Warm After All (짐작보다 따뜻하게) – ★★☆☆☆

Warm After All (짐작보다 따뜻하게)

Warm After All (짐작보다 따뜻하게)

Dubbing actress Eun-kyeong (Lee Sun (이선) is a successful artist, yet a struggling single mother. Her teenage son Hoon (Kim Yu-bin (김유빈) shows little regard for his mother’s concerns, staying out late at PC cafes instead of coming home and eating lovingly prepared meals. Sun-kyeong’s stress about the issue becomes so fervent that insomnia arises and begins to effect her work, causing anxiety amongst her colleagues. Strangely however, ex-husband Sang-min (Im Hak-soon (임학순) has a good relationship with Hoon, and the two work together to plan a birthday surprise for Eun-kyeong. Yet when Eun-kyeong’s health takes a turn for the worst Sang-min is compelled to return, forcing them to confront the issues in their relationship.

Sensitively composed and particularly timely, director Lee Sang-min’s Warm After All is heartfelt film exploring the nature of love, tragedy and trauma. Through Eun-kyeong, an intelligent, successful and attractive career woman who seemingly has it all, director Lee interrogates the manner in which emotional and psychological anguish can manifest during the healing process without the proper support. The film is very much a gentle character study, with actress Lee Sun’s compelling performance inferring the depth of Eun-kyeong’s suffering potently as well as providing an absorbing and resonating emotional narrative core.

Ex-husband Sang-min plans a birthday surprise for Eun-kyeong with son Hoon

Ex-husband Sang-min plans a birthday surprise for Eun-kyeong with son Hoon

While the first half of Warm After All interestingly explores Eun-kyeong’s – and to a lesser extent ex-husband Sang-min’s – psychological disposition, the narrative takes an excessive amount of time to reach what is ultimately a rather predictable plot device. Wisely director Lee employs it around the halfway point and from there the film gains more traction and poignancy as the divorced couple support each other during the healing process, conveying their frailties through well-framed shots and the effective use of beautiful Jeju Island landscapes.

Yet rather than deeply explore the internal conflicts and hardships plaguing them, or the ways in which the estranged couple come to accept and deal with reality, Warm After All instead portrays Eun-kyeong and Sang-min’s path to stability somewhat romantically which is a misstep. Certain scenes, notably that of Sang-min’s preparation of a tent for Eun-kyeong while she sleeps, are tenderly crafted and moving, however in skipping over the depths of such a pivotal and central theme the overall power and emotional resonance of the narrative is significantly lessened.

Eun-kyeong struggles to cope with the issues that plague her

Eun-kyeong struggles to cope with the issues that plague her

Verdict:

Warm After All is a sensitive and timely drama about love, tragedy and anguish by director Lee Sang-min. The film depicts emotional and psychological trauma with sincerity although only manages to become truly engaging at the half way stage, yet even then struggles to explore the depths of trauma and the healing process. Warm After All is an affecting yet slight examination of love and loss.

★★☆☆☆

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16th Jeonju International Film Festival (제16회 전주국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015 Reviews

Jeonju Int. Film Festival 2015 – Hot Picks

The 16th Jeonju Int. Film Festival

The 16th Jeonju Int. Film Festival

The 16th Jeonju International Film Festival, which will run from April 30th through to May 9th, has unveiled the full lineup of Korean and foreign films to be screened.

In terms of Korean cinema, in addition to the already previously announced Korean Competition and Korean Competition for Shorts that features new and emerging talent, films from the peninsula will feature within Korean Cinemascape and Korean Cinemascape for Shorts, as well as in other select programs.

With so many independent productions from which to choose, selecting quality films can be somewhat of a daunting task. As such, here are Hanguk Yeonghwa’s Hot Picks for the upcoming festival.

Jeonju Digital Project 2015

Samnye (삼례) – Director Lee Hyun-jung (이현정)

Samnye

Samnye

Director Lee’s previous JIFF film, Echo of Dragon, appeared in the 2013 Korean Competition and proved her art-house sensibilities. Samnye tells the story of a struggling screenwriter, who meets a charming yet strange girl. Art cinema fans should definitely take a look.

Snow Paths (설행 눈길을 걷다) – Director Kim Hee-jung (김희정)

Snow Paths

Snow Paths

Described by JIFF Head Programmer KIM Young-jin as, “undervalued in the Korean film industry,” director Kim (Grape Candy) returns with Snow Paths, a film exploring the life of an alcoholic seeking solace in the mountains who befriends a nun.

