17th Jeonju Film Festival Unveils K-Competition Line-up

JIFF Official 2016 Poster

JIFF Official 2016 Poster

The 17th Jeonju International Film Festival is due to take place from April 28th ~ May 7th.

Now in its 17th edition, the city has become synonymous not only for the best bibimbap in Korea and delightful hanok village, but as the launchpad of Korean independent cinema.

Several K-films that debuted last year at JIFF have gone on to great success on both the festival and commercials circuits, notably Korean Film Competition Grand Prize winner Alice in Earnestland.

2016 is sure to feature further break-out productions from the industry, and while information is still currently thin on the ground JIFF recently unveiled the K-film titles in both the Korean Film Competition and Korean Short Film Competition.

Please see below for the films to be screened alongside select stills. For further information, please follow the link at the end of the article.

Korean Film Competition

1. No Preparation for Old Age (노후 대책 없다) – Director Lee Dong-woo (이동우) | 101min

Delta Boys

Delta Boys

2. Delta Boys (델타 보이즈) – Director Go Bong-su (고봉수) | 126min

3. B Mrs.B. A North Korean Woman (마담) – Director Yoon Jae-jo (윤재호) | 72min

4. Breathing Underwater (물숨) – Director Go Hee-yeong (고희영) | 91min

Our Love Story

Our Love Story

5. Our Love Story (연애담) – Director Lee Hyeon-ju (이현주) | 99min

6. With or Without You (우리 연애의 이력) – Director Jo Seong-eun (조성은) | 99min

7. A Field Day (운동회) – Director Kim Jin-tae (김진태) | 75min

Worst Woman

Worst Woman

8. Worst Woman (최악의 여자) – Director Kim Jong-gwan (김종관) | 94min

9. Curtain Call (커튼콜) – Director Ryu Hoon (류훈) | 100min

10. Press (프레스) – Director Choi Jeong-min (최정민) | 95min

Korean Short Film Competition

1) Knocking on the Door of Your Heart (가슴의 문을 두드려도) – Director Choi Yoon-tae (최윤태) | 28min

2) May Okay (날 좋은 날) – Director Jeong Tae-wan (정태완) | 10min

3) Joke (농담) – Director Jeong Ji-yeong (정지영) | 12min

Zoo

Zoo

4) Zoo (동물원) – Director Kim Sae-hyeon (김세현) | 21min

5) The Game of All (모두의 게임) – Director Jo Ye-seul (조예슬) | 10min

6) Body and Soul (몸과 마음) – Director Jang Eun-ju (장은주) | 11min

7) Soar (비상) – Director Hong Sang-yu (홍상유) | 10min

8) Alone in the Rain (빗속을 혼자서) – Director Kim Ga-ryeong (김가령) | 18min

9) Deer Flower (사슴꽃) – Director Kim Gang-min (김강민) | 8min

10) Silent Boy (사일런트 보이) – Director Bak Geun-yeong (박근영) | 29min

11) Cyclical Night (순환하는 밤) – Director Baek Jong-gwan (백종관) | 15min

12) See You Tomorrow (씨유투머로우) – Byeon Seung-min (변승민) | 22min

Before I Grow Up

Before I Grow Up

13) Before I Grow Up (어른이 되기 전에) – Director Lee Joon-seub (이준섭) | 25min

14) Summer Night (여름밤) – Director Lee Ji-won (이지원) | 25min

15) The Astronauts (우주비행사들) – Director Son Gyeong-soo (손경수) | 14min

16) A Landscape between Past and Future (적막의 경관) – Director Oh Min-wook (오민욱) | 20min

17) Breathless (질식) – Director Bak Joon-seok (박준석) | 14min

18) A Tent (천막) – Director Lee Ran-hee (이란희) | 30min

Fly

Fly

19) Fly (플라이) – Director Im Yeon-jeong (임연정) | 28min

20) Hamster (햄스터) – Director Kim Sae-in (김세인) | 29min

21) The Woman Who was Planted in a Pot (화분에 심어진 여자) – Director Lee Jeong-woo (이정우) | 18min

For more information, please follow the link here.

