London Korean Film Festival 07

London Korean Film Festival 07

A dazzling showcase of Korean cinema, The London Korean Film Festival 07 spotlights the quality and diversity of Korean film and offers a cinematic insight into contemporary Korean culture.

Opening with Cannes 2007 favourite Breath (Soom) from acclaimed director Kim Ki-duk, the festival includes classics from the Korean Film Archive, a day of Korean Animation for all the family, the best Korean films of recent years plus a retrospective of the work of superstar director Park Chan-wook who will be attending the festival.

Highlights of this year’s festival will then be screened as the London Korean Film Festival 07 on Tour, visiting Warwick from 9 to 11 November and then Oxford from 12 to 14 November. Visit for details.

Friday 2 November
7.30pm – Opening Gala Special Preview – Breath (Soom) (12A*) (Korea 2007 Dir. Kim Ki-duk 84 min) with introduction from special guest Ambassador Dr Cho Yoon-je of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea
The latest film from the acclaimed director of Spring Summer Autumn Winter and Spring, Palm d’Or nominee Breath garnered a 10 minute standing ovation on its premiere in Cannes. This gentle, offbeat love story centres on the quirky relationship between bored housewife and budding interior decorator Yeon and her unusual new best friend, suicidal death row prisoner Jang Jin. A beautiful and touching film that cements Kim Ki-duk’s status as a master filmmaker. With thanks to Tartan Films.

Saturday 3 November
Korean Animation Day!
A fun-filled family day of animated movies, music and activities for children, focusing on Korean Animation.

11:00am – Family Film Club – The Great Pig Pirate MATEO (Nal-eu-neun daejee Hae-jeok MATEO) (U) (Korea 2004 Dir. Song Geun-Sik 85 min) preceded by drop-in workshop 10.30am
In a world where pigs really can fly and pirates rule the air, Mateo follows the Pirate Code to the letter. Trouble is, he’s not very good at being bad! When a renegade princess with a map to royal treasure crosses his path, Mateo and his gang must decide what’s more important – being famous pirates or saving their world! Korean with English Subtitles – subtitles will be read aloud by an actor.
1.00pm – Yeuwoobi (Yobi The Five Tailed Fox) (PG) (Korea 2007 Dir. Lee Seong-gang 85 min) preceded by a special performance of music from Yeuwoobi by celebrated Korean composer Yang Bang-ean
This imaginative feature from award winning director Lee Seong-gang is a beautiful study of the trials of growing up and fitting in. When 10-year-old Yeuwoobi discovers that she is actually a five tailed fox spirit and not a young girl at all, she begins a quest to become a real human. But with the evil ‘Shadow’ trying to capture her, she doesn’t have much time! Korean with English subtitles.
3.15pm – Empress Chung (Wang-hoo sim-cheong) (PG) (Korea 2005 Dir. Nelson Shin 85 min)
This vivid musical animation looks like a cross between Anime and the best of Disney. In it, a secret empress living as a country girl tries everything to save her father’s eyesight, even allowing a sea monster to take her captive in his submarine castle. This gorgeous fairy-tale is the first joint cinematic success from South and North Korea, and has enchanted audiences worldwide. Korean with English subtitles.

Saturday 3 November
6.15pm – Family Ties (Gajokeui tansaeng) (12A) (South Korea 2006 Dir. Kim Tae-yong 113 min)
In Family Ties, award winner Kim Tae-yong tells three intertwining stories from members of the same dysfunctional family. Mira’s quiet and orderly life gets turned upside-down by a series of unexpected house guests, including her troubled brother and his new wife. Meanwhile Sunkyung is having trouble coming to terms with her estranged mother’s terminal illness. In the final act, both strands intersect with dramatic results for this bittersweet observation of suburban family life.

Saturday 3 November
8.45pm – Time (Shi gan) (15) (South Korea 2006 Dir. Kim Ki-duk 97 min)
In this pervasive film, a desperately insecure young woman undergoes radical plastic surgery in an attempt to transform herself into what she assumes is her partner’s ideal woman. However, her shocking metamorphosis takes a sinister turn when she begins to alter more than just her looks. Director Kim Ki-duk’s fascinating study of personal neuroses will haunt audiences long after the final credits roll.

Sunday 4 November
6.00pm – Forbidden Quest (Eumranseosaeng) (18) (South Korea 2006 Dir. Kim Dae-woo 139 min)
Intrigued by an erotic novel, aristocrat Kim Yoon-Suh decides to write his own, based on the torrid affair he is having with Jeong-bin, the King’s favourite concubine. The author commissions voyeuristic illustrations from the police chief Gwang-heon which guarantees the salacious tome’s popularity. However, it’s not long before Jeong Bin sees it and, scandalised, plots a fitting revenge on her deceitful lover. A witty, provocative directorial debut.

