London Korean Film Festival 2008

Thursday 6 to Wednesday 12 November Cinema Hotline: 0845 120 7527

An unmissable selection of the best of Korean Cinema both past and present, the London Korean Film Festival,returns to the Barbican this November from Thursday 6 to Wednesday 12.
Highlights this year include a special preview of Cannes 2008 hit The Good, the Bad and the Weird and an a exclusive ScreenTalk with director Kim Ji-woon; a timely retrospective of the work of acclaimed director Lee Chang-dong (Secret Sunshine, Peppermint Candy, Oasis, Green Fish); rare screenings of breathtaking classics from the Korean Film Archive UK premieres of brand new Korean feature films and a day of Korean Animation for all ages.
The London Korean Film Festival is presented in partnership with the Korean Cultural Centre and the Korea Culture and Content Agency (KOCCA).

Thursday 6 November
7.00pm – OPENING GALA SPECIAL PREVIEW: The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom) (15) (S. Korea 2008 Dir. Kim Ji-woon 120min) introduced by special guest Kim Ji-woon
Kim Ji-woon’swildly spectacular Kimchi Western is a mind blowing mash-up of influences, fusing Sergio Leone with Kurosawa, via Korea’s own brand of frantic shoot ’em up action and frenetic comedy. Peppered with eye-popping set pieces and phenomenal stunts, the plot tracks three very different outlawson the hunt for a lost treasure map in 1930’s Japanese controlled Manchuria. Starring Jeong Woo-seong, Lee Byeong-heon and Song Kang-ho as the titular anti-heroes, this genre-bending extravaganza was two years in the making but well worth the wait. Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese with English Subtitles.

Friday 7 November
7.00pm – SPECIAL EVENT: The Good, The Bad, The Weird (Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom) (15) (S. Korea 2008 Dir. Kim Ji-woon 120min) plus Barbican ScreenTalk with director Kim Jee-woon interviewed by Tony Rayns
A special screening of Kim Jee-woon’s new film The Good, The Bad, The Weird will be followed by a live interview with the renowned director of A Bittersweet Life (2005) and A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) discussing his work with critic and film expert Tony Rayns.


Saturday 9 November
8.45pm – Forever The Moment (Uri saengae choego-ui sungan) (S. Korea 2008 Dir. Yim Soonrye 124min) UK PREMIERE
Based on the true story of Korea’s 2004 women’s Olympic hand-ball team and their moment in the spotlight in Athens, Forever…’s focus is as much on the private affairs of the players as their on court antics, exploring the bittersweet relationship between personal and professional lives, as the women struggle to maintain their families whilst upholding their country’s Olympic dreams. Sensitively handled, beautifully realised and ultimately very moving, this is a sports movie quite unlike any other.


Tuesday 11 November
6.30pm – Milky Way Liberation Front (S. Korea 2007 Dir. Yoon Seong-ho 101min)
Troubled director Yeong-Jae played to Woody Allen-esque perfection by star Lim Ji-gyu is trying to get his first film off the ground, whilst negotiating complicated matters of the heart and dealing with myriad comic setbacks, both real and fantastical. This breakthrough indy delight from first time director Yoon joins a new generation of industry introspective film, descended from US satires The Player and Living in Oblivion but with oodles more heart.
Tuesday 11 Nov
8.45pm – Seven Days (Se-beun De-i-jeu) (S. Korea 2007 Dir. Won Shin-yeon 125min)
Top lawyer Ji-yeon has just seven days to free a prisoner convicted of a brutal murder, or her young daughter will die. Desperately searching for her kidnapped child amongst Seoul’s dark alleys and dilapidated tenements, Ji-yeon finds herself caught in a deadly conspiracy that stretches from Korea’s savage underworld all the way to City Hall. Starring ‘Lost’ favourite Kim Yun-jin, Won’s sophisticated thriller keeps the adrenaline pumping from start to finish.
Wednesday 12 November
6.00pm – May 18 (Hwaryeohan hyuga) (15*) (S. Korea 2007 Dir Kim Ji-hun 120 min) UK PREMIERE
Based on the horrific events surrounding the 1980 Gwangju massacre, where soldiers operating under the orders of then President Chun Doo-hwan slaughtered students andcivilians in their search for ‘rebel’ factions, May 18 was an instant hit in South Korea. An all-star cast includes veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki and Lee Jun-ki (The King and The Clown).

Wednesday 12 November
8.30pm – Public Enemy Returns (15) (S. Korea 2008 Dir. Kang Woo-seok 125 min)
This third instalment in Kang Woo-seok’s internationally successful series has become one of the biggest hits in Korea this year. Expect plenty of Woo’s trademark wham-bam action as screen legend Sol Kyeong-gu returns as cop Kang Chul-joong, this time taking on high-level corruption in the form of a super-successful business man. Will Kang get his man this time?


Saturday 9 November
A special focus on the best of Korean animation for both children and adults.

