SciFi Japan


    Godzilla’s First Major Trip to Korea Author: Kim Song-ho Source: Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival

    Although he is universally known as The King of the Monsters, Godzilla has rarely landed in the particular nation of Korea. One of the primary reasons is that Korea has forbidden the inflow of Japanese popular culture until 1998, which hindered timely, constant releases of the Godzilla series. The other is that giant monster movies are not that popular in the country (Shim Hyung-rae’s DRAGON WARS, which was a great hit in 2007, is a completely different story). Those two reasons have resulted in such low awareness and mass appeal to giant monster movies in general in the peninsular. But in the 60th anniversary of Godzilla, things seem to be changing, at least a little bit, as The Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PIFAN) will include a Godzilla anniversary program in its recently-announced full lineup. The festival, which will take place from July 17 to 27 in Puchon, Kyounggido, will screen seven Godzilla movies, including the original 1954 GODZILLA. Other related events, such as a talk session will also be commenced (details will be announced soon). This marks the first-ever Godzilla screening program in Korea.* The program is titled and consists of as follows:


    ? GODZILLA (???, Gojira, 1954) Director: Ishiro Honda Starring: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi, Akihiko Hirata ? INVASION OF ASTRO-MONSTER (?????, Kaijuu Daisensoo, 1965) Director: Ishiro Honda Starring: Akira Takarada, Nick Adams, Kumi Mizuno ? DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (?????, Kaijuu Soshingeki, 1968) Director: Ishiro Honda Starring: Akira Kubo, Jun Tazaki, Yukiko Kobayashi ? GODZILLA VS. HEDORAH (???????, Gojira Tai Hedora, 1971) Director: Yoshimitsu Banno Starring: Akira Yamanouchi, Toshie Kimura, Hiroyuki Kawase ? TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA (????????, Mekagojira no Gyakushuu, 1975) Director: Ishiro Honda Starring: Katsuhiko Sasaki, Tomoko Ai, Akihiko Hirata ? GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE (???vs?????, Gojira Tai Biorante, 1989) Director: Kazuki Ohmori Starring: Kunihiko Mitamura, Kyoko Tanaka, Megumi Odaka ? GODZILLA: FINAL WARS (??? ?????????, Gojira: Fainaru Uoozu, 2004) Director: Ryuhei Kitamura Starring: Masahiro Matsuoka, Rei Kikuchi, Don Frye • All films are 35mm prints. • GODZILLA and GODZILLA: FINAL WARS will be presented in the original Japanese audio with Korean subtitles. The other 5 films will be in English dub with Korean subtitles.

    This is a great opportunity to discover all the monstrous glory of the Big G, especially in this historic year. PIFAN, which welcomes its 18th year, is one of the most influential film festivals in Korea and in the Asian nations, especially for genre filmmakers and fans alike. This year, PIFAN will screen 210 films from 47 countries. For more information, check out the official PIFAN website. *For reference, this is not the first Godzilla screening in Korea. There were several occasions that Korean fans could meet the King of the Monsters, all after 1998, when the Korean government allowed the entrance of Japanese popular culture. In August 2000, GODZILLA 2000 (???2000 ?????, Gojira Nisen: Mireniamu), then-recent entry of the series, opened in the Korean cinemas. It was the first time that the original Japanese Godzilla series saw the light of day in Korea. Later it was released on VHS, VCD and DVD. In March 2003, the original 1954 GODZILLA was shown twice in Seoul Art Cinema, as a part of the 1950s Japanese directors retrospective. It was considered the Korean premiere of the original. In November 2006, GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (???×?????, Gojira Tai Mekagojira, 2002) was shown at the 3rd Megabox Japanese Film Festival. Lastly, in December 2012, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS was released direct-to-VOD/digital download. No DVD or Blu-ray releases followed.

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