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The London Korean Film Festival starts next week. The programme has been out for a little while already, so I’m running a little late with this post – fortunately, it’s still just in time. As always, the programme is diverse as can be, with animation, horror, thrillers, rom-coms (and more) all featuring. Most films are recent releases, but a few older ones are on the programme too – most of those as part of mini-seasons (e.g. a Kim Ki-duk season).

The festival managed to snag a number of particularly high profile guests this year, including A-list actors Kang Dong-won and Jung Woo-sung. Yes, Kang Dong-won and Jung Woo-sung! K-pop fans will also be delighted to hear that Donghae and Eunhyuk of Super Junior are stopping by (though I am not sure if any tickets for that special event are still left).

Note: Most films screen in a London only, although a handful goes on tour, showing in Hebden Bridge (wherever that is – someone enlighten me!), Aberystwyth and Norwich (a rather random choice of cities?).

  • Opening Gala: 군도 (Kundo/Kundo: Age of the Rampant, 2014) + Q & A with director Yoon Jong-bin , actor Kang Dong-won and producer Han Jae-duk

Kang Dong-won is coming to town for this one. Kang Dong-won is coming town. Have I mentioned that Kang Dong-won is coming to town? He plays a total baddie in Kundo, by the way – can’t wait!

  •  피에타 (Pieta/Pieta, 2012) – Dir. by Kim Ki-duk.

Pieta is one of several Kim Ki-duk films that will be playing at the festival. There were rumour for a while that the director was going to attend one of the screening, but it seems this is not going to happen after all. As with pretty much all Kim Ki-duk films, watch at your own risk. I confess, I’m too much a sensible soul for most of them.

  • 도희야 (Doheeya/A Girl at My Door, 2014) + Q & A with director Jung July, producer Lee Jun-dong and BIFF's programmer Nam Dong-chul

I recently saw Doheeya at the London Film Festival. I have had no chance to review it yet, but I would certainly recommend it – as seems to be consensus among the critics as well. Bae Doona has earned some awards for her performance already and Kim Sae-ron (the oldest of the Ron sisters) is one of Korea’s child stars to keep an eye on.

  • 화이 (Hwayi: Gwimuleul Samkin Ahyi/Hwayi: A Monster Boy, 2013) + Q & A with producer Lee Jun-dong. – Dir. by Jang Joon-Hwan.

Apparently the story falls a bit apart at the end, but Yeo Jin-Goo has received plenty of praise for his performance in Hwayi.

  •  자유의 언덕  (Jayuui Eondeok/Hill of Freedom, 2014) – Dir. by Hong Sang-soo.

Jayuui Eondeok recently screened at the London Film Festival. Read my REVIEW.

  • 한공주 (Han Gong-ju/Hang Gon-ju, 2013) + Q & A with BIFF's programmer Nam Dong-chulLee Sujin

This particular indie has had some rave reviews and it’s on the top of my must-watch list for the festival.

  • 시 (Shi/Poetry, 2010) + Q & A with producer Lee Jun-dong. Dir. by Lee Chang-dong.

Shi – about a woman, in the early stages of Alzheimer, who begins writing poetry – is from 2010. I haven’t seen it, but I do know that it received a lot of praise. The only reason I won’t be watching it at the festival is that it has actually been released on DVD and my preference at festivals is always for the films that I might otherwise never get a chance to see.

  • 산다 (Sanda/Alive, 2014) – Dir. by Park Jung-bum.

No trailer.

  • 인간중독 (Inganjoongdok/Obsessed, 2014) – Dir. by Kim Dae-woo.

  • 남자가 사랑할 때 (Namjaga Saranghal Ddae/Man in Love, 2014) – Dir. by Han Dong-wook.

Hwang Jung-Min stars in this one. I have only seen him in a couple of films – 여자, 정혜 (Yeoja, Jeonghye/This Charming Girl) and 와이키키 브라더스 (Waikiki Beuradeoseu/Waikiki Brothers) – and I find him quite wonderful. He has this way of delivering often very quiet, subtle performances.

  • 표적 (Pyojeok/The Target, 2014) Dir. by Chang.

  • 끝까지 간다 (Kkeutkkaji Ganda/A Hard Day, 2014) – Dir. by Kim Seong-hun.

This thriller recently screened at the London Film Festival. I did not see it, but some of my fellow London K-film friends did and apparently enjoyed it. Lee Sun-Kyun is in the lead, which can’t be a bad thing.

  • 미장센 단편 1 (Mis-en-scene Shorts 1)
  • 미장센 단편 2 (Mise-en-scene Shorts 2)
  • 미장센 단편 3 (Mise-en-scene Shorts 3)

Three screenings of shorts, all different directors. No trailers available.

  • 10분 (10 Pun/10 Minutes, 2014) + Introduction by BIFF's programmer Nam Dong-chul – Dir. by Lee Seung-yong.

