June looks like a busy month and no it’s not just about Kpop! June is going to be a very busy month for all you Korean film fans out there too! As mentioned in our earlier post, this month is Director Lee Jun-ik’s month at the KCC and with The King and The Clown already screened, we’ve still got The Happy Life, Sunny and special screening of Battlefield Heroes / Pyongyang Castle with a Director Q&A to look forward to! If Lee Jun-ik is too mainstream for you and you are feeling a bit Hipster. Make sure you check out the ICA as they have a special selection of Korean films for you this month!
This month the ICA will be screening three films from Art house favourite director Kim Ki-duk and a special new release of feature length Documentary Planet of Snails. Like Song Il-gon, Kim Ki-duk has had great international success, his films were amongst the first few Korean DVDs you can purchase at HMV and he is a key Korean director in the International market. But success in his home country is marginal and he’s even once said he will not even bother releasing his films in South Korea due to the response he was receiving. But Kim Ki-duk is one of the most well known Korean Directors in the hipster film scene.
The first of Kim Ki-duk’s films to be screened at the ICA is Arirang. Arirang was also selected by the Terracotta film festival earlier this year and is a extremely personal piece by Mr Kim. This film was made after an actress nearly died on set of one of his films. Racked with guilt and questioning life, he goes out alone and creates a sort of “finding himself” piece; a therapeutic piece by a troubled Director. The film is set in a cabin where Mr Kim had isolated himself; all footage was shot by Mr Kim and stars only Mr Kim. With monologues and strange conversations with himself edited together, this semi-documentary takes a deep and penetrating look into the mind of a Director.
If Arirang is a bit too deep and heavy for you, there is still 3 Iron to look forward to. This is a very interesting film and one which I have personally seen a few times. This film really splits audiences. People not in the “arty” state of mind will find this film awkward and laughable. The things that happen are bizarre and strange, but Kim Ki-duk makes them seem so natural. It you can look pass the strange situations, you would see a beautiful romance. But don’t worry hipsters, the film still contains all the art house elements that will make you dig it such as minimal dialogue, scenes open to interpretation for you to flex your intellectual muscle. To give you a brief on the plot, the film is about a young man who goes around secretly living in other people’s houses whilst they are away. He means no harm and will repay the home owners by helping them do a few chores, repair broken thing. He enters a house assuming it’s empty only to encounter a poor housewife suffering from domestic abuse. Together them embark on a journey of ghostly existence. I thoroughly recommend this!
The third Kim Ki-duk film to be screened is Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring. This is said to be one of Mr Kim’s most stunning and sublime films. Set in a valley in the depths of the mountains, this film is about a Buddhist monk and his young apprentice. As the season pass, we watch the young apprentice mature and develop desires. Described as breath taking and visually arresting, its considered to be a unique exploration of the human condition and it’s infinite complexitiesand one of the most captivating and thought provoking films ever made. It’s sure to be a stunning night!
The 23rd June will also see a very special event (no we’re not talking about the MBC festival). The 22nd of June sees the release of Korean documentary film Planet of Snail in the UK and a special Q&A with Director Seung-Jun Yi has been planned for the 23rd. So far Planet of Snail has won Best Feature Length Documentary at the IDFA, 2011 and is Seung-Jun Yi’s second feature. Dogwoof the distributors who has made this screening possible describes Planet of Snail as unique, refreshing, often funny film that demystifies what life means for people who live with physical impairments.
The film focuses on the relationship between Young-Chan who is deaf-blind and describes himself as a ‘snail’ because he only uses his tactile senses and his wife Soon-Ho who has a spinal injury. They communicate by touch – gently tapping on each other’s fingers, and navigate the trials of daily life with slow, tender shared experiences; the changing of a light bulb is an hour-long, methodical process. But Young-Chan and Soon-Ho will not be together forever and she will not always be there as his eyes and ears to the world, the couple needs to learn the painful process of navigating life without each other.
Young-Chan comes from the Planet of Snail. Dwellers of this tiny planet are deaf and blind, and call themselves ‘snails’ because they rely only on their tactile senses, and communicating by touch.
When Young-Chan came to Earth, there was nothing Earth offered him. Worse was that nobody understood his language. When he was desperate, an angel walked into his life. Soon-Ho is a woman who knows what loneliness is about and where Young-Chan’s deeply rooted pain comes from. She soon becomes an inseparable part of his life. She is a wife, a soul mate and a window and a bridge to the world for him. Each mundane moment of every routine day becomes tender shared experiences whether it be the hour-long process of changing a simple light bulb, hugging trees and smelling pine cones on the threshold of spring, or the feeling of raindrops landing on the skin. Young-Chan also discovers an amazing world under his fingers.
Since he learned to read books with braille, hopes and dreams began to grow in Young-Chan’s heart. He dreams of writing a book. However, Soon-Ho worries about Young-Chan’s future because she cannot always be there for him as she is suffering from her own problem of spine disability. The couple now needs to learn how to survive alone. While Soon-Ho uneasily spends her first day alone waiting for his return, Young-Chan goes out for the biggest adventure of his life.
We will definitely be bringing tissues as this looks like a deeply emotional film that will make us smile over the tender relationship and cry at the cold harsh reality of life. It’s sure to be an enlightening and inspirational film. The Q&A will be after the 6:15pm screening on Saturday 23 June. You can booked tickets now HERE. The film is in Korean with English subtitles, 88 minutes.
So a very special month at the ICA which is located by The Mall. Closest tube stations are Charing Cross and Piccadilly Circus. For more information click HERE