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We Highly Recommend the film — A HARD DAY — FANTASIA 2015 — Film Review & Director Q & A –(OPENED July 17 nyc)


We can’t begin to tell you how much FUN we had watching the gripping  Korean actioner A HARD DAY.

As commonplace as cop dramas can be, there are moments of pure unpredictability that just kept us guessing and involuntarily exclaiming OUT LOUD in the theatre. And we were joined by EVERYONE IN THE ROOM.

This was a nail-biter of thrills and excitement.

A HARD DAY, in addition to its other charms, is a neo-classic film noir.We Highly Recommend this film as one of our favorite films for 2015.




Release Year: 2014
Running Time: 111
Color Type: Color
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean



Starring: Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Jin-woong, Jeong Man-sik, Shin Jung-keun and Jang In-sub.


      JEONG Man-shik
      JO Jin-woong


  • Directed by KIM Seong-hun
  • Written by KIM Seong-hun , LEE Hae-jun
  • Produced by Billy Acumen , CHA Ji-Hyun , LEE Dong-Yoon

New York at Village East Cinemas with a national release to follow .

OFFICIAL SELECTION: FANTASIA 2015, Cannes Film Festival 2014 (Director’s Fortnight), Toronto International Film Festival 2014, London Film Festival 2014 and many more.

Homicide detective Geon-soo Go is having a hard day: in less than 24 hours, he receives a divorce notice from his wife, his mother passes away, and along with his coworkers, he becomes the focus of a police investigation over alleged embezzlement.

Making things worse, on his way to his mother’s funeral, Geon-soo swerves his car to avoid hitting a dog and runs over a man in a dark rural street. In a moment of desperation, he dumps the body in a coffin alongside his mother. A few days later, Gun-soo flips through a listing of open cases and finds his accident victim. His colleague is on the accident case and is slowly making progress. Making matters worse, a witness seemingly steps forward…. But when Geon-soo gets a mysterious call from a person claiming to be the sole witness of the crime, he realizes that someone has been watching him all along. Without another choice to depend on, Gun-soo digs his mother’s grave and retrieves the body, only to find gunshot wounds on it.



