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‘Why Did I Choose That?’: South Korean Pop Star Regrets Fame in Suicide Note

South Korean authorities confirmed on Monday that Kim Jong-hyun, the lead vocalist of superstar pop ..

South Korean authorities confirmed on Monday that Kim Jong-hyun, the lead vocalist of superstar pop group SHINee, better known by stage name Jonghyun, committed suicide in his apartment. He was 27.

Jonghyun texted his sister that he had lost the will to live and reportedly left a suicide note that appeared to question why he had chosen a career path that made him famous.

“Becoming famous was probably not my life. They tell me that’s why I’m having a hard time … Why did I choose that? It’s funny that I’m able to endure this much,” the note read, according to a translation by South Korean newswire service Yonhap.

SHINee is one of the most successful pop acts signed by S.M. Entertainment, South Korea’s largest record label, which also maintains elaborate training facilities to educate young children in song, dance, and artistic abilities before launching their careers as teen idols. Jonghyun’s suicide, and particularly his reported lament at being famous, highlights the potential pitfalls of a grueling young teen regimen that some have compared to “boot camp” and “slavery.”

Yonhap reports that police believe Jonghyun sent his final text messages to his sister – reading, in part, “please let me go, tell me I did well” – before burning coal briquettes on a frying pan and inhaling the fumes.

A friend of Jonghyun’s, fellow pop star Jang Hee-yeon, posted on Instagram what she said was a suicide note that Jonghyun had left her to publish after his death after verifying with family. According to various translations of the note, it read in part that Jonghyun had consulted doctors for his depression, who “blame your personality for the suffering in their calm voice.”

“It is easy to say ‘I‘m going to end it.’ It is very difficult to actually go through with it. I’ve been struggling through the difficulty,” the letter reportedly reads.

“It wasn’t my path to become world-famous,” the letter continued. “Why did I choose this path? It’s quite funny now that I think about it. It‘s a miracle that I endured through it all this time.”

The head of the record label that represents Jang confirmed to reporters that Jonghyun’s family had agreed to the letter’s publication but noted that she does not know when the letter was written.

The content of the letter and tragic end for the young singer contrasts significantly with the bubbly nature of SHINee’s work, a consistent output of the high-production, euphoric electronic pop music South Korea has become famous for.

SHINee released their fifth album, Five, in February.

The hugely profitable Korean Pop (K-Pop) industry relies heavily on highly competitive preparatory education provided by the nation’s largest record labels. SM Entertainment, for example, owns buildings used as schools and residences where children learn to sing, dance, enhance their appearance, and become all-around performers. They are expected to keep up with South Korea’s rigorous education system in addition to pursuing pop stardom.

“You have to take singing, dancing, acting, and even language classes to become a ‘global star,'” a feature on the industry in Rojak Dailyexplains. “Most of these trainees are still in school. So you have to think about juggling student life and trainee life. For those who are students, their daily schedules could start as early as 5am and end as late as 1am the next day.”

The “trainees” are also expected to maintain strict diets and some undergo plastic surgery pre-fame to enhance their appearance, the article notes.

“A trainee goes through the regimen for at least two years before they’re selected to ‘debut’ as an artist,” Universal Music’s Yvonne Yuen toldSpin magazine about K-pop in 2012. “I’m not sure that other countries or other music labels have that patience. It’s teaching them discipline and caring for their craft. Every time they go out onstage, every time they perform a song, it’s got to be perfect, the way it was meant to be.”

As the leading record label in the country, SM Entertainment runs a particularly rigorous “boot-camp-style training” and has come under criticism for what some have called abusive contracts for its talent.

“Their business practices in the past have been questionable – contracts for young people who perhaps don’t know what they are getting into,” author Daniel Tudor told Forbes in 2013.

South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission ordered SM Entertainment, along with its largest competitors, to abandon what are colloquially referred to as “slave contracts” with their talent in March. Among the more concerning clauses found in these contracts were reportedly penalties imposed on young people who chose to abandon their careers; some of these individuals had contracts demanding between $86,200 to $129,000 if they chose to retire. The contracts also often feature “morality clauses” that allow the agencies to fire an artist for unspecified violations of company values. The companies often control artists’ social media output and have a say in their public romantic life.

SM Entertainment operates under the slogan, “Culture is the highest high technology.”

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist

“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..

“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.


Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.


More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”


If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.

The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.

Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)



The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.


Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”


“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.

In a theater, the tendency with a movie so dependent on a central mystery might be to become antsy. At home, “Antebellum” is worth seeing, not only because of what it has to say about America’s past and present, but as a reminder of the often yawning gap between an intriguing idea and a fully realized film.


Read from source: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/17/entertainment/antebellum-review/index.html

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‘Chemical Hearts’ director Richard Tanne on the film’s ‘bittersweet’ ending and what he hopes fans take away from the movie

“Chemical Hearts” director Richard Tanne spoke to Insider about the film’s “bittersweet” ending and ..

“Chemical Hearts” director Richard Tanne spoke to Insider about the film’s “bittersweet” ending and what he hopes fans take away from it.

