On a gloriously sunny 14th of August, the 9th Jechon International Music and Film Festival (JIMFF) got underway at the stunning riverside stage venue.
Beginning with a red carpet event that saw stars such as Moon So-ri and Yu Ji-tae arrive in style, the ceremony officially opened with T-ara’s Ham Eun-jeong and actor Joo Ji-hoon performing ‘Falling Slowly’ from Irish musical film Once.
As programmers and politicians congratulated Jechon for hosting the extravaganza, it was musical director Lee Dong-jun’s night as he became the latest recipient of the Jecheon Film Music Honorary Award. To celebrate his success, Lee Dong-jun – often referred to as the Korean Hans Zimmer – performed music from a selection of his hit films alongside an orchestra, and the result was superb. As scores from The Gingko Bed (은행나무 침대), Save the Green Planet! (지구를 지켜라!), Taegukgi (태극기 휘날리며), TV drama Iris (아이리스), My Way (마이 웨이) and this year’s hit Miracle in Cell No.7 (7번방의 선물) were played, the audience were continually stunned by the spectacle, which was certainly one of the best festival openings in recent memory.
Once the celebrations came to an end, the lights dimmed in preparation for opening film Pop Redemption by director Martin Le Gall. The French film is far from perfect but was a great choice to open the festival, featuring passionate musicians, entertaining comedy and several homages to The Beatles.
Pop Redemption – ★★★☆☆
French film Pop Redemption is a highly enjoyable film, depicting four black metal rockers who begin to question their dedication to the band as they enter their thirties. Just as the members discuss splitting up for good, lead singer Alex lands them one final dream gig – rock festival Hellfest. Yet on their way the group encounter some difficult rednecks, and their course deviates wildly from the original plan. Pop Redemption is a fun film that explores the nature of friendship and getting older, through both music and road movie conventions. The conflicts that occur are often genuinely funny, while witnessing the rockers change and develop is very entertaining. Similarly the various homages to The Beatles are great to see. However such jokes go on for far too long, stalling for time while needless subplots involving bumbling police officers reach their conclusion. That said, the finale is a fitting – albeit cliched – tribute to rock music, and the feel-good factor certainly hits the spot. Please see below for the trailer.