Cannes Film Festival
(Director’s Fortnight)
South Korea |
111 minutes |
2014 |
In Korean with English Subtitles
About the Film:
Cinematographer KIM Tae-sung, whose work on War of the Arrows garnered him much attention and accolades, captured raw intensity between the two leads in A Hard Day. KIM adjusted his angles depending on the circumstances provided by the locale rather than relying on a set of camera movements. In addition, The Suspect’s stunt coordinator, OH Se-young, whose extreme action sequences made him famous was an asset to the production of A Hard Day. Unlike action films of the past that showcase heavily scripted and choreographed action sequences, the action in A Hard Day feels more spontaneous and improvised. Instead of using stunt doubles, the actors did their own stunts and action sequences whenever possible. For the scene where Gun-soo jumps between two windows in his 19th floor apartment, LEE Sun-kyun did his own stunts with a single wire attached to his body.
Interview with the Director:
Q: How did you come up with this film? How did you create the characters?
A: It all started with an idea. I watched Pedro Almodovar’s Volver and it had a scene where the daughter character kills her partner and dumps him in the river. While watching this story unfold, I had various thoughts that were unrelated to Volver: “During monsoon season in Korea, the river floods. Won’t she get caught?” Then I started thinking about what would be the most perfect way to dispose of acorpse. Of course, why not make a tomb? It wouldn’t be conspicuous at all, even to the police. Then I pondered whose tomb would be the least suspicious…It’d be someone who would protect her child until her death: a mother. The inception of A Hard Day started with this idea. If my mother ever sees this interview, she’d say: “You’d do that to me?” and be mortified. But I’d say, “Rest easy, mom, I won’t ever kill anyone.”
Q: Would you agree that the character of Gun-soo was also created in similar circumstances?
A: Yes. Gun-soo is a character who grows by overcoming various obstacles. In the beginning of the film, his obstacle is something physical, and in the latter half, Chang-min represents that obstacle. Gun-soo is someone who can quickly adapt to various obstacles he’s confronted with. He’s not MacGyver, but close to it.
Q: Despite the darkness of the film, you used plenty of humor. Was it important to balance these dark and comic elements?
A: Actually, I didn’t set out to mechanically create a balance between the darkness and the humor. However, in my real life, there is a dark side and a humorous side, so I think the film reflects these parts of me.
Q: You used a lot of familiar elements from Korean films to kick off the narrative, such as a car accident, a corrupt police force and a funeral. Was it a deliberate choice?
A:: It wasn’t my intention to employ familiar Korean scenes but at the same time these elements of daily life in Korea, though they are somewhat exaggerated in the film, are similar to events we’ve read about in newspapers.
Q: More so than in other Korean films, your script employs a lot of cause and effect. Was this challenging to write?
A: When writing a script, every director faces a number of challenges, so I wouldn’t say that my challenges were any more significant when compared to other filmmakers. The hardest part about making this film was that the gap between when I wanted to make it and when it actually got going was quite long so I spent a long time preparing. However, I also think that this lengthy period allowed me to write a better screenplay.
Q: How did you create the film’s strong pacing?
A: Just as the right foot follows the left, it was like a natural instinct.
Q: Was it important to cast LEE Sun-kyun for the lead role?
A: The image that Lee Sun-Kyun presents to the audience is important since he seems like a nice person. If you put a person with this pleasant image in the film’s situations, you can allow the audience to relate more. The same can be said of Hollywood’s Hugh Jackman, who you could put in any role. Although it’d be hard to call Gun-soo (LEE’s character) a villain despite all the horrible things he does in the film, his actions are undoubtedly unethical. Even though the audience is watching every step of all the horrendous things, I needed an actor who could squeeze out sympathy and compassion from them. I knew right away that LEE Sun-kyun’s charisma as an actor infused with the character of Gun-soo would morph into something special. The result is beyond my expectations.
Q: Why did you think that CHO Jin-woong was a good fit for your antagonist?
A: Chang-min (CHO’s character) does not have as much screen time as Gun-soo, but he’s a tremendous force whose presence is felt immediately on screen. Rather than highlighting the force of the character by being more over-the-top and villainous, I wanted to convey bleakness without showing it. Chang-min glides through a fog of bleakness with a dark and off-the-wall sense of humor. You ask yourself, “What kind of person is he?” as you watch him. I’m a big fan of CHO Jin-woong and he has a very strong screen presence. This comes from the way he talks and his actions. You get goosebumps when he comes on screen. Casting CHO Jin-woong was a logical decision.
Q: The protagonist in A Hard Day is flawed and makes many bad decisions. Were you worried that audiences might have trouble rooting for him?
A: I did have concerns that audiences may have trouble empathizing with the main character. However, in such cases there is one way to make it work, which is to create a situation where the character isn’t left with a choice. To give a clichéd example, if the protagonist has a sick child, he is presented with fewer options.
Through the hard situation faced by the character, I hope to align the audience with him. This is a little different from what other directors might do so I was a little nervous. It’s easier if you have a nice protagonist but this film isn’t about good and evil. It’s about witnessing what comes out of a person in these difficult situations.
Q: How careful were you with the scenes in the funeral home where Gun-soo has to open the coffin? Funerals are a sensitive matter.
A: If an audience approaches that particular scene in a serious manner, I think it’d be very uncomfortable. Tone,
manner, and adjusting the intensity, were all crucial. Taking an all-out comedic approach would destroy the film’s overall balance, but being too serious would be unbearable, so we aimed for a middle ground. It is an unethical scene to endure, but I wanted audiences to wish for Gun-soo’s safety. A fair amount of humor, urgency and suspense were all employed to create a balancing act. In the end, LEE Sun-kyun acted appropriately and made it work.
Q: What is your favorite scene?
A: Towards the end of the film, there is a scene that takes place in a reservoir. I fiddled with the shadows, creating suspense with the shadow of an approaching van. We needed to shoot it before the morning clouds popped up, and it took three days to get that shot. Rice farmers were planning to harvest their crops the following day, so we rushed the shoot and wrapped up in time.
Q: There are many long shots in the film. Was that intentionally planned?
A: I wanted to splice long shots with pre-determined short takes together. Since the story itself isn’t unique, I wanted a narrative device that was noteworthy. I actually wanted those shots to linger even longer but we trimmed them in the edit.
Q: Your previous directorial effort, How the Lack of Love Affects Two Men was a comedy. Are there any similarities between the two films?
A: You can find similarities between my two films in the embedded humor. Whether you live a happy life or a tragic one, it all contains moments of humor. Life itself is humor.
Q: Do you have a specific process as you work?
A: I began to think about ways to break the molds of a specific genre. A thriller begins on an ordinary day that feels
peaceful. I wanted A Hard Day to get away from camera shots that set a dark tone typical of the thriller genre and become freer. When directing the actors on set, I wanted them to focus on what their characters were feeling on
that particular day, and did my best to capture that on film.
Q: This film will be seen by international audiences. What would you like them to focus on, since the film was made for Korean audiences?
A: I’m actually very curious as to how they’ll react. From their point of view, the process of a funeral will be very interesting since it is so foreign to them. Of course, this film isn’t strictly about traditional funerals, and it contains my own spin into funeral conventions, such as inserting humor into a serious scene. The film also portrays plenty of crooked cops. I planned for the confusion that sets in when those, who must enforce the law, act out the evil that is within us. It was my intention to create these moments of irony. Please, understand that not all Korean officers are as corrupt as those seen in the film.
Q: How would you describe A Hard Day?
A: Non-stop suspense and surprises.
Written and Directed by KIM SEONG-HUN
Executive Producer YOU JEONG-HUN
Director of Photography KIM TAE-SUNG
Production Design LEE MI-KYOUNG
Choreography CHOI DONG-HUN
Costume Design KO HEE-JUNG

August 6, 2015 - Posted by | ART, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, FILM, HOLIDAY GUIDES, opportunity, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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