Urban redevelopment

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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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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Book review: Hwang Jungeun — One Hundred Shadows

by Philip Gowman 4 January 2017
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Hwang Jungeun: One Hundred Shadows Translated by Jung Yewon Tilted Axis Press, 2016, 147pp Original published as 百의 그림자, Minumsa, 2010 The 2009 Yongsan apartment building disaster barely registered in the news media outside of Korea. But in its way it registered domestically much as the Sewol disaster did, acting as a rallying point against an […]

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Why Han Kang’s Human Acts is likely to be my book of the year

by Philip Gowman 17 February 2016
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Han Kang: Human Acts Translated by Deborah Smith Portobello Books, 2016, 224pp Originally published as 소년이 온다, Changbi Publishers Inc, Seoul, 2014 Han Kang’s Human Acts hits the bookshelves in the UK just as The Vegetarian starts to make waves in the US. The latter book has already made its mark in the UK, making […]

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Film Review: Wonderful Nightmare

by Philip Gowman 15 December 2015
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Owing to an administrative cock-up at the Pearly Gates, rich, single, hard-nosed, man-hating lawyer Lee Yeon-woo, whose main client is an evil construction company, meets an early death. She is given a chance to resume her life, but only on condition that she first, for one month only, lives the life of a mother-of-two married […]

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Caught on the plane: Twenty and Memories of the Sword

by Philip Gowman 13 December 2015
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I always look forward to long-haul flights as an opportunity to catch up on all the movies I should have been watching over the past year. And having just returned from an ultra-long-haul holiday, I can heartily recommend Singapore Airlines in-flight entertainment. My only complaint is that there was too much to watch: if the […]

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Festival Film Review: Collapse

by Philip Gowman 15 November 2015
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The second screening in this year’s documentary strand, this movie left you wondering what the director’s intentions were. Indeed, it made you wonder whether there was another guiding spirit which took over the film-making process, editing and shaping the unfinished work of the director. And then you looked at the credits, and discovered that there […]

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