December 27, 2007

East Asian Film And TV News & Trends In 2007

It's almost the end of the year and time once again for reflections on what happened in this past year ;-P Wow time flies, it seems that it was only yesterday that I was celebrating the 2007 New Year. I think that this has been a pretty decent year for East Asian films and TV dramas on a whole. Here is a general recap of the news and trends that have caught my attention this year.

1. Chinese Movie Of The Year: Lust, Caution

This film was the most talked about Chinese movie in 2007. With Ang Lee's signature low-key approach, attention to detail, the engrossing storyline and great acting by Tony Leung and Tang Wei in some of the most daring erotic scenes ever seen in an Asian movie, it comes as no surprise that this film enjoyed fantastic box-office takings throughout Asia and won the Golden Lion and seven awards at this year's Golden Horse Awards.

2. Ancient Is Golden

Period movies and drama serials continue to be popular in Korean and Chinese dramas and films in 2007. Big-budget period movies with star-studded casts and state-of-the-art CGI like The Warlords performed very well at the box-office. The period drama boom was also seen in Korean drama serials with period dramas like Jumong and Taewangsasingi snaring the top positions in television ratings. This period boom looks set to continue in 2008 with the release of the most expensive Chinese film ever made - Red Cliff during the Beijing Olympics.

3. More Pan-Asian Co-productions

Co-productions between different Asian countries seem to have become the norm in 2007. From arthouse productions like director Kim Ki-duk's Breath starring Taiwanese actor Chang Chen to Japanese hits like Hero with Korean actor Lee Byung-hun in a cameo role to big-budget Chinese flicks like The Warlords and Red Cliff that are financed by investors throughout East Asia, filmmakers are cooperating in more ways than ever to expand a film's appeal to a wider pan-Asian audience.

4. Quest For New Themes

To counter the whimsical and fast-changing tastes of viewers, movie and drama makers must come up with new themes at an ever-increasing speed. This is especially apparent in the Korean TV drama market where it seems that viewers have become increasingly tired of the same romantic drama plot used countless times in the past. To maintain viewer interest, TV stations and production houses have had to come up with new themes for their dramas. This has resulted in the type and range of drama serials expanding considerably this year. From dramas about money lenders to police action thrillers to romantic comedies with "cross-dressing"themes, this aggressive search for new themes have already yielded gems like War Of Money, Time Between Dog And Wolf and First Shop Of Coffee Prince. It remains to be seen if this exploratory approach will continue into 2008...

5. International Recognition

East Asian films continue to perform well in international film awards in 2007. Lust, Caution took home the Golden Lion and Korean actress Jeon Do-yeon won the prestigious Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine, only the second time an Asian actress has won this award in the history of the Cannes Film Festival.

All-in-all, 2007 has been a good year for Asian films and dramas. Let's hope for an even better 2008 :-)

Have A Happy New Year!

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December 10, 2007

Lust, Caution Takes Home 7 Golden Horses

As expected, Lust, Caution is the big winner at this year's Golden Horse Awards held on December 8 in Taipei, Taiwan. The Ang Lee thriller won 7 awards including Best Film, Best Actor (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), Best Director (Ang Lee) and Best Newcomer (Tang Wei) among others. Best Actress was also won by a Lust, Caution alumni - former Golden Horse Award winner Joan Chen for her portrayal in The Home Song Stories. The full results can be found at

And here is a clip of a rather interesting moment that happened when Ang Lee and Sandra Ng (a Hong Kong actress well-known for her talent in comedy) were about to give out the Best Actor award, rather unexpectedly Sandra Ng tore the sealed envelope containing the results without opening the envelope (for comic effect perhaps?), shocking the normally sedate Ang Lee into a minor panic who then hurriedly tried to piece the torn pieces together, dropping the bits of paper in the process... hmmm... poor Ang Lee, he looked really distressed by Sandra's er playful act ;-P But I guess this was just a minor blip in an otherwise fantastic night for the cast and crew of Lust, Caution.

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December 6, 2007

Top 10 Highest Rated Korean Drama Serials In 2007

The 10 highest-rated drama series in South Korea for 2007 are out. Based on this news report, the top ten drama serials based on average television ratings for 2007 are:

Drama Serial
Average Ratings
Lead Actor/Actress
1. Jumong 47.3%Song Il Gook / Han Hye Jin
2. Soonjung/Pure In Heart 39.7% Goo Hye Sun / Lee Min Woo
3. Money's Warfare/War of Money 31%Park Shin Yang / Park Jin Hee
4. Like Land And Sky 29%Park Hye Jin / Han Hyo Joo
5. Taewangsasingi / Four Guardian GodsOf The King 28.8%Bae Yong Jun / Moon So Ri
6. Likeable Or Not 28.8%Kim Ji Seok / Han Ji Hye
7. Dae Jo Yeong 26.3%Choi Su Jong/Park Ye Jin
8. Blissful Women 25.2%Yoon Jung Hee / Kim Suk Hoon
9. My Man's Woman 24.5%Kim Hee-Ae / Kim Sang Jung
10.Coffee Prince/First Shop Of Coffee Prince24.2% Gong Yoo / Yoon Eun Hye

I have not seen all of these dramas but based on ratings alone, the dramas in this list should be the cream of the Korean drama serial crop of 2007. Do check them out if you have the time :-)


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