Mini review round-up: the 2018 LKFF Teaser screenings

by Philip Gowman on 21 October, 2018

in Event reports and reviews | Film reviews and comment | London Korean Film Festival

Sometimes I just don’t have the time to marshal any thoughts about a movie after seeing it. Daily life takes over any before I know it I’ve watched another movie and the memory of the previous one is dimming fast. But as I’ve been on holiday for a few days away from the daily grind, fragments of memory have been returning, so here are some very brief thoughts on the LKFFTeaser screenings from this year that I haven’t yet got around to write up in full. I need to get them out of the way before the main festival gets going.

Hong Sangsoo: Claire’s Camera (클레어의 카메라, 2017)

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Claire's Camera

Not quite as excruciating as I was expecting. Those pessimistic expectations were based on the previous Hong movie featuring Isabelle Huppert, In Another Country, in which it sounded as if none of the actors understood the tortured English dialogue that they were mouthing. In Claire’s Camera the lines, though stilted in a typical Hongian way, sound as if they are spoken by people with a reasonable grasp of English as a second language. You can therefore to some extent relax into the movie with at least one distraction removed.

And actually, it’s a quite congenial way to spend 69 minutes, though probably not much will remain in your memory afterwards other than that you’ve ticked off another Hong movie – one in which, like On the Beach at Night Alone, Kim Min-hee’s character has an affair with a film director.

Jeong Beom-sik: Gonjiam – Haunted Asylum (곤지암,2018)

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Possibly one of the scariest movies you’ll see this year, Gonjiam also plays nicely with some interesting questions relating to the world of live streaming user created content. When the content provider is motivated to maximise viewer numbers, there is the incentive to sex up the content. How can the viewer therefore be confident that what he is viewing live is “real”? This is a particularly valid question when the topic of the video stream is one that inherently raises questions of credibility: the existence of the supernatural.

Anyway, enjoy the ride, and make sure you count the number of people in the frame at any one time.

Lee Kwang-guk: A Tiger in Winter (호랑이보다 무서운 겨울손님, 2017)

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Tiger in Winter

Adriana Rosati has written a nice review of this movie for Asian Movie Pulse. My own brief thoughts are below.

[Spoiler alert]

This movie is much less complicated than Lee Kwang-guk’s previous films – which we really liked – and only marginally less satisfying. The story-line is easy to follow, but has some nice twists. You feel sympathy with Gyeong-yu (Lee Jin-wook) at how comprehensively and totally unexpectedly he has been dumped by his girlfriend, even though you are maybe exasperated at encountering yet another iteration of a stock character in Korean indie movies: a pretty useless male with writer’s block. You share his outrage at how his old flame Yoo-jung (Ko Hyeon-jeong) is trying to use him, and feel satisfied towards the end as his creativity seems to return.

Now for the main festival…

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