“Anarchist from Colony” to Open Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

The Osaka Asian Film Festival is back for its 13th year and a wide variety of films from across Asia will be shown in a programme that includes a Competition, Special Screenings, Special Programs, an Indie Forum and more.

The festival opens on Friday March 9th at Hankyu Umeda Hall with the Japanese premiere of the Korean film “Anarchist from Colony”, directed by Lee Joon-ik (“The Throne” and “Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet”) and stars Lee Je-hoon from “Architecture 101” and “Phantom Detective”, and the up-and-coming actress Choi Hee-seo who won many awards for her performance in this title.

The film is based on the real life anarchist and revolutionary Park Yeol (Lee Je-hoon), a Korean living in Tokyo during the time of the Japanese occupation of his homeland. After the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake strikes, the city descends into chaos and with many people worried that the long-exploited Korean minority, already agitating for independence, would use this disaster to start a rebellion. To quell the disorder, the Japanese government issues instructions for the arrest of Korean men. Amongst the innocent Koreans who get rounded up is the reckless anarchist Park Yeol, and his lover, the Japanese nihilist Kaneko Fumiko (Choi Hee-seo). The two have shown their defiance against authority in the past and their continued defiance causes a massive scandal when they reveal their plot to “Kill the Crown Prince of Japan, Hirohito”.

Here’s the trailer:

This is the first film selected by festival director Sozo Teruoka with the rest of the programme set to be announced in early February.

The Osaka Asian Film Festival takes place from Friday, March 9th to Sunday, March 18th.

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6 thoughts on ““Anarchist from Colony” to Open Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      It’s a daring film to open the festival with. I did some reading around about the subject but if the performances are strong enough it will still work. Judging by your comment, it sounds like it will.

      1. Yes, I would say that it is a bit risky because it’s a Japanese film festival, and this movie is basically about some of the violence perpetrated against the zainichi Korean population and has as its hero a man who may or may not have been part of the plot to kill the Japanese emperor. It doesn’t show the Japanese in a whole-heartedly good light, though I would say that the Korean protagonists are very nationalist rather than anarchist or socialist. It’s a typical attitude of Koreans toward the colonial era that is normal in a lot of Korean films and books, but I think the movie really held up as a prison drama and ultimately portrayed such an intense romantic bond between the main characters that the context of the situation was less important than that personal dynamic between the two imprisoned plotters by the end of the film.

      2. I can see how this might play better with a Japanese audience if it has less pointed criticism although toning down the anarchism might do a disservice to the people it is based on. That it focuses on the love story is a great way to look at a troubling period of history. I’m interested in Kaneko Fumiko and her portrayal as a character. She showed a lot of bravery in her actions. I think that shows her power as an individual.

      3. It’s possible they were anarchists because of their nationalism, given the circumstances, however. Sometimes people are not ideological purists, but I don’t know enough about either of the figures to say for sure. Kaneko Fumiko was very bold, and it was hard not to like her for what she was doing, but it also was why things worked out for her the way they did. She was pretty naive in thinking she wouldn’t face repercussions.

      4. It seems that for the sake of the film, they have simplified the politics. It will be fascinating to see if that’s the truth or not. I’m sold on this being just as much a love story so I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for giving your opinion 🙂

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