Gwoemul

  • Directors: Bong Joon ho
  • Producers: Choi Yong Bae
  • Writers: Baek Chul hyun, Bong Joon ho
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Song Kang ho, Byeon Hee bong, Park Hae il, Bae Doona, Ko Ah seong

The film opens with an American military pathologist commanding a reluctant Korean assistant to violate protocol by dumping over 200 bottles of formaldehyde down the drain, which leads to the Han River. A few years later, two men are standing and fishing in Han River when one discovers a mutant amphibian (which is never shown). He releases the palm-sized creature when it bites him. Four more years later, a man commits suicide by jumping off a bridge into Han River, but not before noticing that there’s “something dark, underwater.”

In the present day, Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho) is a seemingly slow-witted man who runs a snack-bar with his father, Hee-bong (Byeon Hee-bong). Hyun-seo (Ko Ah-seong) is a schoolgirl and Gang-du’s daughter. Gang-du’s sister, Nam-joo (Bae Doona), is a national medalist archer who has an unfortunate tendency to hesitate, and his brother Nam-il (Park Hae-il) is an alcoholic former activist who has not done much since graduating from university.

Gang-du is delivering a meal to some patrons, and sees a crowd gathering along Han River. He joins them as they stand near the side of the river and point at something under the Wonhyo Bridge. It is the creature, now grown. It drops into the water, and moves towards shore. Gang-du throws a can of beer into the water near it, and the creature grabs for the can. The other people nearby then begin to playfully toss other pieces of food to it, but the creature disappears from view. A few moments later, the creature appears on shore behind them, and begins to attack and devour people. Gang-du and an American man named Donald try to fight the creature, and successfully hit it with a street sign, Donald however, loses his arm to the creature afterwards. As Gang-du runs away, he sees Hyun-seo emerge from the snack bar and grabs her hand without stopping. He then stumbles and unwittingly grabs a different girl. A short distance away, he looks back and sees the creature pull Hyun-seo into the river. Gang-du then sees the monster dragging her on the opposite bank before disappearing into the water.

As Nam-joo and Nam-il mourn over their dead niece, Gang-du manages to revive Se-ju. In the epilogue, we see Gang-du and Se-ju living as a family in the rebuilt and cozy-looking snack bar, sometime in the winter. One night Gang-du believed he saw something move outside. He gets his rifle but then sets it down, believing it was his imagination. A televised US Senate press release – claiming that the Korean “disease crisis” was caused by “misinformation” – is drowned out by their conversation. The child asks him to turn it off, as he finds it boring, and they eat dinner.

Linda Linda Linda

  • Directors: Nobuhiro Yamashita
  • Producers: Hiroyuki Negishi, Yuji Sadai
  • Writers: Wakako Miyashita, Nobuhiro Yamashita
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music
  • Actors: Bae Doona, Aki Maeda, Yu Kashii, Shiori Sekine

Linda Linda Linda tells the story of a group of (eventually) four high school girls who decide to put together a band for Hiiragi-sai, their school cultural festival. Three days before they are to play the festival, the guitarist and singer quit the band. The remaining members, Kei Tachibana (立花恵, Tachibana Kei?), Kyoko Yamada (山田 響子, Yamada Kyōko?), and Nozomi Shirakawa (白河望, Shirakawa Nozomi?) must figure out what to do or risk cancelling. They decide to perform covers of The Blue Hearts songs, but all agree that they need to find a new member to be the singer. They ask the first girl that walks by – Son (ソン?), a Korean foreign exchange student. Son is not fluent in Japanese, and this leads to some difficulties and misunderstandings, but through sharing in the ins and outs of high school life, they are able to understand one another. The first day ends with all the girls working their hardest to begin to learn their parts, the most notable scenes here being Son trying to enter a karaoke parlor, and Kyoko talking with her crush, Kazuya Oe (大江一也, ÅŒe Kazuya?).

On the next day, they begin practicing early at school where Kei struggles to play the guitar. As school begins, they all break off to do their own thing, Kyoko is seen selling crepes alongside Oe. By mid afternoon, it’s time for the girls to regroup back at the music club room, but Kyoko ends up coming late and they miss their time slot. From there, Kei calls her ex-boyfriend and manages to get her group over to “Studio Q” to practice. They leave late at night to return to school, and continue practicing through the rest of the night.

On the final day, the band gets awakened by a group who began to take out instruments to set them up on stage. The band decides to head back to Studio Q and continue practicing. However, out of exhaustion they fall asleep and Kei dreams about being celebrated and performing for The Ramones at the Budokan. All this while, the stage managers begin to search for Kei’s band, but to no avail. To pass the time, the band’s friends Takako and Moe have impromptu performances. Kei only wakes up to the sound of Kyoko’s cell phone when Oe calls to ask where Kyoko is. The band then rushes back to school in a taxi where Oe and Kyoko finally meet while everyone else sets up with only ten minutes left. When Kyoko finally comes in, the band performs two of the three songs they had planned: “Rinda Rinda” (Linda Linda), and Owaranai Uta to an excited and pumped up crowd.