With a focus on exploring female issues through cinema, the Women’s Film Festival in Seoul has constructed several different categories in which to emphasise the concerns women face in contemporary society. Previously the New Currents, as well as The Coming of Age in Asian Women Filmmaking and Violence Against Women have been discussed, yet within this feature three different areas are explored. Actress, Muse With A Movie Camera is, as the title suggests, regarding women who have chosen to go behind the camera and direct. The 3 Korean films within this area feature quite diverse work, from high-budget thriller to low-budget short. Queer cinema is acknowledged in Queer Rainbow: Queer x Feminism, although unfortunately there’s only one Korean film exploring such gender and sexuality issues. Finally, Open Cinema is concerned with male directors who explore or represent women’s rights or interests, expanding the representation of women on screen. While there’s just one Korean film in this category, it’s a sublime documentary and one that eloquently fits the goal of broadening women’s issues in cinema.
Actress, Muse With A Movie Camera
The Knitting (뜨개질)
Director: Yoon Eun-hye (윤은혜)
Synopsis: Superstar actress Yoon Eun-hye helms short film The Knitting, a drama about a woman struggling to cope following a break-up. Seeking solace through knitting, the memories of the past love prove hard to erase.
The Peach Tree (복숭아 나무)
Director: Ku Hye-sun (구혜선)
Synopsis: Released in 2012 after receiving its premiere at the Busan Film Festival in 2011, The Peach Tree tells the story of two twin brothers who fall in love with the same woman. While it might initially sound cliched, the narrative takes on a new twist as the twins were born conjoined, sharing the same body, yet have quite different personalities. With lots of symbolism involving the nature of family and the titular peach tree, the romantic drama resonates strongly. See below for the trailer:
Perfect Number (용의자 X)
Director: Pang Eun-jin (방은진)
Synopsis: Based on Japanese author Keigo Higashino’s novel The Devotion of Suspect X, Perfect Number is the second film by actress-turned-director Pang Eun-jin following Princess Aurora. The thriller depicts a woman who kills her ex-husband following a violent assault, and the gifted mathematician living next door who helps her conceal the crime from the authorities. The film was quite successful when released last year. See below for the trailer:
Queer Rainbow: Queer x Feminism
To Become 2 (2의 증명)
Directors: Sui (스이), Kay (케이)
Synopsis: The only queer entry in the category explores the life of a middle-aged woman preparing to undergo gender correction treatment. Yet she continually faces obstacles by those around her.
My Place (마이 플레이스)
Director: Emmanuel Moonchil Park (박문칠)
Synopsis: Winning the Audience Award at the 2013 Jeonju Film Festival, My Place is a wonderful documentary that explores notions of family and women’s rights. Director Park has crafted a loving film based around his sister’s pregnancy. Recommended.
You Are More Than Beautiful (그녀의 연기)
Director: Kim Tae-yong (김태용)
Synopsis: This Korean/Hong Kong co-production by director Kim Tae-yong involves a mysterious meeting.