Korea Cinemascape

Black Stone (블랙스톤) – Director Roh Gyeong-tae (노경태)

Black Stone

Black Stone

Black Stone premiered at Rotterdam earlier this year. A Korean/French co-production, the film depicts highly controversial issues in contemporary Korea, involving inter-racial families and abuses within the Korean military.

Death in Desert (붉은 낙타) – Director No Zin-soo (노진수)

Death In Desert

Death In Desert

Director No has been busy recently with Total Messed Family (JIFF 2013), The Suffered (JIFF 2014), and The Maidroid (Yubari Fantastic Festival 2015). With Death in Desert, he explores an obsessive relationship between a couple who just can’t let go of each other.

Made in China (메이드 인 차이나) – Director Kim Dong-hoo (김동후)

Made In China

Made In China

There’s been plenty of buzz around the Kim Ki-duk produced Made in China, which premiered at Tokyo in 2014. Featuring stars Park Ki-woong and Han Chae-ah, the story involves a Chinese eel farmer and a cold-hearted Korean food inspector.

Speed (스피드) – Director Lee Sang-woo (이상우)

Speed

Speed

Director Lee is notorious for tackling controversial subject matter within his films, as exemplified by Mother is a Whore, Barbie, and Fire in Hell. Following short film Exit at JIFF 2013, he returns with Speed, a tale of four friends whose lives are intertwined.

Trap (덫, 치명적인 유혹) – Director Bong Man-dae (봉만대)

Trap

Trap

Director Bong’s Han River premiered at Busan 2014 to praise for exploring suicide with dark comedy. With Trap, a miserable screenwriter travels to an inn to finish a script, yet falls for the charms of a seductive teenage girl with increasingly dark ambitions.

Korea Cinemascape for Shorts

The Running Actress (여배우는 오늘도) – Director Moon So-ri (문소리)

The Running Actress

The Running Actress

Legendary actress Moon So-ri steps behind the camera for The Running Actress, a 24 minute short film. In it, Moon plays a woman trying to balance domestic life and hardships while attempting to forge a career on screen.

Outdoor Screening

Like a French Movie (프랑스 영화처럼) – Director Shin Yeon-shik (신연식)

Like a French Movie

Like a French Movie

Director Shin has a rare ability to helm films both mainstream (Rough Play) and artistic (The Avian Kind, The Russian Novel). In Like a French Movie, which seems to be one of the director’s artistic endeavours, the protagonists all embody the traits of characters within a French film.

For more information of the films playing at Jeonju International Film Festival, please follow the link here.

16th Jeonju International Film Festival (제16회 전주국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015

Jeonju Int. Film Festival Announces ‘Korean Competition’ Finalists

The 16th Jeonju Int. Film Festival

The 16th Jeonju Int. Film Festival

Jeonju International Film Festival (JIFF) has announced the ten films that will form the ‘Korean Competition’ category.

The finalists were chosen from an incredible 118 submissions, and all of which are world premieres. In terms of genre, nine of the selected films are fiction while one is a documentary. Interestingly, three of the finalists come from the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) and Dangook University’s Graduate School of Cinematic Content, with the remaining seven arriving from independent film distribution companies.

The ten finalists will compete for the Grand Prize, CGV Arthouse Award Distribution Support, and the CGV Arthouse Award Upcoming Project Support, respectively.

For the full line-up of Korean feature films within the category, as well as select stills that have been released, please see below.

Alice In Earnestland

Alice In Earnestland

1. Unconfessional (Director Choi Ingyu) [87min | color]

2. The Romance Of A Mediocre Actress And A Short Bald Man (Directors Park Youngim and KimJoung Min-woo) [74min | b&w]

3. Waiting For The Snow (Director Jang Heechul) [99min | color]

Island

Island

4. Alice In Earnestland (Director Ahn Goocjin) [87min | color]

5. To Be Sixteen (Director Kim Hyunseung) [115min | color]

Warmer Than Expected

Warmer Than Expected

6. Island (Director Park Jinseong) [105min | color]

7. Stay With Me (Director Lee Jinwoo) [98min | color]

Coinlocker

Coinlocker

8. Warmer Than Expected (Director Lee Sangmin) [98min | color]

9. With Or Without You (Director Park Hyeokji) [92min | color]

10. Coinlocker (Director Kim Tea-kyung) [95min | color]

The 16th Jeonju International Film Festival will take place from April 30th ~ May 9th.

16th Jeonju International Film Festival (제16회 전주국제영화제) Festival News Korean Film Festivals 2015