The London Korean Film Festival may be in its 14th year but Korean cinema has hit 100! To celebrate this historic milestone a good proportion of this year’s festival will be given over to marking that with a Special Focus on Korean film through those 100 years.
With this in mind and in celebration of the landmark, the festival will open on 1 November, for the first time, with a retrospective title, in a newly restored version and one never before seen in the UK, The Seashore Village (1965) the story of village mainly populated by women having lost their husbands to the sea.
Closing the London festival on the 14th will be Scattered Night a new film that has the distressing premise of two young children waiting for their divorcing parents to make a choice about their future.
That may close the festival in London but from the 18th it tours around the country at various venues until 24 November.
100 years is a magnificent achievement and the festival will seek to bring to the screen films that illustrate the development of the industry culturally and technically, high-points and low-points.
It’s a comprehensive collection starting in the 40’s into the 50’s and the Korean War. The War and its political and cultural ramifications are well covered. As is the censorship of the post-war years that ignited the imagination of writers and directors as they sought to tell their stories without due interference.
Moving forward through the 70’s into the 80’s with Korea gradually gaining an international presence through its industry and wealth, leading filmmakers and writers started to look at the effects these great changes were having on society.
But it was in the 90’s that Korean cinema would start to gain an international audience and reap commercial and critical awards towards the position that it holds today as one of the world’s foremost and most respected producers of film.
Which brings us to the self-explanatory Cinema Now strand with an enticing mix of the established and new talent covering a variety of subjects and genres. The festival’s Women’s Voice section features four first time directors. There’s animation drawing from the 60’s and right up to date in 2019. The two short programmes promise to be interesting and innovative as this challenging format always is.
Korean cinema is on a high at the moment with Parasite having won the Palme D’Or at Cannes this year, and with the continued critical and commercial success of titles as varied as Train to Busan and The Handmaiden the industry is in rude health. The Festival is an ideal opportunity to look back and forward and appreciate the richness of Korea’s output.
Venue and ticket details:
The London venues include: Regent Street Cinema, Picturehouse Central, Close-up Film Centre, Phoenix Cinema, Rio Cinema, ICA, Barbican, British Museum, LUX, Birkbeck’s Institute of Moving Image, and KCCUK.
The festival tours to: Edinburgh Film House, Watershed Cinema Bristol, Belfast Queen’s Film Theatre, Glasgow Film Theatre, Manchester HOME, Nottingham Broadway Cinema, until 24th November 2019.
Ticket and further details at koreanfilm.co.uk