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Communication & Lies (소통과 거짓말) – ★☆☆☆☆

Communications & Lies (소통과 거짓말)

Communication & Lies (소통과 거짓말)

At a private academy in the city, cleaning lady Sun (Jang Sun (장선) is reprimanded by her boss for inappropriate sexual conduct with other employees. Bizarrely however, she finds the situation humorous and continues with her work, conveying a psychological instability that worries her colleagues. Also at the academy is teacher Mr. Kim (Kim Kwon-hoo (김권후), whose eccentric behaviour also baffles those around him. Unable to communicate their distresses with the world, Sun and Mr. Kim decide to take a trip together, but can they truly express themselves or simply live with lies?

After beginning in gripping fashion, director Lee Seung-won’s debut Communication & Lies enters a downward spiral through an incredibly confused narrative structure and misogyny masquerading as psychological insight. While the film does well in portraying how those suffering from psychological instability go largely ignored in contemporary Korean society, the story fails to build empathy with the protagonists by focusing primarily on their hysteria.

Communication and Lies begins with a captivating eight minute long take, as Sun is scolded by her manager for her recent conduct. It’s a brilliantly written scene, with information gently teased out through the conversation that slowly reveals the reason for Sun’s admonishment, while her truthfulness and odd reactions highlight her instability through dark humour. The manner in which the discourse unfolds is gripping, particularly for those familiar with Korean culture who expect the conversation to play out in a certain fashion, with the scene wonderfully subverting cultural norms.

Sun has difficulty with communication and lies due to psychological instability

Sun has difficulty with communication and lies due to psychological instability

Yet from such a fascinating opening the film dramatically loses momentum through a frustratingly haphazard narrative structure. The film shifts focus to introduce the less-interesting Mr. Kim and his eccentricities, while building his relationship with Sun towards their trip. Mr. Kim simply isn’t as compelling as his female counterpart, a fact which director Lee appears to be aware of hence the somewhat belated inclusion of flashbacks that dart back and forth through their timelines in a bid to generate mystery by slowly revealing the traumas that inspired their neuroses. It’s a noble but often confusing endeavour, as the story jumps to various points of the character’s lives in the past three years and attempts to address the origins of their mental illnesses, yet there isn’t significant enough depth to generate the required empathy. This is acutely the case with Mr. Lee whose tangent is rather bland, and the film would have benefited greatly from having Sun as the sole lead.

Furthermore, the exploration of Sun’s psychological instability is acutely misogynistic. As a result of personal trauma, Sun dehumanises herself with various sexual acts, yet there is no examination given as to why her illness has developed in this fashion and as such sequences that are intended as explore Sun’s tendency to sexually humiliate herself are often instead merely perverse male fantasies, with beatings, foul language, and orifice-fascination featuring at various points. The character has great potential that is unfortunately not realised throughout the film’s 103 minute running time, though actress Jang Sun performs the role capably.

In a city full of people, the plights of the mentally ill often go ignored

In a city full of people, the plights of the mentally ill often go ignored

Verdict:

Though beginning in gripping fashion, director Lee Seung-won’s Communication & Lies loses impetus through a frustratingly haphazard and oft-confusing narrative structure. Though nobly attempting to allude to the origins of neuroses and the general ignorance within contemporary Korea, the film instead conforms to a misogynistic male fantasy masquerading as psychological insight.

★☆☆☆☆

Busan International Film Festival (20회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015 Reviews

Steel Flower (스틸 플라워) – ★★★☆☆

Steel Flower (스틸 플라워)

Steel Flower (스틸 플라워)

Unceremoniously dumped on a highway with only a suitcase of essential items, Ha-dam (Jeong Ha-dam (정하담) is forced to quickly adapt to life on the streets of Busan City. Scared, alone, and vulnerable, the homeless young woman flirts with suicide yet is determined to forge a path out of poverty, taking random service jobs to secure money and food. The locals, however, grow wise to Ha-dam’s situation and treat her abusively, though despite her trials she retains a passion for dance.

