CinemAsia Announces Complete Programme for 2020

CinemAsia returns to Amsterdam from 4th to 8th March for its 13th edition bringing with it another fantastic selection of recent East Asian cinema. This year’s festival opens with the European premiere of Japanese indie Mrs Noisy, and closes with heartwarming Taiwanese drama Heavy Craving, both of which are directed by female filmmakers.

Bhutan

China

  • Balloon – Tibetan-language drama from Pema Tseden (Jinpa) following a sheep farming family facing a crisis thanks to the recently instituted One Child Policy. Review.
  • Saturday Fiction – Gong Li stars as an actress returning to Shanghai after a long absence to star in a play directed by an old flame but may have ulterior motives in the latest from Lou Ye.
  • The River in Me – documentary exploring traditional folksong in modern China
  • The Wild Goose Lake – Black Coal, Thin Ice’s Diao Yinan returns with another neo noir in which a smalltime mob boss tries to survive after he kills a policeman by mistake.

Hong Kong

  • Fagara – a young woman discovers the existence of two half-sisters, one from Taiwan and the other mainland China, following the death of her estranged father. Review.
  • Little Q – touching drama following the life of a guide dog who is assigned to a grumpy pastry chef. Review.
  • Suk Suk – voted the best HK film of 2019 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, Suk Suk follows two older men who meet by chance and fall in love after decades of keeping their true identities secret.

Indonesia

  • A Man Called Ahok – biopic of controversial political figure Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
  • Bumi Manusia – period romance adapted from the novel by Pramoedya Ananta Toer in which a member of the Javanese royal family falls for a girl who is half-Dutch.
  • Gundala – superhero action from Joko Anwar
  • Homecoming – a couple get into an accident on the way to spend Eid with family bringing them into contact with the mysterious Santi.

Japan

  • Complicity – an undocumented man from China embraces his cover identity and takes a job in a soba restaurant but struggles to maintain his sense of self in Chikaura’s sensitive drama. Review.
  • Mrs Noisy – a writer struggling to come up with new material after winning a major award is distracted by a vendetta with her noisy neighbour.
  • Tezuka’s Barbara – Macoto Tezka adapts the manga by his famous father in which a novelist (Goro Inagaki) becomes obsessed with a woman he picks up off the street (Fumi Nikaido).

Korea

  • Exit – an unemployed rock climbing enthusiast finds himself in his element when his family is trapped by a mysterious white mist in a high rise restaurant he booked for his mother’s 70th birthday only because an old flame works there. Review.
  • Moonlit Winter – drama in which a teenage girl finds a love letter addressed to her recently divorced mother and determines to identify the sender, little knowing the secret her mother has been keeping.
  • Princess Aya – a princess with the power to turn into an animal marries an enemy prince to broker peace but finds herself beset by new threats in this charming animation.
  • Yellow Ribbon – Ju Hyun-sook’s documentary focussing on the aftermath of the Sewol ferry disaster.

Malaysia

  • Two Sisters – horror in which a young woman is discharged from a psychiatric hospital into the care of her novelist sister only to discover a new threat lurking in the family home.

Philippines

  • John Denver Trending – youth drama based on a true story in which a farm boy’s life is turned upside down when a video of him beating up a classmate goes viral.
  • Overseas – documentary following those training to become overseas domestic helpers.
  • Verdict – a woman suffering domestic abuse tries to get help after her drunken husband hurts their child but struggles to find justice in a patriarchal society.

Taiwan

  • Detention – Lonely high schooler Fang falls for guidance councillor Zhang who alone seems to understand her. She joins his secret study group to read banned books, but Zhang soon “disappears” while only Fang and another student seem to remember him in this gothic horror set during Taiwan’s repressive martial law period.
  • Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and a cross-dressing student. Review.

CinemAsia takes place in Amsterdam from 4th to 8th March, 2020. Full details for all the films can be found on the official website where tickets are already on sale, and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema Returns for Season 10!

Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns March 10 to April 9 with another handpicked selection of the best in recent East Asian cinema! This landmark 10th Season kicks off with Aaron Kwok homelessness drama i’m livin’ it which is nominated in 10 categories at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards, and closes with Yukiko Mishima’s much anticipated romantic drama Shape of Red.

March 10, 7pm: i’m livin’ it

Introduction and Q&A with Director Wong Hing Fan and Actress Kathy Wu

Receiving 10 nominations at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards including all the major categories, i’m livin’ it stars Aaron Kwok as a once successful banker who has unexpectedly become homeless and spends his nights in a 24hr fast food restaurant among others facing similar difficulties.

March 11, 7pm: A Witness Out of the Blue

Introduction and Q&A with Director Fung Chih-Chiang

A detective finds himself investigating a murder in which the only witness is a parrot! Louis Koo is up for best actor at the Hong Kong film awards for his role as the prime suspect while Philip Keung also gets a nod for best supporting as a senior detective.

March 12, 7pm: First Night Nerves

Stanley Kwan’s starry drama pits two warring divas against each other in a battle for the spotlight as they rehearse for a new play penned by a transwoman who struggles to find acceptance in the surprisingly conservative theatre industry. Review.

March 14, 2pm: Men on the Dragon

A collection of dejected middle-aged men can no longer avoid facing their respective crises when forced to participate in the company dragon boat team in Sunny Chan’s heartfelt comedy drama. Review.

March 16, 6.30pm: A Touch of Spring

Introduction and Q&A with Director He Xiao-Dan

Following the breakup of her marriage, a young woman decides to return to her hometown in China after living in Montreal for 10 years. Reconnecting with her family and an old flame helps to show her new direction in her life.

March 18, 7pm: Red Flowers and Green Leaves

A young man who assumed he’d never marry because of a longterm illness suddenly finds himself with a beautiful wife through an arrangement made by his family.

March 19, 7pm: 3 Adventures of Brooke

A young Chinese woman has three very different adventures while traveling in Northern Malaysia, trying on different identities as she encounters different people.

March 21, 7pm: Vanishing Days

Zhu Xin’s debut feature follows a little girl, Li Sen-Lin, who loses her pet turtle while her dad is away on business. Overhearing other relatives talk about an alternate “Sen-Lin”, she begins to wonder if her aunt is really her mother.

March 25, 7pm: We Are Champions

Introduction and Q&A with Producer Rachel Chen and Actor Berant Zhu who will also pick up the Bright Star Award before the screening.

Taiwanese sporting drama in which teenage brothers attempt to change their fates through success on the basketball court.

March 26, 7pm: Detention

Lonely high schooler Fang falls for guidance councillor Zhang who alone seems to understand her. She joins his secret study group to read banned books, but Zhang soon “disappears” while only Fang and another student seem to remember him in this gothic horror set during Taiwan’s repressive martial law period.

April 1, 7pm: Vertigo

Introduction and Q&A with Director Jeon Gye-Soo

A woman in her 30s begins to feel a sense of existential vertigo, trapped in a dead end relationship with a feckless boyfriend while worrying that her career is going nowhere either. Then, she meets a tightrope walking window cleaner.

April 2, 7pm: Paper Flower

Introduction and Q&A with Director Koh Hoon and Actor Ahn Sung-ki who will also receive the Career Achievement Award.

A funeral director struggling to care for his sickly son bonds with a cheerful single mother while going against the city to assist in a public funeral for a noodle stall owner who became a hero to the homeless.

April 4, 7pm: Life Finds a Way

Introduction and Q&A with Director Hirobumi Watanabe

Hirobumi Watanabe once again stars as a version of himself as he experiences a creative crisis as a director while hanging out with his elderly grandmother in sunny Tochigi.

April 8, 7pm: Samurai Marathon

A small fiefdom is thrown into crisis when a ninja spy mistakes his lord’s intentions to toughen up his men as a prelude to rebellion in this unusual samurai drama directed by Bernard Rose. Review.

