The London Korean Film Festival returns for its 13th year kicking off in London on 1st November before touring to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, and Belfast. Opening with indie drama Microhabitat, the theme for this year’s edition is “a slice of everyday life” while the festival will also offer a selection of current hits, independent features, shorts, animation, and a few classics before bringing the London leg to a close on 14th November with Malene Choi’s The Return.
- Microhabitat – A young woman living hand-to-mouth decides rent is an unnecessary expense in the debut feature from Jeon Go-woon who will also be present for a Q&A. Review.
- The Return – A Danish Korean adoptee returns to Korea looking for her history in a semi-autobiographical fiction debut from documentarian Malene Choi. Actress Karoline Sofie Lee will be present for a Q&A. Review.
Special Focus: A Slice of Everyday Life
- The Power of Kangwon Province – a woman goes on holiday and ends up spending the night with a married policeman while an adulterous professor decides to visit the same area in the second film from Hong Sang-soo.
- Christmas in August – 1998 romantic drama from genre master Hur Jin-ho in which a photographer falls in love with a terminally ill woman.
- This Charming Girl – an isolated young woman develops a fondness for a shy writer but struggles to overcome past trauma.
- Grain in Ear – second feature from A Quiet Dream‘s Zhang Lu in which a woman of Korean ethnicity in North East China makes a living illegally selling kimchee.
- Treeless Mountain – two little girls have to learn to look after themselves when their mum leaves them with relatives to go and look for their long absent dad.
- The Journals of Musan – Park Jung-bum’s 2011 film in which he also stars as one of two North Korean defectors trying to adjust to life in the South.
- Bleak Night – a father investigates the death of his son.
- Alive – Park Jung-bum directs himself in his 2014 drama about a worker in a soybean paste factory.
- The Bacchus Lady – Youn Yuh-jung stars as an elderly prostitute in E J-yong’s exploration of life on the margins. Review.
- The Running Actress – actress Moon So-ri steps behind the camera for three connected shorts each inspired by her real life and shot through with self deprecating humour. Review.
- The Poet and the Boy – a middle-aged, unhappily married poet (Yang Ik-june) is suddenly struck by the beauty of a handsome young man.
- Possible Faces – a young couple take different paths after splitting up in Lee Kang-hyun’s gentle drama.
- Mothers – a woman becomes the guardian of the illegtimate son of her late husband in the second film from Lee Dong-eun (In Between Seasons)
- The Land of Seonghye – Seonghye falls from the corporate ladder in Jung Hyung-suk’s indie drama.
- Heart Blackened – Jung Ji-woo remakes Fei Xing’s Silent Witness in which a wealthy CEO hires a fancy lawyer to defend his daughter who has been charged with the murder of her step-mother, a famous pop-star.
- Love+Sling – father and son wrestlers face off when the girl next door turns down the son’s confession because she likes the dad…
- The Princess and the Matchmaker – thematic sequel to The Face Reader starring Shim Eun-kyung as a princess who prefers the astronomer brought in to find the perfect match to anyone he suggests.
- Seven Years of Night – thriller taking place over seven years beginning with the death of an innocent girl. Q&A chaired by Anton Bitel.
- Little Forest – a lost young woman retreats to her country home in Yim Soon-rye’s take on the much loved Japanese manga. Review.
- The Witness – a middle-aged salaryman witnesses a murder but selfishly keeps quiet even as the death toll rises.
- Hotel by the River – the latest (?) from Hong Sang-soo in which a poet and his two estranged sons chat about death .
- Hit the Night – Bitch on the Beach‘s Jeong Ga-young once again stars as an extremely forward screenwriter “interviewing” her crush on the pretext of research. Jeong Ga-young will be present for a Q&A moderated by Sophie Brown as well as for a director talk at Kingston University at 11.30am on 7th November. Review.
- For Vagina’s Sake – documentary in which director Kim Bo-ram travels around the world exploring attitudes to menstruation.
- Grown Up – filmmaker Jang Hye-yeong chronicles the process of bringing her disabled sister home to live with her in Seoul.
- Women’s Voices Shorts Programme
- Motel Cactus – a series of encounters take place at a love hotel in Seoul. Introduction by Tony Rayns.
- Camel(s) – a middle-aged couple have a lengthy one night stand in Park Ki-yong’s indie drama. Park Ki-yong will be present for a Q&A.
- Old Love – Park Ki-yong’s most recent film in which old lovers reconnect at Incheon airport. Park Ki-yong will be present for a Q&A.
- Adulthood – a 14-year-old girl’s life is turned upside-down when her long lost uncle shows up at her father’s funeral and cheats her out of her inheritance. In order to get the money back she has to pose as his daughter so he can scam a lonely pharmacist. Review.
- Back From The Beat – an aspiring DJ’s life is disrupted when he makes an unwise remark about employment rights. Introduction by Tony Rayns.
Contemporary Classics: Lee Myung-se & The 1990s
The subject for this year’s classic film special focus is director Lee Myung-se who began his career with Gagman back in 1988. Lee will be present at each of the screenings for a Q&A.
- My Love, My Bride – Park Joong-hoon and Choi Jin-sil star as a mismatched couple in Lee’s romantic comedy.
- First Love – an aspiring actress falls head over heels for a chain smoking writer from Seoul.
- Their Last Love Affair – a married poet falls for a journalist who said some nice things about his work… screening with Short Can’t Live Without You
- The Shower – animation based on a short story by Hwang Sun-won in which a young boy becomes fascinated by a girl who plays by the stream.
- Pororo, Dinosaur Island Adventure – Cute penguin Pororo returns for another adventure in which he travels to a tropical island to save some dinosaurs from a greedy alien and his robot minions.
The London Korean Film Festival runs 1st – 14th November in London before touring the country until 25th November. Full details for all the films as well as screening times and ticketing information are available via the official website and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.