By Lee Hyo-won
The summer vacation season is in full swing, and though only in its sixth year, the Jecheon International Music Film Festival (JIMFF) has established itself as a popular destination.
Film buffs, music fanatics and family audiences will gather in the scenic lakeside city in North Chungcheong Province for the latest music-themed movies, live concerts and other fun sideline events.
This year the festival has invited 84 films from 26 countries and will hold some 30 concerts on outdoor stages _ including one floating upon Cheongpung Lake _ from Aug. 12 to 17. Every night at 8 p.m., the One Summer Night concert series will feature iconic singers such as Yang Hee-eun and Lee Moon-sae
. Old meets new in Cinema Concert, in which Buster Keaton's 1927 silent film "The General" will be screened to live eclectic sounds from the French DJ duo RadioMentale.
Popular rocker Yoon Do-hyun and movie star Kim Jung-eun will host the opening ceremony on Aug. 12. Yoon's fans can also look forward to seeing "Flying Butterfly
", a documentary in the Korean Music Film Now section that captures the singer and his band's experience of participating in an American rock festival.
"The Concert" (2009) by Romanian director Radu Mihaileanu will open the festival. Inspired by a true story during the days of the Soviet Union, the film is about a Bolshoi Orchestra conductor who is fired for refusing to let go of the Jewish members. Twenty-five years later, he is working as a janitor for the ensemble. One day the disgraced maestro is given the chance to reassemble his old friends to form an ensemble for a performance in Paris.
Festival-goers should not miss other melodious films, with scores ranging from rock to classical music and folk to jazz, which can even be appreciated with the eyes closed. There are a colorful array of documentaries and fictitious works as well as musicals that touch upon such themes as the musician as an individual and universal values of art and culture, and moreover, audiovisual delight.
"Genius Within _ The Inner Life of Glenn Gould" (2009) provides an intimate glimpse of the brilliant pianist who stirred countless controversies until his death in 1992, while "Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound" (2009) focuses on the life and music of the American folk singer and human rights activist.
The 2008 Argentinean film by Gabriel Arregui, "The Tango Singer", is about a man who continues his father's legacy as a tango singer while "The Child Prodigy" depicts the ups and downs in the career of a genius pianist/composer who is dubbed "the Mozart of Canada" at age six.
Jazz fans can look forward to "Bravo! Jazz Life
" (2010), which looks into the struggles of Korea's first generation of jazz singers that emerged from the Korean War (1950-53), or "Toots Thielemans, a Jazz Legend" (2008), which examines the musician's life both on and offstage.
Music lovers can also tune into documentaries that reveal hitherto untold stories behind the making of legendary pop/rock albums: Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon", The Doors' debut recording "The Doors", Queens' "A Night at the Opera", John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band", Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and U2's "The Joshua Tree".
Other special treats include "Carmen of the North" (2009), which presents the famous Bizet opera in rap form in the Netherlands. Another film with a contemporary spin on classical themes is "Magic"
, the first feature film directed by actress Ku Hye-sun. Set in an arts high school, the story traces a love triangle between two cellists and a pianist.
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A scene from "Flying Butterfly
". Rocker Yoon Do-hyun
, third from left, will host the opening ceremony of the music film event on Aug. 12. Courtesy of JIMFF