Event reports and reviews

No matter how well you prepare yourself for an art fair, you are bound to be caught unawares as you follow your planned route from stall to stall. In our visit of course we focused on Skipwiths, Shine and Hanmi, but elsewhere we came across the established photographer Boomoon showing at Flowers Gallery, and emerging […]

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Exhibition visit: Junebum Park’s Maths Test work-in-progress

by Philip Gowman 21 January 2016
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At Tonbridge school, visitors have been privileged to see the work in progress of Korean video artist Junebum Park. And pupils have been privileged to be subjects, almost like laboratory rats, in his latest work. Park is known, among other things, for his Puzzle series, in which students are filmed from above as they struggle […]

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Theatre review: In-Sook Chappell — P’yongyang

by Philip Gowman 18 January 2016
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After Mia Chung’s You For Me For You at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, which finished on 9 January, it was a relief to sit down to a play where you could believe in the characters and enjoy natural dialogue that you could imagine people uttering in real life. The production, in a room above an […]

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Theatre Review: Mia Chung’s You for Me for You

by Philip Gowman 15 January 2016
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I’m not quite sure what it was about You For Me For You that had me squirming uncomfortably in my seat after a few minutes – a condition in which I stayed for the remainder of the play. I don’t think it was the subject matter: the tales of hardship in North Korea outside of […]

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A surviving victim’s view on the Korea-Japan Comfort Women “deal”

by 앤서방 30 December 2015
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In September this year 90 year old survivor of WW2 Japanese military sexual slavery Kim Bok-dong gave two public talks in London, at the Korean Cultural Centre and at Goldsmiths University. She said she had come, ‘not as a victim but as a human rights activist’, and explained that the surviving ladies were not just […]

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Exhibition visit: Korean artists at APT8

by Philip Gowman 28 December 2015
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The Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) has been hosting the Asia Pacific Triennial since 1993. The exhibition features artists from all over the region, and Korea has been represented from the start. The triennial is spread over two buildings (the QAG itself and the nearby Gallery of Modern Art which opened in 2006) which collectively are […]

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Festival Film Review: Lee Kwang-guk focus

by Philip Gowman 23 November 2015
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If I had seen no other films at the 2015 London Korean Film Festival, the evenings of films by Lee Kwang-guk would have made the whole festival worthwhile. The first evening featured his second film, the short Hard to Say (2013), along with his debut feature Romance Joe (2012), while the second evening followed up […]

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Festival Film Review: Chung Chang-wha focus

by Philip Gowman 20 November 2015
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Each year the LKFF includes a few golden oldies among its line-up of the latest commercial and art house offerings. This year the festival gave us the opportunity to get to know three films by veteran director Chung Chang-wha, made before he was scouted by Shaw Brothers in 1969. The earliest film to be screened […]

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Festival film review: Love And…

by Philip Gowman 20 November 2015
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Two years ago the revered Korean film critic Tony Rayns asked Moon Sori an awkward question. The question was followed by a sharp intake of breath from the audience who couldn’t believe what they had just heard, and by a few false starts at a response by Ms Moon before she answered fluently. At the final […]

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Festival Film Review: Socialphobia

by Philip Gowman 16 November 2015
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Socialphobia, a debut film from Hong Seok-jae, was one of the fifteen sold-out screenings at this year’s LKFF. For an indie film, it had a strong reception at the Korean box office, aided in part by the actor Byun Yo-han who played in the hit TV drama Misaeng, but also because of its contemporary theme: […]

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Festival Film Review: Sleepless Night

by Philip Gowman 16 November 2015
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There is something slightly hypnotising about seeing a movie which seems to aspire to do nothing more than lovingly record the daily lives of a couple who face the same everyday challenges and questions that most of us face. How and whether to stand up to the boss at work when he seeks to make […]

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Festival Film Review: Collapse

by Philip Gowman 15 November 2015
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The second screening in this year’s documentary strand, this movie left you wondering what the director’s intentions were. Indeed, it made you wonder whether there was another guiding spirit which took over the film-making process, editing and shaping the unfinished work of the director. And then you looked at the credits, and discovered that there […]

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Festival Film Review: The Classified File

by Philip Gowman 12 November 2015
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As goodwill ambassador for Sancheong County, I was delighted when Sancheong’s most famous Buddhist monk, the late Seong Cheol sunim, got name checked in The Classified File as the Seon Master of the Buddhist-trained fortune teller who unofficially assisted the police in the real-life 1978 kidnap case that was the subject of the movie. One […]

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Festival Film Review: Ode to My Father

by Philip Gowman 10 November 2015
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The time is the present. Yoon Deok-su, a grandfather living in Busan but born in South Hamgyong province in North Korea, looks back at his life of hardship which has coincided exactly with the life of the Republic of Korea. Surrounded by his grandchildren, he has managed to raise his family from nothing to relative prosperity, […]

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Festival Film Review: Kim Eungsu — The City in the Water

by Philip Gowman 8 November 2015
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Write down on a piece of paper a list of techniques you expect to be used in a documentary about a controversial episode in recent history. Maybe it will include archive footage; expert talking heads giving their views of the historical problem; interviews with people who lived through it, witnessed it or even contributed to […]

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A lunchtime of ceramics and an evening of awesomeness

by Philip Gowman 5 November 2015
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I wish the lunch break had been longer at today’s Korean film conference at SOAS. I was planning on having a quick snack at Mr Mok’s Bibimbap Cafe in Museum Street, maybe say a brief hello to my friends at It’s All Greek a few doors away, and then look in at the British Museum’s […]

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Event report: the stories of our North Korean friends in New Malden

by Philip Gowman 30 October 2015
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During last year’s New Malden Festival, the founders of the Korean Information Centre, Bona Shin and Glenna Debosco, hosted an evening looking at the experiences of North Korean refugees in New Malden. The event was a valuable opportunity for local residents and others to raise their awareness of this small community in their midst, and […]

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