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Korean films opening despite coronavirus crisis

“A War of Memories” (Cinema Dal)
“A War of Memories” (Cinema Dal)

With the fear of the novel coronavirus driving moviegoers away from cinemas, Korea has witnessed mass cancellations of new film releases in recent few days.

However, changing plans at the last minute is not a privilege all filmmakers enjoy, and a few Korean films, especially indie flicks produced by small companies, are biting the bullet and rolling out on schedule.

Although prospects for such films may be not be the brightest, following is a short list of Korean films to hit local theaters in the days to come.

“A War of Memories”

A documentary looking back on the Vietnam War, “A War of Memories” recalls a violent massacre that happened in a small village in 1968. For the past 50 years, a small village in central Vietnam has lit incense and fallen silent for a few moments every February in remembrance of ancestors who died at the hands of South Korean soldiers.

Director Lee-kil Bo-ra -- the granddaughter of a Korean veteran who was deployed to Vietnam -- said her film started from her curiosity on what lay behind her grandfather’s silence about his experience on the foreign battlefield. The film casts a feminine perspective over the war, as Lee traces back to the incident with female survivors of the massacre, shedding light on the painful memories.

The film received the jury’s special mention for the Mecenat Award at the Busan International Film Festival in 2018.

“A War of Memories” is set to release Thursday.

“Lucky Chan-sil” (Challan)
“Lucky Chan-sil” (Challan)

“Lucky Chan-sil”

“Lucky Chan-sil” tells the story of how ordinary and seemingly unlucky character Chan-sil is encounters unexpected ordeals in her 40s. She is a film producer with no money and no house, but a passion for what she does: film. Then she suddenly loses her job and faces the biggest crisis in her life.

“Small and big twists in life sometimes turn out to be an opportunity leading to a new life. I hope the audience can laugh and cry with Chan-sil through her sorrows in life,” the film’s director Kim Cho-hee said about her film.

A late blooming actress and an aspiring player in the indie film industry, Kang Mal-geum, 41, takes up the role of Chan-sil. A veteran actress in her 70s and a fervent supporter of indie films these days, Youn Yuh-jung also takes part in the film.

The film notched three honors for indie films at last year’s Busan International Film Festival.

“Lucky Chan-sil” opens March 5. 

“The Nightmare” (Storm Pictures Korea)
“The Nightmare” (Storm Pictures Korea)

“The Nightmare”

Although not an indie film, the team behind mystery-horror flick “The Nightmare” has confirmed it will open as scheduled in March, regardless of the coronavirus outbreak.

The film shows how director Yeon-woo loses his daughter in a tragic car accident and struggles to overcome the sorrow. The nightmare starts as Yeon-woo, played by Oh Ji-ho, tries to revive the dead daughter through his films.

“The Nightmare” has been invited to compete at the 38th Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, slated for April.

“The Nightmare” will land at local theaters on March 12.

By Choi Ji-won (
Korea Herald Youtube