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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.

The diverse programme includes everything from comedies to period dramas, from animation to K-pop themed stories. There is also a “directrospective” spotlight on Choi Dong-hoon, with four of his films being screened, plus a Miseen-scène section and several sports-related productions in this year that brought the Olympics to London.

Note: Trailers (not all subtitled) are linked where available – click on the Korean title.

Opening Film (Nov 1, 2012 – 7 p.m. at Odeon West End)

Opening Gala: Table of thieves.

  • 도둑들 (Dodookdeul/The Thieves, South Korea, 2012) – dir. by Choi Dong-hoon. I first noted Dodookdeul in December 2011 (when there wasn’t even a poster), then in April 2012 (when a teaser trailer came out) and have mentioned it a few times since.  Everyone who vaguely pays attention to Korean cinema knows about it now of course, as it has broken all box office records in South Korea. As a tale of a grand heist with an ensemble cast full of Korean big-names of all ages (eye candy for everyone) it’s a perfect choice as the festival opener. I don’t actually think it will be the best film of the festival – it’s certainly not the one I’m most excited about – but I’ll go see it if I manage to snatch up a ticket (I’m betting competition for them will be fierce.) Both director Choi Dong-hoon and lead actor Kim Yoon-suk will be attending the opening gala. Screens Nov 1 (OWE) and Nov 2 (Odeon Kingston).

Closing Film (Nov 10, 2012 – 7 p.m. at Odeon West End)

Masquerading secrets…

  • 광해, 왕이 된 남자 (Gwang-hae, Wangi Doin Namja/Masquerade, 2012) – dir. by Choo Chang-min. A fictional tale of a commoner who becomes king in the 16th century Joseon Era. Lee Byung-hun, who plays the king, will be in London for the closing event of the LKFF, as will be the director. Nov 10 at Odeon West End.

