With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Sunday, June 17, 2007

ACF 032: The Show Must Go On

The Show Must Go On / Uahan segye
(Korea 2007)
North American PremiereA New York Asian Film Festival 2007
Preview Review

Kang In-gu is a regular sort of guy.

He's got a wife named Mi-ryung, two kids, and a crummy apartment with water pressure that often fails. He tries to do right by his family. He supports his older child, his son Min-chul, who is in college in Canada. When his daughter Hee-soon has trouble in high school, he goes with his wife to a conference his daughter's teacher has requested. He's looking for a new and better place to move to, one with lots of water pressure.

And, of course, he's got a job.

Only his job is that of a gangster, a member of the Dogs gang headed by Boss Roh. When he gets the Dae-chang apartment building contract, by forcefully getting a Mr. Paek to sign the contract, his fortune should take a significant turn for the better.

Instead, Boss Roh's brother Sang-jin, who resents his brother's high opinion of In-gu , gets even more jealous and vindictive. The Jaguars, a rival gang headed by In-gu's brother Hyun-su, are not happy about being shut out of the deal. And some tough-ass construction workers at the apartment building site decide to go on strike unless they get what they consider their fair taste of the action.

The film starts out as a mixture of comedy and drama. At about the film's mid-point In-gu gets attacked at a convenience store and brought in by the police for questioning. From here on the comedy all but disappears, as In-gu has to face some serious developments. These include finding out who tried to have him whacked and whether it's worth staying in the game and risking further injury and arrests.

Han Jae-rim helmed this fine combination of gangster film, family drama, and character study. He shows tremendous story-telling mastery considering that this is only his second film. Actually maybe not that surprising when one considers that Rules of Dating [2005], his first film, won South Korea film industry Grand Bell Award in 2006.

Song Kang-ho is fantastic as the beleaguered Kang In-gu. He's been in such recent films as The Host [2006], Sympathy for Lady Vengeance [2005], Sympathy for Mr Vengeance [2002], and J.S.A.: Joint Security Area [2000], and Shiri [1999].,

The Show Must Go On gets a 3.5 out of 4 star ACF rating [highly recommended].

For further info and showtimes, click on the film's Subway Cinema link below.

The Show Must Go On - NYAFF Site; imdb [Note that the imdb entry is paltry and does not include the film's English title, probably because the film is so new. Also the names of some characters are spelled differently than in the film's subtitles.]
Han Jae-rim, director - imdb
Song Kang-ho, actor (Kang In-goo) - imdb

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