With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

ACF 882: Reminder - KCS presents free screening of "Lifting King Kong" tonight

South Korea, 2009, 120 minutes
New York Premiere

When: Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 7:00pm
Where: Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street., NYC,
near the 1, A, C, E Canal St. subway stops

Admission: Free!!!!!
First Come, First Served
Doors Open At 6:30 PM

Korean Movie Night, which is sponsored by the Korean Cultural Service, continues its current, sports-themed series tonight with LIFTING KING KONG, an interesting take on the rise of the underdog in the unlikely realm of schoolgirl weightlifting.

The film is a "dramatic retelling" of the story of Korean weightlifting coach Jeong Inyeong. At the 81st National Athletic Meet, which was held in Busan, two of his students won 14 out of 15 possible gold metals, an incredible feat that has never been equaled. He also discovered Jeon Byeonggwan, the gold medalist at the Barcelon Olympics.

Here, the coach's name is LEE Jibong (LEE Beom-su). The film starts with him competing in Seoul in 1988, where he suffers a severe arm injury. That, and the discovery that he has a dangerously enlarged left ventricle, spells an end to his weightlifting career. After finding him on the street handing out leaflets for a club with "the hottest girls," his former coach gets him to reluctantly accept a job teaching weightlifting to Korean schoolgirls at a small-town middle school!

Next seen is female weightlifter Yeong-ja (An Jo) who has a bad back but is going to compete at the Beijing years later. She was LEE's star pupil out of the handful of girls he first coached. The bulk of the movie is devoted to telling the story that took place between these two points in time.

It's generally pretty standard fare for this genre. But coach LEE's recalcitrant attitude towards actually teaching his female charges how to compete in weight lifting adds an extra dimension of drama, since he's not the typically benevolent, all-wise, dedicated teacher.

There are two "villains." One is the pert head of the middle school's tennis team. The other is a rival coach at the high school to which the girls go after finishing middle school. His approach to coaching consists of the "Four B's": bully, berate, belittle, and beat. He makes the bad masters in The Karate Kid movies seem like milquetoasts in comparison.

There are some problems with the movie, which gets a bit too melodramatic -- at least for my taste -- once or twice. Still it's well done overall, and when coach LEE talks about the importance about living "a Gold Medal life," it did seem to be getting "a bit dusty" where I sat watching the film.

ACF Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars, a fairly good film. Even with some weaknesses, it's a film worth seeing, especially because of its unique subject matter. And for free, you definitely can't go wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.