You are not going to run out things to do (or, rather, films to watch) in February, regardless of where you are in the UK.
Note: I’m not really providing synopses this time round, there are simply too many films. Just click on the external links, where you’ll find more info.
As always, if I’ve missed anything, get in touch!
LAST UPDATED: 6/2/2013
Country: South Korea
Director: Lim Soon-rye
Screenplay: Lim Soon-rye
Cinematography: Choi Jee-Yul
Cast: Lee Eol, Park Won-sang, Hwang Jung-min, Oh Gwang-rok, Ryoo Seung-bum, Oh Ji-hye, Park Hae-il, Kim Jong-eon, Jeong Dae-yong, Moon Hye-won
Runtime: 109 min
Trailer (in Korean):
Waikiki Beuradeoseu begins, somewhat aimlessly, with a band of musicians, middle-aged and in a sort of midlife crisis. The four members of the Waikiki Brothers play songs they don’t like at events and places (small weddings, third-rate clubs) where they do not wish to be. The gigs are underpaid, barely allowing them to scrape by, and audiences could not care less about the group performing on the stage. It is far from the dream that the (original) Brothers had in mind twenty, thirty years ago when they first screamed their voices hoarse at school assemblies, trying to impress teenage girls. Continue reading »
It’s January, which means it’s a new year. And plenty of things for you to do and films to see this month already, although we are bit on the thin side Korean-wise (at least for the moment).
Let me know if I have missed anything!
LAST UPDATED: 14/1/2013
The Korean Cultural Centre in London (aka the KCCUK) gave Korean cinephiles a special treat in 2012 with the Year of 12 Directors: one Korean director for every month of the year, four screenings (most of them free) for each filmmaker, with a bonus for the final session: a Q&A event with the director of that month flown in straight from South Korea.
Now that the Year of 12 Directors is over, it’s time to reflect. Continue reading »
Country: South Korea/Japan/China
Director: Song Hae-seong
Remake of: John Woo’s 英雄本色 (Yīngxióng běnsè/A Better Tomorrow, Hong Kong, 1986)
Screenplay: Kim Hyo-Seok, Choi Keun-Mo, Lee Taek-Kyung, Kim Hae-Gon
Cinematography: Kang Seung-Ki
Soundscore: Lee Jae-jin
Cast: Joo Jin-Mo, Song Seung-Heon, Kim Kang-Woo, Jo Han-Seon
Runtime: 124 min
There is one particular problem with Moojeokja, a remake of John Woo’s 英雄本色 (Yīngxióng běnsè/A Better Tomorrow, Hong Kong, 1986): it is an action film made by a director that is in reality only interested in sentimental melodramas. Continue reading »
It’s the final month of the KCCUK‘s Year of 12 Directors (and, yes, it’s already more than half-gone-by). I don’t really want to believe it either, for one because it means 2012 is nearly over but also because what in the world will we be doing on Thursday evenings starting from January on? I’m hoping the KCCUK will still organise some film screenings, but I’m guessing it won’t be quite as many as this year.
As for December: It’s Lim Soon-rye (임순례, sometimes also romanised as Yim or even Im Soon-rye) who is the final director of the year, and she’s also the only woman in the line-up – a reflection of that female directors in South Korea are still rather limited in number.* Continue reading »
December, December… the year is coming to an end and at least in this part of the world people are sort of busy with Christmassy things. This also means that there is relatively little going on in terms of film festivals and film screenings. I couldn’t find much at least – do give me a heads up if you see anything I missed or if you hear about any new events being organised.
P.S. I hope no one finds red-tinted snowflakes creepy…
LAST UPDATED: 4/12/2012 Continue reading »
I am still in Dublin and loving the Irish (so unlike grumpy, I-won’t-talk-to-you-even-if-you’re-standing-right-next-to-me Londoners!). And loving the Japanese too, because somehow quite a few of them turned up at the conference I was at. Given that it was a small postgraduate event that was unusual as these are normally only attended by people geographically placed in the same region. So, quite unexpectedly, I walked away with several めいし, invitations to visit Nagoya and Tokyo (and Dublin again) and some words added to my J-vocab. Plus, apparently I’m kawaii.
*Apologies for this post being only ready after the first screening took place!*
November may be filled with plenty of Korean cinema already – thanks to the London Korean Film Festival – but there is more film fare still, for the KCCUK‘s Year of 12 Directors is on the programme as well with Song Hae-seong (송해성) being the man of the month.
November is here and I want some fog pretty please. And snow for my birthday – that’s on top of my wish list every year, but in this country it’s always a wish unfulfilled (in my native one, sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I don’t).
