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Nine Koryo warriors' journey across the great Chinese continent!

a KIM, Sung-Su film

JUNG Woo-Sung, AHN Sung-Gi, JOO Jin-Mo, Zhang Ziyi

Produced by Sidus Uno films

Presented by CJ Entertainment 

 

CREDITS

 

Presented by CJ Entertainment

Produced by Sidus

Co-produced by China Film

Beijing Film Studio

Co-presented by KTB Network

Co-financed by Sidus /Muhan Technology Investment /Intz.com

Executive producer SUK Dong-Joon, HA Sung-Keun, TCHA Seung-Jai

CHOI Jae-Won, KIM Jung-Young

Production Management KANG Won-Sook, JUNG Yong-Wook, LEE Hee-Woo,

CHOI Chan-Suk,

Production/Planning TCHA Seung-Jai

Producer CHO Min-Hwan, ZHANG Xia

Screenplay and Director KIM Sung-Su

Director of Photography KIM Hyung-Koo

Gaffer LEE Kang-San

Editing KIM Hyun

Art Director Huoting Xiao

Music Shiro Sagisu

Martial Arts Director CHUNG Doo-Hong

Mixing AUDIO LOC SOUND DESIGN

Spontaneous Recording LEE Byung-Ha, LEE Ji-Su, C.G E.O.N

Special Effects JUNG Do-Ahn, KIM Tae-Eui

Make-up/Hair LEE Kyung-Ja

Special Make-up SIN Jae-Ho

Costumes WHANG Buoying

Props LI Mingxan

Post-Production Supervisor KIM Yang-Il

Assistant Director CHO Dong-Oh

Production Supervisor KIM Sung-Jin, CHOI Jung-Hwa

Stills noon

Posters LEE Jae-Yong

Advertisement Design Adlib

Home Page Production Gillu

Marketing LEE Hyun-Soon, BAE Yoon-Hee, CHANG Bo-Kyung

Subtitles Hanna Lee, Peter Anshin, Darcy Paquet

MUSA-The Warrior writing new history in Korean Cinema

 

5 Years of Planning and Production, a $ 8 Million Budget, 300 Crew Members, over 5 Months of Shooting, Covering 10,000km across the Chinese Continent.

 

For the test shooting alone of the epic film MUSA, over $150,000 was invested. The total production cost adds up to almost $ 8 Million, with 112 shooting sessions lasting over a period of 5 months, using 350,000 cuts of film. MUSA has broken all Korean records by covering 10,000 kilometers while shooting on location with 300 crew members, 4 cameras, and 60 vehicles per shooting session. However, these numbers and records are not all there is to MUSA. More is expected of the film because of all the unseen effort and challenges that underlie the numbers and records. The 10,000 km traveled by the MUSA team writes a new page in the history of Korean cinema.

 

A Gigantic Spectacular in Cinemascope

The Greatest Realistic Martial Arts Action ever Seen !!!

 

The action in MUSA is extremely realistic. Characters cut off the enemies' arms and legs, and even shoot arrows at fallen foes. You must kill or be killed, so the action is a fight for survival that takes place amidst turmoil and confusion. This realistic action is heightened by its presentation on a Cinemascope screen that has been enlarged from the usual 1.85:1 ratio to 2.35:1, making the action scenes more powerful and the on-location panoramic views more abundant. MUSA tells the story of Koryo warriors and their journey across the Great Chinese continent as they traverse through desert, wasteland, and canyons to return to their home country. The movie contains the most realistic action scenes in the history of Korean cinema on a cinemascope screen and will prove to be the greatest and most spectacular action movie Korea has ever seen.

 

JUNG Woo-Sung, AHN Sung-Gi, JOO Jin-Mo and Zhang Ziyi from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon- The BEST Cast in Korean Cinema

 

JUNG Woo-Sung, AHN Sung-Gi, JOO Jin-Mo, and Zhang Ziyi are names that make MUSA impressive. However, these actors have brought more than their star image to the film. Beginning 4 months prior to shooting, their days were filled with the study of horse riding, martial arts, and the Chinese language. On location, they transformed into true Koryo warriors. Zhang Ziyi, who has captured the spotlight worldwide from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, joined the MUSA team and made it the focus of world attention. The top Korean actors meet an internationally rising star to make MUSA the hottest movie in the history of Korean cinema.

 

 

Stylist KIM Sung-Su Joins Forces with the Art team of Farewell! My Concubine and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the composer of Evangelion!