April 9, 7pm: Shape of Red

Kaho stars as a happily married woman who embarks on a passionate affair with an old flame (Satoshi Tsumabuki) in Yukiko Mishima’s steamy adaptation of the novel by Rio Shimamoto.

Asian Pop-up Cinema Season 10 runs in Chicago from March 10 to April 9. Full details for all the films are available via the festival’s official website where tickets are already on sale. You can also keep up with all the latest news by following Asian Pop-up Cinema on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Vimeo.

New York Asian Film Festival Returns for Second Winter Showcase

NYAFF is back for its second Winter Showcase and this time around the theme is food! Each of the seven films screening from Feb. 14 – 16 at SVA Theatre will be paired with a selection of matching cuisine available after the screening.

Friday Feb. 14, 7pm: Extreme Job

Bumbling Cops open a chicken shop as a cover for staking out a suspected drug den only for the store to prove an unexpected success. Review.

Food: BBQ Chicken Ktown will be on hand with some specially prepared “Galbi” fried chicken just like in the movie.

Saturday Feb. 15, 1pm: Tampopo

A truck driver helps a struggling widow perfect her soup in Juzo Itami’s classic ramen western! Review.

Food: “Tampopo” tonkotsu ramen by Brooklyn Ramen

Saturday Feb. 15, 3.30pm: Eat Drink Man Woman

A master Taiwanese chef faces changing times as each of his three, very different daughters, considers their futures.

Food: Taiwanese casual dining from 886!

Saturday Feb. 15, 6.30pm: God of Cookery

Classic 1996 Stephen Chow comedy about a cynical “chef” who actually knows nothing about cooking but runs a successful food empire.

food: Asian food specialists Char Sue offer up their take on “Char Siu Rice”.

Sunday Feb. 16, 1pm: The Lunchbox

Romantic drama in which a lonely widower strikes up a friendship with an unhappily married woman after accidentally receiving a lunch box intended for her husband.

Food: Chapati Man’s spicy Indian wraps.

Sunday Feb. 16, 3.30pm: Zone Pro Site: The Moveable Feast

A young woman returns home to the country after failing in Taipei but is disappointed to discover her family restaurant has been reduced to a single noodle stand. Luckily, a master chef agrees to help them get back on their feet.

Food: second helpings from 886!

Sunday Feb. 16, 6.30pm: The First Supper

A family reunites for their father’s funeral, sharing their memories of him through the food that he cooked while reaching new understandings in this foodie family drama from Japan.

Food: Takoyaki bites from Karl’s Balls!

The New York Asian Film Festival Winter Showcase runs February 14 – 16 at SVA Theatre. Tickets are available now via Elevent and you can keep up with all the latest news including the upcoming summer season via the festival’s official websiteFacebook page, and Twitter account.

Happiness is a State of Mind – The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2020

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The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme is back for 2020 with another handpicked selection of recent (and not so recent) Japanese cinema hits. This year’s theme is “happiness”, encompassing not only life’s ups but also its down in the pursuit of fulfilment in contemporary Japan.

My Love Story!!

My Love StoryTakeo is a big guy with a big heart but awkward when it comes to romance. When he saves timid transfer student Rinko from a street harasser and falls in love at first sight, he is convinced she must have fallen for his super-handsome friend and determines to get them together in this charmingly innocent high school rom-com. Review.

Our Meal for Tomorrow

Our Meal for tomorrowAn introverted high school boy and outgoing girl grow closer after participating in a joint sack race, but their romance is threatened by a dark secret…

Her Sketchbook

Her sketchpadAn introverted otaku has become a virtual shut in so her father finds her a quiet job testing video games which doesn’t require much interpersonal interaction. Whilst there, she meets a sympathetic colleague who encourages her to express herself designing character illustrations for the games.

A Banana? At This Time of Night?

