The Yellow Sea (film)

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The Yellow Sea
The Yellow Sea-p3.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNa Hong-jin
Screenplay byNa Hong-jin
StarringHa Jung-woo
Kim Yoon-seok
Music byYoungkyu Jang
Byung-hoon Lee
CinematographyLee Sung-jae
Fox International Productions
Popcorn Films
Distributed byShowbox/Mediaplex
20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 22, 2010 (2010-12-22)
Running time
140 minutes[1]
CountrySouth Korea
BudgetUS$9 million
Box officeUS$15.8 million[2]

The Yellow Sea (Hangul황해; RRHwanghae) is a 2010 South Korean action[3][4] thriller film directed by Na Hong-jin and starring Ha Jung-woo and Kim Yoon-seok in the lead roles. The film revolves around a man who travels from his home in Yanji City in China to South Korea in search of his missing wife. Because of his gambling debts, he agrees perform an assassination for a local gangster but when this goes wrong he finds himself on the run.

The Yellow Sea was released in South Korea on 22 December 2010.


In northeastern Chinese city of Yanji in Yanbian Prefecture, Gu-nam (Ha Jung-woo), an ethnic Korean, or Joseonjok, toils away as a taxi driver. When not working, he is often found at gambling halls. Gu-nam is now in serious debt. His wife left to work in South Korea and promised to send money back. He has yet to hear from her and is tormented by nightmares of her having an extra-marital affair. To make matters worse, Gu-nam is fired from his job and debt collectors take most of his severance pay.

Local gangster, Myun Jung-hak (Kim Yoon-seok), offers him a deal: if Gu-nam goes to South Korea to kill a businessman, he will get CN¥57,000 (US$10,000). Gu-nam accepts and leaves for South Korea by train and a rickety fishing boat, with US$500 for expenses.

When Gu-nam arrives in South Korea, he carefully scopes out his target for days, while also searching for his wife. When the time arrives for Gu-nam to take out his target, a string of unexpected events occurs, leaving him desperately looking for a way out. Meanwhile, the police, the South Korean mob, as well as the ethnic Korean Chinese mafia all frantically search for Gu-nam.


  • Ha Jung-woo as Gu-nam
  • Kim Yoon-seok as Myun Jung-hak
  • Jo Sung-ha as Tae-won
  • Lee Chul-min as Choi Sung-nam
  • Kwak Do-won as Prof. Kim Seung-hyun
  • Lim Ye-won as Prof. Kim's wife
  • Tak Sung-eun as Gu-nam's wife
  • Kim Ki-hwan as Prof. Kim's driver
  • Ki Se-hyung as Tae-won's subordinate
  • Lee El as Joo-young, Tae-won's mistress
  • Oh Yoon-hong as Tae-won's wife
  • Jung Man-sik as Detective
  • Jung Min-sung as Detective
  • Kim Dong-hyun as Detective
  • Park Byeong-eun as bank employee
  • Jang So-yeon as employee at Do-man Hotel
  • Yang Ki-won as detective
  • Sung Byoung-sook as Gu-nam's mother
  • Kong Jung-hwan as Jeon Pil-kyoo
  • Baek Won-gil as Korean-Chinese kidnapper 1
  • Kang Hyun-joong as Busan port sailor
  • Yoo Ha-bok as Yanbian taxi boss
  • Lee Hee-joon as policeman
  • Lee Jun-hyeok as dog seller 2
  • Kim Jae-hwa as Jung-hak's girlfriend (uncredited)


The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival,[5] as well as the 2011 Filmfest München.

The Australian and UK films rights were sold to Bounty Films. The UK release of the film was on October 21, 2011.


The film opened on December 22, 2010 in South Korea and was top of the box office, selling 1.05 million tickets in its first five days of release, according to the Korean Film Council.[6] The film sold a total of 2,142,742 tickets nationwide.[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients Result
48th Grand Bell Awards Best Film The Yellow Sea Nominated
Best Director Na Hong-jin Nominated
Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jo Sung-ha Won
Best Cinematography Lee Sung-jae Nominated
Best Editing Kim Sun-min Nominated
Best Art Direction Lee Hoo-gyoun Nominated
Best Lighting Hwang Soon-wook Nominated
Best Costume Design Chae Kyung-hwa Won
Best Visual Effects Kim Tae-hun, Jeong Jae-hun Nominated
Best Sound Effects Choi Tae-young Nominated
32nd Blue Dragon Film Awards Best Actor Kim Yoon-seok Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jo Sung-ha Nominated
Best Cinematography Lee Sung-jae Nominated
Best Art Direction Lee Hoo-gyoun Nominated
Best Lighting Hwang Soon-wook Won
47th Baeksang Arts Awards Best Film The Yellow Sea Nominated
Best Director Na Hong-jin Nominated
Best Actor Ha Jung-woo Won
5th Asian Film Awards Best Director Na Hong-jin Nominated
Best Actor Ha Jung-woo Won
Best Production Designer Lee Hwo-kyoung Nominated
Best Composer Jang Young-gyu and Lee Byung-hoon Nominated
5th Asia Pacific Screen Awards Achievement in Directing Na Hong-jin Nominated
64th Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard Nominated
31st Korean Association of Film Critics Awards Best Actor Ha Jung-woo Won
20th Buil Film Awards Nominated
15th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival Best Director Na Hong-jin Won
Best of Puchon Nominated
Chicago International Film Festival Gold Hugo Nominated


  1. ^ "The Yellow Sea". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 2011-08-22.
  2. ^ "Hwanghae (The Yellow Sea) (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  3. ^ The Yellow Sea on iTunes | Genre: Action & Adventure
  4. ^ THE YELLOW SEA | British Board of Film Classification
  5. ^ "Official Selection 2011". Cannes Film Festival. Archived from the original on May 15, 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  6. ^ Park, Soo-mee (27 December 2010). "Yellow Sea Tops Korean Holiday Box Office". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  7. ^ "Theatrical Releases in 2010: Box-Office Admission Results". Retrieved 2012-06-04.

External links[edit]