By Kim Tae-jong
The Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) is set to kick off its sixth edition on April 28, and the city of Chonju in North Cholla Province will be soon crowded again with fans of independent movies.
A total of 176 feature, short and documentary films from 31 different countries will be screened in two main competition sections and nine noncompetitive sections over nine days.
Although the number of movies has been reduced this year, the organizers said it is not an attempt to downsize the festival but to develop its own characteristics for visitors. The festival screened 286 films for 10 days last year.
"Of course, we will maintain the festival's personality as a place where independent and experimental film directors can meet audiences," said Jung Soo-wan, programmer of JIFF.
"But this year, we will also try to make the festival appeal to more general audiences as well. And each section will be run under more distinctive themes," Jung said.
The festival will start with an omnibus film by three separate international directors working for the project "Digital Short Films by Three Directors." Song Il-gon
from Korea Apichatpong Weerasethakul from Thailand and Shinya Tsukamoto from Japan each contributed an approximately 30-minute digital film for the section.
The fest will end its nine-day run with an upcoming local blockbuster "Antarctic Journal
(Namguk Ilgi)," a story about a Korean expedition to the remotest reaches of the continent.
And during the festival, each section characterized by its own theme will provide an opportunity to view a wide variety of films.
In one of the two main competitive sections, Indie Vision, visitors can take a glimpse into the current trend in independent filmmaking.
A total of 10 independent films from 10 different countries will compete in the section. One of the most distinctive trends this year in the section is the increase in the number of works by female directors.
Another competitive section, Digital Spectrum, offers a chance to explore a variety of technical and aesthetic application of digital media that 12 works present.
To broaden the scope for the audience, the Cinema Palace section is richer in the number of films of various genres. The section is subdivided into three parts, each of which targets different audience groups from children to older generations showing from animation works such as "Empress Chung
" to old feature films such as "Imitation of Life" (1959).
The Special Screening section will show three North Korean films as well as films from before and after the Japanese colonial period that have recently been returned to Korea from Japan and China.
One of the three North Korean films, "The Blood Stained Route Map," will make its South Korean premiere at the festival. Set during the Koryo period (918-1392), the film is about a family who fight to protect the Tokto islets against a Japanese invasion.
Other sections include Cinemascape where the audience can see new works by renowned directors and a retrospective section for Shinji Somai, one of the forerunners of Japanese independent cinema in the 1980s.
Along with film screenings, other events will be taking place such as filmmakers' master classes, outdoor performance, and Q&A sessions with directors.
About 300 local and international guests will be invited to the festival. They include Bahman Ghobadi, Iranian director of "Turtle Can Fly," and Kenji Kawai, music director of "Ghost in the Shell" and "Innocence."
The opening and closing ceremonies will be held at Chonbuk National University's Cultural Center, but other screenings and street events will take place at the Cinema District in Kosa-dong.
The following are five films screened at the Sixth Jeonju International Film Festival that the programmers say you should not miss.
The World (2004)
Directed by Jia Zhangke. The feature film depicts the disillusionment that China has faced with its embrace of globalization. The story takes place in Beijing's "World Park," where the main characters see the world through the miniature of famous structures such as the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids of Egypt and the Tower of Pisa.
Directed by Guka Omarova. The movie's story revolves around a boy, nicknamed Schizo for his eccentric behavior at school. He makes a living by scouting people to fight in an underground, illegal fighting ring, run by a local gang. His life changes to resemble the mental instability his nickname suggests upon witnessing a man accidentally killed in the ring.
Bombon - El Perro (2004)
Directed by Carlos Sorin. The film's story revolves around a man who loses the purpose of his life after becoming unemployed, after the gas station he worked at for over 20 years is sold. After he adopts a white dog named "Bombon," he starts to think big and trains him to win the first prize at a local dog show.
Directed by Shinji Somai. In the movie, middle school students in Tokyo experience sudden changes and bursts of emotions as a Typhoon
approaches. The director juxtaposes the growth of teens and their experience with the Typhoon
and its changes in ferocity, using long takes and "one shot for one scene" cinematography.
Inside Deep Throat (2005)
Directed by Randy Barbato. The documentary examines the social and cultural impacts that the 1972 porn sensation, "Deep Throat," brought, and tries to go into the lives of the people involved in the film. The Classic
adult film drew about $ 600 million with only a production period of six days and a budget of $ 25,000.
Jeonju International Film Festival
When: April 28 through May 6
Where: Chonbuk National University's Cultural Center and in Cinema District in Chonju, North Cholla Province
How much: 5,000 won to 10,000 won
Info: (063) 288-5433, (02) 2285-0562 or Open the link