London Korean Film Festival 2014
9th Annual LKFF
6th -21st November 2014
*** The Full Schedule has now been released with quite a few changes. Please check out our LKFF Schedule post for full line up.
This year, the Korean Cultural Centre UK will be presenting it’s 9th annual London Korean Film Festival (LKFF) and once again the LKFF will be bringing Korean films to selected cinemas across London as well as a number of UK venues outside of the capital. The programme will feature over 50 screenings from the contemporary, the indie to the golden oldies of Korean Cinema, and with past guests being high-profile actors and directors, we’re extra excited to find out who the LKFF will be bringing over this year.
The Odeon West End, in the heart of cinema-going London, will be the main home for the 2014 London Korean Film Festival. Additional venues include Odeon Covent Garden, Odeon Kingston and the Korean Cultural Centre. For fans of Korean cinema who are not in London, a selection of LKFF programme highlights will travel to Norwich, Hebden Bridge and Aberystwyth between 16th – 21st November ~ KCCUK Press Release
OPENING AND CLOSING NIGHT
The 9th Annual LKFF will be opening on 6th November at Odeon West End with Kundo: Age of the Rampant (2014) who’s soundtrack was by recent KCCUK visitor, sound composer Cho Young Wuk. The soundtrack was also recorded and mixed at good ol’ Abbey Road Studios.
Set in the mid-19th Century, in the last days of the corrupt Joseon Dynasty, KUNDO is a period action about a militia group of bandits – Kundo – who rise up against their unjust nobility stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Directed by Yoon Jong-bin (NAMELESS GANGSTER: RULES OF THE TIME) this film boasts cracking action scenes and sweeping vistas, starring Ha Jung-woo (THE CHASER, NAMELESS GANGSTER: RULES OF THE TIME) and Kang Dong-won (MY BRILLIANT LIFE) ~ KCCUK Press Release
And most importantly, special opening night guests for LKFF this year will be Director Yoon Jong-bin, producer Han Jae-duk and (very handsome) lead actor Kang Dong-won! So very excited!
The Closing Night Gala will be on 15th November and the chosen film is Im Kwon-taek’s 102nd feature Revivre (Korean title Hwajang). Im Kwon-taek is a name that should be familiar to all Korean Film fans. With a career spanning 6 decades, he is often dubbed the father of New Korean Cinema. The KCCUK itself has featured his work many times and last year, Haeundae Beach in Busan was lined with a massive retrospective of Im Kwon-taek’s work, featuring posters from all his 101 films, during the Busan International Film Festival. It’s great to see a bit of Im Kwon-taek action back in London and we can’t wait to see the 102nd offering from this veteran director!
Im Kwon-taek is justly revered as the father of modern Korean cinema. Adapted from a prize-winning short story by Kim Hoon, the film is a skilful and sensitively rendered study of the conflicting and confusing emotions at play when a middle-aged man who is losing his wife to terminal cancer, fantasies about a young woman at his workplace. The film features moving and naturalistic performances from its stars Ahn Sung-ki (THE WARRIOR) and Kim Gyu-ri (MEMENTO MORI) ~ KCCUK Press Release
OPENING 6 Nov 2014
Kundo: Age of the Rampant (군도: 민란의 시대) 2014
CLOSING 15 Nov 2014
Revivre (화장) 2014
The Face Reader (관상) 2013
Another highlight of this section includes Director Han Jae-rim (RULES OF DATING)’s elegant costume drama, THE FACE READER, which takes the ancient art of physiognomy as the central narrative device for this gripping tale of court intrigue. The film that stars Song Kang-ho (THE HOST, THIRST, SNOWPIERCER) and Lee Jung-jae (NEW WORLD, THE THIEVES) tells the story of the rise and fall of a young man from a disgraced noble family whose ability to read faces gets him caught up in the regal power struggle. A fortune teller who reads people like an open book, he remains blind to the sea changes behind the corridors of power ~ KCCUK Press Release
The Face Reader (2013) was one of the biggest and critically acclaimed films in south Korea last year with an amazingly star-studded cast. Joining Song Kang-ho and Lee Jung-jae (also of original Lake House fame for all the ladies out there) is actor and model Lee Jong-suk, Jo Jeong-suk whom we love from KDrama You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin with IU and the uber glamourous actress Kim Hye-soo (also from The Thieves). We’ve always loved the costumes and aesthetic of a Korean drama piece and younger fans can look forward to seeing a very different yet still incredibly good looking Lee Jong-suk.
We at KCM are especially excited about this section as it features two of the biggest Korean Films from last year’s Busan International Film Festival. BIFF Programmer Nam Dong-chul will also be attending the Festival.
Han Gong-ju (한공주) 2013
This was the film with the highest attendance at last year’s BIFF which we managed to get tickets to. Even though we watched the film over a year ago, we have to say it’s a film that we still think about. We’re not sure what kind of blurb the KCCUK will publish but it’s a film that should be kept mysterious yet audiences should know it’s quite a hard hitting film. We’re currently working on a film review (we’ll make sure there are no spoilers!) so you can read more about the film soon!
