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Five Korean films to be shown at 74th Berlin Film Festival

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Feb. 15, 2024 - 15:26

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Five Korean films will be screened at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival, which kicked off Thursday for a 10-day run in Berlin.

One of the top three film festivals around the world, along with the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival, this year’s Berlin Film Festival opened with Belgian director Tim Mielants’ “Small Things Like These.”

“The Roundup: Punishment” (ABO Entertainment) “The Roundup: Punishment” (ABO Entertainment)

South Korean director Heo Myeong-haeng, who debuted recently with Netflix's original film “Badland Hunters,” is premiering his second movie, “The Roundup: Punishment” at the Special Gala on Feb. 23rd. It is the first time for a Korean action series to be invited to a gala screening.

Director Heo and actors Don Lee, Kim Moo-yeol, Park Ji-hwan and Lee Dong-hwi will meet with the audience and reporters after the screening.

“The Roundup: Punishment” is slated for a May release at local theaters.

“Exhuma” (Showbox) “Exhuma” (Showbox)

Occult thriller "Exhuma" by Jang Jae-hyun, known as a master of Korean occult films, will be presented Friday at the Berlinale Forum section dedicated to “avant-garde and experimental” film genres and discovering “fascinating new faces,” according to the festival organizer. Director Jang will participate in a talk with guests following the screening. The film garnered attention in Korea as it was veteran actor Choi Min-sik’s first-ever occult genre flick in his 35-year acting career.

“A Traveler’s Needs” (Finecut) “A Traveler’s Needs” (Finecut)

Filmmaker Hong Sang-soo’s 31st film, “A Traveler’s Needs,” is competing in the feature film section. It marks the 63-year-old filmmaker’s fifth consecutive invitation to one of the world’s three largest film festivals.

“A Traveler’s Needs” revolves around a woman from France who relies on Korean rice wine, or makkeolli, for comfort, plays a child’s recorder in a park and teaches French to two women.

Hong has won four Silver Bear awards at the Berlinale -- for “On the Beach at Night Alone” (2017), “The Woman Who Ran” (2020), “Introduction” (2021) and “The Novelist’s Film” (2022). In 2017, Kim Min-hee, the lead actor of "On the Beach at Night Alone," also received the Silver Bear for Best Actress. “The Novelist’s Film” brought Hong the Jury Prize in 2022.

"It's Okay!" (BIFF)

Two small-budget indie films have also been invited to Berlinale.

Director Kim Hye-young’s feature debut “It’s Okay!” will have its international premiere in the Generation Kplus competition section.

Kim, who co-directed the hit drama series, “Be Melodramatic,” in 2019, tells the story of In-young (Lee Re), a high school student studying traditional Korean dance despite her mother's death in a car accident. Jin Seo-yeon, who plays the director of In-young’s dance troupe, and Son Suk-ku, who stars as a pharmacist in In-young’s neighborhood, befriend In-young, showing how friendship can form regardless of age. Protagonist Lee Jung-ha from the Disney+ hit series “Moving” also appears as In-young's closest friend.

Animation director Joung Yu-mi's seven-minute animated film, "Circle," is competing in the short film category. She was invited to the Berlinale three times with her works “Math Test," "Love Games" and "House of Existence” in 2010, 2013 and 2022, respectively.

"Circle" (Match Cut)