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INTERVIEW'Cobweb' director questions meaning of cinema

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The comedy film "Cobweb" will hit the local theaters on Sept. 27. Courtesy of Barunson E&A

By Lee Gyu-lee

Famous auteur Kim Jee-woon, who helmed the hit movies, "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" (2008) and "I Saw the Devil" (2010), has turned introspective with his latest film, "Cobweb." The comedy-drama explores the meaning of movies, especially amid the challenges currently facing the industry.

Director Kim Jee-woon / Courtesy of Barunson E&A

"I feel this is the time to redefine and reestablish what movies mean to us. And I came across this film ‘Cobweb' when I, too, was ruminating on this issue," the director said during an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Jongro District, Thursday.

"So I reflected on such questions and thoughts in the film. I tried to involve questions that I asked when I first started to love cinema."

The new comedy revolves around Kim Yeol, a struggling filmmaker from the 1970s who hasn't had any success since his debut film. While working on his latest film, he has a dream about a new ending and becomes consumed by a strong desire to re-shoot the last part.

When he decides to re-shoot, believing it will be a masterpiece, Kim puts himself on a misadventure and is forced to juggle the actors' complaints, government censorship reviews and pressure from the production company to complete the film.

The movie was invited to premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival and will hit local theaters on Sept. 27.

A scene from the film "Cobweb" / Courtesy of Barunson E&A

Kim sees the movie as a chance to reignite his ―and hopefully the viewers' ― passion for cinema.

"I'm sure it's the same for many people. You do this thing because you love it. But there comes a time when you feel hate towards it … Then the love might cool down or fade away. And these moments are inevitable. So I decided to remind myself of the time I first fell in love with films," he said.

"I hope this film can offer a chance to revisit the object that he or she used to love and think about it again after watching … This film was like giving me a message when my love for films had cooled down."

The film throws in jabs of humor from the ensemble of characters surrounding Kim Yeol, which includes a lead actor who is a pathetic womanizer, a sassy lead actress and an overly enthusiastic production company agent.

The director conveyed deep trust and affection for actor Song Kang-ho, who plays the director-within-the-film, referring to him to as his soulmate and the only person who can deliver his quirky sense of humor. This is their sixth project together, including a short film.

"Song and I have the same sense of humor. In ‘Cobweb,' the scenes people find funny are different for every person. I wanted to include comedy that might not be funny to others but myself. And Song is the only person who catches these unique points of humor," Kim said.

"There are actors who I'm worried if they can deliver this type of humor, but Song does it so well. So that's why we are considered a duo," he added.

Lee Gyu-lee


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