Boundary: Flaming Feminist Action 바운더리 Dir: Yun Ga-hyun (South Korea) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2022]

Boundary: Flaming Feminist Action

바운더리 Baundeoli

Release Date: 2021

Duration: 107 mins.

Director: Yun Ga-hyun

Writer: N/A

Starring: Lee Ga-hyun, Kim Se-jeong, Kim Mi-hyun,

While misogyny is far from something exclusive to South Korea¹, the recent news of the success of Yoon Suk-yeol will concentrate minds on the country as he ran on some explicitly misogynist and anti-feminist messaging. With his statements that sexism is dead and he will shut down the Ministry of Equality, it seems that the hopes of a more equitable society for women in a nation ranked 102 on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report have been pushed further away for now. However, nothing in life is guaranteed and a blueprint of resistance to patriarchy, conservatism, and misogyny can be found in Yun Ga-hyun’s documentary Boundary: Flaming Feminist Action which records the testimonies of three friends who the director was involved with in the titular Flaming Feminist Action group.

The group had its foundations in the collaboration between female university students who had initially started out in labour organising but became interested in feminism. Soon, they combined networking and learning with sport by forming the Flaming Basketball team. However, they evolved into a vocal vanguard for many women seeking solace and justice after the stabbing of a young woman in 2016 in what became known as the Gangnam Station Toilet Murder Case.

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The Girl on a Bulldozer 불도저에 탄 소녀 Director: Park Ri-woong (South Korea) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2022]

The Girl on a Bulldozer    The Girl on a Bulldozer Film Poster

불도저에 탄 소녀 Buldojeoe tan sonyeo

Release Date: April, 2022

Duration: 113 mins.

Director: Park Ri-woong

Writer: Park Ri-woong, (Screenplay)

Starring: Kim Hye-yoon, Park Hyuck-kwon, Yesung,

Over the last five years it feels like South Korean filmmakers have put forth ever increasing numbers of complicated and interesting female lead characters in their films – Lucky Chan-sil and The Slug are my favourites. This tallies with the rise in women sitting in the director’s seat but men are also doing their part as Park Ri-woong’s debut feature, The Girl on a Bulldozer, shows. Although some have billed it as a revenge-thriller (and the poster has those vibes), this is more of a drama of a working-class girl going against the odds to right a wrong done to her family by a rich bad guy. 

Continue reading “The Girl on a Bulldozer 불도저에 탄 소녀 Director: Park Ri-woong (South Korea) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2022]”

Escape from Mogadishu 모가디슈 (2021) Director: Ryoo Seung-wan [New York Asian Film Festival 2021]

Escape from Mogadishu    EscapeFromMogadishu_WellGoUSA_OfficialPoster_1382x2048

모가디슈 Mogadisyu

Release Date: July 28th 2021

Duration: 121 mins.

Director: Ryoo Seung-wan

Writer: Ryoo Seung-wan, Lee Ki-cheol (Script), 

Starring: Kim Yoon-seok (Han Shin-sung – South Korean ambassador), Zo In-sung (Kang Dae-jin – intelligence officer), Heo Joon-ho (Rim Yong-su – North Korean ambassador), Kim So-jin (Kim Myung-hee – ambassador Han’s wife), Koo Kyo-hwan (Tae Joon-ki – NK intelligence officer), Jung Man-sik,

Website IMDB   Korean Film

Escape From Mogadishu is a based-on-reality ensemble drama set amidst an action movie spectacle. With the backdrop of the Somali Civil War, it provides the pulse-pounding summer entertainment thrills with poignant moments of humanity as a group of opponents must join forces to survive scenes of carnage. 

We are taken Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu, circa 1991. Already unstable, we witness bandits and government forces terrorising the local population and government business done with a massive side-order of corruption. Meanwhile, acting as an undercurrent to life in the city are news reports relaying dispatches from rebellious regions that signal Somalia’s oncoming slide into a decades-long civil war. The whys and wherefores of this turmoil are never gone into detail but what is presented feeds into another conflict, one between the staff of the South Korean embassy and their rivals from North Korea as each seek to curry favour with factions inside the failing Somali government in a diplomatic battle over securing votes for U.N. membership.

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The Slug 태어나길 잘했어 (2020) Dir: Choi Jin-young (South Korea) [Osaka Asian Film Festival 2021]

The Slug 

태어나길 잘했어 Taeeonagil Jalhaesseo

Release Date: N/A

Duration: 99 mins.

Director: Choi Jin-young

Writer: Choi Jin-young (Script), 

Starring: Kang Jin-a, Park Hye-jin, Hong Sang-pyo, Byeon Jung-hi, Kim Geum-soon, Lim Ho-jun, Hwang Mi-young, Yoo Kyung-sang,

OAFF Korean Movie Database Website

The Slug is the English-language title for South Korean filmmaker Choi Jin-young’s debut feature. While it may be a reference to the main character who suffers from excessive sweat or the slugs she finds, it pales in comparison to the Korean title which loosely translates as “it was good that you were born,” or “thank you for being born.” This positive affirmation is thematically important and something that the film’s protagonist needs to hear as shown in a story that mixes a tragic background, coming-of-age tropes, and first love as brought together by a fantastical time-slip twist to create a life-affirming story that finds hope in an indifferent world.

