The 2016 London East Asia Film Festival has a number of strands. We’ve already posted details of the movies screening in the Park Chan-wook retrospective and the Jeonju International Film Festival Focus. So here are the Korean movies featuring in the other strands, the broader East Asian cinema sections, listed in order of screening at the festival.
Age Of Shadows (밀정)
Dir Kim Jee-Woon, 139 mins
Plus Q&A with director Kim Jee-Woon
Cast members: Gong Yoo, Song Kang-ho, Han Ji-min
Odeon Leicester Square | Thursday 20 October 2016, 7:30pm | Book tickets
Set at the end of the 1920s during the Japanese occupation of Korea, ‘The Age of Shadows’ is an epic period drama, a gripping thriller, and an engaging spy story.
Lee Jung-chool, a Korean working for the Japanese police, is tasked with exposing the Korean resistance’s second-in-command, Kim Woo-jin. To gather intelligence on the group, Lee starts to hang out with Kim, who runs a photography studio as a cover for his underground activities.
But after coming in close contact with the rebel fighters, some of whom were once his friends, Lee’s mind is clouded by doubts about his dirty work for the occupying forces.
LEAFF Official Selection
Dir Kim Seong-hun, 127 mins
Plus Q&A with director Kim Seong-hun
Cast members: Ha Jung-woo, Bae Doo-na, Oh Dal-su
Curzon Soho | Sunday 23 October 2016, 2:45pm | Book tickets
Jung-soo (HA Jung-woo), the manager of a car dealership, is in a cheerful mood on the way home from work. Then suddenly, the tunnel he is driving through collapses, and he is trapped inside.
The only thing he can see around him is concrete wreckage, and all he has to sustain himself is 78% of his phone’s battery, two bottles of water, and his daughter’s birthday cake.
Familyhood (굿바이 싱글)
Dir Kim Tae-gon, 120 mins
Plus Q&A with director Kim Tae-gon
Cast members: Kim Hye-soo, Ma Dong-seok, Kim Hyeon-soo
Curzon Soho | Sunday 23 October 2016, 6pm | Book tickets
Go Ju-yeon (Kim Hye-soo) is a self-centered diva who always gets what she wants. But she’s in her 40s and her career is going downhill.
She wants to settle down with her young boyfriend but he’s a rookie actor who’s only interested in taking advantage of her fame, cheating behind her back.
Discovering this, she realises that she needs someone who will always be on her side: her own baby. Devastatingly, she learns that she has reached menopause already. When she comes across a pregnant teenager at the hospital, Ju-yeon makes an offer that she cannot refuse.
The Map Against the World (고산자, 대동여지도, 2016)
LEAFF Official Selection
Dir Kang Woo Suk, 129 mins
Plus Q&A with director Kang Woo Suk
Cast members: Cha Seung-won, Yoo Joon-sang
Curzon Soho | Monday 24 October 2016, 6pm | Book tickets
At a time when maps weren’t readily accessible for the public, Gosanja Kim Jeong-ho (Cha Seoung-won) sets out to walk across the Korean peninsula to make the ‘Daedongyeojido’ – the Great Map of the East Land, with hopes of providing an accurate and accessible map for everyone.
Meanwhile, he forgets about his daughter Kim Sunsil, who grew up in his absence. Although he is treated as a crazy man, driven by his goal, Kim Jeong-ho endeavors to complete the template for woodblock printing of the map.
The World of Us (우리들)
Competition section / Stories of Women
Dir Yoon Ga-eun, 95 mins
Plus Q&A with director Yoon Ga-eun
Cast members: Choi Soo-in, Seol Hye-in, Lee Seo-yeon
Regent Street Cinema | 26 October 2016, 6:30pm | Book tickets
After winning the Crystal Bear for Best Short Film at Berlinale in 2014, Yoon Ga-eun returns with her debut feature about the relationship between two ten year-old girls. But scratch below the surface and The World of Us is about much more than this. Its understated yet captivating exploration of social pressures and cultural identity in South Korea will surely leave a lasting impression amongst audiences.
The film kicks off LEAFF’s Stories of Women strand at Regent Street Cinema, and represents the tempestuous transition from childhood to adolescence. It follows Sun, who is the victim of bullies and an outcast at her local school. During the summer holidays she meets Jia, who has just moved to the area. Sun introduces Jia to the neighbourhood and slowly their relationship blossoms – but when the new semester starts, Jia catches on to the social hierarchy at class and their relationship takes a turn.
Reconciling their differences and navigating the social landscape in their school is just the start of their journey towards understanding each other and the world around them.
Spirit’s Homecoming (귀향)
Stories of women
Dir Cho Jung-rae, 127 mins
Plus Q&A with director Cho Jung-rae
Cast members: Kang Ha-na, Son Sook, Choi Ri, Seo Mi-ji
Regent Street Cinema | Thursday 27 October 2016, 8:30pm | Book tickets
“This is hell”
In 1943, the 14-year-old innocent Jung-min (Kang Hana) had no clue when she was dragged by the Japanese soldiers away from her family. Jung-min is thrown into a train, along with many more children including Young-hee (Seo Miji), and heads to a clueless place. During the Second World War, Jung-min and other children are thrown out in the cold battlefield. Japanese soldiers were waiting for them where they only received terrible agony and pain.
The painful history of ours that shouldn’t be forgotten!
Note that on Friday 28 October there is a discussion at SOAS with the director and two of the actors.
Karaoke Crazies (중독노래방)
Dir Kim Sang-chan, 106 mins
Plus Q&A with director Kim Sang-chan.
Cast members: Lee Moon-sik, Bae So-eun, Kim Na-mi
Curzon Soho | Saturday 29 October 2016, 3pm | Book tickets
Addiction Karaoke is run by Sung-Wook. When business is slow, he hires a singing helper Ha- Suck, a girl in her early 20s, to boost sales.
She’s a hopeless game addict, but somehow lures customers in with her mysterious charm. Na-Ju, a professional helper, joins the crew and brightens up the miserable place with her bubbly character.
Just when everything starts turning for the better, little do they know that a serial killer on the loose in town is after something in the karaoke.