Korean films at the 2021 Glasgow Film Festival

Disappointed that the BFI couldn’t find room for any Korean movies in their 2020 London Film Festival line-up? Well, Glasgow has stepped into the breach with a South Korean focus for their 2021 edition. Even better, they open the festival with the UK premiere of Lee Isaac Chung’s much talked-about Minari.

The festival is 100% online to keep you entertained during the current lockdown. All screenings are priced at £9.99, though there’s a package deal for the five South Korean titles. Tickets on sale from 18 January.

Details of the six films below are from the festival website. The official announcement of the festival’s programme can be found here.

There’s also two online talks of interest:

  • Rising star Hong Eui-jeong who will discuss her career and hit debut feature ‘Voice of Silence’ which won her ‘Best New Director’ at the 2021 Blue Dragon Film Awards.
  • Director Woo Min-ho, whose latest work ‘The Man Standing Next’ was chosen as South Korea’s 2021 Oscar entry.

Details of how to register for these talks haven’t been published yet.

Glasgow Film Festival 2021

24 February to 7 March 2021 | glasgowfilm.org

Glasgow Film Fest banner

Minari

Director: Lee Isaac Chung (2019, 115 ins)
Cast: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Yuh-Jung Youn, Alan S. Kim, Will Patton
Certificate: N/C 15+
Country: USA
Thanks to Altitude
24-27 February | Details and trailer on GFF website

Minari

We are thrilled to be opening the 2021 Glasgow Film Festival with the eagerly-awaited UK premiere of Lee Isaac Chung’s heartwarming Minari. His award-winning, semi-autobiographical drama paints a beguiling portrait of a Korean American family weathering all of life’s joys and sorrows. In the 1980s, Jacob (Steven Yeun) and Monica (Yeri Han) arrive in rural Arkansas determined to make a fresh start for their family. The dream is to grow Korean vegetables for the other immigrant families. The reality is a dilapidated trailer in a muddy field and the daily grind of paid work at the local chicken hatchery. They also worry over the future of their son Daniel (Alan S Kim) who has a heart murmur. The arrival of Monica’s mischievous mother Soon-ja (a scene-stealing Yuh-Jung Youn) to help with childcare adds further tensions to the mix. Named after a Korean herb, similar to watercress, Minari has the authentic taste of those precious little moments that make up our daily lives. A beautiful, uplifting film told with charm, humour and a fond regard for everyday struggles.

Country Focus – South Korea

Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning triumph Parasite is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the glories of South Korean cinema. GFF 2020 hosted the UK premiere of the black and white version of Parasite. This year we delve deeper into the cinema of a country that has given us world class filmmakers like Lee Chang-dong (Burning), Park Chan-wook (The Handmaiden) and rising star Kim Bo-ra (House Of Hummingbird). This GFF mini-focus comprises South Korea’s latest Oscar candidate, the tense political thriller The Man Standing Next, the soulful Our Midnight, the crowd-pleasing musical heartwarmer Da Capo and Voice Of Silence, a bittersweet kidnap caper that matures into a touching search for redemption and features a terrific performance from Burning star Yoo Ah-In. The selection captures the diversity and range of work from a country whose films deserve to be much better known and appreciated. Jeulgyeo 즐겨!

The below titles will be available to purchase as a bundle on Glasgow Film At Home

The Man Standing Next (남산의 부장들)

Director: Woo Min-ho (2020, 114 mins)
Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Lee Sung-min, Kwak Do-won.
Certificate: N/C 15+
UK Premiere – Thanks to Showbox
7-10 March | Details on GFF website

The Man Standing Next

South Korea’s Oscar candidate uses the final days of President Park Chung-hee’s rule in 1979 as the basis of a tense conspiracy thriller with all the intrigue of a John le Carré classic. Eighteen years after a military coup d’etat in South Korea, President Park (Lee Sung-min) has become a symbol of corrupt dictatorship. Korean intelligence chief Kim Gyu-pyeong (Lee Byung-hun) has sworn to serve the President but his loyalty is tested to the limit in the fast-unfolding web of paranoia, plotting, violence and betrayal that marked a key moment in the country’s history.

Voice of Silence (소리도 없이)

Director: Hong Eui-jeong (2020, 99mins)
Cast: Yoo Ah-In, Yoo Jae-myung, Seung-ah Moon
Certificate: N/C 15+
UK Premiere. Thanks to Contents Panda.
4-7 March | Details and trailer on GFF website

Voice Of Silence

Sometimes good people do bad things. Chang-bok (Yoo Jae-myung) and Tae-In (Yoo Ah-In) run a humble business selling eggs. The bulk of their income comes from providing spotless crime scene clean-up services to the criminal fraternity. Then, they are asked to babysit a kidnap victim just until the ransom is paid. They reluctantly agree and Tae-In is left to care for Cho-hee (Seung-ah Moon), a bright, capable 11-year-old girl who is soon re-arranging his world. A beautifully shot, bittersweet crime caper with an award-winning performance from Burning’s Yoo Ah-in.

The Swordsman (검객)

Director: Jae-Hoon Choi (2020, 100 mins)
Cast: Hyuk Jang, Hyeon-Soo Kim, Joe Taslim
Certificate: N/C 15+
UK Premiere. Thanks to K-Movie Entertainment.
28 February – 3 March | Details and trailer on GFF website

The Swordsman

Royal guard and skilled swordsman Tae-Yul has long been in hiding and content with a quiet life of seclusion with his daughter Tae Ok. However, their peaceful existence is threatened when an old injury causes Tae-Yul’s eyesight to fail. When Tae Ok is captured and taken by slave trader Gurutai, portrayed by The Raid’s Joe Taslim, Tae-Yul is left with little choice but to raise his sword one last time in order to save his daughter. The Swordsman is a wonderful blend of epic fight scenes and heartfelt drama that is sure to have you hooked right up until its exhilarating climax.

Our Midnight (아워 미드나잇)

Director: Lim Jungeun (2020, 77mins)
Cast: Seung-hun Lee, Seo-eun Park, Young-woo Lim
Certificate: N/C 15+
UK Premiere. Thanks to IndieStory Inc.
4-7 March | Details on GFF website

Our Midnight

If you love the early films of Jim Jarmusch or the endless possibilities of a night  with Richard Linklater then Our Midnight is for you. Lim Jungeun’s debut feature is a plaintive, black and white ode to lost souls and chance encounters. Actor Jihoon (Seung-hun Lee) has taken a job patrolling a bridge over the Han River that has become a notorious suicide spot. Eunyeung (Seo-eun Park) is under immense strain at work after reporting a colleague to the police. One night, she meets Jihoon at the bridge and a bond is forged as they walk through the twinkling lights and empty streets of Seoul.

Da Capo (다시 만난 날들)

Director: Shim Chan-yang (2020, 98mins)
Cast: Hong Isaac, Jang Ha-eun
Certificate: N/C 12+
UK Premiere. Thanks to K-Movie Entertainment.
27 February – 2 March | Details and trailer on GFF website

Da Capo

Struggling musician Tae-il returns to his hometown and reconnects with former bandmate, Ji-won who now teaches at a music school. Tae-il lends an ear to help coach a rock band of her pupils competing in a local music contest. As he rediscovers his passion for music, an opportunity arises that may finally be his big break but that may mean saying goodbye to the ones who have truly helped him. For fans of Sing Street and School of RockDa Capo is a tale full of warmth and hope that music lovers of all kinds will connect with.

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(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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