The follow-up to last year’s Wild Flowers, director Park Suk-yong’s Steel Flower displays a marked improvement by the socially-conscious writer/helmer. Raw, provocative and featuring a potent feminist message, the indie drama explores the plight of homeless young women with an intensity and verve that often makes for challenging, as well as uncomfortable, viewing.

One of the main issues with director Park’s previous effort Wild Flowers – which also premiered at the Busan Film Festival – was that after beginning in incredibly strong fashion the narrative deviated away from its fascinating trio of homeless girls towards their less interesting male counterparts. The filmmaker has clearly listened to such criticism as Steel Flower is much more focused and concise, centralised entirely on Ha-dam’s plight which allows the story to fiercely examine the abject desperation of her situation. From the moment the drama begins director Park employs kinetic handheld camerawork that infuses the film with a raw organic energy and brisk pacing, invigorated further with some incredible long takes that add palpable realism, the fact of which is often a mixture of fascination and distress as the harsh realities of life on the streets are exposed.

Despite fraught circumstances Ha-dam retains her love of dance

Despite fraught circumstances Ha-dam retains her love of dance

Steel Flower is also boasts some impressive cinematography, particularly in the underdeveloped and poverty stricken regions of Busan City. Disparity in wealth is acutely visualised through the landscapes and structures, as Ha-dam is forced to move away from the affluence of those at ground level, hiking ever higher up mountainous paths to locate a place of security amongst the economically challenged. The urban locations are also captured well as they feature an oppressive sensibility that seems to confine Ha-dam to the shadows, refusing to allow her to progress out of her homelessness and desperation.

The decision to withhold the origins of Ha-dam’s abandonment is a smart move as she symbolises the vulnerability of all young women in Korea, yet the story falters somewhat as she continues to be a mystery for the entirety of the running time. Little is revealed about her personality, or her psychological and emotional torment, save that she is trying to survive in harsh conditions, which makes it problematic when attempting to forge an emotional connection with the character.

Ha-dam’s erratic behaviour, meanwhile, is intriguing as she flits from quiet tenderness to hysterically deranged, conveying a form of mental illness which is unfortunately never really explored nor capitalised on. Her passion for dance is a key example; she is enamoured by tap dancing classes yet displays little talent for it, and as no other hints for her adoration are conveyed – save for the their symbolic purpose that she does, indeed, exist – it feels like a missed opportunity to explore her character in more depth.

While little about Ha-dam is revealed, she ultimately serves as a cipher through which the story can expose a variety of hardships endured by homeless young women and, combined with its strong feminist message, serves to generate important social debates that are sorely needed.

Pushed to breaking point, Ha-dam flirts with death

Pushed to breaking point, Ha-dam flirts with death

Verdict:

Steel Flower is director Park Suk-yong’s second film exploring the hardships of homeless young females, and is a big improvement for the socially-conscious filmmaker. Raw and provocative, the drama boasts effective kinetic camerawork infused with realism. While the mysterious nature of the central protagonist is somewhat problematic, Steel Flower is effective in raising potent social debate.

★★★☆☆

Busan International Film Festival (20회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015 Reviews

Twenty Again (두 번째 스물) – ★★☆☆☆

Twenty Again (두 번째 스물)

Twenty Again (두 번째 스물)

On a flight to Italy, middle-aged film director Min-gu (Kim Seung-woo (김승우) surprisingly comes face-to-face with his first love, Min-ha (Lee Tae-ran (이태란). Though she initially pretends not to recognise him, a spark is clearly rekindled between the two and when Min-ha discovers he is working at a nearby film festival in Turin she sets out to meet her lost love again. Although now in their forties the passion from their younger days is instantly rekindled, and the lovers decide to travel around Italy together to relive their ‘second twenties.’

A refreshingly original and beautifully shot romantic tale, director Park Heung-sik’s Twenty Again is an entertaining story of two 40-somethings rekindling the passion of their first true love. While somewhat contrived and clearly owing a huge debt to Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise, Twenty Again is a welcome addition to the genre with its strong leads and appreciation of art and culture.

