The London Korean Film Festival - Preview
Preview by Jack Foley
THE 7th London Korean Film Festival (LKFF) runs from November 1 – 16, 2012, with its annual showcase of the very best Korean films, UK premieres and events.
Brought to London by the Korean Cultural Centre UK, this year’s festival presents its widest and most diverse programme of films to date as they build upon the recent successes of All Eyes On Korea: 100 Day Festival of Korean Culture.
Ranging from gritty mystery thrillers to comedies and family animation films, and from art house gems to period dramas and sports films, the festival takes place in London at the Odeon West End and ICA cinemas, and is on tour nationally (from November 10 – 16) at the Glasgow Grosvenor Cinema, Bristol Cube and the Bournemouth Odeon.
The opening night Gala on November 1 (at Odeon West End) kicks off with the European premiere of the Korean box office ‘heist’ smash hit, The Thieves.
Director Choi Dong-hoon and lead actor Kim Yoon-suk (who starred in the cult hit, The Yellow Sea) will join the premiere and take part in a Director’s Q&A after the screening all of which will be followed by a Gala Reception.
The festival closes with another box office hit, the European premiere of historical drama Masquerade (on November at Odeon West End), followed by a Q&A with lead actor Lee Byunghun (star of I Saw The Devil), who is currently in London shooting Red 2 with Bruce Willis and Anthony Hopkins.
Other highlights from the festival programme include a wide range of cinematic delights in the following K-categories:
K-Art House programme:
Sleepless Night is the story of the everyday fears of a couple about to celebrate their 2nd anniversary; White Night is the story inspired by an actual case of a homophobic hate crime.
Mise-En-Scene shorts include a range of short films selected by Korea’s prestigious Mise En Scene Film Festival including Foreest, Keep Quiet, Noodle Fish, Poison Frog.
The Weight is a darkly surreal film about a hunchback mortician and his transgender brother that won the Queer Lion prize at this year’s Venice International Film Festival.
K-Spotlight: A Muse, Black Eagle, The Ugly Duckling
A Muse is the story of a renowned old poet LEE Jeok-yo (PARK) who has adopted an untalented but devoted student, the young novelist SEO Ji-woo (KIM Moo-yul), as his protege. Their relationship is a complicated one, equal parts love and hate, admiration and criticism.
In Black Eagle (Korean title: R2B: Return to Base) a South Korean Elite Black Eagles Air Force pilot Tae-hun finds himself transferred to a combat flying unit after a cocky, unplanned, and dangerous air show demonstration.
The Ugly Duckling is a comic drama based on Director KWAK’s true story when serving in the military in 1987 revealing some of the abuses that still took place at this time.
Inspired by the Korean success at the Olympics this summer, K-sports celebrates sports on screen with three popular features.
A Barefoot Dream sees a prominent football player come businessman spread his love of football to poverty-stricken children; As One follows the first ever unified Korean table tennis team in the world championships in 1991; and Pace Maker tells the story of a young man who has to decide whether becoming an Olympian is worth the sacrifice of never running again.
It’s official, after last year’s LKFF’s sold out opening Concert, SHINee In London, the UK has clearly embraced Kpop.
This year, LKFF is proud to present films that detail the blood, sweat and tears that go into such a popular phenomenon. I Am. is a coming of age tale that follows popular artists from SM Town production house as they prepare to perform at Madison Square Gardens; Mr. Idol follows the beginnings of a boy band as they pursue their dream to become popstar idols but the path to success never runs smooth.
Further K-POP inspired film include Acoustic (2010) and Papa (2012).
Dancing Queen is the story of a pop star come wife of a political candidate; Dangerously Excited is by director Jaemoon Yoon (of The Good, The Bad, the Weird fame), and tells the story of a public officer’s life-changing experience after meeting an indie rock band; Everything About My Wife is a light hearted look at a couple’s relationship and the lengths a man may go to escape his wife.
Deranged is the story of a gruesome parasite that causes a national emergency, directed and written by Park Jeong-woo.
And Gabi – set towards the end of the 19th Century – sees King Gojong (PARK) seek refuge with the Russian Consulate as the threat of a foreign invasion overwhelms Korea. Here he meets the beautiful Tanya (KIM) who becomes his personal barista. Tanya becomes involved in a dangerous social circle and with her intimate connection to the King; she must whose side she is on.
Set 250 years ago in the Chosun Dynasty, The Grand Heist tells the tale of tyranny and how a young man’s life is turned upside down by tyranny, Lee seeking revenge plans the downfall of those who have harmed him.
I Am A King is the story of a slave is suddenly transformed into a prince and how a prince somehow ends up being a slave.
The King of Pigs is the darkly acclaimed animation that screened at Cannes Director’s Fortnight; it tells a dark tale of a group of kids’ reign of terror in high school.
In honour of Director Choi’s opening of the London Korean Film Festival 2012, the LKFF proudly present a Directrospective featuring a further three of his most popular and successful films.
These include the gambling action drama, The High Rollers, the action/comedy fantasy Woochi and the crime thriller The Big Swindle.
For further information visit www.koreanfilm.co.uk