Documentaries

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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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 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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LEAFF 2016 focuses on Jeonju film fest

by Philip Gowman 5 October 2016
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One of the strands to be introduced by the London East Asia Film Festival is a focus on individual festivals in the region. In collaboration with the Institute for Contemporary Arts, who will be screening this strand on Saturday and Sunday mornings during the festival, the focus for the first year is the Jeonju International […]

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Event news: Shin Sang-ok double bill at the Regent Street Cinema

by Philip Gowman 2 October 2016
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If you missed the UK premiere of the documentary about Shin Sang-ok and Choi Eun-hee, The Lovers and the Despot, and would rather watch it on the big screen as opposed to via the various online options, you have another chance this month courtesy of the Regent Street Cinema. An LKL review is coming soon, but […]

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Event news: Cyrano Agency and Fasten Your Seatbelt are October’s screenings at the KCC

by Philip Gowman 28 September 2016
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The two final screenings at the KCC before we get to the London Korean Film Festival bring to an end the season of movies which look at Korean humour. Cyrano Agency (시라노;연애조작단) Director: Kim Hyeon-seok, 2010, 117 mins Cast: Uhm Tae-woong, Lee Min-jung, Park Shin-hye, Daniel Choi 13 Oct 16 7:00 pm Named after the well-known French drama Cyrano […]

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Event news: The Lovers and the Despot comes online and to theatres 23 Sept

by Philip Gowman 11 September 2016
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It’s been very tantalising knowing that this film has been in the making. LKL met with the directors of this project back in early 2012 and made a few introductions which may or may not have been of assistance. It sounded like an interesting angle on a familiar topic – the sojourn of Shin Sang-ok […]

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Event news: Sewol families visit UK

by Philip Gowman 8 May 2016
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This coming week brings a chance to meet family members of the Sewol victims: 10 May: A street campaign in front of the National Gallery, 12 noon A panel session at SOAS, 6pm 11 May: A documentary screening and discussion at the Fountain Pub, New Malden (6:30 for 7pm) Meeting with families and lawyers of […]

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Event news: “Cruel State” documentary screening and 2nd anniversary Sewol Silent Protest

by Philip Gowman 12 April 2016
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As we reach the second anniversary of the Sewol sinking, two special events are planned in London. First, the monthly Sewol Stay Put silent protest will be in Trafalgar Square on 16 April in front of the National Gallery, 2pm – 4pm. Later that afternoon will be a free screening of Cruel State (나쁜나라) at […]

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Im Heung-soon: Jeju Prayer, Symptom and Sign

by Philip Gowman 13 March 2016
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The most substantial work in the final session of experimental film screenings at the Tate in September 2015 was Im Heung-soon’s Sung Si (숭 시 – Jeju Symptom and Sign. 2011, HD Video, colour, sound, 24mins), a work which obliquely addresses the 4:3 incident and the Gangjeong naval base. The piece has been made into […]

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Event news: I am Sun Mu screens at Human Rights Watch Film Fest

by Philip Gowman 9 March 2016
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The documentary about the North Korean defector artist known as Sun Mu gets two screenings as part of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. LKL’s review from last Autumn’s Raindance is here. I am Sun Mu Director: Adam Sjöberg Year: 2015 / 80m Language(s): English, Chinese, Korean March 13, 2016 5:30 PM @ Ritzy Brixton […]

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Event news: State of Play, a documentary on pro-gamers, to screen at Asia House film fest

by Philip Gowman 25 January 2016
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Asia House has published the programme for its 2016 film festival. Two films will be of interest to Korea specialists. Steven Dhoedt’s documentary on the world of professional computer gamers, and Benson Lee’s comedy Seoul Searching. State of Play Dir Steven Dhoedt, Belgium / South Korea, 2013 85 minutes, UK premiere Time: Tuesday, 23 February […]

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A look back at the films and music of 2015

by Philip Gowman 19 January 2016
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In the second of two articles (the first looked at the world of books) we look at some of the releases of 2015 that caught our eye. Film Two Kickstarter-funded films to which LKL contributed came to fruition: Twinsters, the story of twin sisters adopted in different continents who discover each other through Facebook; and […]

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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: 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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Film review: I am Sun Mu, at Raindance

by Philip Gowman 4 October 2015
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It’s always nice when you are rewarded for staying at the end of a movie to read the credits. Among the names credited for the soundtrack of Adam Sjöberg’s documentary film I am Sun Mu is kayagum player Jung Ji-eun, a well-known player and teacher based in New Malden. It was also nice that she […]

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