A banana at this time of nightYo Oizumi stars as a man with muscular dystrophy who is determined to live an independent life in his own home. After striking up a friendship with medical student Hisashi (Haruma Miura) he falls for volunteer carer Misaki and asks Hisashi to help him woo her little knowing she is his girlfriend.

Organ

OrganWartime drama starring Erika Toda as a kindergarten teacher who evacuates her children to a nearby temple to try and protect them from the firebombing of Tokyo.

The Actor

the actorKen Yasuda stars as a jobbing actor experiencing a small revolution when he’s brought in for a big film role for a foreign director and falls for the pretty daughter of a local izakaya owner.

Little Nights, Little Love

little lights little love27-year-old Sato is patiently waiting for love. A chance encounter with a smartly dressed woman who agrees to fill in one of his questionnaires could be just what he’s been looking for…

Jesus

jesus still 1A small boy is forced to relocate to the mountains after his grandfather dies. Though the family is not Christian, he finds himself doubly out of place having to attend a Catholic school where a little bit of religious confusion sees him befriended by a Tiny Jesus. Review.

Another World

Another World still 1Three high school buddies reunite in their small-town home hoping to restore the easy bond of their adolescence while battling middle-aged disappointment in the latest from Junji Sakamoto. Review.

Bento Harassment

Bento Harrassment still 1Fed up with her teenage daughter’s moodiness, a single mother tries to communicate with her via passive aggressive bento in this charming family drama. Review.

My Dad is a Heel Wrestler

My Dad is a Heel Wrestler still 1Former pro-wrestler Takashi Omura injured his knee and now makes a living playing a “heel” – a cockroach mask-wearing villain of the ring. Takashi’s 9-year-old son Shota had no idea what he does for a living until he snuck into the ring. Horrified to discover he’s such a loser, Shota tells his classmates that his dad’s the hero wrestler Dragon George…

Lying to Mom

lying to mom still 1Yuko is knocked out trying to save her son who has hanged himself in his bedroom. Unfortunately he didn’t make it, but when she wakes up she has no memory of the incident and her family don’t have the heart to tell her what really happened, electing to keep up the elaborate pretence that he is alive and well and living in Argentina. Review.

Shadowfall

Shadowfall bannnerA burglar gets a nasty surprise when he breaks into a house where a woman is preparing to commit a murder!

And Your Bird Can Sing

And your bird can sing still 1Three slackers struggle to accept love in modern day Tokyo in Sho Miyake’s contemporary adaptation of Yasushi Sato’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novel. Review.

Sea of Revival

Sea of revival still 1A man moves to his partner’s hometown when her father falls ill, but tragedy follows him and his gambling addiction spirals out of control.

The House Where the Mermaid Sleeps

House where the mermaid sleeps still1Kaoruko is separated from her husband and has two small children. One day she gets a call to say that her daughter has drowned in a swimming pool and has been declared brain dead. She and her husband then have a difficult choice to make, donate her organs so another child can live, or wait until her heart stops beating.

Kakegurui – Compulsive Gambler

Kakegurui bannerIt’s high stakes high school in this adaptation of Homura Kawamoto & Toru Naomura’s gambling manga Kakegurui in which grades are decided at the gaming tables!

Ten Dark Women

10 dark womenKon Ichikawa’s classic black comedy in which a sleazy TV exec gets his comeuppance when his wife and nine mistresses team up to plot his death.

I Go Gaga, My Dear

I Go Gaga, My Dear bannerTV doc director Naoko Nobutomo follows her ageing parents as her mother’s Alzheimer’s-related dementia intensifies. Review.

Ride Your Wave

ride yourwave bannerThe latest feature from Masaaki Yuasa in which a surfer and fireman fall in love only for him to die in an accident at sea which convinces her to stay away from the water until…

The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2020 runs at London’s ICA from 31st January to 16th February before touring to:

Full details for all the films are available on the official Touring Film Programme website. You can also keep up to date with all the year round events organised by Japan Foundation London via their main siteFacebook page, and Twitter account.

