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Music with cinematic touch

2011/08/08 | Permalink | Source

"The Music Never Stopped" will open the 7th Jecheon International Music Film Festival (JIMFF) this year. Courtesy of Jecheon International Music Film Festival (JIMFF)

Jecheon Int'l Music Film Fest opens Thursday until Aug. 16

By Lee Hyo-won

The 7th Jecheon International Music Film Festival (JIMFF) will kick off Thursday in the North Chungcheong Province city featuring a record number of 121 films.

The film festival, featuring movies in which the music plays a crucial role in the narrative structure, has emerged as a great festival to spend vacations ― watching movies, tuning into live concerts and enjoying bungee jumping all in one place.

This year's lineup features 38 more films compared to last year. Of these 26 are full-length features while 95 are shorts, the foreign short film section includes 24 more works than last year marking a 63 percent growth.

American films make up a considerable part of the showcase, and "The Music Never Stopped", a U.S. "hippie film" by Jim Kohlberg, will open the festival this year. It's about a rebellious son and his austere father trying to mend their estranged relationship through the language of music ― 1960s music to be precise.

It features music that defined the late '60s such as songs by Buffalo Springfield, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and the Beatles. The movie was featured at the Salt Lake City Gala, one of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival's big opening events.

For those unsure about which movies to catch, festival programmers have recommended seven films for Korea Times readers.


1. Latin music meets animation: Among films vying for prizes in the international competition section, "Chico and Rita" an animation for adults jointly produced by Spain and the United Kingdom, stands out. Directors Fernando Trueba and Javier Marical transport the audience to 1948 Cuba and bring to life the music by legendary Cuban pianist Bebo Valdes and other jewels of Latin numbers.

It is about a young pianist Chico and the beautiful vocalist Rita who build a strong relationship united by their music and romantic ideals. They travel to Havana, New York, Paris, Los Angeles and Las Vegas in order to make their musical dreams and loves come true.

2. Jazz in Japan: Jazz lovers should tune into "Swing Me Again", a Japanese drama by Toshi Shioya, in the same competition section. It is about a 78-year-old man, who was once a trumpeter for a prominent jazz band. For the past 50 years Kenzaburo had been confined in a hospital with leprosy but he sets out to fulfill a promise he had made half-a-century ago with his former band mates ― to one day play at the jazz club Sone. His 21-year-old grandson follows the elderly musician on the journey.

3. Irish indie music, fame and heartbreak: "The Swell Season", an American documentary by Nick August-Perna, Chris Dapkins and Carlo Mirabella-Davis, is also competing for prizes.

The Swell Season, a duo comprised of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, gained international prominence through the 2007 smash hit film "Once". This film documents how the band members try to return to their normal lives after winning an Oscar. The two, who were actually romantically involved as their characters are in the film, must also deal with the process of breaking up.

4. Plotting Haitian history through music: Whitney Dow's "When the Drum Is Beating" premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and has been noted for interweaving music and history. The U.S. documentary looks into Haiti's most celebrated band, Septentrional.

The 20-piece band, with its unique fusion of Cuban-style rhythms and Haitian Vodou beats, had been active for more than 60 years _ enduring dictatorships, natural disaster and coup d'etats.

5. French chanson onscreen: French director Joann Sfar dramatizes the life of the French chanson legend Serge Gainsbourg "Gainsbourg, Je t'aime... moi non plus".

The late musician is known for his lilting tunes and for marrying (and later separating with) the British icon Jane Berkin. They had a child, the prolific singer and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. The title refers to the 1967 song "Je t'aime... Moi non plus" which he later sang with Berkin. The latter version topped charts in the United Kingdom but was banned in several countries for sexual content. The film is featured in the Cine Symphony section.

6. Remembering a '70s star: "Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talking About Him)", an American documentary, looks into the life of the late U.S. musician Harry Nilsson. The singer-songwriter rose to fame in the 1970s and was particular known for being loved by luminaries such as the Beatles as well as self-destructive habits such as drinking. John Scheinfeld brings together extensive footage of Nilsson's performances and interviews with his family and fellow musicians. It is featured in the Music In Sight section.

7. Black music culture defined: "Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America", another U.S. documentary, looks into how the dance music program "Soul Train" came to represent the country's black culture and how it affected American society.

Creator-producer Don Cornelius hosted the variety show from October 1971 until March 2006. During its 35-year run the program spotlighted R&B, soul and hip hop as well as funk, jazz, disco and gospel music.

For more information about JIMFF visit www.jimff.org.

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