The Hands of Bresson

Sundry observations on the art of cinema and world film culture

Old Partner: An Interview with Lee Chung-ryoul

with 2 comments

Topping the Korean box office is no small feat for a first-time filmmaker, given the perennial offerings of sassy romantic comedies and vivid, attention-grabbing genre flicks from this nation’s impressive stable of film artists. It’s even more improbable when you’ve made a no-frills documentary (not so popular in South Korea) for less than $150,000 about the relationship between an elderly farmer and his aged ox. But a few months after it hit the market at the 2008 Pusan International Film Festival, where it won the best documentary award, Lee Chung-ryoul’s Old Partner became one of the most successful indies in Korean film history, playing on more than 150 local screens and drawing 1 million viewers on word-of-mouth buzz alone. It went on to jostle for the Grand Jury Prize in world documentary at Sundance last January, the first time a Korean documentary has been entered in the Park City competition. No one must have been more surprised than Lee, a veteran TV producer whose humble maiden feature—a human-bovine buddy film—has captured the imagination of audiences from Seoul to Vienna.

Click here to read my interview with Lee Chung-ryoul at Filmmaker.


Written by eyemaster

December 30, 2009 at 9:28 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Reg: “Old Partner”
    Iread about this film in the NYT and I am so impressed with beauty and dignity of this family I would like to purchase a copy of this film.
    Is there an english version of the “Old Partner” documentary available?

    Thank you
    C.J. Becker

    Clarice J. Becker

    February 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    • At this point, there’s no way to see the film on DVD, but I’ve heard that a Korean distributor in the U.S. is planning a release soon.


      February 19, 2010 at 7:38 pm

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