Events are winding down a bit after the super-intense month of October (Raindance, BFI Festival, Scotland Loves Anime, etc.)… or maybe it’s just because I’ll be missing out on some of them that the month doesn’t feel quite as overwhelming, for quite a few events are scheduled, including the ever-bigger London Korean Film Festival and the Leeds International Film Festival.
Note 1: This page will be updated as more information becomes available. If you see anything I have missed, do alert me to it!
Note 2: This month’s Events image is inspired by 우리들의 행복한 시간 (Woorideuleui Haengbokhan Sigan/Maundy Thursday aka Our Happy Time, 2006), which will be screening at the KCCUK. Originally a Korean novel, it became a (Japanese) manga (「私たちの幸せな時間」/Watashi-tachi no Shiawase na Jikan, 2007, by Sahara Mizu aka Yumeka Sumomo) as well as the Korean film.
LAST UPDATED: 12/11/2012
UPDATED 19/10/2012 – Screening dates added. (Still incomplete – more soon.)
Hangul Celluloid is the one in the know and posted the full programme for the 7th London Korean Film Festival on his website yesterday, with details on film genre, director and runtime all provided. He did leave me the work of digging out all the titles in the original language and script, but, well, here you go!
The festival is scheduled to open on November 1st, with 37 films (shorts included) screening in total in London until November 10th, before moving on to Bristol, Bournemouth and Glasgow on the 11th for nearly another week of K-film galore. In London, films are set to be shown at the Odeon West End, Odeon Panton Street, Odeon Kingston, the KCCUK as well as at the ICA in London, plus the Glasgow Grosvenor cinema, the Odeon Bournemouth cinema and the Bristol Cube
with individual dates yet having to be announced – updates will follow here.
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean, some English
Director: Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환)
Screenplay: Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환)
Cinematography: Choi Jung Soon
Cast: Yoon Dong-Hwan, Choi Won-jung, Shin Ye-an, Nollaig Chandra Vedan Walsh, Cassandra Holmes
Runtime: 96 min
Trailer: on YouTube
Note: This film is rated R and contains graphic imagery.
In the post-screening Q&A the film’s director, Jeon Kyu-hwan, noted that what lies at the heart of Varanasi is a wish to expose hypocrisy, the hypocrisy in human behaviour that permeates our realities. Hypocrisy it is indeed when a married man that has been having an affair with one of his protégées at work for months reprimands his wife after she miscarries the child she was pregnant with in a terrorist attack committed by her own lover. Continue reading »
The film festival season gets into full swing (this month’s cover image should give you a visual impression of the deluge of films coming our way): Raindance continues, the madness of the UK’s biggest film event – the London International Film Festival - descends upon the capital, to be followed by the most comprehensive Im Kwon-Taek season that we have probably ever seen in this country, while J-animation fans get their fix up north at Scotland Loves Anime. Let’s hope we’ll all still be breathing when the month is over!
Note: This page will be updated as more information becomes available. If you see anything I have missed, do alert me to it!
Well, here’s another benefit of having recently become a BFI member: their monthly guide came tumbling through the mail box this dreary-wet morning with details on an upcoming Im Kwon-Taek season.
We had some vague knowledge about this already as it has been listed on the programme for the KCCUK’s Year of 12 Directors since the beginning of the year, but now follow the details: eight film screenings plus a special “Im Kwon-Taek in Conversation” event at the BFI plus seven films at the ICA. Continue reading »
Country: South Korea
Director: Lee Yoon-ki
Adaptation from: Areno Inoue’s 2003 short story「 帰れない猫」 (Kaerenai Neko/The Cat that Can Never Come Back)
Screenplay: Lee Yoon-ki
Cinematography: Jang Young-Ok
Cast: Hyon Bin, Im Soo-jeong
Runtime: 105 min
Trailer: on YouTube
Ever so often when I watch a film, the narrative unfolding on the screen skips a beat: something is hushed over or ignored in a way that doesn’t realistically reflect life. Characters, for example, end up confined in some space for days but somehow the issue that there is no toilet never seems to come up. Or certain moments – like the moment after a couple has sex – are glossed over. Gaps of this sort may be to trim off bits that are not essential and to keep a tight storyline, however, too often it simply feels that directors take the easy way out, omitting what is too awkward or simply too mundane to show, leading, in the worst of cases, to lapses in the film’s narrative logic. Continue reading »
Trailer Weekly day. I’m back in London and suffering from the sudden 15 degree drop in temperature (the weather is just miserable!) and the fact that my breakfast doesn’t include mango anymore. Boohoooo. Never mind that the autumn months are looking insanely busy already, leaving me unsure whether I’ll have even time to breathe… all my September weekends are already planned out and some of October’s as well. Although I’m still a bit disappointed that I had to turn down presenting at the Cultural Translation and East Asia: Film, Literature and Art conference, which takes place in Bangor, Wales, next week, I know it was the more sensible decision in terms of time and workload. Despite the full schedule ahead, I’m hoping I will fit in more film reviews this month, as only three in August was a new low – sorry!
