nam (LEE Jung-hyun) is a diligent worker but as fallen into a rut typing away in front of a computer screen. That is, until she finds love and gets married. The happy couple dream of buying their own home and strive towards that goal, only to have misfortune befallen them when the husband suffers an accident at work. No longer able to generate an income, he stays at home in a vegetative state, falling prey to depression as Soo-nam works twice as hard to get them the home they’ve always dreamed of. But life has cruel plans in store for Soo-nam and when her dream slips out of reach she follows more desperate measure and soon finds herself going head to head with forces seeking to profit from a land deal in the neighborhood by tricking local residents.
     
    Recalling the manic energy of multi-genre Korean films such as Save the Green Planet (2003), Alice in Earnestland flirts with many tropes and tones, balancing its disparate elements along the way with a heavy reliance on colorful production design, unusual photography and aggressive editing. The strong stylistic nature of the film sets it apart from its KAFA peers, which have mostly tended towards social realism works or dark thrillers. Among its well known KAFA peers are JO Sung-hee’s End of Animal, YOON Sung-hyun’s Bleak Night and HONG Seok-jae’s Socialphobia, which proved a potent force on the local charts earlier this year, accruing a quarter of a million viewers.
     
    Most integral to AHN’s arsenal, however, is his star LEE Jung-hyun, who runs the gamut of emotions as Soo-nam in a versatile performance that capably leads the show. LEE, who appeared as a little girl in JANG Sun-woo’s classic Gwangju massacre film A Petal (1996), recently drew praise for KANG Yi-kwan’s indie drama Juvenile Offender (2012) as a grown-up teenage mother trying to reconnect with her son.
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