 

Director KIM Sung-Su, producer CHO Min-Hwan, director of photography KIM Hyung-Gu, Gaffer LEE Kang-San, and martial arts master JUNG Doo-Hong!

The dream team of <Beat> and <Our Sunny Days> joins forces with the world's greatest staff: producer ZHANG Xia of <Life on a String> and <Farewell, My Concubine>; art director Huoting Xiao who was in charge of the sets for <The Emperor and the Assassin> (directed by Chen Kaige ) and who won the award for the best artwork at Cannes in 1999; and Shiro Sagisu whose original soundtrack for <Evangelion: Death and Rebirth> has sold over 3 million copies in Japan. The art team for MUSA is especially notable for the awards they have received, such as an award for art direction at the 73 rd U.S. Academy Awards with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and an award for costumes at the British Academy Awards. The greatest teams from Korea, China, and Japan have gathered together on the set of MUSA to present the most Korean, yet the most universal scenes.

 

About the Filmmaker

 

KIM Sung-Su

 

I was inspired by Sam Peckinpah and Akira Kurosawa in making this film. And I wanted to envision my distant ancestors, who must have had to overcome all kinds of adversity on the Chinese continent, in the sandy winds of the barren plains. <Director's note>

 

•  Born in Seoul

•  Graduated from Sejong University majoring in English

Language & Literature

1990 Graduated from Dongkuk Graduate School majoring in Film Arts

1991 Assistant director for <Black Republic> and <Berlin Report>

(directed by PARK Kwang-Su)

Screenplay for <The Blue in You> and <Twilight into the Neon Lights> (directed by LEE Hyun- Seung)

Screenplay for < Out to the World> directed by YEO Kyun-Dong

Filmography

1993 Short film <Scream City>

1996 <Runaway>

1997 <Beat>

1999 <Our Sunny Days>

2000 <MUSA-the warrior>

 

The last days of the Koryo Dynasty in 1357 were a period of upheaval for Koryo and China alike. On the Korean peninsula, Chosun was on the verge of taking over Koryo while in China, the Ming Dynasty was seizing power from the Yuan . At the time, events surrounding the royal throne were writing history in blood, both on the Korean peninsula and in China. Chosun had not been established in Korea, but in China, CHU Yuan-chang from Suzhou Province created a whirlwind of change in a time of confusion and finally succeeded in driving Yuan out to establish Ming as a new dynasty.

 

While these two countries are suffering from these political and historic circumstances, the nine Koryo warriors journey right through the confusion. The warriors are also representative of the social hierarchy of the time. Forsaken in the remote desert, the group is a small Korean society in itself. Each person's problems and ways of thinking signify the conflicting relationships and ideologies of the peninsula at the end of the Koryo Dynasty. When the group first sets off on their journey in the desert, they move as envoys following a strict chain of command. However, the painstaking journey sickens the people and hardens their hearts. The conflicts between the characters are more difficult to bear than the weary journey to Liaoning . Fighting and criticism tear them apart and those of the same status become closer than family. Duty and patriotism are reduced to mere burdens as they trudge on east with the single hope of returning to their beloved home and families. As the journey progresses, the vertical chain of command breaks down into a horizontal line of relationships and they gradually come to understand each other as humans above the conflicts of station and ideology.

 

This movie is a drama that deals with the relationship between human beings. There are the motifs of martial arts and historical events, but the movie is more about conflict and reconciliation between people with different thoughts and positions, and among people of different ethnic backgrounds. History is not the possession of a few royals who hold the hegemony or a handful of aristocrats. I am most interested in those living their lives at the bottom of society who face adversity and who try to protect their lives, which are considered insignificant in the history of a dynasty. They were neither outstanding nor worthy of attention But as I understand it, history has always been pushed ahead by those kind of people. And that is why I chose to focus the spotlight on the extraordinary journey of ordinary people in the last days of the Koryo Dynasty says Director Kim.

 

The Koryoeans (Koryo people) in the movie are not outstanding martial arts masters or even knights. They struggled just to survive and sometimes gave in to the impulse of the moment as they set off on their long journey with thoughts of their families left behind. They were people who could sacrifice their lives without any reward for the Han tribe refugees whom they did not know, just for the sole reason that they saw the faces of their loved ones reflected in them. They ultimately embodied the true spirit of the warrior by giving their lives.

