Asia Society at the Movies: Forbidden Dream
Screening and Conversation With Director Hur Jin-ho
April 19, 2021 ㅡ In collaboration with Asia Society Museum and Asia Society Southern California, and with the support from Lotte Entertainment, Asia Society Korea showcased a screening event of the movie Forbidden Dream and invited Director Hur Jin-ho for the interview as a part of the Leo Gala Series to give wider publicity to Korean culture and celebrate its beauty beyond the facade.
Twenty years after the breakthrough blockbuster Swiri, stars Han Seok-kyu and Choi Min-sik reunite for Forbidden Dream, a sumptuous period piece directed by South Korea’s top director and screenwriter Hur Jin-ho. The film describes the journey of two eminent dreamers whose shared vision changed the history of Joseon—and thereby Korea—forever.
King Sejong the Great of Joseon wants to enhance the nation’s riches and military power through the study of astronomy and his loyal subject and scientist Jang Yeong-sil creates the instruments he imagines into reality. Threatened by Joseon’s ever-evolving astronomical technology, the Ming empire orders Joseon to cease the studies and for Jang Yeong-sil to be dispatched. Joseon’s court subjects insist Jang must be sent at once, but King Sejong, who thinks dearly of Jang, is deeply troubled by the dilemma. (Read more about Angbu-ilgu, Jang Yeong-sil's invention of sundial)
The film rated second in the Korean box office and was one of several pieces submitted to the 2019 Cannes Film Festival along with The Man Standing Next and Parasite. The film was also invited to South Korea’s Hidden Voices section of the 2020 New York Asian Film Festival and the 2020 Korean Film Festival in Hungary.
About the Guest Speakers
Hur Jin-ho is an award-winning South Korean film director and screenwriter whose debut feature Christmas in August (1998) and April Snow (2005) were enormous box-office hits in Korea. After making One Fine Spring Day (2001), he earned the title of “South Korea’s melodrama supremo.” His talent in making romantic movies that strike the right balance between making clean cuts and relaying emotional depth is a recurring attribute that reverberates throughout his entire filmography. Hur has consistently worked with South Korea’s top actors and his work has gained significant followership in both Japan and China. He served as Festival Director of the Jecheon International Music and Film Festival in 2013. Hur is the winner of Best Film at the 2001 Busan Film Critics Association, Korean Panorama at the 2001 Pusan International Film Festival, Best Artistic Contribution Award at the 2001 Tokyo International Film Festival, Best Director at the 2007 Blue Dragon Awards, Best Screenplay at the 2007 Korean Association of Film Critics Awards, Best Director Nominee at the Grand Bell Awards in 2016, and Best Director Nominee at the Chunsa Film Art Awards in 2020.
Joan MacDonald is a journalist fascinated by Korean drama and film. Since 2013, MacDonald’s stories on Korean media and culture have been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Kultscene, MacG Productions, the Independent, Bust, Hello Giggles, and Mental Floss. For three years she worked as a writer and editor at KPopStarz, a popular K-pop and K-drama news site, and appeared on three KCON panels discussing drama trends. Some of her drama blogs appear on the “That Only Happens In K-dramas” Facebook page. She is the author of seven non-fiction books including six for young adults, and High Fit Home (Harper Design, 2005), a book on the intersection of architecture and fitness. MacDonald has also managed various publishing projects. Previously, she worked at North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS) for 17 years as its editor, feature writer, and vice president whereby she garnered formidable national media coverage on behalf of NAPS-affiliated PR agencies, national associations, and Fortune 100 companies. Currently, MacDonald is a Hollywood, entertainment, and K-media contributor at Forbes. Lately, she has written about health, travel, food, history, pop culture, film, and the wonders of the Hudson Valley.
This program was presented by Asia Society Museum, Asia Society Southern California, and Asia Society Korea as part of a new series titled Asia Society at the Movies. Asia Society at the Movies showcases a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora.
The screening was made possible by Lotte.
Asia Society at the Movies
Asia Society is proud to announce the launch of Asia Society at the Movies, a new series of film screenings and conversations showcasing a broad range of films and filmmakers from across Asia and the Asian diaspora. Asia Society at the Movies celebrates established and emerging voices, contemporary films and classics, and documentaries. The series builds on Asia Society’s long and rich history of film programming. This initiative also serves to deepen understanding of Asian cultures—a core part of Asia Society’s mission since its creation. Learn more about the Asia Society at the Movies initiative.
About Asia Society Museum
Asia Society Museum presents a wide range of traditional, modern, and contemporary exhibitions of Asian and Asian American art, taking new approaches to familiar masterpieces and introducing under-recognized arts and artists. The Asia Society Museum Collection comprises a traditional art collection, including the initial bequests of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, and a contemporary art collection. Through exhibitions and public programs, Asia Society provides a forum for the issues and viewpoints reflected in both traditional and contemporary Asian art and in Asia today.
About Asia Society Southern California
Established in Los Angeles in 1985, Asia Society Southern California (ASSC) is ideally situated at the gateway to the Asia-Pacific region. ASSC has played a pivotal role through creative programs and activities in increasing shared knowledge, enhancing dialogue, and furthering cultural exchanges transcending regional boundaries. As part of the global Asia Society, which was founded more than 60 years ago in New York City, ASSC has launched many creative initiatives and programs addressing current issues of importance across the fields of the arts, culture, policy, business, and education.
About Asia Society Korea
Since its establishment in April 2007, Asia Society Korea has been serving as an active gateway for engagement on issues affecting Korea, the Asia-Pacific region, and the United States. Through its programs addressing policy, business, and education, as well as arts and culture, the Korea Center has been seeking to integrate Korean voices into the broad range of Asia Society programs across the region.
About Lotte Entertainment
Lotte Entertainment is a South Korean film production and distribution company. Established in the Republic of Korea, the company has distributed films throughout South Korea since its founding in September 2003. Lotte Entertainment distributes over 25 Korean / foreign titles a year through its multiplex circuit Lotte Cinema branch, which presents more than 800 screens nationwide in Korea.