One of the great strengths of helmer/scribe Park Heung-sik’s Twenty Again is the manner in which he eschews the will they?/won’t they? cliches involving an impossibly attractive young couple, and instead explores the rather more complicated and mature romantic lives of those in their forties. It’s a welcome change and while contrivances are initially employed to bring the couple together, once the reunion occurs the story hits the ground running as both Min-gu and Min-ha have a palpable chemistry and are thoroughly compelling protagonists. The couple never shy away from discussing the complexities of their lives as both are married with children, yet it is particularly difficult to judge them as their Italian affair feels beautifully organic and reinvigorating, with their glances of adoration striking an incredibly sincere emotional core.

Min-gu and Min-ha rekindle their romance through a mutual appreciation of art and culture

Min-gu and Min-ha rekindle their romance through a mutual appreciation of art and culture

Min-gu and Min-ha are also noteworthy as a professional and intellectual couple. Min-ha in particular is a wonderfully refreshing romantic lead, as she exudes intelligence, strength, assured elegance, and sexual empowerment to great effect, a far cry from the weak-willed naivety so often exemplified in her contemporaries. While the characterisation doesn’t always strike the correct balance between confident and cocky, playful and mean, Min-ha is still highly charismatic and makes it plain to see how shy director Min-gu could fall so deeply for her.

As their reconciliation develops, many of the conversations involve discussions of art, culture and philosophy as they travel around various picturesque Italian cities. It occasionally becomes a bit implausible as they have a seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of the arts despite having careers in wildly different fields, yet the topics are constantly engaging. Conversations regarding their relationship during their twenties resonate the most by far, especially a key scene in which the reasons behind their separation are discussed. At times however the narrative becomes akin to a series of repetitive vignettes, as the lovers sleep together then visit a gallery, have sex followed by a museum tour, and so on, with the conversations often not continuing across the course of their trip, which is something of a missed opportunity.

Director Park has undoubtedly been influenced by Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise in crafting Twenty Again, which is certainly no bad thing, yet he makes the misstep of referencing the film more than once through the course of the drama. By alluding to its source of inspiration the remarks draw the audience out of the story, instead of letting the film find its own unique voice, which it so clearly has.

Min-ha and Min-gu relish every second of their romantic 'second twenties' together

Min-ha and Min-gu relish every second of their romantic ‘second twenties’ together

Verdict:

Twenty Again is a refreshingly original romantic tale by director Park Heung-sik, as two forty-somethings rekindle a past romance within the beautifully shot locales of Italy. The mature and compelling couple are consistently charismatic, and while  the occasional shortcomings in the script detract from their journey, Twenty Again remains a passionate exploration of love.

★★☆☆☆

Busan International Film Festival (20회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015 Reviews

A Korean in Paris (파리의 한국남자) – ★★☆☆☆

A Korean in Paris (파리의 한국남자)

A Korean in Paris (파리의 한국남자)

Ever since the sudden disappearance of his wife Yeong-wha (Pang Ji-in (팽지인) two years ago in Paris, native Korean Sang-ho (Cho Jaehyun (조재현) has lived homeless on the streets of the capital, hoping to find and bring her home. Each day Sang-ho scours the back alleys of the Parisian underworld fearing she may now be part of the sex trade, showing Yeong-hwa’s picture to prostitutes in his quest for information. Yet despite a frustrating lack of help to find her, Sang-ho refuses to give up.

A Korean in Paris (파리의 한국남자)

A Korean in Paris (파리의 한국남자)

Slow-burning and insightful, director Jeon Soo-il’s A Korean in Paris is a gorgeously shot cross-cultural drama. Featuring keen observations of a Paris that lies beneath the tourist veneer alongside some truly stunning cinematography from Kim Sung-tai, the poetic film is a compelling mystery despite sporadically floundering from lack of impetus and sexual politics that are occasionally found wanting.

A Korean in Paris is a rare breed of drama by director Jeon Soo-il. Independent films from the peninsula often tend to focus on internal socio-cultural issues, yet director Jeon – who studied film direction as well as receiving a Masters and PhD in the French capital – has crafted a keen and insightful examination of Parisian society as told through the eyes of a middle-aged Korean man. It’s a consistently fascinating commentary as director Jeon explores the seedy underbelly beneath the city’s romantic veneer, exposing a rampant sex trade, a homelessness epidemic, and horrible racism towards poverty stricken immigrants. Such bleak subject matter is beautifully, and quite ironically, juxtaposed with the exquisite locations within the capital, captured in glorious fashion by the quality lensing of Kim Sung-tai, that serve as stunning backdrops to a city that is seemingly in decay.

