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Korean Films Premiering at 9th JIFF

2008/04/16 Source

Ten Korean features will have their World Premiere at the Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) this spring. Now in it's 9th edition the festival will run May 1st 9th in the attractive and historical city of Jeonju, in North Jeolla province.

Korean highlights include documentary director Kim Dong-won's latest, "63 Years On", about the 'comfort women' enslaved by the Japanese military in stations across Asia during WW2. The film provides an historical investigation along with interviews with victims still living in Korea, China, and the Philippines. KIM is best known for his 2003 film Repatriation which raised the documentary genre to commercial prominence in South Korea.

In the Korean Cinema on the Move section, presents 10 new independent features mostly by debut directors. Among the most interesting are "Synching Blue" by SEO Won-tae, a director whose shorts films have garnered praise for their visual arrangements. This HD feature is about a man who seeks comfort in adult web sites but is unable to function in a relationship with a real woman.

"Children of God" by director YI Seung-jun is a documentary about the coexistence of life and death along a holy river in Nepal where people go to cremate their loved ones. "My Dear Diary" by debut directing duo KIM Baek-joon and JEONG Seong-wook examines the ups and downs of a woman in her late 20's, as she seeks love in the beautiful and bumpy city of Busan. Another Busan-set film, "House of Freshness" is a fiction misleadingly presented as a documentary, that centers around a family running a sashimi restaurant.

In the Korean Cinema Showcase section, director Kim Eung-su ("Desire") returns with his latest, a documentary titled "The Past is a Strange Country", about the lives, 20 years later, of radical students who protested in the 1986 pro-democracy riots. "Epitaph", a well-crafted horror film by the JEONG Brothers will screened along with Hong Sang-soo's latest, "Night and Day", the first HD film from the acclaimed auteur, shot mainly in Paris and screened in competition at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.

In the HD Cinema: Special Screening section is the world premiere of Hong Hyun-gi's "Thirsty, Thirsty", the tale of a meddlesome loan-collector with a heart of gold who is unable to make his quotas and even has a loan collector pressing down on him. Despite harsh realities and dog-eat-dog conduct, the film portrays its characters in a sympathetic light. Korean Shorts: Critic's Week will present 19 highly regarded short films by young directors in the past year, while the Jeonju Local Cinema section will screen 4 shorts made in and around the city.

A number of Korean family-oriented features will show on the free outdoor screen at JIFF, including director Kim Hyun-seok's "Scout", about a college baseball team and set in Gwangju just days before the tragic events of May 18, 1980; "Going by the Book", Ra Hee-chan's comedy-caper about a befuddled police officer; "Forever the Moment", a true tale of Korea's women's handball team's victory at the 2004 Athens Olympics; and "The Happy Life", director Lee Joon-ik's rock-redemption movie about a some dissatisfied family men in their 40's who rediscover their passion for playing rock 'n' roll.

JIFF's curtain-closer will be "If You Were Me 4", an omnibus feature produced by the National Human Rights Commission. This year's project features five shorts on the theme of contemporary Korean youth and the stressful ordeals they undergo while growing up. The participating directors were Pang Eun-jin ("Princess Aurora"), Kim Tae-yong ("Family Ties" - "The Birth of a Family"), Lee Hyun-seung ("Il Mare"), Jeon Gye-soo ("The Ghost Theater") and Yoon Seong-ho ("Milky Way Liberation Front").

Nigel D'Sa (KOFIC)

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