For exciting new Korean films, the Korean Cinema Today program at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) highlights some of the best and latest productions emerging from the industry.
Korean Cinema Today is separated into two sub-categories – Panorama and Vision. While Vision explores the latest independent films and exciting new filmmaking talent, Panorama showcases some of the big domestic and internationally acclaimed films, as well as more high profile world premieres.
The 14 films in Panorama 2013 contains some of the biggest names working in the industry today. For arthouse fans, Kim Ki-duk’s highly controversial Moebius, as well as two Hong Sang-soo films - Nobody’s Daughter Haewon and Our Sunhi - make appearances. Two directorial debuts are included in the form of superstar Ha Jeong-woo’s Fasten Your Seatbelt, and veteran actor Park Joong-hoon’s Top Star. King of Pigs director Yeon Sang-ho’s latest animation The Fake is featured. There are also exciting new projects that involve crowdfunding, human rights issues, and the debut of K-pop idol Lee Joon from MBLAQ in a lead role.
For the lowdown on all the films within the sub-category, please see below.
Korean Cinema Today – Panorama
Abbi (Twisted Daddy) (애비)
Director: Jang Hyun-soo (장현수)
Synopsis: Abbi – or rather, Twisted Daddy – is a drama about a father whose dedication to his son becomes out of hand. Working hard to ensure his son can study law and become successful, the aging father risks everything.
Another Family (또 하나의 가족)
Director: Kim Tae-yun (김태윤)
Synopsis: Crowdfunding was sourced to produce this real life legal drama about a woman who contracts leukemia while working at a Samsung factory. The film follows the family’s efforts overcome the disease as well as the corporation responsible.
The Berlin File (베를린)
Director: Ryoo Seung-wan (류승완)
Synopsis: The Berlin File was a big hit upon release earlier his year. With an all-star cast including Ha Jeong-woo and Jeon Ji-hyeon, the action-thriller showcased director Ryoo’s style like never before. For the full review, please click here.
The Fake (사이비)
Director: Yeon Sang-ho (연상호)
Synopsis: Following on from his hugely successful film King of Pigs, director Yeon Sang-ho employs his biting cultural critique stylisation to explore corrupted religious officials who are holding a small town to ransom.
Fasten Your Seatbelt (롤러코스터)
Director: Ha Jeong-woo (하정우)
Synopsis: Fasten Your Seatbelt – or ‘Rollercoaster‘ in Korean – marks superstar Ha Jeong-woo’s directorial debut. The comedy sees mismatched characters collide when their plane encounters a typhoon.
God’s Eye View (시선)
Director: Lee Jang-ho (이장호)
Synopsis: Lee Jang-ho was a prominent director during the 1970s and ’80s, and after an 18 year hiatus has re-entered filmmaking with God’s Eye View. The film explores a group of missionaries whose faith wanes after abduction by Islamic rebels.
Genome Hazard (무명인)
Director: Kim Sung-su (김성수)
Synopsis: A co-production between Korea and Japan, sci-fi Genome Hazard depicts a man seemingly losing his sanity following the apparent death of his wife. Director Kim previously worked with Park Chan-wook and Son Il-gon.
If You Were Me 6 (어떤 시선)
Directors: Min Yong-keun (민용근), Lee Sang-cheol (이상철), Shin A-ga (신아가), Park Jung-bum (박정범)
Synopsis: Produced by the National Human Rights Commission, this omnibus film represents radically different stories about people living on the fringes of society, and the hardships they endure.
Director: Kim Ki-duk (김기덕)
Synopsis: Moebius was marred by controversy before it was released. Kim Ki-duk’s psychosexual thriller examines a family torn apart by adultery, penis dismemberment, and incest.
My Boy (마이보이)
Director: Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환)
Synopsis: Town trilogy and The Weight director Jeon Kyu-hwan explores the life of an impulse disorder patient and his long-suffering family in My Boy. cultural attitudes towards mental health and the medical system are examined.
Nobody’s Daughter Haewon (누구의 딸도 아닌 해원)
Director: Hong Sang-soo (홍상수)
Synopsis: University student Haewon feels lonely following her mother’s departure for Canada, and contacts married lover – and professor - Seong-joon. A story of a young woman’s quest for identity.
Our Sunhi (우리 순희)
Director: Hong Sang-soo (홍상수)
Synopsis: Sunhi is a film student who, wishing to continue her studies in America, seeks a recommendation letter from her professor. Yet in doing so, she unwittingly allows 3 different men attempt to advise her over her future.
Rough Play (배우는 배우다)
Director: Shin Yeon-shick (신연식)
Synopsis: A sequel of sorts to Rough Cut, Rough Play is concerned with a rising film star who becomes involved with gangsters, leading to a downward spiral. Based on an idea by Kim Ki-duk, the film features K-pop idol Lee Joon from MBLAQ in the lead role.
Top Star (톱스타)
Director: Park Joong-hoon (박중훈)
Synopsis: Veteran actor Park Joong-hoon makes his debut with Top Star, a film about a talent manager who suddenly becomes a superstar. Yet as his popularity increase, so does his arrogance and determination to stay at the top.