In part 1 of the examination of the 14th Jeonju Film Festival’s Korean Short Film Competition, 10 of the shorts were profiled and discussed. There are an interesting range of shorts in competition this year, including some animated entries and some experimental filmmaking, although for most there appears to be a real social-realist heart at the core of most of the films, particularly in regards to youth. Contemporary issues including teenage pregnancy, young runaways, extreme shyness, disillusioned youth, and the political impact on young minds are prominent issues at this year’s festival, and it’s really interesting to see such a strong devotion to youth issues.
This second part of the feature on the Short Film Competition explores the final 10 shorts within the category. As with the first part, youth issues seem to be the primary focus alongside more experimental fare and looks to be a very interesting lineup.
No More No Less (더도 말고 덜도 말고)
Director: Lim Oh-jeong (임오정)
Synopsis: The film explores the lives of teenage girls in contemporary Korea through the theft of an ipod, which brings to light issues of trust, jealousy, and companionship. The highly competitive and stressful life of Korean high school girls is potent material, and this film could shine a new perspective on a timely subject.
Director: Oh Min-wook (오민욱)
Synopsis: Another experimental addition to the lineup, Phase is concerned with ‘images that mutate’ by employing abstract images, footage from historical events, and phrases and mottos. The images that are circulating are quite attractive, and it will be interesting to see how director Oh uses them.
Road Movie (로드 무비)
Director: Jung Nam (정남)
Synopsis: Experimental film Road Movie ‘portrays the existential base of film’ by utilising cinematic conventions in exploring the medium. Light, shadow and motion are used in conjunction with editing techniques as the film moves along a course.
Director: Jung Jee-hyung (정지형)
Synopsis: Sisibibi explores the notion of contemporary masculinity through two drunk central protagonists. Their discussion about what defines masculinity and what women are looking for, results into a competition. Contemporary Korean masculinity is complicated to say the least, so this could highlight some interesting issues.
Sweet Temptation (잘 먹고 잘 사는 법)
Director: Jeong Han-Jin (정한진)
Synopsis: This short has an intriguing premise, as a young boy who has only had a diet consisting of natural foods is suddenly introduced to chocolate. Themes of parental trust and ‘blind faith’ are explored as the boy becomes open to new possibilities. Symbolic and timely material due to the generation gap.
The Sound of Rain (빗소리)
Director: Kim Jin-hee (김진희)
Synopsis: Exploring the fragility and innocence of the very young, The Sound of Rain depicts the anxieties of a kindergarten girl who has gone to school without an umbrella on a rainy day. Parental responsibilities and maternal abandonment are key themes within the film, and emphasize a growing social problem.
The Wish (주희)
Director: Huh Jung (허정)
Synopsis: Another entry highlighting the social problems of teenage girls, The Wish explores the notion of popularity according to wealth in a middle school. When a supernatural ritual becomes fashionable at the school, jealousies and rivalries are examined.
Three Stories About Depth (깊이에의 강요)
Director: Choi Seung-chul (최승철)
Synopsis: This 9 minute short is divided into 3 ‘episodes’ that explore the cinematic techniques involving depth. Director Choi employs the theme of depth in a variety of ways, using the camera to penetrate different realms of distance, and could be potentially illuminating.
Director: Kim Hyeon-cheol (김현철)
Synopsis: One of the more traditional genre entries, Trunk appear to be a short thriller that involves a woman too curious for her own good. When she takes a peek inside a car trunk that has been left open, there are ramifications to be had. It will be interesting to see if director Kim can fulfill the tension that the synopsis suggests.
Two Gentlemen (두 신사)
Director: Park Jae-ok (박재옥)
Synopsis: Only the second animated entry this year, director Park’s Two Gentleman is quite a departure from the distinctly Korean issues explored by his peers. The film examines the snobbish nature of two French art critics as they quarrel over a painting, uses satire to do so.