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NAM KI NAM interview with <CINE 21>


!!! He is the bravest star low-budget director in Korea !!!

  This article is originally in <CINE 21> Jul. 1st. 1998.
This translation is by


Q1 : Some blame that "NAM movie is cheesy, low-budget, ssam-mai(call cheesy, low-budget in JAPAN.)". What do you think about that? Sometimes you agree with them.

A1 : First, don't use the word 'ssam-mai' because it is Japanese word. And I don't agree with them. ... Someone says "NAM KI NAM is the basis of Korean cheesy movies!!!" But think about this. If you make movie with LEE JOO IL (very famous Korean comedian before RAY SHIM. He always acted as a fool, I think he was more stupid than MR. BEAN, RAY SHIM and more!!!) what movie would you make? He's only for comedy and if you make art-movie with LEE, it would not earn any money. I made [PYOUNG YANG MAEN BAL] with him and it earned lots of money! After my movie, lots of producers made movie with LEE, but all of them failed. I didn't intend to make art-movie, and I must make movie like that with LEE. That's what it is.


Q2 : You always made movie without art-ism, but only for money. Don't you think that is wrong?

A2 : I don't think it's wrong at all. Movie is for mass, and we must make movie to sell. NAM movie must be funny, interesting for people who goes to theatre and pay for it. I've not made movies that they don't like, and that's what I think. When I see SPIELBERG movies, I applaud to him! That's what drama goes on! I think so.


Q3 : But you would like to make some award-worth movies...

A3 : Of course, I would love to. But once I got the title <fast-movie maker>, producer did never let me do so. Sometimes I want to make so, but producer always said "Huh, can you do that?" I would love to make award-worth movie, but... 


!!! He made movies within a week !!!


Q4 : Aren't you sad because you didn't make award-worth movies?

A4 : In the mid of 1970's, I was so. But to earn money and to live is the first thing for me. They want movie to gain the movie-export right, then I made movies without hard-work. Producers wanted me very much, I made lots of movies, some movies were great hit, so I'm not sad about that.

Q5 : At 1970's, you made movies with producers who wanted you only to make fast. And now, you produce and direct movies all by yourself. I think there aren't any differences between them. What do you think about them?

A5 : In the early of 1990's, I made [SSA RANG GWA NUN MUL (Love and tears)], that told sad things about our Korean and powerful drama. I really wanted to make movies like that, but nobody come to see that movie. I broke out with that movie. So I made another RAY SHIM movie [MU JER RI WA DO DOOG NOM (Stupid and thief)], and I earned money. About [CHUN NYUN HWAN SAENG], a producer asked me to make movie like [WOL HA WUI GONG DONG MYO JI (Cemetary below moon)]. He said he would pay all the money to make that movie. I believe his words, and at first I made that movie with money gained by rental my house. I spend 100 million won (about 100,000 $), and need 100 million won more. But he ran out, so I paid all the money for that movie! At last, I spent all and had very hard time to advertise that movie. I exclude one big important sequence, because I didn't have any money more. It's sure that director must not produce movies, only direct it.  


Q6 : When you made [YOUNG-GOO AND TTANGCHILI], you told producer "I go to fish!" and went to AMERICA to make another movie. Is that fair? I think it's very bad thing to do.

A6 : (With complicated face like -_-;...) Of course, it's not fair. I know it very well, but there was a reason I must go and take that picture. Someone I knew were producer of that picture, and there were money-problem with him, so I must help him. It took a week to built a set for [YGAT], so I thought it would be okay for 7 days, but I did count wrong and [YGAT] producer finally knew about that. -_- But, it was a great hit, so everything was fine in the end. ^_^


Q7 : When I see N-movie (NAM KI NAM movie), I often think that they are not acting good. (Cheesy acting.) It might be bad because you make movies with RECORD AFTER CAMERA method. (Taking all pictures, and later record all dialogues in the studio.) It makes your movie more cheesier, and extras are more worse.

A7 : Because all movies were made with RECORD AFTER CAMERA, some dialogues took wrong tone, more for new-comers. Specially comedy-movies have more important adlib, but RAC is not good for adlib. In fact, it's all for economical problem. If you use RECORD WHILE CAMERA, you would spend 2000 Won. But if you use RAC, you only use 100 Won. (About 20 times bigger!!!) So I could not use RAC. Producer often said, "It's not for Academy-award, so let's go with RAC." and I answered, "Yes, go on!" And we go. ... My movie is not BLOCKBUSTER nor serious, so it's not so bad.

!!! My [YOUNG-GOO AND TTANGCHILI] was the greatest hit in Korea !!!



Q8 : So if you had lots of money, didn't you made such a bad movie?

A8 : OF COURSE!!! That American [GODZILLA] was nothing at all. It's only bought from JAPANESE. That's all. If they offer me lots of money like that, I COULD BE A HERO!!!


Q9 : In your movie, SFX was very cheesy. I could see piano-string when actors flying. Ghost make-up was cheesy to death. What do you think about that?

A9 : In fact, people can't find piano-string so easily. With piano-string, and with good lighting, everything would be fine. But they want to find harm, so they could find all of them. Only 1 second pass, everybody doesn't know. In [CHUN NYUN HWAN SAENG], I would like to make ghost real spooky. But it took about 30 million won (about 30,000 $) only for the ghost animation. So I gave it up and took scene at chicken-cage. Of course, I'm very sorry about that, but I had no money at that time. ...


Q10 : Do you think 1990's people had changed? And what do you think about your old style? I think it would be hard for you to make movies and earn money with old style.

A10 : Surely, they changed. But, in these days, young directors don't make good movies. They only rely on advertising! In old days, we don't need such a big advertising budget, but, in these days, about 100 million won (about 100,000$) needs only for advertise. I'll make my next movie like that. If I could spend 100 million won for advertise, I would success! Wait for my next movie.

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