Family Film Club 10.30am – Workshop / 11.00am – The Pumpkin Family & Friends (U) (S. Korea 2007/08 total running time 60 min)
Especially for young animation enthusiasts, this collection of Korean creations won’t disappoint. Meet the whacky Pumpkin Family and their ghostly ancestors, join cute Chiro chicken and his friends on their mini-adventures and see Korean superstar penguin Pororo in action!
Themed workshop from 10.30am (free to FFC ticket holders) and Photo Zone, where attendees can pose with a Korean Animation character! Recommended 2-8 years

12:30pm – Korea KO (12) (S. Korea 2007/8 total running time 72 min)
A bravura triple-bill of knock-out Korean animation. A stunning and stylish trio for older animation fans, including amagical tale inspired by a real life environmental catastrophe in Korea and the fantastical story of an invincible sword wielding martial-arts master, who learns the true meaning of friendship when he is re-incarnated as a drinks dispenser. Featuring Wanted, Love is Protein and A Coffee Vending Machine and it’s Sword.

2.15pm – Aachi & Ssipak (15*) (S. Korea 2006 Dir. Joe Bum-Jin 90 min)
Described as “Akira meets Tarantino”, Joe Bum-Jin’s frankly bizarre film wins the award for craziest plot hands down. In Shit City, where all energy is generated byits resident’s sewage, the government rewards each bowel emission with a JuicyBar. Unfortunately, these potentarecracked-outwill do just about anything to getnextfix… Hilarious, edgy and deliberately off-colour, this is animated anarchy at its best.


Monday 10 November
Two of Korea’s film archive gems, rarely seen in the UK.
6.30pm – The Housemaid (15*) (S. Korea 1960 Dir. Kim Ki-young 90 min)
Seen as one of the greatest Korean films ever made and directed by one of Korea’s finest directors, this is the poignant story of a family broken apart when the father sleeps with the housemaid. Imbued with endless depth and meaning, this is a must see for all those interested in Korean cinema.
8.30pm – The Aimless Bullet (Obalton) (15) (S. Korea 1960 Dir. Yoo Hyun-mok 110 min)
Influenced by Visconti and Kazan, Yoo’s timeless classic encompasses his cinematic manifesto, dealing with issues of poverty, injustice and apathy, through protagonist Sol Chul Ho (Kim Jin-kyu), struggling to support his pregnant wife, two children, lonely sister and mentally unstable mother.
Born on April 1 1954 in Daegu, South Korea, Lee spent much of early life writing and directing plays and became well known in literature circles following his critically acclaimed first novel Chonri in 1983.

In the early 90s he turned to the film industry, co-writing scripts for Park Kwang-su ontwo of his most remarkable films, To The Starry Island (1993) and A Single Spark (1995), then launched on to the directors’ circuit with Green Fish in 1997. In 2003 Lee served President Roh as the Minister of Culture and Tourism and then, after a short-break, returned to filmmaking with Cannes hit Secret Sunshine.

Saturday 8 November
3.00pm – Peppermint Candy (18) (S. Korea 1999 Dir. Lee Chang-dong 129 min) –
Lee reflects on South Korea’s turbulent political history, through the eyes of man who has just committed suicide and a reversed narrative that allows the viewer to determine what drove the man to take his own life. Crowned by a pitch-perfect performance from star Sol Kyung-gu, Lee’s third film is recognised as a masterpiece by critics and academics alike, and is a landmark film in contemporary Korean cinema.
Saturday 8 November
6.00pm – Oasis (18) (S. Korea 2002 Dir. Lee Chang-dong 132min)
Combining fantasy with stark realism, Lee’s magnificent film is both beautiful and tragic as it explores the thorny issue of how people with disabilities are marginalised. Stars Sol Kyung-gu and Moon So-ri give their finest performances as the mentally ill ex-con Jong-do (Sol) who falls for a young women suffering from cerebral palsy (Moon), would-be lovers who are sidelined by society.
Sunday 9 November
5.00pm – Green Fish (15) (S. Korea 1997 Dir. Lee Chang Dong 114min)
When Mak-dong returns to his hometown of Ilsan after two and a half years of military service, he finds that it has been transformed into a satellite town. Struggling to adjust and desperate to find work, he unwittingly becomes trapped in a dangerous war between rival underworld gangs. In his directorial debut, Lee wastes no time in challenging the conventions of genre verisimilitude – Whilst GreenFish could play like a dark gangster film, Lee instead pursues the traits of realism that often characterise Korean cinema.


Sunday 9 November
7.15pm – Secret Sunshine (Milyang) (15) (S. Korea 2007 Dir. Lee Chang-dong 142 min) + introduction by Tony Rayns
A Cannes best actress gong went to star Jeon Do-yeon for her magnificent performance as Sin-ae, a recently widowed woman attempting to start a new life in Milyang (Secret Sunshine) with her young son. Tackling human suffering head on, Lee’s refusal to conform to traditional cinematic pleasures ensures his most recent film is both thought-provoking and admirable. Song Kang-ho co-stars. Film critic and Korean Cinema expert Tony Rayns will introduce this special screening of Lee Chang-dong’s latest film, giving us a significant insight into the life and work of the great modern director.


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