After the sheer excitement of seeing SHINee earlier on it the day, we had an hour or two to calm down and collect our thoughts. SHINee fans, who had tickets for the film, immediately queued up outside the cinema again to ensure they had the best seats – those nearest to the idols. The concert finished around 5.30pm, and we were let into the cinema at around 6.45pm. Admittedly, we did walk faster than we had to into the cinema, as we too wanted to be able to site near the idols. When we got in, we found that much of the back centre part of the cinema was reserved for VIPs (namely those involved with the LKFF, SHINee, and press). We sat down near the front, and had a superb view of the screen (Screen 2 at Odeon West End is very comfortable and the layout is very good if you were ever thinking about seeing something there).
Once all the public was seated, SHINee came in to sit down. Most of the audience turned around to take a peek at them, and once more cameras were taken out.
After everyone calmed down a bit, the audience was welcomed to the first film screening of the London Korean Film Festival.
After we were welcomed, a trailer over viewing all the upcoming Korean films in the festival was shown. After watching it, we definitely all want to see more films in the festival.
War of the Arrow started with two young siblings running for their lives as they and their father were both chased down by the army for treason. The younger of the two siblings, JaIn (the girl), fell while an Alsatian looking dog hurtled towards her. Just as we thought it was too late for the little girl we heard the swish and saw the first appearance of an arrow. JaIn was saved by her father! The father then declared to the older sibling, NaMi (the boy), that he would now act as father to his sister. NaMi would protect JaIn till the every end. With an opening scene so full of action and emotion, it prepares the audience for a film experience like no other. Where the war rages on until the very end, and the weapons used are not the guns of modern wars, but the swords, and bows and arrows of the olden days. In the setting of this film, life or death depended on the skill of the warrior or fighter.
13 years had passed since the death of their father and JaIn had grown into a beautiful woman ready to marry. NaMi on the other hand had abandoned school and become somewhat disillusioned with life, always thinking about the title of ‘traitor’ that his family had. He had trained in the art of the bow to become a very skilful archer, but goes about life drinking and brawling. Reluctantly, he accepts the fact that his sister is to be married, and for a short while, life goes well. Until the wedding day. All hell breaks loose, NaMi is shot and JaIn is kidnapped by the invading Manchurians. Returning to the village he once called home, NaMi searched for his sister only to find a single shoe he had given her the previous morning before her wedding. Realising that she was taken hostage, the words of their father resounds inside NaMi as he goes on a man hunt across Joseon to get his only family back. Along the way north, he makes a name for himself by killing off any on the Manchurians he finds after getting any information he can on the whereabouts of his sister and the Royal Carriage that took her. The hunter has become the hunted.
Throughout the film I found myself sympathising with NaMi, JaIn and eventually SuKoon (JaIn’s husband). The way they struggled to grow up in a world that thought they were scum because their father was accused of treason made their relationship with each other all the more important because they were the only ones who knew how it felt, what it took for them to grow up in that kind of environment. They encouraged me to never give up and to face my fears head on because that is the only way you can move on. War of the Arrow has a way of drawing the viewer into the film! It captures our attention and keeps it from the very beginning to the very end. There are not many films I have seen that have kept me so interested and wanting to find out what happens next. That has made me laugh at the most random of times and yet left me feeling encouraged and slightly enlightened the next minute. This is a film I will definitely recommend to anyone who would be interested in the classic way of fighting where skill was more important than how much ammo you had.
War of the Arrow is a great film to watch, and one I would love to watch again and again. I think that more films set in this time period should follow in it’s example and really connect with the audience to get the best outcome possible. We’d recommend War of the Arrow to anyone with a love of history, gorgeous scenery, tense action, sumptuous costumes, fast paced stories, and where bows fights are played out like sniper battles. Actually, we’d recommend this to anyone! (images from Hancinema)
Questions and Answer session:
After the film, there was a Q&A session with the director Kim Han Min which was interesting. Check out the video to hear him talking with Tony Rayns (a man well known in the film industry).
After Kim Han Min talked with Tony Rayns, questions were opened to the floor (this part wasn’t filmed, sorry). The questions from the crowd had a shaky start (anyone who was there will know what I mean by this ), but soon got going and we learnt lots of interesting things. One person asked what Kim Han Min thinks of Hollywood remakes of Asian films. He said he’s not sure about them and wouldn’t want his film to be remade but doesn’t own the copyrights so it could be a possibility. Another person asked what he’s like as a director, to which he replied he can be quite a taskmaster but tried to allow his actors more freedom in this film. He also revealed that the biggest obstacle when filming was timing. To save time, they filmed action scenes with more than one camera so they didn’t have to keep resetting and filming different people at different times. One person asked about the historical accuracy of the film. Kim Han Min’s answer was along the lines that the invasion of Joseon by Manchuria and the amount of people taken into slavery and from the homes was accurate, but of course he’d taken some artistic license. It became a running joke that Kim Han Min enjoyed yoga, and even made his actors do it before action scenes, so at the end Tony Rayns said that we should call Kim Han Min if we ever needed some classes. Amusing stuff.
We all had a great time, and would like to thank the London Korean Film Festival for organising such a fun evening.