It is time.
Awards season for actors and actresses has begun here in Korea.
The first one the Grand Bell Awards, or Daejong Awards took place last week.
And today we have film critic Jason Bechervaise joining us in the studio to talk about it.
Welcome back, Jason. So the Grand Bell is considered Korea’s biggest awards ceremony, isn′t it?
Yes, I would say so. There are a few ceremonies that take place this time of year. The Korean Association of Film Critics handed out their prizes earlier this month, and you have the Blue Dragon Awards, which take place in December and nominations announced y’day with THE ATTORNEY receiving 10 noms, and of course you have the Grand Bell Awards, which have been running the longest.
They′re the Korean equivalent to the Oscars, so to speak?
Yes, in some respects. Certainly in terms of the glamour, but I think these awards tend to be given to films that are popular in the box office rather than the year’s best films in terms of quality. Independent films for example tend to be overlooked, which is a shame.
The big winner this year was the massive box office hit ROARING CURRENTS?
Yes, but it didn’t walk away with multiple awards like MASQUERADE did a couple of year ago that was also a big box office hit. It took the Best Film Prize, the all-important one along with best actor for Choi min-sik, best planning and technical awards.
That is a bit odd because the film although it was box office hit, wasn’t praised much by critics.
No, and I think you can sense that in the way it didn’t walk away with everything, like MASQUERADE did, which was very popular with local critics. ROARING CURRENTS – a film that depicts the famous battle between Japanese and Korean fleets in 1597 led by Admiral Yi Sun-shin -I think is quite well-made, but like many critics, I have many reservations about it, and to be honest, I don’t think it deserves Best Film, but its success at the box office success has been unprecedented, and so that’s why it was chosen.
For three years in a row, period films have been winning the best film prize… starting from Masquerade to the Face Reader to ROARING CURRENTS. Do you reckon it will be the same next year?
Yes, possibly, esp seeing that Song Kang-ho and Lee Joon-ik are working together on a Korean film called SADO, which I suspect will be released during the Chuseok period next year. If it’s a big success, we could see that doing well at the Grand Bell Awards.
Looking at the other awards, the other big winners were A HARD DAY and THE ATTORNEY?
Yes, Kim Seong-hun took best director for A HARD DAY that also won awards for best cinematography and lighting. This film was very well received in Cannes, which I think is a reflection of what many see as one of the stronger films. THE ATTORNEY as well picked up three including best new dir and Best Screenplay.
Were there any surprises?
Yes, there were. The biggest of which was Best actress that went to Son Ye-jin for her role in THE PIRAT
It is time.