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Maggie 메기 Dir: Yi Ok-seop (2018) South Korea Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019

Maggie   

메기

Running Time: 88 mins.

Release Date: October 2018

Director: Yi Ok-seop

Writer: Yi Ok-seop, Koo Kyo-hwan (Screenplay),

Starring: Lee Ju-young, Moon So-ri, Koo Kyo-hwan, Lee Ju-yeong, Mun So-ri, Koo Gyo-Hwan, Myeong Gye-nam, Kim Kkobbi Flowerain,

IMDB

http://www.oaff.jp/2019/en/program/c09.html

Winner of the Osaka Asian Film Festival 2019’s Grand Prix (Best Picture Award) as well as Busan International Film Festival 2018’s CGV Art House Award and Citizens’ Critic Award, Maggie heralds a new directing talent in Yi Ok-Seop, someone who brings a lively verve to her examination of how doubt can infect everything and how such an infection should be cured by seeking the truth. It’s a large topic tackled with a disparate range of elements from a talking catfish to mysterious seismic activities and audiences will be forgiven for having doubts of their own as to how everything links up and if it will be satisfying but it works in the end.

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Seoul Station 서울역 Dir: Yeon Sang-Ho (2016)

Seoul Station   

서울역 Seoulyeok

Running Time: 92 mins.

Release Date: August 18th, 2016

Director:  Yeon Sang-Ho

Writer: Yeon Sang-Ho (Screenplay),

Starring: Shim Eun-Kyung, Ryoo Seung-Ryong, Lee Joon, Jang Hyuk-Hin, Lee Sang-Hee, Hwang Suk-Jung, Kim Nam-Jin,

IMDB

Seoul Station is the animated prequel to Train to Busan (TtB). Both made in 2016, the animation was released a couple of months before its more famous live-action sibling according to IMDB. It features similar themes to TtB in its criticism of an unjust society but it does not have a drop of sentimentality. This is a bleak look at life at the bottom in Seoul as the city stands on the cusp of a zombie apocalypse.

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Train to Busan 부산행 Dir: Yeon Sang-Ho (2016)

Train to Busan   Train to Busan Film Poster

부산행 Busanhaeng

Running Time: 118 mins.

Release Date: July 20th, 2016

Director:  Yeon Sang-Ho

Writer: Yeon Sang-Ho, Park Joo-Suk (Screenplay),

Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-Mi, Ma Dong-Seok, Kim Soo-Ahn, Kim Eui-Sung, Choi Woo-Sik, Ahn So-Hee, Shim Eun-Kyung,

IMDB

Train to Busan was something of a global success for the Korean film industry in 2016 when it played to rave reviews at sold-out screenings in a variety of festivals. Familiarity with director Yeon Sang-Ho’s previous works which are animated dramas The King of Pigs and The Fake (both released in the UK under Terracotta) won’t prepare you for this film which is a non-stop thriller light on horror but never sidelines character development.

The action follows Seok-Woo (Gong Yoo), a handsome fund manager who lives with his daughter Soo-An (Kim Soo-Ahn) and mother in a fancy apartment in Seoul. The demands of his job meant his wife disembarked from the marriage and it is now affecting his relationship with his daughter who he doesn’t spend time with. Indeed, this is shown in how he misses a school recital and tasks a subordinate to get the cute girl a Nintendo Wii for her birthday little realising that he had bought one a few months earlier. Soo-An, feeling neglected, insists on staying with her mother in Busan for her birthday. A heartbreaking, “I won’t waste your time. I can go alone by myself.” uttered by Soo-An gets across the distance between the two.

Seok-Woo feels the gap and the guilt but he has no other choice but to take her on a train to Busan.

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Night Working 夜間勤務 Dir: Kim Jung-eun (2017) Osaka Asian Film Festival 2018

Night Working

夜間勤務 Yakan kinmu

Running Time: 27 mins.

Director: Kim Jung-eun

Writer: Kim Jung-eun (Screenplay),

Starring: Sreng Vuchny, Kim Yae-eun, Gil Hae-yeon,

The Osaka Asian Film Festival is a fun event to attend and also serves as a highly informative window into migration of Asians around the world. One short film that really struck a chord with me was Night Working (2017). Set in Korea, it takes two women, Lyn, a young Cambodian migrant worker, and a working-class Korean named Yeonhee, and shows how the youthful generation are facing the same hardships and have the same desires and are looking for hope elsewhere.

