South Korea 2006
In 2006, South Korea was a prosperous nation located in East Asia with a population of approximately 48 million people. The official language was Korean and the majority of the population practiced Buddhism and Christianity. The economy was largely based on manufacturing, technology, and services, and its main exports included electronics, cars, ships, steel products, and textiles.
According to constructmaterials, the government at this time was led by President Roh Moo-hyun who had been in power since 2003. South Korea had made great strides towards stability since the end of the Korean War in 1953 and had become increasingly prosperous due to economic growth and foreign investment. In terms of education, access to basic education had improved significantly since 1953 but still remained unequal across different regions and socioeconomic groups.
Overall, South Korea in 2006 was a vibrant nation that embraced its cultural heritage whilst making positive strides towards economic development. Despite its turbulent past under Japanese rule, it enjoyed strong relationships with neighbouring countries as well as with other Asian nations which helped to foster an atmosphere of peace and stability. With continued investments into infrastructure development as well as education initiatives, South Korea was slowly becoming one of the most advanced countries in Asia.
South Korea. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in South Korea include Independence Day (August 15) and New Year (January 1). South Korea’s Prime Minister Lee Hai Chan was forced to resign in March as a result of widespread popular protests that he chose to play golf on the same day (March 1) that all the country’s transport workers went on a general strike. It was also the anniversary of a 1919 rebellion against Japanese colonial rule. As early as 2005, the prime minister had already been criticized on two occasions for playing golf on inappropriate occasions – once when the country was hit by violent floods, a second time when an old Buddhist temple had just burned down. Lee was replaced in April by Urip Party and former Environment Minister Han Myung Sook, who thus became South Korea’s first female prime minister.
In May, big company Daewoo’s founder Kim Woo Choong was sentenced to ten years in prison and fines for organizing multi-billion-class fraud.
The ruling Urip Party suffered a setback in the local elections on May 31 and gained power in only one of 16 cities and provinces. The opposition Conservative Great Nationalist Party took home twelve local items, including the mayor’s office in Seoul. The election results were seen as a manifestation of popular dissatisfaction that the government had failed to improve the country’s economy and that the extensive South Korean assistance to North Korea had not brought the countries closer together.
Relations with North Korea worsened during the year, mainly due to the fact that North Korea shot several missiles in July and probably carried out an underground nuclear test in October. Both documents were condemned by the whole world. South Korea’s backlash was to hold back food aid to North Korea, which in turn contrasted to set up planned family reunions between North and South Koreans. A visit by US President George W. Bush to South Korea on September 14 was reported to have produced lean results. While the United States advocated tougher grips on North Korea for its nuclear weapons efforts, South Korea advocated a more conciliatory tone toward its neighbor in order to reduce tensions.
North Korea’s nuclear test in October led to the UN imposing sanctions on the regime in Pyongyang, which South Korea, with some reservations, agreed to. Somewhat later in the same month, South Korea clarified that some senior officials in North Korea would be banned from entry into South Korea and that North Korean merchant ships arriving in South Korea should be controlled. However, the reconciliation process between the two countries that started in 2000 would continue.
South Korea’s Foreign Minister Ban Ki Moon was appointed as UN Secretary-General in October following the departure of Kofi Annan. On January 1, 2007, Ban Ki Moon would become the first Asian in office over 30 years. The epithet attributed to the South Korea was a good mediator, a world-class administrator, low-profile and uncharismatic.
In November it was announced that two farms in South Korea had been affected by bird flu, and a mass slaughter was set in motion.
Another important name is that of Hong Sang-soo: each of his films appears as a sequel to the previous one in a continuous intertwining between life and cinema that takes its cue from the French New Wave and, in particular, from the work of Eric Rohmer. An extremely prolific filmmaker, chance, the accidental succession of events shown through the refusal of editing and the frequent use of the zoom are recurring elements in his films: Geuk jang jeon (2005; Tale of cinema), Haebyeonui yeoin (2006; Woman on the beach), Bam gua nat (2008; Night and day), Jal al-jido mot-ha-myeon-seo (2009; Like you know at all), Hahaha (2010), Ok-hui-ui yeonghwa (2010; Oki’s movie), Book chon bang hyang (2011; The day he Arrives), In another country (2012), Uri Sunhi (2013; Our Sunhi) and Ja-yu -eui eon-deok (2014; Hill of freedom).
In Park Chan-wook’s cinema, which has established itself internationally with the aforementioned Oldeuboi, formal research joins an often claustrophobic and abstract vision, deforming and ironic in representing the relationship of man with society. After the ‘revenge trilogy’ with Chinjeolhan geumjassi (2005; Lady Vendetta), the director then directed Ssa-i-bo-geu-ji-man-gwen-chan-a (2006; I’m a cyborg, but that’s ok) and the aforementioned Bak-jwi. Bong Joon-ho, on the other hand, stood out for his very personal gaze in dealing with the different cinematographic genres: from the mixture of thriller and detective story (Salinui chueok, 2003, Memories of murder ; Madeo, 2009, Mother) to the monster-movie Gwoemul (2006; The host), a blockbuster at home and defined by the New York Times as “the best monster movie ever”. Im Kwon-taek (b. 1936), is instead one of the great veterans of this cinematography. During his career he has directed over 100 films, ranging from costume biopics (the life of painter Jang Seung-up in Chihwaseon, 2002, Drunk with women and painting), to historical-political feuilleton (Haryu in saeng, 2004, Low life), up to the melodramas Chun-nyun-hack (2007; Beyond the years) and Hwajang (2014; Revivre). Finally, Lee Chang-dong, in whose films reason and madness, objectivity and subjectivity often intersect, as in the love story between a dissociated person and a disabled person in Oasis (2002), in the harrowing mélo Milyang, which stars a young woman widow and her son, and in Shi (2010) in which an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s tries to make sense of her life by taking refuge in poetry. Other directors include Im Sang-soo (Baramnan gajok, 2003, The lawyer’s wife ; Hanyo, 2010, The housemaid) and Kim Jee-woon (Janghwa, Hongryeon, 2003, Two sisters; Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom, 2008, The good, the crazy, the bad).
The international success of this cinematography is also witnessed by the fact that some of its exponents shot their first film in the United States: Park Chan-wook the thriller Stoker (2013) with Mia Wasikowska and Nicole Kidman, Bong Joon-ho the claustrophobic fantasy Snowpiercer (2013), based on the comic Le transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette, and finally Kim Jee-woon the action thriller The last stand (2013; The last stand – The last challenge) with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Some Korean actors have also gained international attention, most notably Choi Min-sik, who in 2014 was awarded the Florence Korea Film Fest Award for his film career from the 12th Florence Korea Film Fest (the Italian festival that with the Far East Film of Udine has dedicated a lot of space to this cinema), and Jeon Do-yeon. But overseas also Yunjin Kim and Daniel Dae-kim (who for six seasons were the couple of lovers in the TV series Lost, 2004-10, created by JJ Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber and Damon Lindelof), Rain (pseud. of Jeong Ji-hoon) who starred in Andy and Lana Wachowski ‘s Speed racer (2008) and later starred in Ninja assassin (2009) by James McTeigue, and, finally, Lee Byung-hun who was the white ninja Storm Shadow in GI Joe – The rise of cobra (2009; G .I. Joe – The birth of the cobras) by Stephen Sommers and in G .I. Joe – Retaliation (2013; G .I. Joe – Revenge) by Jon M. Chu and starred opposite Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins in Dean Parisot’s Red 2 (2013).