Five Flavours Confirms Complete Programme for 2019

Fly Me to the Saitama still 1Poland’s premier showcase for East Asian cinema Five Flavours has confirmed the complete lineup for its 13th edition to take place in Warsaw from 13th to 20th November, 2019. This year’s festival will have a special focus on contemporary Japanese indie cinema as well as a mini retrospective dedicated to Hong Kong’s Fruit Chan.

Bhutan 

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  • The Red Phallus – a 16-year-old girl is mocked by her peers because her father carves wooden phalluses for a living.

China

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  • Balloon – Tibetan-language drama from Pema Tseden (Jinpa) following a sheep farming family.
  • Jinpa – philosophical Tibetan western in which a truck driver picks up a vengeful drifter. Review.
  • To Live to Sing – the leader of a struggling Sichuan Opera troupe tries to stave off eviction through impressing a local bureaucrat. Review.

Hong Kong

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  • Dumplings – Fruit Chan’s contribution to the Three Extremes omnibus movie in which an ageing TV star hopes to regain her mojo through rejuvenating dumplings. Fruit Chan Retrospective.
  • Durian Durian – a mainland woman comes to Hong Kong to make a living as a sex worker and befriends a local dish washer. Fruit Chan Retrospective
  • Fagara – a young woman discovers the existence of two half-sisters, one from Taiwan and the other mainland China, following the death of her estranged father.
  • Hollywood Hong Kong – a mainland sex worker infiltrates an obese family. Fruit Chan Retrospective
  • Little Cheung – a little boy rides around Hong Kong delivering for his parents’ restaurant. Fruit Chan Retrospective
  • Made in Hong Kong – Fruit Chan’s landmark handover movie. Review. Fruit Chan Retrospective
  • Still Human – a grumpy old man makes an unexpected connection with his Filipina carer. Review.
  • Three Husbands – latest from Fruit Chan in which a young woman lives a life at sea with her three husbands. Fruit Chan Retrospective.
  • Throw Down – 2004 Johnnie To classic starring Louis Koo as a former judo champion now a depressed musician and club manager.

Japan

And your bird can sing still 1

  • And Your Bird Can Sing – three melancholy slackers struggle to accept love in Sho Miyake’s adaptation of the Yasushi Sato novel. Review.
  • Blue Hour – a young woman takes her best friend on a roadtrip to her home town but finds old wounds reopening on reuniting with her family. Review.
  • Bone Born Bone – Unmarried pregnant daughter Yuko scandalises her community when she returns home to participate in the bone washing ritual in the second feature from Okinawan comedian Toshiyuki Teruya. Review.
  • Demolition Girl – a high school girl dreams of escaping her small town existence by getting enough money for uni through niche fetish videos of her smashing things. Review.
  • Flowers of Evil – splatter director Noboru Iguchi adapts Shuzo Oshimi’s nihilistic high school manga.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – absurdist comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority. Review.
  • Going the Distance – Forced to choose between his wife-to-be, and a “brother” who grew up with him in the same orphanage, Asahi’s life reaches a crisis point in this comedy/drama debut from Yujiro Hamamoto.
  • Mr. Long – a Taiwanese hit man is adopted by a small town in Sabu’s melancholy drama. Review.
  • One Cut of the Dead – Real zombies mess up the shoot for a horror movie in Shinichiro Ueda’s hilarious comedy. Review.
  • The Gun – Masaharu Take adapts Fuminori Nakamura’s nihilistic novel in which a young man’s life changes when he picks up the gun of a fallen yakuza. Review.

Korea

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  • Believer – Korean remake of Johnnie To’s Drug war. Review.
  • Door Lock – remake of Spanish film Sleep Tight in which a woman living alone suspects a stranger has been breaking in to her home. Review.
  • Maggie – surreal drama narrated by a catfish in which a conflicted nurse explores the interplay of truth and trust. Review.
  • The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale – comedy in which a family’s life is disrupted when dad gets bitten by a zombie. Review.