Other Screenings

  • 나는 왕이로소이다 (Naneun Wangirosoida/I Am the King, 2012) – dir. by Jang Kyu-sung. About a prince, who places a slave on the throne, and goes outside the palace walls to experience the world before becoming king himself. Nov 9 at Odeon Panton Street and Nov 14 at Bristol Cube.
  • 바람과 함께 사라지다 (Baramgwa Hamjje Sarajida/The Grand Heist, 2012) – dir. by Kim Joo-ho. As the son of a nobleman and a concubine, Duk-moo falls in the gaps of society. He plans a heist to steal all the ice, a valuable commodity in the Joseon era, from the most powerful nobleman of the era… Nov 8 at Odeon Panton Street.
  • 댄싱퀸 (Daensing Kwin/Dancing Queen, 2012) – dir. by Lee Seok-hoon. A husband’s and wife’s ambitions collide when Jung-min, who has not been very successful thus far in life, by stroke of luck becomes a hero overnight and ends up running for mayor, while Jung-hwa enters some TV dancing competitions. Nov 4 at ICA London and Nov 10 at Glasgow Grosvenor.
  • 내 아내의 모든 것 (Nae Anaeui Modeun Geot/All about My Wife, 2012) – dir. by Kyu-dong. Doo-hyun has a beautiful wife, but her constant nagging and negativity are wearing off on him. He is too meek to ask for a divorce, so he comes up with a plan for another man to seduce her. Nov 7 at Odeon Panton Street.
  • 무게 (Muge/The Weight, 2012) – dir. by Jeon Kyu-hwan, who was the KCCUK’s Director of the Month in September. Jeon’s fifth film is about a hunchback, Jung, who is adopted by a woman, who hides him away in her attic. Used as a slave in her dress shop, living with a step sibling that hates his own male body and working as a mortician, Jung has a heavy burden to bear. Muge won the Queer Lion Prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival.  Nov 2 at ICA London.
  • 나는 공무원이다 (Naneun Kongmoowonida/Dangerously Excited, 2012) – dir. by Koo Ja-hong. Dae-hee is a low-level city government employee. He has no girlfriend, few hobbies and generally lives a quiet, peaceful and conservative life – until one day he is pressured into becoming the bassist of an indie-rock band. Nov 6 at Odeon Panton Street.
  • 아이 엠. (Ai Em./I Am., 2012) – dir. by Choi Jin-seong. A documentary about the K-Pop band SM Town. Nov 7 at ICA London.
  • 어쿠스틱 (Eokuseutik/Acoustic, 2010) – dir. by Yoo Sang-hun. Hancinema describes it as “a youth movie about 20-year-olds who look to music for their hopes, dreams, and love.” Several K-pop artists star in Eokuseutik, including Kang Min-hyeok from CN Blue, who was just about the only good thing about the K-drama 넌 내게 반했어 (Neon Naege BanEhsseo/Heartstrings, 2011). Nov 11 at London ICA.
  • Mr. 아이돌 (Mr Ahidol/Mr Idol, 2011) – dir. by Ra Hee-chan. A fictional story about Gu-ju, once a famous music producer, who meets Yu-jin and asks him to join a K-Pop group called Mr Children she is trying to build up. Yu-jin is played by Ji Hyeon-woo (more painful K-drama memories thanks to 천번의 입맞춤/Cheonbeonui Ibmajchum/A Thousand Kisses, 2011). Nov 4 at London ICA.
  • 파파 (Papa/Papa, 2012) – dir. by Han Ji-seung. A Korean talent manager goes off to the US, enters a contract marriage which comes with six children and, when discovering that his eldest fake daughter has singing talent, tries to make her into a star. Nov 5 at Odeon Panton Street.
  • Mise-en-Scène Part 1: Keep Quiet (2011, dir. by Hong Seok-jae); 이기는 기분 (Igineun Gibun/Feeling of Winning, 2011, dir. by Han Seung-hun); Forest (2012, dir. by Um Tae-hwa); 마취 (Machwi/Anesthesia, 2011, dir. by Kim Seok-young); A Flower Does Not Wilt but…  (2012, dir. by Oh Tae-hoon). Nov 4 at ICA London.
  • Mise-en-Scène Part 2: 오목어 (Omogeo/Noodle Fish, 2012, dir. by Kim Jin-man); 독개구리 (Doggaeguli/Poison Frog, 2011, dir. by Oh Jung-wook); 나의 싸움 (Naui Ssaum/My Fighting Life, 2011, dir. by Kim Do-young); 민호가 착하니 천하무적 (Minhoga Chaghani Cheonhamujeog/Min-ho Win!, 2012, dir. by Jung Jae-woong). Nov 10 at ICA London.
  • 잠 못 드는 밤 (Jammot Deuneun Bam/Sleepless Night, 2012) dir. by  Jang Kun-jae. I featured this film in Trailer Weekly #47, after Pierce Conran tweeted that it was one of his “favorite films of the year to date”. It’s a reflective piece about a young couple, not long married, that is unsure whether to have a child or not while feeling pressured by the people around them. Very much looking forward to this screening! Nov 11 at ICA London and Nov 15 at Odeon Bournemouth. 😦 Can’t make that screening. Bohoo. 😦 😦 😦
  • 백야 (Baekya/White Night, 2012) – dir. by Lee Song Hee-il. No trailer. The only queer-themed film on LKFF programme this year, this small piece was inspired by the real life case of a homophobic street assault. Also on my must-see list. Nov 9 at ICA London and Nov 14 at Bristol Cube. 😦 😦 😦 Not in London that day. 😦 😦 😦 And given this is such a tiny film that will never get a subtitled DVD release, I’ll never get to see it.
  • 봄, 눈 (Bom, Noom/Spring, Snow, 2012) – dir. by Kim Tae-gyun. When Soon-ok, whose life has been defined by being a wife and mother, learns that she is terminally ill and has little time to live, she ponders not so much her own fate, but that of the people she will leave behind: a husband, son and daughter who will struggle without her. Nov 11 at ICA London.
  • 페이스메이커 (Peiseu Meikeo/Pace Maker, 2011) – dir. by Kim Dal-joong. Once a promising runner himself, Joo Man-Ho is now a pacemaker – the person who sets the pace for a team of runners during a part of a marathon. He is invited to become the pacemaker for the Korean Olympic team, but faces the challenge of an old injury flaring up and the lost dream of once having wanted to become a champion runner himself. Nov 2 at ICA London.
  • 코리아 (Korea/As One, 2012) – dir. by Moon Hyeon-seong. Ha Ji-won and Bae Doo-na, two of Korea’s wonderful young actresses, take on the roles of two table tennis players whose teams – one from South Korea, the other from the North Korea – join forces for the first and only time in the 1991 Table Tennis World Championships. Based on true events. I’m sure the film, like most sports tales, will be somewhat cheesy, but I’ll watch it just for Ha Ji-won and Bae Doo-na. Nov 9 at Odeon Panton Street and Nov 11 at Glasgow Grosvenor.
  • 맨발의 꿈 (Maenbalui Kkgeum/Barefoot Dream, 2010) – dir. by Kim Tae-gyoon. More inspiration from real life as a man, who has failed in his business ventures, goes to East Timor and starts coaching a youth soccer team. Okay, I’m so not interested in football/soccer and this is bound to be another feel-good movie but the context of East Timor is interesting. Nov 11 at Odeon Panton Street.
  • 돼지의 왕 (Dwaejiui Wang/The King of Pigs, 201) – dir. by Yeon Sang-ho. A dark animation in which two thirty-somethings have to face a shocking truth from long ago – when they were ‘pigs’ back in high school and bullied by the much more powerful ‘dogs’ from their class. I still haven’t seen this one although it has screened in London on a number of occasions – may finally be the time for it now! Nov. 3 at ICA London and Nov 13 at Bristol Cube.
  • 파닥파닥 (Padak Padak/Padak, 2012) – dir. by Lee Dae-hee. This film, yet another animation for adults, is probably the one I’m most looking forward to – thanks to the words of praise I have heard from various sources, including Darcy Paquet (I featured it in a Trailer Weekly a while back). It’s about a fish that wants to escape the tank it is living in before she becomes restaurant food. Such is the story on the surface, beneath lies a more serious and reflective allegory about life – and not just that of fishies. Nov 3 at ICA London and Nov 10 at Glasgow Grosvenor. ( I can’t make that date either. Seems dates are changing? Previously it was listed for Nov 8.