… the multi-award winning feature debut from director Lee Su-jin, HAN GONG-JU, which has picked up prizes at major festivals including Busan, Rotterdam, Marrakesh and Deauville Asia Film Festival. After an undisclosed incident, a Korean teenage girl is transferred to another school, where she stays with the mother of her new teacher. She soon makes but the trauma from her past will not leave her in peace. The film boasts remarkably understated performances from the leads Chun Woo-hee (MOTHER, VAMPIRE IDOL) who plays the confused teenager and Jung In-sun (MEMORIES OF MURDER) ~ KCCUK Press Release
10 MINUTES (10분) 2013
The other big Korean film of last year’s BIFF was 10 Minutes. 10 Minute is a directorial debut from Lee Yong-Seung and although it lacks all the glitze and glamour of a blockbuster, this film is charming in it’s realisticness which really compliments the main plotline. Park Jong-hwan takes the male lead in this film and although frustrating at times, feels genuine and relatable. He plays the intern, the bottom of the office food chain, a position most of us can identify and sympathise with. This is a simple yet thoroughly entertaining film, who doesn’t love a bit of office politics, but this film also has a very strong and realistic message about the workplace, can simple good ol’ fashion hard work get you through the day?
Director Lee Yong-seung’s debut feature drama 10 MINUTES accurately encapsulates modern workplace dynamics complete with closed-door bickering and vicious after-hours chatter. When a popular worker Baek Jong-hwan (A HARD DAY) is passed over for promotion by a young woman Lee See-won, the balance of the office is upset, inspiring petty jealousy and gossip ~ KCCUK Press Release
And this is only the beginning of the LKFF there are more films coming and we praying there are not a lot of clashes this year as there quite a lot on our “To Watch” list! As well as the mentioned films above, the LKFF programme have been split into sections featuring different genres and special focuses on Actor Jung Woo-sung, producer Lee Jun-dong and the infamous Director Kim Ki-duk.
Gyeongju (경주) 2014
K-Spotlight celebrates some of the films this year that have been lauded with critical acclaim at film festivals at home and abroad, including exciting feature debuts. The South Korean city of Gyeongju is known for its hundreds of burial mounds, making this town with its head in the past a fitting backdrop for award-winning director Lu Zhang (DESERT DREAM, DOOMAN RIVER)’s exquisitely observed personal drama GYEONGJU which is about a Korean college professor living abroad in Beijing who takes a melancholy trip down memory lane when he comes back for a colleague’s funeral. The film which was recently screened at the Locarno Film Festival stars Park Hae-il (A MUSE, BOOMERANG FAMILY) as the professor haunted by lingering questions from his past ~ KCCUK Press Release
K-Focus: Actor Jung Woo-sung 정우성
LKFF has chosen to focus on actor Jung Woo-sung this year. We first encountered Jung Woo-sung at the very first London Korean Film Festival back in 2005. It was one of the first Korean films we got to watch on the big screen and it was A Moment to Remember, 2004 (pun intended). Back then the Film Festival was held at the Prince Charles Cinema and we remember the screening being absolutely packed and when everyone got up to leave, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house (except for the few manly men but we’re sure they were crying inside). At this year’s LKFF we get to see the two latest films starring Jung Woo-sung as well as a short film where he plays director.
Cold Eyes (감시자들) 2013
The Divine Move (신의 한 수) 2014
Played by one of Korea’s biggest film stars Jung Woo-sung (THE GOOD,THE BAD, THE WEIRD), COLD EYES, is one of the highest grossing Korean films of the last year and features in a programme focusing on the popular actor’s work. COLD EYES is a high tech state-of-the-art Korean cop thriller which plays an exciting game with genre conventions. A remake of 2007 Hong Kong thriller EYE IN THE SKY, the film follows a crack police surveillance team who challenge a brilliant, invincible criminal mastermind. One of South Korea’s most commercially successful films of the year, the star-studded action crime thriller, THE DIVINE MOVE also stars Jung Woo-sung as a professional baduk player, who infiltrates his local underground gambling scene to avenge his brother’s death ~ KCCUK Press Release
Three Charmed Lives (세가지 색 – 삼생)
Short film – The Killer Behind the Old Man 2014
Jung Woo-sung steps behind the camera to direct one episode of the portmanteau project THREE CHARMED LIVES, alongside actors turned directors Francis Ng and Chang Chen. Jung Woo-sung’s entry into this cinematic triptych; THE KILLER BEHIND THE OLD MAN stars Andy Choi as an ultra-methodical hitman who is reluctant to carry out a contract against a lonely elderly man, despite the client – the man’s son – doubling the fee. Jung blurs the line and creates tension between who is the subject/object and who is watching/being watched to great affect ~ KCCUK Press Release
K-Focus: Producer Lee Jun-dong
A GIRL AT MY DOOR (도희야) 2014
HWAYI: A MONSTER BOY (화이: 괴물을 삼킨 아이) 2013
plus appearance from Producer Lee Jun-dong
Director July Jung previously won the Sonje Award at Busan for her short film A MAN UNDER THE INFLUENZA. Her feature debut, produced by Lee Jun-dong, A GIRL AT MY DOOR was nominated for this year’s Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival. The film bears a resemblance to Lee Chang-dong’s POETRY, (which Lee Jun-dong also produced) in its suggestive evocation of the hidden sins in a close-knit, backward community but with a distinctly feminine angle on female relationships. A Seoul police officer, played by Bae Doona, (CLOUD ATLAS, SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE) arrives in a remote fishing town to take up the post of precinct chief. There, the sight of Do-hee (Kim Sae-ron), a scrawny, disheveled waif immediately catches her eye. It doesn’t take long for the newcomer to notice that the girl is a resident scapegoat. She tries to protect Do-hee from her violent stepfather, but the girl hides a secret.
