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Commemorative Resistance Film Festival to kick off next month

The 2019 Resistance Film Festival will be held in Seoul from July 4-7, commemorating the spirit of the Korean independence fighters during Korea’s 1910-45 Japanese colonization, screening 27 films depicting resistance movements around the world.

Preparing for the festival’s second edition, organizers expressed their hopes the film festival will become an annual event, eventually to be held at the National Memorial of Korean Provisional Government, slated to open in 2021. This year, it will be held at Seoul Cinema in Jongno, central Seoul.

The free film festival began last year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea. The poster for this year features an image from the 2000 historical drama “La Commune (Paris, 1871).” 

Poster for 2019 Resistance Film Festival (Resistance Film Festival)
Poster for 2019 Resistance Film Festival (Resistance Film Festival)

“Whose Street?” by Sabaah Folaya and Damon Davis will open this year’s festival. The 2017 documentary is about the killing of Michael Brown and the ensuing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. The two directors of the film have been invited to the event for a Q&A session with the audience.

While last year’s festival focused mostly on modern Korean history and independence movements of the 20th century, this year’s event will focus on current movements around the world.

“We believe that the series of resistance and fights put up by the people, such as the protests in Hong Kong, is in keeping with the spirit of our film festival. … Some may call us politically biased, but we leave it up to the audience to make that assessment,” said cultural critic Oh Dong-jin, head of the executive committee for the festival.

Documentary “A Place in the Sun,” by Gilles Perret and Francois Ruff, looks into the yellow vests movement that began last year in France, calling for economic justice.

“The Silence” by Park Soo-nam focuses on the ongoing fights of the surviving Korean “comfort women” -- a euphemism for women forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II. Award-winning documentary “RBG,” about US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, will also be screened, as will “1919 Ryu Gwansun” about the Korean woman independence fighter.

The recently premiered “Kimgun,” by Kang Sang-woo, features a quest to debunk the groundless belief that the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement -- whose records are inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register -- was instigated by agents of North Korea. The film has been selected by festival organizers as the recipient of an award for contribution to democratization.

“Kang of ‘Kimgun’ was born in 1983, and the two directors for ‘Whose Street?’ were born in 1986 and 1990. This shows how our history and current situation are viewed in the eyes of younger generation, those born after 1980,” Oh said.

For more information -- in Korean -- about the Resistance Film Festival, visit

By Yoon Min-sik