Sang-ho scours the back streets of Paris every night looking for Yeong-wha

Sang-ho scours the back streets of Paris every night looking for Yeong-wha

While very much a slow-burning drama, A Korean in Paris interestingly plays out akin to a mystery as Sang-ho traverses the city looking for any traces of his wife. Through his journey the film notably articulates that many Asian immigrants in Paris find themselves working in the sex trade, as well as the circumstances they endure. As Sang-ho shuffles along the numerous streets lined with prostitutes each night the story becomes somewhat repetitive, while the potential offered by his burgeoning relationship with a Korean prostitute (Lock Mi Kwan (미콴락) is squandered before it truly begins.

Things do pick up however when the narrative employs a flashback sequence revealing the events that led up to Yeong-hwa’s disappearance, conveying eccentricities in her character that raise certain questions and implies that the situation is far from a simple ‘disappearance’ case as previously believed. While the film attempts to avoid concrete answers and let audiences interpret events for themselves, the narrative infers a particular discourse that is rather unenlightened in regards to sexual politics.

Sang-ho lives in the dark underbelly of Paris, within view of the glossy veneer

Sang-ho lives in the dark underbelly of Paris, within view of the glossy veneer

Verdict:

A Korean in Paris is a slow-burning drama that examines the seedy underbelly of the French capital beneath the romantic veneer. While director Jeon Soo-il’s story is keenly insightful and cinematographer Kim Sung-tai lensing is gorgeously composed throughout, the rather repetitive nature of the story and unenlightened sexual politics make the film equal parts perplexing yet fascinating.

★★☆☆☆

Busan International Film Festival (20회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015 Reviews

Ordinary People (소시민) – ★★☆☆☆

Ordinary People (소시민)

Ordinary People (소시민)

Jae-pil is about to have the worst Sunday of his life. From the moment the hapless salaryman wakes up in a grotty motel, he is beset by a host of problems – his bullying manager demands Jaepil ‘massage’ some figures or else lose his job; his estranged wife begins divorce proceedings while filing for custody of their daughter Soo-in; his nagging sister is demanding money to donate to  her church; and he has just become the prime suspect in a murder case. One thing’s for sure – this Sunday is going to be hell.

A humorously dark tale, director Kim Byung-june’s Ordinary People is an entertaining slice of ironic satire that pokes fun at the insane challenges of the everyday salaryman. Striking the tone just right during the first half, the film spirals into theatrical silliness in the second, subverting the intelligent mockery for obvious gags.

Aside from a rather oddly dramatic preface during the opening credits, Ordinary People begins in promising fashion as director Kim explores the insanity within the mundane tasks bestowed upon the middle-aged Korean office worker. Using central protagonist Jae-pil as a cypher, he piles on the absurd stresses such employees endure with an impressively dark and often subtle wit, balancing the tone well between realism and farce as Jae-pil is pushed to breaking point. The title perfectly reflects director Kim’s brand of humour – these characters and events are indeed ‘ordinary’ in the lives of many Koreans yet there is a comedic ridiculousness to it all that he works hard to emphasise.

Jae-pil is told to 'massage' some figures for his company

Jae-pil is told to ‘massage’ some figures for his company

However, just as with this year’s other darkly satirical film (and Jeonju Film Festival winner) Alice in Earnestland, Ordinary People takes an ill-advised turn at the halfway mark. Through a misunderstanding in an apparent murder case Jae-pil is considered a suspect, from which the events and characters all suddenly descend into farcical comedy the likes of which wouldn’t be out of place on a Korean ‘gag concert’ TV show. The dry and ironic humour of the first hour comes undone as the Jae-pil’s situation comes increasingly ludicrous and the acting evermore theatrical, culminating in the eye-rolling introduction of colourful chubby gangster trio the Bear Brothers. Director Kim is certainly aware as his protagonists recount how bizarre the events have become, yet it continues to escalate until the film reaches its overly long conclusion with trite melodrama.

