The Terracotta Far East Film Festival gets more exciting every year. For K-film followers, there are four UK premieres plus two short horror films. And of course there’s plenty of non-Korean stuff as well.
For those who come along to watch the double bill at the Korean Breakfast Club on Sunday morning, there will be kimbap on sale during the intermission in the foyer of the Prince Charles Cinema. The two shorts will be played between the films of the horror movie marathon.
Probably the headline Korean movie of the festival is Kim Ki-duk’s Arirang (2011), which almost made it to the London Korean Film Festival last year. Definitely one not to miss.
Kim Ki-duk’s extraordinary and powerful return to cinema
Dir / Cast: Kim Ki-duk
Screening: Saturday 14 April 2012 (doors open 11:45)
While shooting a suicide scene for his last film, Dream, in 2008, film-maker Kim Ki-Duk’s (3 Iron, Spring Summer Autumn Winter…And Spring) lead actress nearly perished and the incident triggered an emotional and creative breakdown for the director. As an act of self-administered therapy, ARIRANG takes playful liberties with the documentary form as Kim Ki-duk traces his experiences and mindset during this period of crisis.
After an absence of three years ARIRANG marks Kim Ki-duk’s triumphant return to cinema, offering audiences a unique and indiscreet look at the man regarded as one of Korea’s greatest living directors.
Awards: Un Certain Regard Award at Cannes – Kim Ki-duk
Next, the opening film of the festival, the big budget My Way (2011) by Kang Je-gyu.
My Way (2011)
from the director of TAEGUKI (Brotherhood)
Dir: Kang Je-kyu
Cast: Jang Dong-gun, Joe Odagiri, Fan Bingbing
Screening: Thursday 12 April 2012 (doors open 17:45)
The most ambitious and expensive film coming from South Korea directed by box office champion Kang Je-Kyu (Brotherhood: Taegukgi, Shiri), MY WAY is an explosive epic war drama spanning several countries, packed with high octane action and heart-breaking emotion that tells for the first time the story of the Second World War from a Korean point of view.
Jun-shik, a Korean, and his rival Tatsuo from Japan, meet during the Japanese occupation of Korea. Both are promising marathon runners and have a dream to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, but, when war breaks out, they are forced to enlist in the Japanese army. The two men gradually manage to find common ground through the battlefield action of WWII from the shores of Japan to Siberia, Germany and finally, the Battle of Normandy.
MY WAY is a pan-Asian production which brings together an impressive cast – Jang Dong-gun (Brotherhood: Taegukgi, Friend), Joe Odagiri (Azumi, Shinobi), Fan Bingbing (Shaolin, Flashpoint).
A late night session:
Terror Cotta Horror Movie Marathon
presented in association with FRIGHT FEST
Friday 13th April – From 20:45
Three feature-length horror movies, and in between them two Korean shorts:
Mother, I Love You
Hong Young-geun, 2009
One of the six episodes centering on the theme of a zombie virus from the movie The Neighbor Zombie.
Oh Inchun, 2011
And part one of a comedy double-bill on the Sunday:
Couples (2011) (Korean Breakfast Club Double Bill)
What’s the real reason you can’t find love?
Dir: Jeong Yong-ki
Cast: Kim Ju-hyuk, Lee Yun-ji
Screening: Sunday 15 April 2012 (doors open 12:00)
Yoo-suk is distraught after his girlfriend Na-ri suddenly disappears in a café. Desperate, he enlists his friend, a private detective to help find her. While searching for her he finds himself constantly bumping into a mysterious girl, Ae-yeon. As the two of them strike up an unlikely rapport, his estranged girlfriend Na-ri makes a sudden appearance…
From director Jeong Yong-ki (“Righteous Thief”, “The Doll Master”and the “Marrying the Mafia” franchise), COUPLES is a smart comedy that tracks various couples and their personal struggles, love and destiny through a tapestry of narratives that are, in some ways or another, linked in comical and serendipitous ways.
And then there’s the first Korean hit of 2012, Lee Seok-hoon’s Dancing Queen, a feel-good comedy starring Uhm Jung-hwa – part two of the comedy double bill.
Dancing Queen (2012) (Korean Breakfast Club Double Bill)
From politicians wife, to reality TV star
Dir: Lee Seok-hoon
Cast: Uhm Jeong-hwa, Hwang Jung-min
Screening: Sunday 15 April 2012 (doors open 14:00)
Will a mayoral candidate and a Dancing Queen be able to make their dreams come true?
Jung-min (Hwang Jung-Min, The Unjust) is a lawyer in name only, having failed the bar exam eight times. However, he is the envy of his friends because his wife, Jung-hwa (Uhm Jung-Hwa), was once famed for her beauty and dancing. After saving someones life in the subway, Jung-min becomes a popular people’s hero and receives an offer to run for mayor of Seoul.
Meanwhile, Jung-hwa lives the dull existence of a housewife, teaching aerobics to middle-aged women to pass the time. Frustrated, she challenges herself by auditioning for TV music talent contest Superstar K (the Korean version of American Idol). Will Jung-hwa be able to keep it a secret from her husband, can she follow her dreams and still be a good wife to a politician?
DANCING QUEEN is a feel-good comedy and Korea’s first big movie hit of the new year that satirises the reality of Korean politics and cheerfully depicts the characters’ struggles as they attempt to realize their dreams.
And of course there’s plenty of film from other parts of Asia too.
Got to be worth your time, 12-15 April
(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.