Im Kwon-taek Retrospective Poster

BIFF 2013: Fly High, Run Far: The Making of Korean Master Im Kwon-taek

The 18th Busan International Film Festival

The 18th Busan International Film Festival

Director Im Kwon-taek (임권택) has long been recognised as one of the most significant contributors within the Korean film industry, helming 101 films since his career began in 1936. At this year’s 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), director Im is due to be honoured with a special hand-printing ceremony and a staggering retrospective that includes 71 of his films.

Fly High, Run Far: The Making of Korean Master Im Kwon-taek is a special program dedicated to the master director. In an unprecedented move and to accommodate so many films, the retrospective will begin on September 23rd – a full 10 days before BIFF officially begins.

Im Kwon-taek Retrospective Poster

Im Kwon-taek Retrospective Poster

The screenings are due to take place at the futuristic Busan Cinema Center, with the retrospective opening with 1981’s Mandala (만다라), often cited as director Im’s breakthrough film. From his early black and white work in the 1960s through to his more recent output in 2010 the celebration chronicles the director’s career, however as some films have either been lost or suffered decay unfortunately not all 101 films can be showcased.  The event will also feature a number of special guest visits from high profile filmmakers, actors and academics at selective showings. The retrospective is co-hosted by the Korean Film Archive, Busan International Film Festival, Dongseo University Im Kwon Taek Film Archive, and Busan Cinema Center. For the full listing of the program, please see the official Busan Cinema Center website here (Korean).

During the festival itself 9 of director Im’s films will be screened. Guest visits by film professionals including Lee Chang-dong, Hong Sang-soo Kim Tae-yong and more will also occur during BIFF. Please see below for a profile of each film.

Fly High, Run Far: The Making of Korean Master Im Kwon-taek

Chunhyang (춘향뎐)

Chunhyang (춘향뎐)

Chunhyang (춘향뎐) – (2000)

Based on the classic Korean tale (most recently made as erotic drama The Servant (방자전)), director Im infuses his version with traditional Korean pansori (folk performance). The story depicts lovers Chunhyang and Mongryong who are separated, yet when Chunhyang is tortured by a corrupt official, Mongryong comes back for revenge.

Come, Come, Come Upward (아제아제 바라아제)

Come, Come, Come Upward (아제아제 바라아제)

Come, Come, Come Upward (아제아제 바라아제) – (1989)

The different paths taken by two Buddhist nuns on their quest for enlightenment are the subject of this 1989 classic. While one nun seeks it through inner practices, the other searches amongst other people, with both enduring hardships on their journeys.

Fly High, Run Far (개벽)

Fly High, Run Far (개벽)

Fly High, Run Far (개벽) – (1991)

Set during the Joseon Dynasty in the mid-19th century, Fly High, Run Far depicts a land in turmoil as the new religion of Donghak is embraced by the people yet rejected by the aristocracy. Following the execution of Donghak’s founder a new leader emerges, yet he quickly discovers the hardships of his new position within the royal court.

The General’s Son (장군의 아들)

The General’s Son (장군의 아들)

The General’s Son (장군의 아들) – (1990)

A rare action film by director Im. The story  explores the ramifications of a fight between Korean theater worker Doo-han and a Japanese student during 1930s occupied Korea. When Doo-han becomes something of a national hero after his victory, consequences emerge.

Mismatched Nose (짝코)

Mismatched Nose (짝코)

Mismatched Nose (짝코) – (1980)

In this 1980 classic, director Im blurs the boundaries between societal notions of good and bad. When a former police officer finds himself in difficult times and is forced to become a tramp, he discovers a criminal he pursued is also in the same situation when they meet at a homeless shelter.

Seize the Precious Sword (삼국대협)

Seize the Precious Sword (삼국대협)

Seize the Precious Sword (삼국대협) – (1972)

The oldest film in the retrospective, the film depicts a swordsman who travels to Japan with his two warrior friends on a singular mission – to find and return a Korean national treasure.

Seopyeonje (서편제)

Seopyeonje (서편제)

Seopyeonje (서편제)(1993)

One of director Im’s most famous films, Seopyeonje employs traditional Korean pansori in his melodrama about a reunited brother and sister, and the tragedies that befall a Korean community. Set against a backdrop of beautiful landscapes the film is an enduring classic and was a huge box office success, even gaining an invitation to the Cannes Film Festival.

