Festival mini movie review: Love+Sling

A sporting rom-com involving a love triangle whose vertices are a well-meaning but over controlling single father (Yoo Hae-jin, 1987); his dutiful son (Kim Min-jae) who is obliging his father by training hard in the skill of greco-Roman wrestling; and the pretty girl next door (Lee Sung-kyung), who inconveniently and inexplicably fancies the father rather […]

Festival film review: This Charming Girl

Lee Yoon-ki (이윤기) This Charming Girl (여자, 정혜, 2004, 99 mins). Review by Robert Cottingham. You know how people talk about reality TV, even though there is nothing ‘real’ about it? Well, if you wanted to see actual reality, the sheer day-to-day mundane-ness of the average person’s life, then this film is the closest you […]

Brief review: Comrade Kim goes Flying

The London East Asia Film Festival gives us the second chance this year to see Comrade Kim Goes Flying in the company of two of its directors, Nicholas Bonner and Anja Daelemans. The screening in March was in fact the UK premiere, which came almost six years after its international premiere in Toronto in early September […]

Another World We Are Making: a look at LKFF’s focus on Kim Dong-won

Almost inexplicably, when compared with previous documentary screenings, the KCC’s mini festival of Korean documentaries, spread over two weekends, was over-subscribed, with latecomers for one session needing to sit on the floor. The decision to break out the documentary strand from the main London Korean Film Festival has probably been vindicated, and the strategy of […]

Film review: The Unfair / Minority Opinion

The Unfair (also known as Minority Opinion) screened as the penultimate movie in the Korean Novels on Screen season at the KCC. Based on a novel by Son Aram, it is the only film in the season where the underlying book has not (yet) been translated into English. Although the scenario is based loosely on the […]

Review: 1987 – When the Day Comes

1987: When the Day Comes is one of those movies which could not have been made a couple of years ago. It would have got the director and its all-star cast included on the infamous blacklist of suspected lefties who would not get government support in future. And to have the director of this film […]

Film review: Be With You

Ten years ago or so I was watching a rather good relationship drama on DVD when my wife came into the room and asked: “so which of the two has the mysterious incurable disease?” “It’s not one of those films,” I replied, somewhat tetchily. Ten minutes later, a car crash killed off one half of […]

Film review: Yu Hyun-mok’s Descendants of Cain

I had looked forward to the first movie in the KCC’s Korean Novels on Screen series – Kim Ki-young’s adaptation of Yi Kwang-su’s The Soil – and had been disappointed. Conversely, not being a particular fan of Yu Hyun-mok’s depressing movies, I was regarding the second in the series – his adaptation of Hwang Sun-won’s 1954 […]

Film review: The Propaganda Game

The SOAS North Korea Society recently hosted a screening of Álvaro Longoria’s The Propaganda Game. The documentary is not going to tell you anything new about North Korea, its on-location original footage being the product of a fully-chaperoned three-day tour in Pyongyang and the DMZ. What it does do, however, is hinted at in its […]

Brief review: Kim Ki-young – The Soil

I’m not sure quite how to assess Kim Ki-young’s adaptation of Yi Kwang-su’s 500-page serial novel The Soil (흙, 1932-3). At 125 minutes, it doesn’t sound particularly long. But as we got up from our seats at the KCC last Thursday at around 9:15pm, it felt much later – maybe around 10:30pm. And that wasn’t […]

A look back at some of the films of 2017

A review of some of the films that screened in London during the 2017 – another busy year. For me the undoubted highlight of the London film year was the Bae Chang-ho retrospective at the London Korean Film Festival: a chance to see a couple of his movies – including the classic Whale Hunting (1984) – […]