Sunday 4 November
8.45pm – The King and The Clown (Wang-ui namja) (15) (South Korea 2005 Dir. Lee Joon-ik 119 min)
Set in the early 16th century, Lee Joon-ik’s stunning film follows two acrobatic clowns, who find themselves in dire trouble after staging a play that satires the current monarchy. Summoned to the court to perform, their situation becomes more dangerous when the tyrannical King develops and obsessive attraction to one of the pair. With Kam Woo-Seong and rising star Lee Joon-ki.

Monday 5 November
Korean Film Archive Screenings
Two classics of Korean Cinema, rarely seen in the UK, screened with kind permission from the Korean Film Archive.
6.30pm – My Mother & Her Guest (Sarangbang sonnimgwa eomeoni) (12A*) (South Korea 1961 Dir. Shin Sang-ok 103 min)
Shin Sang-ok’s masterpiece centres around young girl Oak-hee and her extended family. Moments of poignancy cut through quirky humour when Shin’s focus is the socially taboo attraction between Oak-hee’s widow mother (Shin’s wife Choi Eun-hee) and their artist lodger. In 1978 Shin and his wife were kidnapped by Kim Jong-il to revitalise North Korea’s film industry, but escaped while in Vienna in 1986.
8.45pm – Madame Freedom (Jayubuin) (12A*) (South Korea 1956. Dir. Han Hyeong-mo 125 min)
Highly controversial but extremely popular, Han Hyeong-mo’s classic is one of the great landmark films of South Korea, providing a template for the melodramas for which Korea has become so widely known. Based on a series published in the 1954 Seoul Shinmun newspaper, Madame Freedom explores society’s reactions to a conservative middle-class couple who begin to see different people as their lives become more westernised.

Tuesday 6 November
6.00pm – A Dirty Carnival (Biyeolhan geori) (18) (South Korea 2006 Dir. Yoo Ha 141 min)
This noirish thriller follows young hood Byung-doo, forced to enter a life of organised crime to provide support for his family. When boss Hwang offers him a job that would give his family financial independence, Byung-doo wrestles with his need to make fast money and his desire for an honest life. A mesmerising performance from one of Korea’s leading actors Jo In-Seong, and superb direction from Yoo Ha.

Tuesday 6 November
8.45pm – War of the Flower (Tajja) (15) (South Korea 2006 Dir. Choi Dong-hoon 139 min)
When hard-core gambler Go-nee (Cho Seung-woo) is swindled out of his sister’s savings by group of fraudulent gamblers, he persuades retired master Mr. Pyeong to train him to be the best slicker in the business to get the money back. Arguably one of the most sophisticated and stylish recent Korean films, War of the Flower became an instant hit with home audiences.

Wednesday 7 November
Retrospective: Park Chan-wook
A celebration of the work of the renowned Korean filmmaker, with films specially chosen for the festival by Park Chan-wook, who will also be in attendance at the screenings.
6.15pm – Sympathy For Mr Vengeance (Boksuneun naui geot) (18) (South Korea 2002 Dir. Park Chan-wook 121 min)
Unable to provide a kidney for his gravely ill sister, deaf mute Ryu makes an horrific black market deal that sets him on a brutal path of violence and revenge which leaves no one connected untouched. This emotionally complex tale of good intentions gone wrong is a brilliant, emotionally resonant study of desperate actions and their devastating repercussions.
8.45pm – Lady Vengeance (Chinjeolhan geumjassi) (18) (South Korea 2006 Dir. Park Chan-wook 112 min)
After 13 years in prison, notorious teen- killer Geum-ja (Lee Young-ae) sets out to confront the man who framed her, but unearths a more horrific truth whilst searching for atonement for her part in the death of a kidnapped boy. As lady Vengeance’s brilliantly conceived flashbacks play out, this spellbinding thriller keeps us guessing right up until its stomach-churning conclusion.

Thursday 8 November
7.30pm – Closing Gala Special Preview – I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK (Saibogujiman kwenchana) (12A) (South Korea 2006 Dir. Park Chan-wook 105 min) plus Barbican ScreenTalk with Park Chan-wook
Park Chan-wook’s newest film is a departure in style from the vengeance trilogy that made him both a household name and a critical success. Im Soo-jeong (A Tale of Two Sisters) and Asian mega-star Rain star in this visually delightful musical romance, which flits neatly between fantasy and reality as it charts the touching relationship between oddball residents of a Korean mental hospital. Barbican Film delighted to welcome Park Chan-wook for a special Barbican ScreenTalk following the gala screening of his new film. With thanks to Tartan Films

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