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Ko - production in Busan
  • In Focus: New World
  • by Darcy Paquet /  Mar 08, 2013

  • Directed by
    PARK Hoon-jung
    Starring LEE Jung-jae, CHOI Min-shik, HWANG Jung-min, PARK Sung-woong, SONG Ji-hyo, JOO Jin-mo, etc.
    Release Date February 21, 2013
     
    South Korea has produced many gangster films in the last 15 years, but according to director PARK Hoon-jung, the film New World represents something different. Modeled after such works as The Godfather and the Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs, New World is a “gangster epic” that instead of training its eye on the plight of one or two individual characters, expands its scope to focus on the broader structures of power that govern a crime organization. It is, in other words, about the politics of a criminal gang.
     
    LEE Jung-jae
    plays a police officer who over the course of eight years has been passing himself off as a member of the powerful Goldmoon crime syndicate. With a baby on the way, he is desperate to retire, however his handler Chief Kang (CHOI Min-shik) keeps him on as a succession struggle develops between the gang’s number 2 (HWANG Jung-min) and number 3 (PARK Sung-woong) members. The film details both the inner workings of Goldmoon, where rival factions quickly develop around the two prospective leaders, and the efforts of the police to infiltrate and control the crime syndicate and its business activities.
     
    Director PARK Hoon-jung first attracted notice within the Korean film industry for writing the screenplays for RYOO Seung-wan’s The Unjust (2010) and KIM Jee-woon’s I Saw the Devil (2010). He made his debut as a director in 2011 with the period film The Showdown, which was largely overlooked by Korean viewers upon its release. However with his second film New World he has scored a major commercial success, landing at the top of the box office chart. The film also sold well to international territories at the recent European Film Market, held during the Berlin International Film Festival.
     
    Critics have praised the film for its colorful cast of characters and the strong acting performances, and it has managed to successfully distinguish itself within Korea’s tradition of gangster films. Already there is talk about the possibility of a sequel, given that PARK’s original script covered a much broader period of time and contained much material that was excised. PARK, who claims to have seen The Godfather more than 100 times, is also surely aware that throughout film history this particular sub-genre has turned out numerous interesting sequels.
     
    In the meantime, New World will reach international viewers in a surprisingly short time, with North American distributor Well Go USA planning to release the film in early spring.
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