This is a film about the reality of workplace in Korea (anyone else thinking the awesomeness that is 미생 (Misaeng)?) – this Hollywood Reporter review isn’t too excited about it, but who knows.

  • 일대일 (Ildaeil/One on One, 2014) + Introduction by Anton Bitel. Dir. by Kim Ki-duk.

Kim Ki-duk’s latest. Not for the faint of heart. I have read some mixed reviews too.

  • 파스카 (Paseuka/Pascha, 2014) – Dir. by Ahn Seon-kyoung.

No trailer.

  • 우리 이웃 이야기 (Uri iju iyeogi/Neighbors) – Dir. by Shin Sojeong, Son Tae Gyum & Kim Heejin.

No trailer or further details.

  • 내 머리 속의 지우개 (Nae Meorisokui Jiwoogae/Moment to Remember, 2004) – Dir. by Lee Jae-han.

  • 만신 (Manshin/Manshin, 2014) + Q & A with director Park Chan-kyong.

  • 사이비 (Saibi/The Fake, 2014) – Dir. by Yeon Sang-ho.

The director of 돼지의 왕 (Daegieui wang/The King of Pigs) is back with a new animated feature – one that sounds just as bleak as his debut. Sadly, the KCC has scheduled all animations in the afternoon, so I can’t make this screening. Boohoo.

  • 고진감래 (Bitter, Sweet, Seoul, 2014) + Q & A with director Park Chan-kyong.

Apparently this film was pieced together from thousands of submissions of video material from Seoulites – I guess a sort of colourful portrait of the sweet and bitter that this city can be.

  • 악어 (Ago/Crocodile, 1996) – Dir. by Kim Ki-duk.

  • 서울의 지붕밑 (Seoul-ui jibungmit/Under the Sky of Seoul, 1961) + Introduction by Dr. Mark Morris. – Dir. by Lee Hyung-pyo.

If you can’t make it to London for the festival, the Korean Film Archive actually made this film available on their Youtube channel. You can read more about the film here.

  • 메밀 꽃 필 무렵, 운수좋은, 날 그리고 봄봄 (Memilggot, Woonsoo Joheunnal, Geurigo Bombom/The Road called Life, 2014) – Dir. by Ahn Jae-hun Han Hye-jin.

An animation from the team that brought us 소중한 날의 꿈 (Soljonghang Naluiggoom/Green Days). Another afternoon screening, but fortunately, this one fits into my schedule!

  • 족구왕 (Jokgu Wang/The King of Jokgu, 2014) – Dir. by Woo Moon-gi.

  • 무사 (Musa/The Warrior, 2001) – Dir. by Kim Sung-su.

  • 야간 비행 (Yaganbihaeng/Night Flight, 2014) – Dir. by Leesong Hee-il.

  • 난 미용사가 아니야 (Nan Miyongsaga Aniya/I Am Not a Hairdresser), 무림 (Murim/There Is No Forest), 얼굴들 (Alguldeul/Faces), 귀머거리와 바람 (Deaf and Wind) – Dir. by Lee Hyung-suk, Kim Na-kyung, Kim Minjun and Hwang Kyu-il respectively.
  • 해무 (Haemoo/Haemoo, 2014) – Dir. by Shim Sung-bo.

Donghae & Eunhyuk (Super Junior) Concert + The Youth (레디 액션 청춘) + Q & A with Super Junior (Donghae, Eunhyuk)Kim Jin-moo Park Ga-hee Ju Seong-su Jeong Won-sik

  • 경주 (Gyeongju/Geyongju, 2014) – Dir. by Zhang Lu.

  • 하이힐 (Haiheel/Man on High Heels, 2013) – Dir. by Jang Jin.

Well, for those of you who are watching the currently airing atrocious Korean remake of Nodame Cantabile and want to see more of the actor that plays Il-rac, Gyung-Pyo has a role (not lead) in this film. The synopsis actually sounds intriguing: it’s about a (male) detective that wants to be a woman, as well as about mysterious woman that helps two other men.

  • 뫼비우스 (Moebius/Moebius, 2013) – Dir. by Kim Ki-duk.

  • 감시자들 (Gamshijadeul/Cold Eyes, 2013), plus the short 킬러앞에 노인 (Killeoapenoin/The Killer Behind, the Old Man)  + Q & A with actor Jung Woo-sung. – Dir. by Jo Ui-seok and Kim Byung-seo.

  • 만찬 (Manchan/The Dinner, 2014) –  Dir. by Kim Dong-hyun.

  • Closing Gala:  화장 (Hwajang/Revivre, 2014) + Q & A with actor Ahn Sungki. – Dir. by Im Kwon-taek.

Film number 102 of master Im Kwon-taek…

Bonus Bits