“I think it’s gonna disappoint some people, and maybe all people on a certain level, ” the 35-year-old filmmaker told us. “It’s bittersweet. But that’s OK.”

The film, based on Krystal Sutherland’s 2016 book “Our Chemical Hearts” and now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, centers on 17-year-old high school senior Henry Page (Austin Abrams), who finds himself drawn to a mysterious and secretive new transfer student named Grace Town (Lili Reinhart).

“Chemical Hearts” is told from Henry’s perspective, chronicling his first heartbreak after he falls in love with the person he thinks Grace is.

Tanne, who wrote the screenplay, said that he was impressed by how the story goes ‘a little bit deeper than your average teen romance’


“I loved how it embraced the dark side of being young, the pain and the grief and the loss, the idea of crossing the threshold from being an adolescent to an adult for the first time,” he told us.

By the end of the movie, Henry learns about Grace’s tragic past. On their last day of senior year, the characters don’t end up together. Instead, they prepare to explore different futures, with Henry heading off to a school for writing and Grace taking a year off to continue therapy.

Even though fans might be disappointed by the love interests splitting, Tanne said that ‘not everything has to be escapist’


“Sometimes, younger people watching movies don’t know that it’s OK to have unhappy endings because they’re fed a steady stream, a steady diet of escapist happily ever after movies,” he told us. “And that’s OK.”

He added: “There’s a place for those, I’m not knocking them. But I just wanted to make something that didn’t talk down to the younger audience. I wanted to make something that either meets them at their level or asks them to reach a little bit higher or dig a little bit deeper.”

Tanne said that having to confront that ‘bittersweet ending’ could also be useful to viewers


The director described the conclusion as bittersweet because “there’s hope at the end, maybe not for their relationship, but for other aspects of their lives.”

“Maybe it will be helpful for young people to see that and walk away with the same sting that Henry has, but to know that it’s going to be OK, to know that Henry will be OK,” he said.

Abrams, who was 22 when he filmed the movie, told Insider that hopefully, audiences will empathize with Henry.

“I think in terms of I supposed how he’s navigating relationships, I feel like hopefully at least anyone can relate to that,” he said.

Abrams told Insider that Henry and Grace’s relationship status at the end speaks to the film’s realistic nature


Abrams shared similar sentiments as Tanne, telling us that they tried to “portray the characters as honestly as possible,” which ties in to the conclusion.

“I think there are some people that meet one person and that’s who they’re with for the rest of their lives, who actually are Henry’s parents in the movie,” the 23-year-old actor told us.

“But then there are other people, and I think it’s probably a larger number, that are going to be in multiple relationships and some of them, a lot of them aren’t going to go well. I hope that that’s an aspect of the movie that people are able to relate to.”

Abrams added that he’s “perfectly fine” letting fans decide for themselves what their main takeaways are from “Chemical Hearts.”

“I hope that maybe they take away things that I didn’t even think of, because everyone’s different and at a different point in their life and hopefully will be able to relate to it in different ways.”

Read from source: https://www.insider.com/chemical-hearts-director-richard-tanne-bittersweet-ending-interview-2020-8


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Julia Sawalha furious after being told she is ‘too old’

Julia Sawalha has said she has been “plucked, stuffed and roasted” after being told that she would n..

Julia Sawalha has said she has been “plucked, stuffed and roasted” after being told that she would not be cast in the forthcoming sequel to the hit Aardman Animation film Chicken Run as her voice sounded “too old”.

In the original film, released in 2000, Sawalha voiced the lead role of Ginger, the plucky hen who inspires her fellow egg-layers to escape from a farm when they are threatened with being turned into pies. News of the development of a sequel first emerged in 2018, and Netflixs involvement was announced in June. It is due to be directed by Sam Fell (ParaNorman) and start production in 2021.

Sawalha posted a statement on social media saying she was told a week ago that she was not wanted for the sequel. “The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds too old and they want a younger actress to reprise the role.”

She added: “Usually in these circumstances, an actress would be given the chance to do a voice test in order to determine the suitability of their pitch and tone, I however was not given this opportunity. I am passionate about my work and I dont go down without a fight, so I did my own voice test at home and sent it to the producers … However, they stated, We will be going ahead to recast the voice of Ginger.”

Sawalhas protest follows reports that Mel Gibson, who voiced the character of daredevil rooster Rocky, would not be involved in the sequel. While Rocky is named as a character in the official plot synopsis for Chicken Run 2, the role is due to be recast. Variety magazine reported that Gibson was told that as “the sequel will revolve around younger chickens, therefore casting younger voice actors” was necessary. The report also claimed that Gibsons history of controversial behaviour, including an accusation of antisemitic comments by actor Winona Ryder, which Gibson denies, played no part in the recasting.

Sawalha added: “I feel I have been fobbed off with the same excuse … To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless.”

No official announcements have been made for the Chicken Run 2 cast, but original film cast members Jane Horrocks and Lynn Ferguson have been added to the films IMDb page.

Aardman has been contacted for a response.

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