Producer Lee Jun-dong will be attending the Festival. Also screening in this focus on his work as a producer is HWAYI: A MONSTER BOY, which tells the story of Hwai, a boy with five fathers in the criminal underworld; Seok-tae (Kim Yun-seok THE THIEVES), a cold but charismatic leader, Ki-tae (Jo Jin-woong A HARD DAY), a stammering driver specialist, Jin-seong, an ideal planner, Beom-soo, a guns specialist and Dong-beom a cold actionist. Hwai has been brought up in a unique way, learning skills from his five fathers instead of going to school. His past however is about to be revealed as he is embroiled in their killing spree ~ KCCUK Press Release
K-Focus: Director Kim-Ki-duk
Of course it wouldn’t be a Korean Film Festival without some Kim Ki-dum action! Check out our interview with Moebius actor Seo Young Ju
PIETA (피에타) 2012
MOEBIUS (뫼비우스) 2013
ONE ON ONE (일대일) 2014
LKFF 2014 will celebrate the prolific, idiosyncratic career of one of Korea’s most internationally recognizable independent directors; the provocative enfant terrible of Korean Cinema, Kim Ki-duk. Marking the release of his 20th film ONE ON ONE, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival this year and was recently released in Korea, the Festival is delighted to be presenting this sometimes controversial, multi award-winning filmmaker’s 3 most recent titles, including the UK premiere of ONE ON ONE, plus screenings of MOEBIUS (released by Terracotta Distribution on DVD, 13th October) and PIETA. In ONE ON ONE, seven suspects of the brutal rape and murder of a schoolgirl are terrorized by a sect known as The Shadows ~ KCCUK Press Release
K-Literature & Webtoon
No titles in this category has been announced yet, so this is completely our own speculation but the recent webtoon turned film that is getting South Korea excited is Fashion King starring Joo Won (KDrama – Good Doctor) which we’re dying to see. Please join us in praying that this is one of the titles the LKFF is planning on bringing to the UK!
K-Literature & Webtoon forms another important strand for the 2014 LKFF. Following on from the recent Korean Market Focus Programme at this year’s London Book Fair, with a spotlight on prominent and exciting contemporary Korean writers, the Festival will offer a selection of recent films inspired or adapted from contemporary literature and hugely popular webtoons ~ KCCUK Press Release
Man on High Heels (하이힐) 2014
The Youth, collection of short films (레디 액션 청춘) 2014
– Rumour, Wonderwall, Play Girl
UK has an ever growing Kpop fan base and one of the most popular screenings of LKFF are often those starring Kpop idols as many fans flock to see their favourite singer on the big screen. Last year MBLAQ’s Lee Joon’s film Rough Play was completely sold out and the cinema was absolutely packed with Kpop and KFilm fans alike. These screenings will no doubt be popular!
K-Actors showcases the rising stars of young actors and K-Pop stars who are breaking through in Korean Cinema. The young cast of THE YOUTH, an episodic portmanteau project directed by Kim Jun-mu, Park Ka-hi and Joo Sung-su includes K-Pop stars, Lee Donghae of Super Junior, Nam Jihyun of 4Minute and Song Seung-hyun of F.T.Island in a series of interlinking stories which explore aspects of what it means to be young in contemporary Korea. MAN ON HIGH HEELS is a genuinely subversive, noir from Jang Jin, a major innovator in Korean film and television which delivers all the shocks and ultraviolence you expect from Korean crime thrillers but with a truly unexpected twist. Jangmi (Oh Jung-sae HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS), a female cop is trying to trap a serial rapist. Yoon (Cha Seung-won JAILBREAKERS) is a battle-scarred cop who gets his man by any means necessary, and is determined to bring down crime boss Huh. But Yoon has a secret and appearances can be deceptive ~ KCCUK Press Release
The Festival will be showing a number of Korean film classics recommended by Professor Kim Hong-june and the Korean Film Archive. The K-Classics strand will be screened in collaboration with MUBI and includes a screening of THE HOUSEMAID (1960) by Kim Ki-young ~ KCCUK Press Release
K-Shorts will screen a selection of short films recommended by Tony Rayns including I’M NOT A HAIRDRESSER directed by Lee Hyong-sok and THERE IS NO FOREST directed by Kim Na-kyung ~ KCCUK Press Release