Taiwan

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  • Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and cross-dressing student.
  • Nina Wu – psychological drama from Midi Z in which an actress gets her big break but is forced into uncomfortable situations by a difficult director.

Singapore

Wet season still 1

  • Repossession – an ordinary man’s life becomes a nightmare when he loses his cushy corporate job.
  • Wet Season – Ilo Ilo’s Anthony Chen returns with a monsoon tale in which a Mandarin language teacher is drawn to one of her students. Review.

Thailand

Inhuman Kiss banner 1

  • BNK 48: Girls Don’t Cry – Thamrongrattanarit Nawapol interviews members of the Thai idol group.
  • Krasue: Inhuman Kiss – an innocent village girl discovers she is a victim of a strange curse in which her head detaches from her body to hunt for blood! Review.
  • Where We Belong – friendship drama starring members of Thai supergroup BNK48.

Vietnam

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  • Furie – some thugs make a very bad decision when they kidnap a former gangster’s daughter.

Five Flavours takes place in Warsaw from 13th to 20th November 2019. More information on all the films as well as screening times and ticketing links can be found on the official website, and you can keep up to date with all the latest news via the festival’s Facebook PageTwitter Account, Instagram, and YouTube Channels.

London East Asia Film Festival Announces Full Programme for 2019

Exit still 1The London East Asia Film Festival returns for its fourth edition on 24th October with a screening of Korean action drama Exit. This year the festival will host a special actor focus dedicated to Hong Kong star Aaron Kwok, as well as showcasing two films from North Korea, and paying tribute to the classic samurai movie.

Opening 

Exit banner

  • Exit – an unemployed rock climbing enthusiast finds himself in his element when his family is trapped by a mysterious white mist in a high rise restaurant he booked for his mother’s 70th birthday only because an old flame works there. Director Lee Sang-geun will be present for a Q&A.

China

The Crossing Banner

  • The Wild Goose Lake – Black Coal, Thin Ice’s Diao Yinan returns with another neo noir in which a smalltime mob boss tries to survive after he kills a policeman by mistake.
  • Balloon – Tibetan-language drama from Pema Tseden (Jinpa) following a sheep farming family.
  • Send me to the Clouds – a young woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer ends up writing a biography of an entrepreneur’s father and embarking on an existential journey.
  • Summer of Changsha – directorial debut from actor Zu Feng in which he also stars as a policeman investigating a possible murder after a severed arm is found in a river.
  • The Crossing – a teenage girl faces differing kinds of crossings as she finds herself embroiled in a world of crime smuggling phones across the Hong Kong/Shenzhen border. Review.

Hong Kong

Still human 1

  • Europe Raiders – third in the “Raiders” series in which two bounty hunters go on a search for the “Hand of God”.
  • G Affairs – gritty social drama in which a severed head exposes the unexpected connections between a disparate group of people. Q&A with Director Lee Cheuk Pan
  • Still Human – touching drama in which a grumpy old man eventually bonds with his Filipina carer. Review
  • Three Husbands – latest from Fruit Chan in which a young woman lives a life at sea with her three husbands.
  • After This Our Exile – Aaron Kwok stars in Patrick Tam’s drama as a dejected husband and father who finds himself alone with his young son after his wife finally manages to leave.
  • Cold War – Aaron Kwok stars as an earnest ICAC agent trying to secure the release of kidnapped policemen. Plus talk with Aaron Kwok
  • Port of Call – Aaron Kwok stars as an eccentric detective investigating the death of a young girl in Philip Yung’s melancholy thriller. Review.
  • I’m Livin’ It – Aaron Kwok stars as a former finance worker rendered homeless. Closing gala with Kwok in attendance. 
  • Butterfly – a closeted lesbian married with a child falls for a younger woman in Mak Yan Yan’s sensitive drama.
  • Green Snake – Tsui Hark’s take on the classic Lady White Snake legend starring Maggie Cheung and Joey Wong.