 

Approximately 600 years ago MUSA unravels the beautiful story of heroes who died far away from home.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

 

This movie dates back over 600 years. It is based on a true story of Koryo warriors returning home from China. The year was 1357, the 475 th year of the Koryo Dynasty. Chu Yuan-chang's Ming Dynasty had seized power from the Yuan, pushing them north of the Great Wall after their 100 year rule.

 

In 1374 King Kongmin, who was friendly with the Ming, was assassinated and 11-year-old King Woo took the throne. When shortly thereafter Ming's envoy to Koryo was murdered, relations between the two countries quickly soured. In January of 1375, Koryo sent an envoy, CHOI Won to Ming. CHOI tried to explain Koryo's position, but was thrown in prison the moment he delivered the official document to Ming's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

In March of that same year, Koryo sent SON Chun-Yong as an envoy to present horses to the King, and then sent KIM Bo in May, followed by low ranking officer KIM Bo-Saeng in December. All were imprisoned, however, and communication between the two countries was cut off. In 1377, CHOI Won, KIM Bo, and KIM Bo-Saeng barely made it back to Koryo. However, SOHN Chun-Yong and his party were reported to have been sent into exile and no record exists of their return to Koryo . ( <History of Koryo> Volume133, Biography 46.)

 

Where did they go?

This movie follows the tracks of men who vanished into history. In search of unsung heroes

 

SYNOPSIS

 

We must return to Koryo !

In 1375, China was in a state of chaos because of fighting between the Yuan and Ming Dynasties. The Koryo dynasty, one of Korea's ancient kingdoms, sent a delegation of many diplomats, soldiers and a silent slave as envoys to make peace with the new Chinese government, Ming. However, this delegation was accused of spying and sent in exile to a remote desert. On the way, they were attacked by Yuan troops who killed all the Ming soldiers, leaving only Koryo warriors. The head envoy General CHOI Jung of the Royal Guard decides by himself that they must return to Koryo. Vice Envoy LEE Ji-hun dies from the strain of the march, and tension builds between LEE's bodyguard slave Yeosol and CHOI Jung.

 

 

An encounter with Ming princess Furong leads the Yuan cavalry to hunt them down.

After overcoming countless obstacles, the Koryo warriors arrive at a peddler's inn in the middle of the desert and run into Yuan cavalry who have kidnapped Ming's princess Buyong. CHOI Jung falls in love with Buyong the moment he sees her. Meanwhile, Yeosol arrives later, dragging vice envoy LEE Ji-hun's body. He cuts off the head of a gypsy who spits on the dead body. Yuan general Rambulhwa sees Yeosol decapitate the gypsy with one strike. Princess Furong also looks on from her wagon. Yeosol is eventually taken captive by the Yuan cavalry. CHOI Jung picks up a note from Buyong written in her blood that says Help', and he decides to rescue her so that they can get a boat bound for Koryo. CHOI Jung's aide Ganam and a warrior from the Commoner's Army, Jinlip, oppose the idea, saying it would be futile. However, they end up proceeding with the rescue with Jinlip shooting the first arrow. Buyong is rescued, but only at the expense of many Koryo warriors' lives.

 

 

If we attempt to live, we die, while if attempt to die, we'll live.

 

Princess Furong and the Koryo warriors, whose destination is Nanjing (the old southern capital of China), arrive at the Yellow River Valley where they find all the ferry boats burnt by Yuan soldiers. There they run into a group of Han tribe refugees. Furong feels empathy for her people and promises to give the warriors a boat to Koryo if they take the refugees to the coast next to Mud Castle. They arrive at Mud Castle after even more trials, only to find the castle in ruins and no Ming soldiers. By this time, the Yuan soldiers have caught up with them and the Koryo travelers become increasingly nervous. The underlying conflict between CHOI Jung and Yeosol over princess Buyong also deepens. Now they must choose. Give up princess Buyong or fight to the death together. The moment of truth approaches Can they return to Koryo safely?

 

CHARACTERS

 

JUNG Woo-Sung as Slave Yeosol

Vice Envoy Lee's personal slave and bodyguard, a master with the spear.

When LEE Ji-hun, who has cared for Yeosol like a father since Yeosol was an orphan, dies during the march, Yeosol loses all desire to return to Koryo. For him, living as a slave with no family to welcome him makes Koryo his home only in name. Furthermore, Yuan general Rambulhwa greatly admires his martial arts skills and offers to make him a Yuan general. However, Yeosol does not wish to turn his back on the Koryo people with whom he has been through so much. For these men and the princess Buyong who is relying on him, he prepares for the final battle at Mud Castle.