Their stories are told with simplicity and heartfelt kindness through mirroring and parallelism of lives and actions. Both work the night shift at a small port-side factory in Incheon. They are trying to earn as much money as possible to send back to their families and better their lives.

Narration from a letter Lyn is in the process of writing to her mother opens the film along with scenes of her daily life and as she narrates we see how she overcame initial fears of being alone and established a bond with Yeonhee and we get a lovely shot of them cycling to work during the onset of dusk.

Night Working Film Image2

The story shows the friendship the two have built and how, for Lyn, her shared sense of kinship with the seemingly confident Yeonhee helps her cope with their boss’ unfair treatment at work. Lyn is in a stable place. Lyn is happy. This connection means a lot. All she wants is simple. She tells Yeonhee:

“I want to go to the sea. With you.”

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London Korean Film Festival 2017 Will Screen “The Villainess” at the Regent Street Cinema on Monday September 11th, 19:30

A screening of The Villainess will take place on Monday, September 11th at 19:30 at the Regent Street Cinema. This is the final teaser screening in the run-up to the London Korean Film Festival which will be held from October 26th to November 19th. The film screening coincides with the programme launch so attendees will be able to see what else has been programmed for the festival!

The Villainess has got glowing reviews for its action making it one of the Here’s the first paragraph from Maggie Lee’s review over at Variety.

Channeling “La femme Nikita,” “Kill Bill,” Nikkatsu’s ’70s female exploitation films and a gazillion Hong Kong martial arts heroines, “The Villainess” nonetheless succeeds in being one-of-a-kind for its delirious action choreography and overall narrative dementia. Writer-director Jung Byung-gil indulges in all the excesses of South Korean screen violence, punishing his avenging angel played by Kim Ok-vin as much as she does her foes, the cumulative effect of which is a brain-melting daze for the audience.” (Maggie Lee, Variety)

Kim Ok-Vin is Gorgeous

It stars Kim Ok-Vin, who I adore but I’ve only reviewed two of her films: Thirst (in which she gives a barnstorming performance as a woman freshly turned into a vampire and insane with the lust and power) and Behind the Camera (a comedy involving the top actors in Korea making a train-wreck of a film.

The Villainess was at FrightFest where a couple of friends of mine saw it and one wrote a review which you can read here.

Here are the details on The Villainess:

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The Korean Cultural Centre Will Screen the film “La vie en Rose” on August 24th and Special Talk on August 25th

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. The final film is La vie en Rose from 1994. There’s not much out there about this award-winning film but if you want convincing that this might be worth a watch then read this interesting review.

SPECIAL EVENT

That this is the final film in the series is fitting because it was the debut film of Kim Hong-joon, the celebrated professor and film scholar whose documentaries and books have helped inspire this season of films being screened at the Korean Cultural Centre. There is a special event being held at Birkbeck Cinema on August 25th at 19:00 where Kim Hong-joon will give a talk about Korean cinema and his work and he will screen five films. If you have a deep interest in Korean films then this is the event to go to since he is a member of the Korean Film Commission, and the founder of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan). Find out more at this webpage. You can book tickets for the talk here.

Here’s information on the final film in this season as pulled from the website:

La Vie en Rose    La Vie En Rose Korean Film Poster 1994

Running Time: 93 mins.

Release Date: August 06th, 1994

Director: Kim Hong-joon

Writer: Yook Sang-hyo (Screenplay),

Starring: Choi Myeong-gil, Choi Jae-sung, Cha Gwang-soo. Lee Jee-hyung. Hwang Mi-seon, Choi Jong-won,

Korean Film Archive IMDB KoBiz

Synopsis from the website: La Vie en Rose feels like a Tarantino movie set in a comic book shop. It’s a film that works over many genres, ranging from martial arts to vengeance, from coming-of-age to finding your place in life. Clerks (Kevin Smith: 1994) meets High Fidelity (Stephen Frears: 2000) as Seoul’s youth try to create and protect the place and

The community they’ve come to love. “Should I stay or should I go?” is a question many young people ask themselves, whether they are from the country or the city, from the east or the west. it is a story about refusing to give up even under impossible circumstances; it’s about refusing to give in to the destructive forces of everything from organised crime, to governmental bans and crackdowns on illegal activities; it’s also about trying to build something together, a community you feel you can belong to, where the outcasts, half criminals and homeless can also feel welcomed.

