London Korean Film Festival

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News and reviews from the annual London Korean Film Festival, most recent articles first. Official website: http://koreanfilm.co.uk/.

For me, the highlight of this year’s London Korean Film Festival was the brief retrospective of some of Bae Chang-ho’s early output. I’ve had a soft spot for Director Bae’s work for over 15 years now: My Heart was one of the first Korean movies I saw, back in the London Korean Film Festival in 2001. […]

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Festival film review: Bae Chang-ho’s The Dream

by Philip Gowman 27 November 2017
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Bae Chang-ho’s The Dream is based on a story from the Samguk Yusa, a story that Yi Kwang-su worked up into a short novel. Although the tale is set in the late Silla dynasty, its message is timeless. The story starts with a weary and impoverished traveller (played by Ahn Sung-ki) trudging through the snow […]

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Festival film review: Bae Chang-ho’s Whale Hunting

by Philip Gowman 24 November 2017
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Based on a story by long-standing collaborator Choe In-ho, Whale Hunting is one of Korea’s seminal road movies. Hunting the whale, in the dark days of the dictatorship, was symbolic for yearning for things beyond the day-to-day. In Bae Chang-ho’s 1984 movie it represented the search for the things that give life meaning; in a […]

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Festival film review double bill: Two Doors / The Remnants

by Philip Gowman 22 November 2017
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As part of the Documentary strand of the 2017 London Korean Film Festival Lee Hyuk-sang of the activist documentary makers PINKS presented a pair of films on the Yongsan tragedy. The context of the tragedy was the plan to redevelop the Yongsan area as the US army prepared to move to their new base in […]

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Festival film review: Bae Chang-ho’s People of the Slum

by Philip Gowman 20 November 2017
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Bae Chang-ho’s debut feature, People of the Slum (1982), is based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Lee Dong-chul. The film tells the story of a complicated love triangle. Myeong-sook, played by Kim Bo-yeon, lives with her second husband, the idle and dissolute Tae-seop (played by Kim Hui-ra). Living in the same house in the run-down […]

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The Yongsan tragedy featured in two LKFF documentaries

by Philip Gowman 30 October 2017
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Those of you who have read and love Han Kang’s Human Acts will know that is is inspired not only by the Gwangju uprising but also the Yongsan tragedy. Hwang Jung-eun’s One Hundred Shadows is even more directly inspired by the same tragedy. It was a news event that was little reported in the Western […]

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Festival film review: The Mimic

by Philip Gowman 28 October 2017
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I don’t quite know how you go about reviewing a film like The Mimic. As I watched its early sections, enjoying the ride reasonably enough, I nevertheless thought back to some of the Whispering Corridors series (and sadly the weakest of them, Blood Pledge) in which plot is subservient to gratuitous scares. Probably if you […]

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Film review double bill: Bamseom Pirates and Criminal Conspiracy

by Philip Gowman 8 October 2017
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This weekend gave us the opportunity to watch two very different documentaries which cast their critical eye over contemporary Korean society and recent political history. Part of the fascination of both of them for UK-based Korea-watchers is the way they resonate: they provide, in the one case, a laser-like dissection of an issue of which […]

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LEAFF, LKFF and the battle for our diaries

by Philip Gowman 4 October 2017
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The film festival season is upon us, and this requires some serious diary planning. Fortunately the BFI London Film Festival remains serenely distant from the ignominious tangle caused by the collision of LEAFF and LKFF. With four titles scheduled earlier in the month, including the movie that I’ve been most looking forward to all year […]

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London Korean Film Festival 2017: full programme details

by Philip Gowman 11 September 2017
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Details of the programme for the 2017 London Korean Film Festival were announced earlier this evening at the fun-packed and blood-spattered final teaser screening (Jung Byung-gil’s The Villainess). The detailed schedule is right at the bottom of this page, and the below press release gives us plenty to mull over in terms of the individual […]

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Final LKFF 2017 Teaser: The Villainess

by Events Editor 23 August 2017
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This final teaser screening for the 2017 London Korean Film Festival looks rather fun. And to add to the tease, on the same evening the programme for the main festival will be unveiled. See you there. The Villainess (악녀) London Korean Film Festival Teaser Screening + LKFF 2017 Programme Launch Director: Jung Byung-gil (정병길), 2017, […]

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London Korean Festival 2006 – an introduction

by Philip Gowman 16 August 2017
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The London Korean Festival 2006 was the last of the festivals organised by Oh Tae-min and his team, which included Stephanie Seung-min Kim who would go on to be the first curator at the Korean Cultural Centre before moving into the art curatorial world on her own. Previously working from within the Korean Anglican Community […]

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Festival film review: Yourself and Yours

by Robert Cottingham 18 November 2016
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Hong Sang-soo (홍상수) Yourself and Yours (당신 자신과 당신의 것, 2016) Review by Robert Cottingham. You can tell from the opening titles exactly the kind of film this is going to be. Black Korean calligraphy on a white background suggests an intelligent and possibly artistic film and the lively classical music hints at a sophisticated comedy on […]

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Festival report: Park Hong-min Q+A after the screening of “A Fish”

by Robert Cottingham 12 November 2016
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Park Hong-Min was in London yesterday for a 3-D showing of his first film A Fish (2011). He gave a short Q-and-A after the screening. Transcribed by Robert Cottingham. Tony Rayns: I’ll get things going. I take it this film is not based on your own experience? Park Hong-min: Yes, it’s definitely not based on […]

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Brief festival film review: Eoh Woo Dong

by Robert Cottingham 11 November 2016
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Lee Chang-ho (이장호) Eoh Woo Dong (어우동, 1985, 110 mins). Review by Robert Cottingham. Eoh Woo Dong translates as “entertainer,” a rough approximation of the duties of 14th-century Korean courtesan Eoh Yoon Chang. After a lifetime “in service,” Eoh Yoon Chang retires to a faraway village. Meanwhile, her powerful father, ashamed of his daughter’s lifestyle, […]

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Brief Festival Film Review: Kai

by Robert Cottingham 8 November 2016
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Lee Sung-gang (이성강): Kai (카이, 2016, 96 mins) Review by Robert Cottingham Snow Queen Hattan casts a spell over the peaceful village where Kai lives, and covers everything in ice. The River Spirit who is the protector of the village gives the brave young Kai the only key to fighting off Hattan and asks him […]

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Festival film review: Crush and Blush

by Robert Cottingham 7 November 2016
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Lee Kyoung-mi (이경미): Crush and Blush (미쓰 홍당무, 2008) Review by Robert Cottingham. Right near the beginning of Crush and Blush, the main character Mi-seok stands digging a deep hole in a schoolyard. I thought that it was a punishment used in South Korean schools, but if not it could be a visual metaphor for […]

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