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Korean Film Series Begins

Photo Credit: Wang Center

An overweight phone sex operator turns into a slim, singing superstar.

The Korean film series, co-sponsored by the Center for Korean Studies, at the Charles B. Wang Center is underway.

The first movie of the series shown, called “200 Pounds Beauty,” is about Hanna, an overweight girl who begins the film singing for Ammy, a pretty girl who lip-synchs.  Hanna harbors a crush for Sang-jun, the manager for Ammy’s career.  In order to appear more beautiful, Hanna undergoes a secret plastic surgery that reshapes her whole body for Sang-jun.  She uses her new found beauty to become a new pop star under the fake name Jenny.

Jenny now possesses both beauty and singing ability.  Hanna, or Jenny, finds that she loses herself along the way, and in the end, Jenny admits that she isn’t the person she created. Jenny admits that she is Hanna, and she is proud of it.

The movie was about two and a half hours.  It started with a brief introduction from Sunita Mukhi, who has a Ph.D., the director of Asian-American Programming at the Wang Center.  She discussed future events at the center and then welcomed to the stage Hee-Jeong Sohn, professor and assistant director of the Korean Studies department, for her interpretation of the film.

Sohn spoke of a change  surrounding  beauty in Korean culture.

“Just 100 years ago, even a haircut would be unacceptable,” she said.  Sohn interpreted the film as the story of a girl who goes through a physical change and struggles to find her true self-identity.

The only issue that night was the lack of subtitles once the foreign film ended. This worried members of the audience, who began to hoot and holler at the screen.  Jokes were made about translation.  About ten minutes later, the film started again, with subtitles gracing the screen for those who couldn’t understand Korean.

After the showing, Mukhi spoke about the Wang Center’s goal of “combining Asian and American culture.”

Mukhi said that to gather interest,  she “suggested to the department that they show films containing comedy.”

Based on the audience of about thirty students and community members, it worked.  The film had the audience laughing throughout its screening.

At the end of the film, Lawrence Kwong, junior chemistry  major, said he liked the film.

“This is about the third time I’ve seen it,” Kwong said. “I was invited through a Facebook invite.”

The Korean film series, which started with “200 Pounds Beauty” on Thursday, Nov. 4th is free.  The series will continue on Thursday, Nov.11 with “The Foul King” and Wednesday,  Nov. 17 with  “Le Grande Chef.” Both will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Wang Center Theater and there will be two more films later in the year.

Kwong said he plans on trying to make the next two films in the series.

“The Foul King” is a dark comedy about a bank clerk tormented by his boss and “Le Grande Chef” is about a chef who loses a contest, but returns to reclaim the title.  Like “200 Pounds Beauty,” both the films will be free.

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