With so many exciting films centered around the representation of women in cinema and women’s issues, the International Women’s Film Festival in Seoul is gearing up to be a strong event for its 15th installment. Previously, the Korean offerings that have been explored here at Hanguk Yeonghwa emphasise the many and varied roles occupied by women in cinema, in New Currents, The Coming of Age in Asian Women Filmmaking and Violence Against Women, and Actress, Muse With A Movie Camera and Queer Rainbow: Queer x Feminism. Each of these categories serve to place a spotlight on the talented female filmmakers that exist within Korea, and their explorations of the great many contemporary challenges they face.
However every great film festival needs a competition, and WFFIS is no different. Here the Korean entries in the Asian Short Film and Video Competition are profiled, with an incredibly broad range of topics featured. From adolescent tales of puberty to desiring a first kiss, from a secret relationship with a foreigner to feminist figures, the short film competition has something strikes a chord with just about every age group.
Asian Short Film and Video Competition
The Bathhouse (목욕탕)
Director: Kim Ji-su (김지수)
Synopsis: This 7 minute animated film explores the sauna culture within Korea, where people soak themselves in pools of different temperatures. The style conveys something of a celebration of women’s bodies.
Beast Is My Middle Name (맹수는 나의 것)
Director: Kim Bo-ra (김보라)
Synopsis: Female sexuality is explored in this drama as student Ji-ran develops a fascination for Yu-jin’s thighs, and thoughts and fantasies begin to emerge.
Director: Won Jan-di (원잔디)
Synopsis: BRA follows a young girl called Da-young, whose love for a man across the street leads her to desiring a bra like her friend wears. But will it provide confidence?
Director: Lee Mi-rang (이미랑)
Synopsis: Drama Chunjung explores the life of a woman living in contemporary Korea, and her desire to create a home. Her work and relationships are also featured.
The Confession (못 다한 이야기)
Director: Kim Bo-mi (김보미)
Synopsis: This documentary is a heartfelt entry as the narrator explores the pain and loneliness of her separation from her ex-boyfriend.
Dictee-An Homage to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (딕테-차학경 오마주)
Director: Mi-young (미영)
Synopsis: Murdered Korean-American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s life is the subject of this film, as her origins from the Korean War to her immigration to San Francisco to her death.
Fitting Room (피팅룸)
Director: Oh Jung-mi (오정미)
Synopsis: This 9 minute short portrays the relationship between a mother and her young daughter, how they argue and compromise, and bond through preparation.
Iron Age (철의 시대)
Director: Jung Ji-yoon (정지윤)
Synopsis: Documentary Iron Age appears quite symbolic in nature as the film depicts a woman who has a hole in her heart. The film examines the nature of her personality.
Island in Island: More Oceans Inside, and More Islands Inside (섬 안의 섬, 그 안의 더 많은 바다, 그리고 그 안의 더 많은 섬들)
Director: Kim Ji-yeong (김지영)
Synopsis: This experimental drama explores the concept of memory.
Director: Jeon Hyo-jeong (전효정)
Synopsis: A secret love with a foreign man is the subject of this drama, as a middle aged woman attempts to go abroad with her lover but encounters problems.
Mira’s Will (미라의 의지)
Director: Lee Eun-jeong (이은정)
Synopsis: A young woman named Mira decides to work on her sex appeal in order to finally succeed in getting her first kiss, but she takes things a little far.
The Room of Drink (살롱 드 보아)
Director: Sohn Hae-sook (손해숙)
Synopsis: Office worker Joo-hyun is forced to visit a hostess bar when her boss asks for documents, which forces her into an uncomfortable situation.
Sewing Woman (바느질 하는 여자)
Director: Woo Jin (우진)
Synopsis: This 3 minute animated short is about a woman who never stops sewing. The aesthetics and stylisation look very interesting.