La Vie En Rose korean Film Image 1994

The Korean Cultural Centre hosts this event, and others in the season for free. This is the final season of Korean Film Nights in 2017 so make the most of the free films on offer. The film will begin at 19:00. so you had better arrive early to get a seat. The talk also takes place at 19:00 so get there early to get a prime seat as well. You can book tickets here. You can book tickets for the talk here.

The location of the film screening is:

Korean Cultural Centre UK

1-3 Strand

London

WC2N 5BW

United Kingdom

The Korean Cultural Centre Will Screen the film “Garak Market Revolution” on August 17th

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. Garak Market Revolution is a tiny indie film that was shown on a handful of cinema screens according to the Korean film website. The fact that the Korean Culture Centre is showing these films makes it the best way to see indie films from Korea. This film looks like a lot of fun and also has a social critique about youth unemployment and a hopeful message about finding the strength to overcome it – through traditional Korean chess.

Here’s information on the latest film in this season as pulled from the website:

Garak Market Revolution   Garak Market Revolution Film Poster

Hangul: 장기왕: 가락시장 레볼루션

Running Time: 88 mins.

Release Date: February 02nd, 2017

Director: Jung Da-won

Writer: Jung Da-won (Screenplay),

Starring: Jung Doo-won, Choi Si-on, Park Ye-young, Jung Da-won, Kim Kyung-ik, Kim Jae-rok, Jung Do-Won, Ko Gyung-pyo,

KoBiz IMDB

Synopsis from the website: In this sweet alternative story of youth and protest, a young man with a college degree takes a job at the local Garak Market without telling his parents. Being teased by younger peers for not having a white collar job and getting harassed by his boss, his life is not exactly ideal, but after discovering his extraordinary gift for playing the traditional oriental chess game, jang-gi, and falling in love with a girl who fights to make the world a better place, he might have just found a possibility to change the world for himself and his friends.

The Korean Cultural Centre  hosts this event, and others in the season for free. This is the final season of Korean Film Nights in 2017 so make the most of the free films on offer. The film will begin at 19:00. You can book tickets at this website. The location is:

Korean Cultural Centre UK

1-3 Strand

London

WC2N 5BW

United Kingdom

The Korean Culture Centre Will Screen the film “The March of Fools” on August 10th

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. The next film is The March of Fools from 1975 and it comes from Ha Gil-jong. It seems to be an important title in Korean film history. There’s a wealth of information out there thanks to different retrospectives and elements in the Korean film industry who are keen to promote some of their nation’s best works. If you cannot make it down to London, you can watch it legally on YouTube.

Here’s information on the first film in this season as pulled from the website and a clip from the film itself:

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London Korean Film Festival 2017 Will Screen “A Taxi Driver” at the Picturehouse Central Cinema on Monday August 14th, 18:30

The UK premiere of A Taxi Driver will take place on Monday, August 14th at 18:30 as part of the London Korean Film Festivals teaser screenings in the lead-up to the next London Korean Film Festival which will be held from October 26th to November 19th.

A Taxi Driver is a road-movie based on the true story of a taxi driver named Kim Sa-bok taking a German reporter named Jurgen Hinzpeter to cover the Gwangju Uprising (May 18th – 27th, 1980). The film stars Song Kang-ho (The Quiet Family, Joint Security Area, Thirst) and Yu Hae-jin (Public Enemy, Kick the Moon, The Flu, Veteran). It’s released on August 02nd in Korea so to have it released in the UK so soon is a great deal!

Here are the details:

A Taxi Driver Film Poster

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The Korean Cultural Centre Will Screen the film “The Knitting Club” on August 03rd

The Korean Cultural Centre in London is hosting another series of free film screenings and this one is called, Patchworks: Unwrapping My Korean Cinema. The latest film is a documentary about a knitting club but there’s more to it including the bonds that members of this club make and creating a union. The screening takes place on August 03rd from 19:00.

Here’s information on the first film in this season as pulled from the website:

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