While the introduction to the characters and their relationships are in need of tightening, both Jae-pil and his sister are great devices through which to explore the stresses of contemporary Koreans. Jae-pil is a likeable protagonist and one who the audience genuinely want to succeed despite his occasionally frustrating whiny impotence to his problems. His sister, however, is largely pushed to the margins of the story, a real missed opportunity as her role as an intelligent journalist who quit due to marriage could have provided further great ironic satire from a female perspective, as well as offered a fun counterpoint to Jae-pil’s misadventures.

The situation escalates when Jae-pil finds himself in trouble with the law

The situation escalates when Jae-pil finds himself in trouble with the law

Verdict:

Director Kim Byung-june’s Ordinary People begins in darkly satirical fashion through ironic jokes at an average salaryman’s expense, yet following such a promising opening the film missteps into absurd theatrical comedy at the halfway point before ending with trite melodrama. Yet the potential displayed in the first half means Kim’s future films are ones to watch out for.

★★☆☆☆

Busan International Film Festival (20회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015 Reviews

BIFF 2015: Hidden Masterpieces of the 1960s

BIFF 2015

BIFF 2015

As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) will play host to a special series of screenings entitled Korean Cinema Retrospective: Hidden Masterpieces of the 1960s.

With hostilities between the two Koreas resulting in a truce 1953 and the South’s subsequent emphatic drive for redevelopment, the ’60s proved to be a burgeoning period for cinema with filmmakers producing an average of 200 films per year.

This period of modernisation is to be celebrated by screening 8 of the lesser known films from the decade, some of which were considered lost for all time until a discovery earlier this year by a travelling film operator unearthed 450 sought after classics. His donation of the film reels to the Korean Film Archive has resulted in filling in many of the gaps of Korea’s cinematic heritage which, after restoration, can finally be experienced on the big screen.

Below are the films in the Hidden Masterpieces program to be screened at BIFF, two of which can be viewed on the Korean Film Archive’s youtube channel.

Hidden Masterpieces of the 1960s

A Bloodthirsty Killer (살인마) (1965)

Director Lee Yong-min (이용민)

A Bloodthirsty Killer

A Bloodthirsty Killer

Classic K-horror A Bloodthirsty Killer uses the genre to explore the social and cultural issues of the era. Aeja is a cheerful and content woman living a comfortable existence with her husband, yet her happiness inspires incredible jealousy in those around her resulting in her murder at the hands of her mother-in-law and niece. Following Aeja’s untimely death, strange things begin occurring as her spirit returns from the grave seeking revenge.

The film blends Eastern and Western generic conventions in depicting the new affluent classes emerging in the ’60s, and the subsequent jealousy of those less fortunate.

Jealousy of the emerging affluence in the '60s is a key theme

Jealousy of the emerging affluence in the ’60s is a key theme

The Body Confession (육체의 고백) (1964)

Director Jo Keung-ha (조긍하)

The Body Confession

The Body Confession

The role of women in 1960s Korea was fraught to say the least, but for single mothers it was extremely taxing. The Body Confession examines the life of a middle-aged mother of three daughters living in Busan, who will do anything to see that her children receive the best of everything in life. To do so, she secretly works as a madam at a brothel, sacrificing all she has for her family’s wellbeing. Yet with troubles beginning to arise for each daughter she struggles to cope.

The Body Confession is in many ways a companion piece for last year’s Ode To My Father, but from a female perspective and with far more depth.

To watch The Body Confession online, click here.

The fraught existence of a single mother is examined

The fraught existence of a single mother is examined

The Cash Is Mine (현금은 내 것이다) (1965)

Director Lee Sang-eon (이상언)

The Cash Is Mine

The Cash Is Mine

The Cash Is Mine is an early noir gangster film and, as Nameless Gangster and  Gangnam Blues more recently explored, depicts the criminal underworld as an instrumental part of Korea’s development.

