Here’s the running order. Some commentary to follow tomorrow.
Breath (숨) (12A) (2007) Dir Kim Ki-duk (김기덕) 84 min / Opening Gala Special Preview
19:30 / Introduced by special guest Ambassador Dr. Cho Yoon-Je of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea
2 Nov 07 / 19:30 / Cinema 1
The latest film from the acclaimed director of Spring Summer Autumn Winter and Spring, Palme d’Or nominee Breath garnered a 10 minute standing ovation on its premiere in Cannes earlier this year.
This gentle, offbeat love story centres on the quirky relationship between bored housewife and budding interior decorator Yeon and her unusual new best friend, suicidal death row prisoner Jang Jin.
A beautiful and touching film that cements Kim Ki-duk’s status as a master filmmaker.
In a world where pigs really can fly and pirates rule the air, Mateo follows the Pirate Code to the letter, trouble is, he’s not very good at being bad!
When a renegade princess with a map to royal treasure crosses his path, Mateo and his gang must decide what’s more important — being famous pirates or saving their world!
Yobi the Five Tailed Fox (천년여우 여우비) (U) 2007 Dir. Lee Seong-gang (이성강) 85 min.
13:00 / Accompanied by a special performance by celebrated Korean musician and composer Yang Bang Ean
3 Nov 07 / 13:00 / Cinema 1
This imaginative feature from award winning director Lee is a beautiful study of the trials of growing up and fitting in.
When 10 year old Yeuwoobi discovers that she is actually a five tailed fox spirit and not a young girl at all, she begins a quest to become a real human, but with the evil ‘Shadow’ trying to capture her, she doesn’t have much time!
+ A special performance by celebrated musician and composer Yang Bang-ean
This sumptuous fairy-tale is the first joint cinematic success from South and North Korea, and has enchanted audiences worldwide.
A secret empress living as a poor country girl tries everything to save her father’s eyesight, even allowing a sea monster to take her captive in his submarine castle, in this gorgeously vivid musical animation that looks like a cross between Japanese anime and the best of Disney.
Director Kim Tae-yong creates three wonderfully interwoven stories reflecting on life, love and loss in his award winning film.
Mira idolizes her troubled brother, who turns up after a stint in jail with a new wife and a daughter that isn’t theirs; tour guide Seunggyuem is furious with her mother for having a child with a married man, and Kyong Seok’s jealousy of his girlfriend threatens to destroy their life together…
Moving and subtle, Family Ties focuses on the little details in life and the quiet moments where we re-evaluate our lives and relationships with others.
Starring Moon So-ri, Uhm Tae-woong and Goh Doo-shim.
Director Kim Ki-duk’s fascinating and disturbing study of personal neuroses asks how far we can go to change who we really are, and will haunt audiences long after the final credits roll.
In this haunting and pervasive film, a desperately insecure young woman undergoes radical plastic surgery in an attempt to transform herself into what she jealously assumes is her partners ideal woman.
However, her obsession is more than skin deep and her shocking metamorphosis takes a sinister turn when she begins to alter more than just her looks.
Kim Dae-woo’s witty and provocative directorial debut is a sumptuous period drama set in the 18th century.
Intrigued by an erotic novel, aristocrat Kim Yoon-Suh decides to write his own, based on a torrid affair he is having with Jeong-bin, the King’s favourite concubine; enlisting straight-laced police chief Gwang-heon to draw the voyeuristic illustrations.
However, the overwhelming popularity of the salacious tome means it isn’t long before Jeong Bin sees it, and scandalised, plots a fitting revenge on her deceitful lover.
A cross-generational phenomenon, selling more than 12.3 million tickets in Korea, Lee’s stunning film sparked much discussion of its rich content and homosexual undertones.
Set in the early 16th century, two acrobatic clowns find themselves in dire trouble after staging a play that satires the current monarchy.
Summoned to the court to perform, their situation becomes more dangerous when the tyrannical King develops an obsessive attraction to one of the pair. With Kam Woo-Seong and rising star Lee Joon-ki
Shin Sang-ok’s masterpiece of storytelling was made during his most influential directorial period and centres around young girl Oak-hee and her extended family.
Moments of pitch perfect poignancy cut through humorous quirks when Shin’s focus is the socially taboo attraction between Oak-hee’s widow mother (played by Shin’s wife Choi Eun-hee) and their artist lodger.
In 1978 Shin Sang-ok and his wife were kidnapped by Kim Jong-il in order to revitalise North Korea’s film industry, but escaped while in Vienna in 1986.
Highly controversial but extremely popular on release, Han Hyeong-mo’s classic is seen as one of the great landmark films of South Korea, providing a template for the melodramas that Korea has become so widely known for.
Based on an eight month series published in the Seoul Shinmun newspaper in 1954, Madame Freedom explores society’s reactions towards a married couple in conservative middle-class Korea, who begin to see different people as their lives and culture become more westernised.
This slick noir-esque thriller follows young hood Byung-doo, forced to enter the life of organised crime in order to provide support for his mother and two younger siblings.
When crime boss Hwang offers him a dangerous job that would give his family financial independence, Byung-doo wrestles with his need to make fast money and his desire for an honest life.
A mesmerising performance from one of Korea’s leading actors Jo In-Seong, and superb direction from Yoo Ha.
Arguably one of the most sophisticated and stylish recent Korean films, War of the Flower became an instant hit with home audiences.
When hard-core gambler Go-nee (Cho Seung-woo) realises he has been swindled out of his sister’s savings by group of fraudulent professional gamblers, he persuades retired gambling master Mr. Pyeong to train him to be the best slicker in the business in order to get his sisters money back.
The first installment of director Park’s revenge trilogy is an emotionally complex tale of good intentions gone wrong.
Unable to provide a kidney for his gravely ill sister, deaf mute Ryu makes a horrific black market deal that sets him on a brutal path of kidnap, violence and revenge which leaves no one connected untouched.
The irony of this heart wrenching tragedy is that each character is motivated to act out of compassion for those they love.
A brilliant, emotionally resonant study of desperate actions and their devastating repercussions.
In the final, darkly comic part of his revenge trilogy, writer/director Park explores retribution and the physical and spiritual nature of revenge.
After 13 years in prison for the murder of a young boy, notorious teen- killer Geum-ja (Lee Young-ae) is finally free to confront the man who framed her, but unearths a more horrific truth whilst searching for atonement for her own part in the death of the kidnapped boy. As Lady Vengeance’s brilliantly conceived flashbacks play out, this spellbinding psychological thriller keeps us guessing right up until its stomach-churning conclusion.
Director Park Chan-wook’s newest film is a departure in style from the vengeance trilogy that made him both a household name and a critical success.
Im Soo-jeong (A Tale of Two Sisters) and Asian mega-star Rain star in this visually delightful musical romance, which flits neatly between fantasy and reality as it charts the touching relationship between oddball residents of a Korean mental hospital; Young-goon, a cyborg who plugs herself into the mains to feed, and Il-soon who is compelled to steal other peoples’ souls.
Followed by a ScreenTalk with director Park Chan-wook.
- Official programme at the Barbican
(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.