An introduction to “Love And…” — LKFF’s closing gala film

Park Hae-il in Love And...
Park Hae-il in Love And…

The London Korean Film Festival’s choice for the closing gala is an interesting one: Zhang Lu’s Love And… (the literal meaning of the Korean title, 필름시대사랑, is “Love of the Film Era”), which only recently opened at the Korean box office. Closing galas over the years have included blockbusters and mainstream movies such as Masquerade in 2012 and The Unjust in 2011. As it says in the 2015 festival catalogue, though, Zhang Lu “doesn’t do mainstream”.

Those who have seen the film (not me – I’m waiting to catch it fresh next Saturday) describe it as both melancholy and witty, and its four part structure might lead you to expect a combination of Rashomon and Hong Sang-soo.

Zhang Lu
Zhang Lu

To discover more apart from reading your festival catalogue, there’s an interesting interview in the Korea JoongAng Daily with the director and lead actor (Park Hae-il, who also worked with Zhang in his previous movie, Gyeongju – which featured in last year’s London Korean Film festival).

The article is well worth a read as an introduction to the film’s structure and philosophy, and for the obviously high regard in which Zhang and Park hold each other.

A couple of good quotes from the interview:

Park Hae-il: When I was watching the completed film, there was this nagging feeling that the people in the film were fading. If you think about it, that’s exactly what the movie is about – the evanescence of time and how space, sound, people and emotion are all bound to trickle into a thing of the past.

and

Zhang Lu: There are some similarities between a film set and a mental hospital. A mental hospital is a place isolated in terms of time and space. A film is the mediator for creating time and space. And, sometimes, when I’m on a film set, it’s like I’m suffering from a mental illness.

Korean film buffs will particularly enjoy part 3 of the four-part structure, in which scenes from the past films of the four main actors are stitched together to form a new narrative.

Ahn Sung-ki and Moon So-ri in Love And...
Ahn Sung-ki and Moon Sori in Love And…

The films are Peppermint Candy (Moon Sori), May 18 (Ahn Sung-ki), Memories of Murder (Park Hae-il) and A Blind River (Han Ye-ri). Moon Sori will be attending the LKFF gala to answer questions afterwards.

Love And… screens on 14 November. Book tickets here.

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