Ticket (티켓)

Ticket (티켓)

Ticket (티켓)(1986)

In this somewhat controversial film, director Im explores the lives of coffee girls who work in a seaside town. As well as coffee the women provide extra sexual services euphemistically called ‘a ticket.’ The shocking and occasionally brutal treatment the women endure exposes one of the darker areas of Korean society.

Village in the Mist (안개마을)

Village in the Mist (안개마을)

Village in the Mist (안개마을) – (1982)

Sexuality and desire are explored in director Im’s Village in the Mist. The film tells the story of Seoulite Soo-ock who travels to the countryside to teach at an elementary school. Yet she is shocked to discover a sexual connection between the local vagabond and the women in the village, even though all the men claim he is impotent.

Advertisements
Busan International Film Festival (제18회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Festivals 2013
The 18th Busan International Film Festival

BIFF 2013: The 18th Busan International Film Festival

The 18th Busan International Film Festival

The 18th Busan International Film Festival

Preparations are well underway for the 18th Busan International Film Festival  (BIFF), which is due to take place from the 3rd to the 12th of October.

BIFF 2013 will feature a staggering 300 films from 70 countries, with 136 of those world and/or international premieres.

Amongst returning categories including ‘Gala Presentation‘, ‘New Currents‘, ‘Korean Cinema Today‘, and so forth, are a number of special programs for cineastes.

Fly High, Run Far: The Making of Korean Master Im Kwon-taek‘ is an incredible retrospective for the filmmaking giant. Director Im has helmed an unbelievable 101 films during his career, and to celebrate his contribution to the film industry BIFF 2013 will screen a whopping 71 of his films as well as conduct a hand-printing ceremony in his honour. To accommodate so many films, and in an unprecedented move, the retrospective will begin 10 days early as well as feature a host of guest speakers ranging from film professionals to academics at the screenings.

Meanwhile ‘Park Chul-soo Special Commemoration: Eternal Movie Youth‘ is a celebration of the films of director Park who tragically died earlier this year. Five of the director’s films are due to be screened, including the world premiere of Green Chair 2013 – Love Conceptually (녹색의자2013-러브 컨셉츄얼리), the posthumous release of his last production.

Additionally, ‘Rogues, Rebels and Romantics: A Season of Irish Cinema‘ is a recognition of the filmic output from the Emerald Isle, which also sees director Jim Sheridan get the hand-printing treatment alongside the screening of two of his most famous films. A little closer to home, ‘The Unknown New Wave of Central Asian Cinema‘ champions eight forgotten masterpieces from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Please see below for the serene BIFF 2013 trailer.

BIFF 2013 will also open the festival with Bhutanese drama Vara: A Blessing by director/Buddhist monk Khyentse Norbu – the first film hailing from outside of Korea or China to do so in the festival’s history. BIFF 2013 will close with Korean film The Dinner (만찬) by director Kim Dong-hyun (김동현), his third film and his latest since 2005’s A Shark (상어).

Opening Film

Vara: A Blessing (Bhutan)

Vara: A Blessing

Vara: A Blessing

Vara: A Blessing is director/Buddhist monk Khyentse Norbu’s third film, adapted from the Indian short story ‘Rakta Aar Kanna’ (Blood and Tears) by Sunil Gangopadhyay. The film interprets the Indian dance Bharatanatyam through a forbidden love between a young couple. Featuring Buddhist themes of truth-seeking and the path to enlightenment, Vara depicts the story of Lila, a young woman learning the traditional dance from her mother, who falls in love with poor sculptor Shyam. While Shyam worships Lila as a goddess and she in turn imagines him as Lord Krishna, their relationship becomes extremely problematic when Subha, the village leader, objects to their union.

Closing Film

The Dinner (만찬) (Korea)

The Dinner (만찬)

The Dinner (만찬)

Director Kim Dong-hyun explores the modern Korean family in his latest film. Each member of the family struggles with various burdens involving work and family, yet financial concerns are the chief cause of stress for them all. Despite such hardships, the elderly father wishes to treat his wife with a meal of hamburgers for her birthday, something she has never tried before. Yet as the day wears on it becomes increasingly apparent that none of their three children have either remembered nor planned anything for their mother’s special day, as they are so caught up in their own circumstances. When even greater tragedy threatens them, they must learn to cope with their burdens as a family.

For more information from the official BIFF 2013 website, please click here.

Busan International Film Festival (제18회 부산국제영화제) Festival News Korean Festivals 2013