Indonesia 

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Japan

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  • A Girl MissingKoji Fukada reunites with Harmonium’s Mariko Tsutsui who stars as a carer implicated in a crime.
  • To the Ends of the Earth – Kiyoshi Kurosawa reunites with recent muse Atsuko Maeda as a lost TV presenter goes searching for herself while filming in Uzbekistan. Review.
  • Erica 38 – a middle-aged woman seeks chases illusionary success after getting involved with large scale fraud. Review.
  • The Woman Who Keeps a Murderer – Horror from Ring’s Hideo Nakata in which a traumatised woman’s world gradually collapses.
  • Under Your Bed – stalker drama from Mari Asato starring Kengo Kora as a lonely man obsessed with a former uni classmate now married with a child.

Korea

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  • Long Live the King – comedy in which a mob boss aims to become president to win the heart of a woman who constantly rejects him and also save his friend who has been sentenced to death!
  • Another Child – teenage girls bond in unexpected friendship when they find out their parents are having an affair. Review.
  • Divine Fury – An MMA fighter battles his demons while teaming up with an exorcist priest! Review.
  • Money – a cynical stockbroker gets in over his head with an unscrupulous fixer. Review. Q&A with Director Park Noo-ri & Actor Ryu Jun Yeol.
  • Ms Purple – Drama set in LA’s Koreatown in which Korean-American siblings attempt to reconnect in their father’s final days.
  • The House of Us – Yoon Ga-eun’s The World of Us followup in which a young girl trying to get her parents to patch things up becomes a big sister figure to two other kids. Review.
  • The Battle: Roar to Victory – drama starring Yoo Hai-jin and Ryu Jun-yeol in which Resistance fighters in 1920 attempt to get funds to the Independence Movement in exile in Shanghai.
  • The House of Hummingbird – a young girl’s perspective widens when she connects with her enigmatic Chinese teacher. Review.
  • Tune in for Love – Romantic drama from Jung Ji-woo set in the ’90s following a baker who likes to call in to a radio requests show. Q&A with Actor Jung Hae-in
  • Inseparable Bros – two best friends, one who has a physical disability and the other learning difficulties, meet a woman who encourages them out into the world.
  • Juror 8 – comedy drama inspired by Korea’s first jury trial in which a strange young man refuses to abide by the majority opinion. Review.
  • The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil – Ma Dong-seok stars as a gangster attacked by serial stabber who teams up with a rogue cop to trap a serial killer. Review.
  • My Name is Kim Bok-dong – documentary exploring the life of “comfort woman” Kim Bok-dong who passed away last year after decades of trying to gain acknowledgement for women like herself forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during the Second World War.
  • Rivercide: The Secret Six – documentary focussing on the outcome of President Lee’s Grand Canal project.
  • The Culprit – a man’s wife is murdered and circumstantial evidence suggests his best friend did it. He teams up with his friend’s wife to search for the truth!

North Korea

The Story of Our Home

  • The Story of Our Home – propaganda drama about a teenage girl who adopts a series of orphans.
  • A Broad Bellflower – propaganda romance in which a man dreams of moving to the city while his wife wants to improve their town.

Philippines

Rainbow Sunset

  • Rainbow’s Sunset – drama in which an 84-year-old man tells his family he is gay because he wants to care for his longterm lover in his final days.

Singapore

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  • Wet Season – Ilo Ilo’s Anthony Chen returns with a monsoon tale in which a Mandarin language teacher is drawn to one of her students. Review.

Taiwan

Nina Wu still 1

  • Cities of Last Things – tripartite story which begins with the protagonist’s suicide and then moves back to examine the events which led to it.
  • Nina Wu – psychological drama from Midi Z in which an actress gets her big break but is forced into uncomfortable situations by a difficult director.
  • Deep Evil – a top plastic surgeon is a prime suspect when a headless corpse is discovered.
  • Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and cross-dressing student.
  • Millennium Mambo – Hou Hsiao-Hsien drama starring Shu Qi as a young woman living in turn of the century Taipei.
  • The Tag-Along: The Devil Fish – spin-off to the Tag-Along series inspired by another urban legend in which fishermen notice a human face in their fish as they’re grilling it.

