Film & TV

Morten Traavik, the man who brought us a North Korean accordion quintet covering a Norwegian synthpop track, now gives us a documentary about a Slovenian art-rock band performing versions of songs from The Sound of Music in North Korea. Read a review of the “documentary musical” Liberation Day in the Guardian. More info on Morten […]

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Festival film review: Yourself and Yours

by Robert Cottingham 18 November 2016
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Hong Sang-soo (홍상수) Yourself and Yours (당신 자신과 당신의 것, 2016) Review by Robert Cottingham. You can tell from the opening titles exactly the kind of film this is going to be. Black Korean calligraphy on a white background suggests an intelligent and possibly artistic film and the lively classical music hints at a sophisticated comedy on […]

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BFI Festival Film Review: Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing

by Philip Gowman 16 November 2016
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Na Hong-jin can sure put you through a mental wringer. Mysterious and very bloody murders, extremely nasty skin conditions: who or what is to blame? The choice seems to be between a mind-altering magic mushroom concoction and a strange Japanese guy who lives in the forest, fishing and living off the land. And what of […]

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Gangnam Style remembered on Strictly

by Philip Gowman 14 November 2016
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Thanks to would-be Labour finance minister Ed Balls for brightening up our dull Autumn on the BBC’s celebrity talent show Strictly Come Dancing. Consistently at the bottom of the scoreboard, he is saved by the popular vote. In the most recent episode he had the guts to do a Gangnam Style inspired Salsa, choreographed (with […]

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Festival report: Park Hong-min Q+A after the screening of “A Fish”

by Robert Cottingham 12 November 2016
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Park Hong-Min was in London yesterday for a 3-D showing of his first film A Fish (2011). He gave a short Q-and-A after the screening. Transcribed by Robert Cottingham. Tony Rayns: I’ll get things going. I take it this film is not based on your own experience? Park Hong-min: Yes, it’s definitely not based on […]

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Brief festival film review: Eoh Woo Dong

by Robert Cottingham 11 November 2016
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Lee Chang-ho (이장호) Eoh Woo Dong (어우동, 1985, 110 mins). Review by Robert Cottingham. Eoh Woo Dong translates as “entertainer,” a rough approximation of the duties of 14th-century Korean courtesan Eoh Yoon Chang. After a lifetime “in service,” Eoh Yoon Chang retires to a faraway village. Meanwhile, her powerful father, ashamed of his daughter’s lifestyle, […]

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Brief Festival Film Review: Kai

by Robert Cottingham 8 November 2016
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Lee Sung-gang (이성강): Kai (카이, 2016, 96 mins) Review by Robert Cottingham Snow Queen Hattan casts a spell over the peaceful village where Kai lives, and covers everything in ice. The River Spirit who is the protector of the village gives the brave young Kai the only key to fighting off Hattan and asks him […]

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Festival film review: Crush and Blush

by Robert Cottingham 7 November 2016
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Lee Kyoung-mi (이경미): Crush and Blush (미쓰 홍당무, 2008) Review by Robert Cottingham. Right near the beginning of Crush and Blush, the main character Mi-seok stands digging a deep hole in a schoolyard. I thought that it was a punishment used in South Korean schools, but if not it could be a visual metaphor for […]

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Festival film review: The Truth Beneath

by Robert Cottingham 6 November 2016
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Lee Kyoung-mi (이경미): The Truth Beneath (비밀은 없다, 2016) Review by Robert Cottingham Lee Kyoung-mi got her start in films working with Park Chan-wook, and from watching this film it seems she has taken his lead when it comes to violent revenge. When a politician’s daughter goes missing the scandal threatens to upset his ambitions […]

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Event news: Under the Sun – Vitaly Mansky’s DPRK documentary screens at the KCC

by Philip Gowman 5 November 2016
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One of the rare occasions when KCC has hosted an event about North Korea: Screening event: Under the Sun Director: Vitaly Mansky (2015) Screening organised by Free NK Friday 18 November 2016, 7pm – 9pm Korean Culture Centre | 1-3 Strand | London WC2N 5BW Free entry but registration required via Eventbrite Description This movie screening […]

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Korean Horror Movies: A Different Perspective — at New Malden Library

by Philip Gowman 4 November 2016
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LKL friend and sometime contributor Colette Balmain will be presenting on the subject of K-horror next week. Ties in nicely with the female directors strand in the London Korean Film Festival. Korean Horror Movies: A Different Perspective New Malden Library, Kingston Road, New Malden, KT3 3LY 10th November 2016, 19:00 – 20:00 Free (Book in […]

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LKFF report: the opening night and The Truth Beneath

by Philip Gowman 4 November 2016
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The eleventh of the London Korean Film Festivals organised by the KCCUK opened on Thursday with a little sprinkling of stardust. Jung Woo-sung, who electrified the audience during the 2014 festival where he was the headline attraction, came to the opening night as just a regular guy wanting to watch a movie. But that didn’t […]

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Park Chan-wook at LEAFF, talking about Handmaiden, octopuses and more

by Philip Gowman 24 October 2016
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I’ve now lost count of the number of times that Park Chan-wook has come to London. But it’s always nice to see him, especially when there’s his latest film to enjoy as part of a retrospective of his work at the London East Asia Film Festival. We got to see the amazing Handmaiden at the BFI […]

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Train to Busan gets UK theatrical release

by Philip Gowman 23 October 2016
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If you haven’t yet managed to see the zombie thrill fest Train to Busan (LKL review here) you can catch it in UK cinemas from 28 October 2016, courtesy of Studiocanal. More details on their PR’s website.

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Another take on Shin Sang-ok

by Philip Gowman 20 October 2016
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The Korea Times has a nicely-timed memoir of Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee covering their time in America immediately after their redefection in 1986. At over 4,000 words it’s a meaty article, and well worth the read, in particular touching on Shin’s impossible dream of a film about Ganghis Khan. Thanks to Michael Duffy for […]

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Korean films in LEAFF’s Competition, Official Selection and Stories of Women sections

by Philip Gowman 13 October 2016
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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 […]

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Film review: The Lovers and the Despot

by Philip Gowman 10 October 2016
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The way you watch Ross Adam’s and Robert Cannan’s The Lovers and the Despot is likely to depend on whether you know the story or not. To those who are coming to it afresh, this is an extraordinary tale which is another example of the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction: one of South […]

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