KOREAN MOVIE NIGHTS July 13, 2010 ­ - August 24, 2010 courtesy of the Korean Cultural Service every other Tuesday @ 7pm Tribeca Cinemas (54 Varick Street, on the corner of Canal Street, one block from the A, C, E and 1 train Canal Street stops) Price? Free. All seating is first-come, first served. Doors open at 6:30pm. Series Three: TV Party In America, Korea is famous for its movies, but across most of the world it's famous for its TV. Korean drama series have sparked what's known as the Hallyu Wave, which has seen Korean television score everywhere in Asia, from China to Japan. Some Korean TV stars are even more popular overseas than they are at home. Korean television dramas have been so popular in Malaysia that kimchi imports to that country jumped 150% after the airing of several series, and Korean TV series are part of primetime programming both in Cambodia and Iran. TUESDAY, July 13 @ 7pm TOKYO TAXI (2010, 76 minutes, New York Premiere) Award-winning, arthouse darling, director Kim Tae-Sik (DRIVING WITH MY WIFE'S LOVER), made this TV movie that was so acclaimed it went on to do the film festival rounds. Ryo (Masashi Yamada) is going to ruin everything. His band has been invited to a play a concert in Seoul, but he's terrified of flying and so he cowers in Tokyo. But in a burst of inspiration he hails a taxi and demands that it honor its pledge to take him to any destination, in this case, Seoul. And so begins an epic odyssey of passenger and driver across hundreds of miles and two countries in this wry, sharply-observed comedy. One of the best and most ambitious of the made-for-TV movies, it helped launch the career of Yu Hana, who plays an Asiana stewardess and Ryo's unobtainable object of desire. TUESDAY, July 27 @ 7pm GIRL BY GIRL (2007, 80 minutes, New York Premiere) Starting life as a student film made for cable TV, GIRL BY GIRL (SONYEO X SONYEO) became a popular hit thanks to its ferociously committed lead performance by Kwak Ji-Min, the star of Kim Ki-Duk's SAMARITAN GIRL and one of the actors in the bawdy, over-the-top DASEPO NAUGHTY GIRLS. In GIRL BY GIRL Kwak plays a troublemaking high school student out for a good time and nothing more. When she and a model student both fall for the same guy, she figures that this means war, and so she manages to convince the model student that their dream man only likes bad girls, while trying to turn herself into the perfect high school girl he actually desires. It sounds contrived, and it is, but Kwak's go-for-broke performance papers over all the rough spots with its speed and commitment. She's heartless one minute, ridiculous another and then oddly sympathetic, just like a real teenager. TUESDAY, August 10 @ 7pm PUNCH STRIKE (2006, 81 minutes, New York Premiere) Korean directors are almost exclusively male, and PUNCH STRIKE would be notable if for no other reason that for the fact that its director, Ryou Eun-Jung, is a woman. She worked in the trenches for years before she was able to make her short film "A Smoke-Flavored Life" which won awards at film festivals around the world. She followed it up with PUNCH STRIKE, a rambunctious flick that takes on the high school power dynamic in Korea, which makes even the most dysfunctional American high school look like paradise. Hard-working character actor, Lim Won-Hie, plays "Mad Dog" a psychotic teacher who physically abuses and sexually humiliates his students. But when he slaps Mina (Park Min-Ji) in the face in front of her secret crush he's crossed the line. She and her two friends begin a quiet revolution as they seek their revenge. As bouncy and rambunctious as a 16 year old texting while talking on the phone and updating their Facebook page, it's a movie that fell between the cracks but that deserves wider exposure for its particular take on high school hell. TUESDAY, August 24 @ 7pm MY LITTLE EROTIC LOVER (2000, 110 minutes) This TV movie is one of powerhouse broadcaster KBS' new "Drama Specials," 60 minute made-for-TV movies that showcase their hottest talent. MY LITTLE EROTIC LOVER (aka OUR SLIGHTLY RISQUE RELATIONSHIP) is a typical meet-cute between a broadcaster and a reporter who can¹t stand the sight of each other. Elevating this formula is the bawdy nature of the comedy (they meet cute when she spills hot soup on his crotch, sparking a medical emergency) and the fact that it stars Lee Seon-Gyun. Lee was relegated to second string and bit parts for years before he starred in the 2007 TV series, THE 1st SHOP OF THE COFFEE PRINCE, playing the owner of a run down coffee house. The show was a massive hit and he followed it up with the medical TV series, WHITE TOWER. Not only is he now the biggest male lead in Korean television, but last year he won an acting award for his role in the acclaimed feature film PAJU.