Korean cinema featured in Europe

By Claire Lee

Korean film festivals held in Spain, Hungary, England and France

  • Published : Nov 4, 2013 - 19:08
  • Updated : Nov 4, 2013 - 19:08

Following Festival du film Coreen a Paris, a film festival exclusively featuring Korean cinema which kicked off Oct. 29, screenings of Korean films are taking place in three other European countries.

In Spain, Centro Cultural Coreano en Espana (Korean Cultural Center Spain) is hosting the sixth annual Spain Korean Film Festival in Madrid, from Nov. 11 to 29.

The festival is a retrospective of famed director Lee Chang-dong, who also served as Korea’s Culture Minister from 2003 to 2004. Viewers will be able to see a total of five works by Lee: “Poetry” (2010), “Secret Sunshine” (2007), “Oasis” (2002), “Peppermint Candy” (2000), and “Green Fish” (1997).

Among the works, “Poetry” won the Best Screenplay prize at the 2010 Cannes International Film Festival, as well as the Best Picture and Best Actress prizes at the Grand Bell Awards in the same year in Korea.

Starring veteran actress Yoon Jeong-hee, the film tells the story of Mi-ja, an aging woman in her 60s who begins writing poems while developing Alzheimer’s disease and raising her troubled grandson alone.

“Secret Sunshine,” on the other hand, deals with a single mother whose husband recently died. She moves to Miryang, a small town in South Gyeongsang Province, the hometown of her late husband. In spite of her attempts to start a new life, her young son is abducted. Actress Jeon Do-yeon, who played the protagonist in the film, won the Best Actress prize at the 2007 Cannes International Film Festival for the role.

The festival will also screen the 1993 Korean film “To the Starry Island,” for which Lee wrote the screenplay, and 2009 film “A Brand New Life,” in which Lee participated as one of the producers.

The same edition of the festival will be held in Barcelona from Dec. 1 to 15.

In Hungary, a special film festival featuring Korean cinema kicked off on Monday, at Urania Nemzeti Filmszinhaz in Budapest. Organized by the Korean Cultural Center in the city, the festival is screening some of the most successful Korean films of the past decade, including Park Chan-wook’s 2003 film “Oldboy,” director Chu Chang-min’s 2012 box-office hit “Masquerade,” and director Jang Hoon’s 2010 spy thriller “Secret Reunion.”

In the U.K., the London Korean Film Festival kicks off on Nov. 7, with director Huh Jung’s thriller “Hide and Seek.” Organized annually by the Korean Cultural Centre U.K., the festival celebrates its 8th edition this year.

The lineup includes many of this year’s box-office hits, including Kim Seong-woo’s disaster thriller “The Flu,” Jang Cheol-soo’s comedy-drama “Secretly, Greatly,” Song Hae-sung’s family drama “Boomerang Family,” director Kang Woo-suk’s “Fist of Legend,” and Lee Jun-ik’s “Wish,” which deals with a child victim of sexual abuse. 

Director Lee Jun-ik (left) speaks during the Festival du Film Coreen a Paris, after the screening of his latest movie “Wish” on Oct. 31. (Festival du Film Coreen a Paris)
“Hide and Seek” director Huh Jung and actor Son Hyun-joo, who plays the film’s protagonist, will be in London for a special Q&A session to be held on Nov. 7. Other Korean cineastes attending the festival and participating in Q&A sessions include director Song Hae-sung, actor Park Hae-il, director Kang Woo-suk, actor Sol Kyung-gu, and director Kim Jee-woon. This year’s full lineup of films and events is available at http://www.koreanfilm.co.uk/korean-film-nights-and-events.

Meanwhile, Festival du film Coreen a Paris, a film festival exclusively featuring Korean cinema, kicked off its eighth edition on Oct. 29, screening a total of 45 Korean films. Director Lee Jun-ik had a special talk session after the screening of his latest film “Wish” on Oct. 31. The festival wraps up on Tuesday.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)