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Beasts Clawing at Straws 지푸라기라도 잡고 싶은 짐승들 Dir: Kim Yong-hoon (2020)

Beasts Clawing at Straws    Beasts Clawing at Straws Film poster

지푸라기라도 잡고 싶은 짐승들「Jipuragirado Jabgo Sipeun Jibseungdeul

Running Time: 108 mins.

Release Date: February 19th, 2020

Director: Kim Yong-hoon

Writer: Kim Yong-hoon (Screenplay), Keisuke Sone (Original Novel – 藁にもすがる獣たち)

Starring: Jeon Do-yeon (Yeon-hee), Jung Woo-sing (Tae-young), Bae Sung-woo (Jung-man), Jung Ga-ram (Jin-Tae), Kyung Jin (Young-Seon),

IMDB

Crime thriller Beasts Clawing at Straws is the debut feature of director Kim Yong-hoon and while he may be new name on the scene what is on the screen has all of the narrative slickness and stylistic panache associated with Korean cinema to ensure it stands with the best of his nation’s crime films.

Based on a Japanese novel by Keisuke Sone, it’s hard to imagine a director from Japan, outside of Takeshi Kitano or Tetsuya Nakashima, being able to do this hard-boiled story with the grit, the grue, the darkness, the bouncy pacing and the wry sense of humour that seems more natural for modern Korean film-makers and Kim applies these elements to a collection of morally compromised characters colliding with each other as they all chase a Louis Vuitton Boston bag stuffed to the brim with cash.

Continue reading “Beasts Clawing at Straws 지푸라기라도 잡고 싶은 짐승들 Dir: Kim Yong-hoon (2020)”

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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“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.

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Osaka Asian Film Festival 2017: Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman

Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman   mrs-b-woman-of-n-korea-poster

マダム・ベー(原題)  Madamu Be- (Gendai)   

Running Time: 72 mins.

Director/Writer: Jero Yun

IMDB

“Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman” focuses on the titular Mrs. B (full name never given), a woman who escaped across the border from North Korea into China with the intention of getting a job for a short period of time and sending money back to her husband and two boys. This documentary, shot over the course of three years, reveals that things didn’t quite go according to plan since she was sold into marriage to the son of a Chinese farming family and willingly spent around a decade in China. What happened?

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Behind the Camera (2013)

Behind the Camera (2013)    Behind the Camera DVD Case

Release Date: February 28th, 2013 (South Korea)

UK Release: July 28th, 2014

Distributor: Third Window Films

Running Time: 90 mins.

Director: E J-Yong

Writer: E J-Yong

Starring: E J-Yong, Youn Yuh-Jung, Kim Ok-Vin, Jung Eun-Chae, Kim Nam-Jin, Kim Jee-Woon, Kang Hye-Jung

E J-Yong is a daring director but his reputation is mixed having directed a big hit with the pretty and pretty vacuous historical drama Untold Scandal (2003) and the more contemporary Dasepo Naughty Girls (2006), a  colourful musical school comedy based on a lurid webcomic whichavoided being too raunchy, something which may have led to it flopping at the Korean box-office. In 2009 he tried his hand at mockumentaries with the title Actresses where he gathered a six of Korea’s great actresses and filmed them playing themselves at a Vogue photo shoot and having outrageous conversations in a satire of the world of Korean film.

It is this last film which Behind the Camera follows closely, as E J-Yong turns the camera on to the world of Korean movies once again and reveals what goes on behind-the-scenes of a film shoot which lacks a director on set. The results of Behind the Camera is not total carnage, more an interesting and warm-hearted look at filmmaking and what use a director on set may be.

“I’m shooting a short film and I had a shocking idea.”

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The Flu

Genki The Flu Review Banner Dr Kim In-Hae (Soo-Ae)

The Flu                                                                             The Flu Film Poster

Release Date: August 14th, 2013 (South Korea)

Running Time: 121 mins.

Director: Kim Sung-Su

Writer: Kim Sung-Su, Lee Young-Jong

Starring: Jang Hyuk, Soo-Ae, Park Min-Ha, Yu Hae-Jin, Ma Dong-Seok, Lee Hee-Joon, Lee Sang-Yeob, Cha In-Pyo. Kim Ki-Hyeon, Andrew William Brand

When I saw The Flu advertised on the billboard of my local cinema I was surprised because it has been around four years since I last saw a Korean film play there and that was back at the tail end of the glory days of the Korean New Wave of the 2000’s. It turns out that the guys and girls behind the Korean Film Festival were instrumental in making sure it reached cinemas across the UK. Their choice is a canny one because the film has huge appeal due to its big-budget approach to the popular disaster genre.

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