On to trailers, trailers: we are 50/50 this week: 50% Korean, 50% Japanese.
LAST UPDATED: 21/09/2012
September means that the film festival season is starting, with the Zipangu Fest and the Raindance Independent Film Festival kicking off first. There are of course festivals all year round, however, it just seems that autumn brings particularly many and particularly big ones in short succession of one another. It’s a busy time for us Asian and world film lovers.
If you attended the screening for August director Lee Yoon-ki’s 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 (Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anhneunda/Come Rain Come Shine, South Korea, 2011) on Thursday night, you will have already had a taster of the K-director of September: a trailer for Jeon Kyu-hwan’s 바라나시 (Varanasi aka From Seoul to Varanasi, South Korea, 2011) preceded the screening and gave a glimpse of what this coming month holds in store. Like myself, you might have been equally awestruck about how much emotion a completely dialogue-less trailer of 2:30 min evoked already, hinting at a craftsman who knows his game and promising a rewarding month ahead for London film fans. Continue reading »
Last updated: 7/8/2012
I am away in India all this month, so you will have to enjoy these screenings for me. Apologies for the post being a day late – it does mean some events are over already – but airplanes still are lacking behind in offering internet services (heck, didn’t I even have a power point at my seat!).
There doesn’t seem to be all that much on at the moment. I guess the Olympics are entertainment enough? But I think this bit of ‘cinematic quiet’ is not all that bad as September and especially October will bring a deluge of film festivals, including some of the UK’s biggest.
UPDATE 2/8/2012: Might have to eat my own words – at least for fans of terror and horror, all kinds of things are being screened.
As August arrives and the world comes to London for the Olympics, so does the cinematic vision of Lee Yoon-ki, the KCCUK’s director of the month. Like always, there are four film screenings to look forward to, which I am all going to miss out on except the last one (I will be out of country). That last one – 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 (Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anhneunda/Come Rain Come Shine, 2011) - I have been wanting to see so much that I gave up on an extra week or two that I could have still spent away and booked my return flight to arrive, just in time, the day before the screening plus Q&A. Yes, that’s the extent of my K-film addiction.
Country: South Korea
Director: Lee Hyun-seung (이현승)
Screenplay: Lee Hyun-seung (이현승)
Cast: Ahn Seong-gi, Kang Soo-yeon, Choi Yu-ra
Runtime: 115 min
Trailer: no trailer available
Geudaeanui Beulru isn’t the kind of film that is instantly likeable. You will most probably find yourself feeling lost in its first 15-20 minutes, which are a fast-paced flash of bright images, often oddly monochrome – not, as one might initially presume, because the film’s physical quality has decayed over time. As little is explained and no narrative thread is yet obvious (even if the same faces repeat on the screen), what is happening – and where it is all going – is not clear at all. Only when Yurim (Kang Soo-yeon) moves in with Hoseok (Ahn Seong-gi), does a storyline begin to emerge.
It’s (almost) July. The Olympics are coming to London this month but so is Lee Hyun-seung (이현승, alternate English spelling Lee Hyeon-Seung) in the KCCUK’s Year of 12 Directors. What to get ready for? Korea’s first ‘feminist’ movie, a romance classic that even Hollywood couldn’t resist and ex-gangsters gunned down by their past. Continue reading »
Country: South Korea
Director: Lee Jun-ik
Screenplay: Choi Seok-hwan
Adapted from a play by: Kim Tae-wung
Cinematography: Ji Gil-Wung
Soundscore: Lee Byung-woo
Cast: Gam Wu-seong, Lee Jun Ki, Jeong Jin-yeong, Kang Seong Yeon
Runtime: 119 min
Trailer: on YouTube
Seen at the Korean Cultural Centre (KCCUK) during the Lee Jun-ik (이준익) month of KCCUK’s Korean Film Night programme “2012: Year of the 12 Directors”. The review is about the extended version of the film, not the theatrical release.
It’s the final lines of Wangeui Namja that best sum up the film: All the world’s a stage. Date-wise the Shakespearean quote is a little misplaced, given that the setting of Wangeui Namja is the early 16th century Joseon, but As You Like It, where it is taken from, was written around 1599 or 1600. That said, the metaphor very likely preceded the Bard of Avon, if not in exact words than at least in its conceptual form. Continue reading »