When local gangster Young-jun kills an old man at the behest of his syndicate, he comes to feel an enormous burden of guilt. With detectives closing in on him, Young-jun’s desire to make amends results in taking care of the old man’s daughter Eun-joo, protecting her despite great personal risk. Can he be both criminal and saviour, as well as evade incarceration for his transgression?

Rivals meet in this early noir crime thriller

Rivals meet in this early noir crime thriller

The DMZ (비무장지대) (1965)

Director Park Sang-ho (박상호)

The DMZ

The DMZ

The DMZ was long thought lost until its sudden discovery in 2006. Amazingly the film was shot on location – a dangerous prospect at the time – with the permission of the U.S. 8th Army and the Military Armistice Commission, and carries a strong anti-war message.

The war drama follows two young children who become lost in the DMZ due to moving from the constant battles between North and South. As they walk around the perilous environment they are exposed to the horrors of war, witnessing corpses and weapons of destruction, as they attempt to survive on rations they occasionally find.

Two children become lost in the DMZ during conflict

Two children become lost in the DMZ during conflict

The Door of the Body (육체의 문) (1965)

Director Lee Bong-rae (이봉래)

The Door of the Body

The Door of the Body

The Door of the Body explores feminist issues from a unique perspective, as rather than succumb to roles of ‘the wife’ or ‘the mother’ the lead protagonist wishes to use the growing liberal attitude of the era to become a businesswoman.

Arriving in Seoul from the country, Eun-sook sets her vision on owning her own beauty salon and begins working as a masseuse and prostitute to generate the required capitol, which she wisely invests in stocks and shares. Yet when Eun-sook falls in love with a con artist he manages to cheat her out of all her savings, leaving the young woman destitute and forced to find another way to achieve her dream.

A woman strives for independence during the tough era

A woman strives for independence during the tough era

The General’s Mustache (장군의 수염) (1968)

Director Lee Seong-gu (이성구)

The General's Mustache

The General’s Mustache

A real rarity in 1960s Korean film, The General’s Mustache blends live action detective drama with animated sequences, highlighting the advancements being made in the industry at the time.

When young photographer Kim Chul-woon is discovered dead in suspicious circumstances, two detectives are assigned to the case though answers prove elusive. Tracking one particular lead take the investigative team to a novelist, who informs them Chul-woon was writing a story called ‘The General’s Mustache’ as well as revealing that he was in a passionately intense relationship with a girl.

To watch The General’s Mustache online, click here.

The mystery of the man's death deepens when his relationship is revealed

The mystery deepens when the dead man’s relationship is revealed

Trees Stand on Slope (나무들 비탈에 서다) (1968)

Director Choi Ha-won (최하원)

Trees Stand on Slope

Trees Stand on Slope

Trees Stand on Slope is arguably the big film in the program, as it’s one of the 450 films recently rediscovered and donated to the Korean Film Archive, now finally restored and ready to be experienced on the big screen.

The story, based on Hwang Sun-won’s novel, is a violent tale of jealousy, revenge and guilt examining issues from the Korean War. Envious of the love between best friend Dong-ho and his girlfriend Suk, Hyun-tae arranges a secret night with a prostitute while Suk is away. Beside himself with remorse, Dong-ho does the unthinkable which sends Hyun-tae into a downward spiral that sees him commit heinous acts of criminality.

Trees

Jealousy proves the be the downfall of three close friends

When Night Falls at Myeongdong (명동에 밤이 오면) (1964)

Director Lee Hyung-pyo (이형표)

When Night Falls at Myeongdong

When Night Falls at Myeongdong

Issues faced by women in Seoul are portrayed within When Night Falls at Myeongdong, a film that examined the gender imbalances in the capital as it dramatically became one of the most affluent in Asia.

In the bars of Myeongdong are scores of young attractive women, all of whom are waiting to find a handsome and rich suitor to marry and take them away from their miserable existence of drinking with strangers. One such woman is especially popular due to her incredible beauty, although she is notorious for being picky. Yet when a bank manager arrives one night and they hit it off, she may well have found her path to freedom.

Temptations arise in the bars of Myeongdong

Temptations arise in the bars of Myeongdong

Busan International Film Festival (20회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015