 

 

JOO Jin-Mo as General Choi Jung

A leader of the Royal Guard and expert swordsman

As the son of a Koryo general, CHOI Jung aspires to be an honorable soldier like his father. When the envoy party are accused of spying and abandoned in the desert, he thinks only of returning with them safely to Koryo. Consequently, he drives the others on harshly. Buyong's promise of a boat at Mud Castle is his only hope. In order to return to Koryo and protect the princess, he accepts her proposal to journey to Mud Castle.

 

 

AHN Sung-Gi as Sergeant Jinlip

Low-ranking warrior in Commoners' Army and expert in Korean archery.

He has abundant experience in battles and knows how to survive in extreme situations. When alienated in the desert and on the journey to Mud Castle, he is like a father figure to the Koryo warriors. An experienced and logical warrior in battle, he encourages the Koryo warriors on their march. He also understands better than anyone else Yeosol's loneliness and CHOI Jung's solitude.

 

Zhang Ziyi as Princess Furong

The youngest daughter of Ming's founder, CHU Yuan-Chang

Her cold and proud exterior is a shield to protect her inner innocence and sensitivity. She experiences hardship for the first time, but never loses her poise as a princess or her strong sense of duty, as can be seen from her insistence on traveling with the Han tribe refugees. However, she cannot help being caught between Yeosol and CHOI Jung on their journey to the Mud Castle. She leaves the castle, for she is unable to watch the Koryo warriors and the Han people die for her.

 

 

Born in Beijing in 1980.

Graduate of the China National Theatre School

 

Filmography

 

<The Road Home>(1999)

<Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon>(2000)

<MUSA> (2000)

<RUSH HOUR 2> (2001)

<2046> (2001)

 

PARK Jung-Hak as Lieutenant Ganam

Choi Jung's aide in the Royal Guard

Ganam, who uses a single sword in battle, is a shadow-like warrior. He remains always at CHOI Jung's side. He reveals his feelings only to Jinlip. Jinlip is of a lower rank, but Ganam respects his experience and wisdom. He was a favorite of CHOI Jung's father and has pride in having seen CHOI Jung grow to be a general, but he worries about the burden CHOI must carry. He is also the only one to which CHOI Jung shows his weak side.

As a member of the Inchon City Theatrical Troupe, PARK Jung-Hak's strong features and in-depth character portrayals in theatrical productions were decisive in his being cast in MUSA.

 

PARK Yong-Woo as Interpreter Jumyung

A petty official (interpreter) who believes religiously in Confucianism

Although Jumyung is smart and adaptive, his station ties him down. He volunteers for the envoy to make a name for himself, but things go awry and he laments his fate of being left in China. As if reflecting the conflict between Buddhism and Confucianism at the end of the Koryo dynasty, he clashes constantly with Jisan.

 

 

LEE Doo-Il as the monk Jisan

A Buddhist monk of high birth

Jisan proclaims reform for Buddhism. He returns from a pilgrimage to distribute the Sutras to the people and ends up joining the warriors. When Jumyung openly accuses him, he sometimes rebukes him and sometimes soothes him.

A member of the Yon Woo Stage, he has been cast in: SBS drama KAIST, movies Beat, The Uprising, and the play Buddha.

 

YOO Hai-Jin as Dochoong

A soldier and former farmer

He brandishes a huge axe. A victim of military obligation, he is hot-tempered and direct. He cannot stand to see injustice, and so his bravery leads him to always instigate fights. Alone at night, he sheds tears for his wife whom he left at home. He is a courageous warrior who has lived his life like a strong weed.

Graduated from Seoul Art College majoring in theatre . Filmography: The Spy, Attack the Gas Station, and Kick the Moon.

 

JUNG Suk-Yong as HA Il

A public soldier and former hunter

He is agile and uses a short spear. Drafted in place of his dead father, his heart remains heavy with thoughts of his mother home alone. The old woman he meets on his march is like his mother. He tries to carry her on his back all the way to the Mud Castle.

Born in 1971. Theatrical productions <The Moral Thief>, <Good Guys>, < How to Enjoy a Full Course Meal >

 

HAN Young-Mok as Dansaeng

A seventeen-year-old in charge of communication

He was drafted in place of his old father-in-law, leaving behind his expecting wife. At only 17 years old, he makes numerous mistakes and is filled with fear, but nevertheless keeps his spirits up. He marches toward the enemy for a pregnant Han tribe refugee. He is a young soldier who shows what true courage is.

Born in 1980. Currently enrolled in Seoul Art College majoring in theater.

 


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