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신세계 | Park Hoon-jung, 2013
South Korea | Korean and Mandarin with English subtitles | Format: DCP | 134 minutes
Q&A with actor Lee Jung-jae.
Park Hoon-jung took what could have been another run-of-the-mill Korean gangster film (let’s face it, like tortured melodramas, gangster films are a dime a dozen these days) and turned it into an absolutely fascinating (and harrowing) look at the power structures and politics of a criminal organization. Beginning with a truck demolishing a car containing the Goldmoon crime syndicate’s head honcho, the film looks at the contest for power between #2 Chung (Hwang Jeong-min) and #3 Joong-gu (Park Seong-woong). Chung’s second in command Ja-sung (festival guest Lee Jung-jae) is actually an undercover cop with a baby on the way, and he just wants out. So a political pawn game, that has just as much thrilling drama as any knife fight, begins while Goldmoon is being hunted by Chief Kang (Choi Min-sik, in one of his best performances). A huge hit in Korea, New World has a scope and depth that has been missing from a lot of gangster films, but the real anchor is the phenomenal performances from all of the leads. Part of Korean Actor in Focus: Lee Jung-jae. Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Service in New York.