Padak Padak: Allegorical microworld.

  • 엄마 까투리 (Eomma kkatuli/Katuri – A Story of a Mother, 2012) – dir. by Jung Gil-hoon. Animated short about a pheasant and her 9 little chicks that find themselves threatened by a forest fire. Nov 3 at the ICA London.
  • 가비 (Gabi/Gabi, 2012) – dir. by Jang Yoon-hyeon. We are back in Joseon. Coffee has been introduced to Korea and the country’s first barista becomes involved in a plot to assassinate King Gojong. Nov 7 at Odeon Panton Street.
  • 연가시 (Yeongashi/Deranged, 2012) – dir. by Park Jun-woo. An epidemic breaks out – a virus that makes its hosts commit suicide by drowning. Nov 8 at Odeon Panton Street and Nov 15 at Odeon Bournemouth.
  • 은교 (Eungyo/A Muse, 2011) – dir. by Jeong Ji-woo. A love triangle between a 70-year old professor, his star student and the 17-year old high school girl that inspires them both. Paul (Hangul Celluloid) has a review. Nov 6 at ICA London and Nov 12 at Glasgow Grosvenor.
  • R2B: 리턴투베이스 (R2B: Riteontu Beyiseu/R2B: Return to Base, 2012) – dir. by Kim Dong-weon. With pop-star Rain in a lead role, the fangirls are bound to like this one. He plays Tae-hoon, the youngest member of the elite flight team “Black Eagles”. Though highly talented, Tae-hoon is also a troublemaker and find himself kicked out of the Black Eagles. Soon after he joins a combat flight unit. Note: below the trailer, one commenter wrote “Top Gun Gagnam Style”. Teeheee…. Nov 5 at Odeon Panton Street and Nov 16 at Odeon Bournemouth.
  • 미운오리새끼 (Miwoonorisaeggi/The Ugly Duckling, 2012) – dir. by Kwang Gyeong-taek. Instead of doing military service, Nak-man, whose once-journalist father is now mentally disabled, works in a public office, where he is looked down by others. Nov 8 at ICA London.
  • 거북이 달린다 (Keobokyi Dalrinda/Running Turtle, 2009) – dir. by Lee Yeon-woo. A small-town detective chases after a prison escapee who threatens to steals his “honor, reputation and self-respect” (from asianwiki.com). Nov 4 at KCCUK.
  • 타짜 (Tazza/The High Rollers, 2006) – dir. by Choi Dong-hoon. We are in the world of gambling, where a young man sets out to get revenge on the ring of cheaters that have swindled him by beating them at their own game. Nov 4 at Odeon Panton Street.
  • 전우치 (Jeon Woo Chi/Woochi, 2009) – dir. by Choi Dong-hoon. Based on a tale from Korean folk lore, a trio of Taoist wizards whizzes through time – from 1509 to 2009 to be exact – as goblins threaten the peace and quiet of modern day Korea. Woo-chi, an anti-hero of sorts, is meant to save the day, but is more interested in the sensuous sights of Seoul (women included). No, this is not a deep story, but a fun one, plus it’s got Kang Dong-won in the lead role and that’s really all we need. Nov 4 at KCCUK. Nov 3 at Odeon Panton Street.
  • 범죄의 재구성 (Beomjweui Jaeguseong/The Big Swindle, 2004) – dir. by Choi Dong-hoon. A 5 billion won bank scam, 5 accomplices – one ends up dead, another caught, and three vanish off the face of the earth, along with the money. It’s a story about people that are not to be trusted and lots of money – nothing is quite certain. Nov 2 at KCCUK.

Kang Dong-won in Woochi. ’nuff said.

Curiously enough, the Korean Film Festival’s official website – which seems to be in the midst of being updated for the event – also mentions 危險關係 aka 위험한 관계 (Woheomhan Gwangye/Dangerous Liaisons, China/South Korea, 2012) and 건축학개론 (Geonchukhakgaeron/Architecture 101, 2012) as films to be screened, but I’m not seeing them anywhere on the programme over at the Hangul Celluloid website? Hmmm. Update: These screenings have not been added on the finalised programme.

And Not There

Of course, it’s also always worth noting what’s not on the festival programme. Kim Ki-duk’s 피에타 (Pieta/Pieta, 2012) isn’t – but I wasn’t expecting it. However, I was keeping my fingers crossed for 늑대소년 (Neukdae Sonyeon/Werewolf Boy, 2012) and  범죄소년 (Bumjoe Sonyeon/Juvenile Offender, 2012)neither of which shows up. And no 도가니 (Dogani/Silenced aka Crucible, 2011), which kind of feels like from long ago, but I still haven’t seen it. I’m not complaining though – it is huge and varied selection of films, with something for everyone!


Bonus Bits

Programme Poster: