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An introduction to the Home Truths season of screenings

A slightly belated start to the year for the KCC’s regular film screenings, but their first season promises well. Here are the details, kindly provided by the KCC.

Home Truths

2 May – 20 June

Home Truths season

Now in its 11th year, Korean Film Nights open for 2019 with ‘Home Truths’ – a season exploring how Korean domestic spaces on screen reflect cultural and societal change.

From Kim Ki-young’s unforgettable 1960s classic The Housemaid to 2018’s London Korean Film Festival opener, Jeon Go-woon’s Microhabitat, Korean cinema has always had a dialogue with the home. Home Truths ventures into various on-screen Korean homes with a programme of carefully selected titles. We explore how Korean domestic space shapes on-screen identities, and how its architectural structure can reflect the social mores of a time. A house can reveal much about both its residents and the world outside its doors.

Our six-part programme traces the often-fraught relationship that exists between interior and exterior life across 50 years of Korean history. This chosen focus, though conceptually abstract, is a motif visible throughout Korean cinema that not only offers insight into a number of Korean social conventions, but has also provided many filmmakers with creative opportunities to undermine them.

Each of these six titles welcome us across the threshold into private spaces. Behind these closed doors, we witness how characters interact outside of the gaze and earshot of public scrutiny, and once sustaining customary social pretenses is no longer such a necessity. This exclusive access invites audiences to reconsider a number of historic Korean traditions on a much more human level: how do gender roles function in domestic space? In what ways do family hierarchies reveal themselves in the home? What are some of the potential sources of social stigma? Interior spaces can provide us with a platform to explore these kinds of questions critically.

In an effort to chronicle a long history of Korean domestic life, the six films present narratives ranging from classics of the 60s and 70s to contemporary indie works. These narratives offer a wide range of perspectives on domestic living, representative of shifting focuses within the country over time. This variety of ideas therefore problematises the notion of there being any one definition.

‘Home Truths’ is a season that seeks to reveal social customs via Korean living spaces, whilst simultaneously challenging familiar concepts of domesticity through the lenses of some of cinema’s more unconventional iterations. These contesting visions of interior and exterior life come together in thoughtful negotiations of the personal and the political.

All screenings take place at the Korean Cultural Centre UK and are free to attend.

The World of Us 우리들

Thursday 2nd May, 7pm | more details
A quietly devastating drama that follows a lonely schoolgirl who finds comfort through a new friendship, only for that relationship to be tested at the beginning of a new semester.

An Affair 정사

Thursday 9th May, 7pm | more details
Architect’s-wife Seo-hyun, is constrained by domesticity, until one day she meets her younger sister’s fiancé, Woo-in. Emotions simmer and start to crystallise; soon both face an overwhelming desire to risk all that they once held dear…

The Room Nearby 그녀들의 방

Thursday 30th May, 7pm | more details
Hong Sangsoo regular Jung Yu-mi plays a private tutor desperate to break out of the dormitory-style box room where she is forced to live and work in this absorbing look at the everyday struggles faced by young women in Korea.

Lies 거짓말

Thursday 6th June, 7pm | more details
After some steamy phone calls, J and Y meet and begin exploring each other’s bodies with a rabid intensity that takes them deep into the realms of shocking sadomasochism.

Woman of Fire 화녀

Thursday 13th June, 7pm | more details
Kim Ki-Young remakes his 1960 classic The Housemaid with an energy and passion that would come to define Korean cinema of the 1970s. Woman of Fire follows a composer and his wife, whose lives are thrown into turmoil by the introduction of a new housemaid…

Mother and a Guest 사랑방 손님과 어머니

Thursday 20th June, 7pm | more details
From Shin Sang-ok, one of the most prolific and respected figures of the Golden Age of South Korean Cinema, Mother and a Guest tells the tale of six-year-old Ok-hee, a little girl playing matchmaker between her mother and their charming new houseguest…

* This season is programmed in collaboration with the National Film & Television School Film Programming and Curating MA course.

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