The Asia House Pan Asia Film Festival launches on 26 February. In its sixth year, it has an exciting line-up which includes 7 UK premieres. While a cursory look at the schedule reveals little of Korean interest, scratch the surface and you will see more.
The opening gala, a Japanese remake of Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, is by zainichi Korean director Lee Sang-il, whose 2006 film Hula Girls won best director and best screenplay at the Japanese Academy Awards. His debut film, Chong (2000) was a short that focused on the experiences of ethnic Koreans in Japan. Featuring Watanabe Ken, the Unforgiven is set in 1880s Japan.
Unforgiven, dir Lee Sang-il, 2013, Japan, 135 mins, UK Premiere
26 Feb 2014 8:40 pm, ICA Cinema 1, £8 £10 Book tickets
Although Dangerous Liaisons is billed as a Chinese film, its Korean director Hur Jin-ho has long been known for his slow-burn romances featuring actors who are now household names: Christmas in August (starring Han Suk-gyu and Shim Eun-ha) is on most people’s list of top ten Korean films of the 1990s, while the follow-up One Fine Spring Day (starring Lee Young-ae and Yu Ji-tae) is a sad but sumptuous love story. In Dangerous Liaisons Korean interest is maintained with Jang Dong-gun, but a pan-Asian audience is almost guaranteed by the big Chinese names Cecilia Cheung (no stranger to having worked with Koreans before, having taken the lead role in Failan) and of course Zhang Ziyi. Expect something gorgeous, set in 1930s Shanghai.
Dangerous Liaisons, dir Hur Jin-ho, 2013, China, 106 mins, UK Premiere
1 Mar 2014 6:30 pm, Cine Lumiere, Institut Francais, £8 £10 Book tickets