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Two rare Korean Buddhist films at the Barbican

IBFF mastheadInternational Buddhist Film Festival
World Cinema with a Buddhist Edge
Thu 7–Sun 17 May 2009
The world’s leading resource for Buddhist cinema, the US based IBFF comes to the UK, and the Barbican, for the first time. Part of The Many Faces of Buddhism series, the lineup of programmes here at IBFF 2009 LONDON includes forty-six films from eighteen countries, with twenty-seven UK premieres and three discussion events. Themes of happiness, redemption, reconciliation, simplicity, forgiveness, generosity, community, creativity, humor and personal transformation are explored in many ways.

As part of the festival, two rare Korean films will be screened on 10 May. And Mark Morris from Cambridge University’s Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies assesses the films here.

beyond-the-mountainBeyond the Mountain (15*)
16:30 / A striking story set in an idyllic Buddhist hermitage
10 May 2009

UK premiere

On an errand to another temple, a young Buddhist monk becomes entranced with a beautiful nun he spies from a distance. Serenity is threatened by passions within and tensions from outside.

As their attachment grows, both must find their way back to the spiritual vows that are the foundation of their lives…now shaken by the lure of the world.

A striking story set in an idyllic Buddhist hermitage and a nearby convent nestled deep in the Korean mountains.

Korea 1991 Dir. Chung Ji-young 108 min.
In Korean with English subtitles

Chung Ji-young was one of the top directors of the early 1990s, whose output included White Badge and Life and Death of the Hollywood Kid.


hometown-of-the-heartHometown of the Heart (U*)
19:00 / One of only two Korean films made before the Korean War to have survived
10 May 2009
Cinema 1

One of only two Korean films made before the Korean War to have survived, this film immerses us in the life of a small monastery, revealing the interconnection of family and the Buddhist monastic traditions in Korea.

Eschewing new-school sentimentality to quietly express a boy’s longing for maternal love, the film unfolds the everyday lives of three generations of monks against the backdrop of a quiet temple in the mountains.

Korea 1949 Dir. Yoon Yong-kyu 74 min.
In Korean with English subtitles

According to some critics, this is one of the best Korean films ever made, with amazing cinematography and featuring a very young Choi Eun-hee (the future wife of Shin Sang-ok). The film was recently remade as The Little Monk (Joo Kyung-joong, 2003).


With thanks to Mark Morris for additional background to the films.

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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