Korean digital comics also known as “webtoons” or “manhwa”, have become popular over the recent years. Seen as creative in their mixture of traditional and digital art, webtoons offer a variety of story lines in a non traditional form of graphic story telling. As part of the Webtoon Exhibition hosted by the Korean Cultural Center of NY, there are free screenings of manhwa based films at the Asia Society.
“The Neighbors” or “이웃사람 i-oot-sa-ram” is directed by KIM Khan (aka Kim Hwi). The film is a suspenseful thriller based on the 2008 manhwa “The Neighbors” by Kang Full. The film begins with the horrific death of schoolgirl Yeo-sun (Kim Sae-ron) when a neighbor offers her a ride home late at night. When she doesn’t return home from her late night schooling, Block 101 comes under scrutiny after the murder.
All the neighbors are all overcome by fear as they notice more strange occurrences happening at the condominium complex. Things aren’t made any easier for the guilt stricken mother who was unable to pick up her daughter, by the presence of one of the neighbour’s daughter Soo-yeon (Kim Sae-ron), who bears a striking resemblance to her.
Filled with suspense, the film is very edgy and conveys the stained relationships that each of the neighbors have. What is also thrilling is the use of graphic effects used for depicting the psychological mind of the grief stricken mother, the security guard with a haunting past and even the murder’s state of mind, portraying the audience their own perception of reality. With some dark humor and unexpected heroes, the film also offers the audience a moment to reflect our moral obligations to society during times of danger and great need.
For more free Korean film events visit the Korean Culture Service NY website: http://www.koreanculture.org