Opening May 22
Drama. Directed by July Jung.
Young-nam (Bae Doo-na), a pale-faced young woman, moves to a quiet, seemingly uneventful port town to take office as the head of a police substation there after being demoted from Seoul. All of her subordinates in the station are men, most of whom are older than her. On her way to her new house in the village, she runs into Yong-ha (Song Sae-byeok), the man who “runs the economy” of the town, who smiles derisively after learning that Young-nam is the new chief officer.
Mad Sad Bad (Korea)
Opened May 15
Fantasy, drama, horror. Directed by Ryu Seung-wan, Han Ji-seung and Kim Tae-yong.
A collaboration between three renowned Korean directors, “Mad Sad Bad” consists of three short films, each telling a different story. It starts off with “Ghost” by Ryu Seung-wan, which deals with a senseless murder by reckless teenagers based on a real-life case. The second is Han Ji-seung’s “I Saw You,” a romance between a zombie and a human. The last film, “Picnic” by Kim Tae-yong, is about a child and her relationship with her autistic younger brother. Prior to its theater release, “Mad Sad Bad” was screened as the opener of this year’s Jeonju International Film Festival.
The Fatal Encounter (Korea)
Opened April 30
Drama. Directed by Lee Jae-gyu.
In 18th-century Joseon, the nation’s young King Jeongjo spends every night training alone in the palace to prepare himself for possible attacks from his political opponents. When he was 10, his father, Crown Prince Sado, died of starvation in a wooden chest of rice in which his father and Jeongjo’s grandfather, King Yeongjo, ordered him to be confined. Growing up, Jeongjo was often stigmatized as the “son of the sinner” by those who accused Prince Sado of raping and killing people in the palace and organizing a political conspiracy against Yeongjo. In just his first year as king, Jeongjo survived seven assassination attempts. The film is inspired by Jeongyuyeokbyeon, one such attempt on the king’s life in 1777.
Opened April 24
Drama. Directed by Lee Yong-seung.
Ho-chan (Baek Jong-hwan) takes an internship at a state-run agency while dreaming of becoming a TV producer one day. He works hard as an intern, just as hard as full-time workers, volunteering to work overtime and even giving up his weekends to attend his senior colleague’s social gatherings. He feels conflicted when he is offered stable full-time work elsewhere, as he doesn’t know if the job is worth giving up his long-cherished dream to work in the TV industry.
My Father’s Emails (Korea)
Opened April 24
Documentary. Directed by Hong Jae-hee.
Filmmaker Hong Jae-hee’s personal documentary “My Father’s Emails” is about her late father, who sent her a total of 48 emails throughout the last year of his life. He shared his life story, from experiencing the Korean War (1950-1953) -- he was born and raised in Hwanghae Province, which now belongs to North Korea -- and the Vietnam War, up to what he saw during the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Hong’s father was estranged from his two daughters. Hong also interviews her older sister, who moved to the U.S. to get away from their father because, among other reasons, he suffered from alcoholism and was often physically abusive. The film is noted for its brave, nuanced depiction of a family’s history, which is inseparable from the modern history of the nation.