London Korean Film Festival 2017

London Korean Film Festival

Now in its 12th year the London Korean Film Festival, it is bolder and brighter than ever. This year’s special focus is on Korean Noir which as the name suggests hopes to stay as close to the literary definition but with a Korean twist. However, if Korean Noir does not peak your interest then there are several other genres which will be showcased during the 26 October to 19 November 2017 festival period including:

  • Indie Firepower
  • Cinema Now
  • Women’s Voices
  • Classics Revisited: Bae Chang-ho Retrospective
  • Documentaries
  • Artist Video
  • Animations
  • Mise en scene Shorts

Korean cinema is constantly in the spotlight and deservedly so. The films coming out from South Korea are innovative, stylish and engaging. The festival will open with a film that had this year’s Cannes Film Festival 2017 buzzing – The Day After by auteur director Hong Sangsoo.

Two out of the five Korean hits to grace Cannes Film Festival this year were crime and action thrillers typical of the booming Korean Noir genre, Illuminating the dark side of society: The Villainness (following a female assassin trained from a young age) and The Merciless (2017, Studiocanal, premiering at LKFF 2017), the latest feature from Byun Sung-hyun, a Tarantino-esque moody neo-noir thriller following double-crossing gangsters. “South Korea has such a turbulent modern history ridden with violence and political, social upheavals… I think that may be why we are good at making thriller movies like this,” said Jung Byung-Gil, director of The Villainness” (Daily Mail). It’s fitting that the festival shines a light on the killer genre this year with a full range of crime capers both old and new.

BRWC was lucky enough to attend the press launch of The London Korean Film Festival and watched The Villainness. The opening sequence of the film is what remains long after the credits have finished. It is stylish, slick and the stunts all the more incredible when you realise there was no CGI involved. The story, however, is disjointed and makes little sense spanning the spectrum from ultra violent thriller to tender love story. However, if you like action then this is a must see.

This is the second year of our Women’s Voices strand, showcasing four dramas and one documentary all from contemporary feminine points of view, films that are at the very heart of feminist politics. An extremely current and relevant documentary,  Candle Wave Feminists (2017), deconstructs the misogyny and discrimination that was rife within the revolution that led to Park’s impeachment and her spiritual mentor Choi Soon-Sil’s arrest. The feature debut by writer-director Lee Wanmin, Jamsil (2016) is a rare look at two women’s transformative friendship, following a harrowing long-term breakup. My Turn(2017) focuses on pregnancy within the workplace, after a nurse becomes pregnant and tensions and backlash surface. Mild Fever (2017) captures the subtle rift between husband and wife, following a secret that surfaces from the past. Night Working (2017) follows a friendship between two factory workers, a Korean woman and a Cambodian immigrant.

London venues include: Picturehouse Central, Regent Street Cinema, ICA, Phoenix, Close-up, LUX, Birkbeck’s Institute of Moving Image, SOAS, Kingston University, National Film & Television School, British Museum and KCCUK

The festival tours to: Glasgow Film Theatre, Manchester HOME, Sheffield Showroom, Nottingham Broadway Cinema, Belfast Queen’s Film Theatre until 19 November 2017.

For more information, click here for the programme line up of over 60 films showcasing the best of Korean cinema.

The London Korean Film Festival 2017 runs from 26 October until 19 November.

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