Thailand

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  • The Pool – A man ends up having to clean a disused pool after a film shoot but falls asleep on an inflatable raft. When he wakes up, he finds that the water level has fallen so low he can no longer climb out. He screams for help, but the only creature to hear him is a crocodile…

Samurai Season

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  • 13 Assassins – Takashi Miike’s remake of the 1963 Eiichi Kudo classic in which 13 assassins go up against a corrupt lord.
  • Harakiri – Kobayashi classic from 1962 starring Tatsuya Nakadai as a ronin taking a principled stand against samurai corruption.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance – first in the Lone Wolf and Cub series which sees a noble samurai fall from grace and take to the road with his small son in tow. Review.
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx – The second film in the Lone Wolf and Cub cycle in which Ogami is hired to take down a corrupt manager. Review.
  • Sword of Doom – blistering drama from Kichachi Okamoto in which Tatsuya Nakadai stars as an amoral samurai.

The London East Asia Film Festival 2019 runs at various venues in Central London from 24th October to 3rd November. Full details for all the films as well as ticketing links will shortly be available via the official website, and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Flickr.

London Korean Film Festival Announces Full Programme for 2019

The Seashore Village - Opening Gala (1st Nov)The London Korean Film Festival kicks off its 14th edition in London on 1st November and runs until the 14th at venues across the city before touring to Edinburgh Film House, Watershed Cinema Bristol, Belfast Queen’s Film Theatre, Glasgow Film Theatre, Manchester HOME, and Nottingham Broadway Cinema from 18th to 24th. This year’s special focus is dedicated to Korean cinema history in celebration of its centenary and will feature a series of classics many of them making their UK cinema premieres. 

Opening

The Seashore Village poster 2

  • The Seashore Village – Opening for the first time with a retrospective title, the festival will pay tribute to veteran director Kim Soo-yong with his 1965 literary adaptation The Seashore Village in which a community of women left largely alone after losing husbands at sea have learned to support each other in the absence of men. Review. Director Kim will be present in person to discuss the film as well as his long career in the Korean cinema industry.

Closing

Scattered Night - Closing Gala (14th Nov)

  • Scattered Night – the festival will close on Nov. 14 with Kim Sol’s 2019 drama chronicling the dissolution of a family seen through the eyes of the children.

Special Focus: 100 Years of Korean Cinema

Devil's Staircase poster 2

  • A Hometown in Heart – touching drama from 1949 in which an orphaned child monk bonds with a widow.
  • Piagol – Lee Kang-cheon’s 1955 drama was originally banned for its sympathetic depiction of Communist soldiers as they wage war under a severe commander.
  • The Flower in Hell – Shin Sang-ok classic from 1958 in which a sex worker tries to find escape by seducing the younger brother of her boyfriend who makes a living stealing from the US military.
  • Aimless Bullet – bleak portrait of post-war life from Yu Hyun-mok. Review.
  • A Coachman – a single father struggles to provide for his family in Kang Dae-jin’s 1961 drama.
  • A Woman Judge – Moon Jeong-suk stars as a young woman determined to become a judge in the face of fierce social opposition. Review.
  • Bloodline – Another literary adaptation from Kim Soo-yong, Bloodline revolves around three families in a small courtyard in which the young long for freedom and a brighter future only for their parents to lament their declining authority. Review.
  • Goryeojang – 1963 drama from Kim Ki-young revolving around the ancient practice of abandoning the old in times of famine.
  • Ieoh Island – Kim Ki-young drama from 1977 in which a murder is committed on an island inhabited only by women.
  • The Devil’s Stairway – Hitchcockian drama with shades of Les Diaboliques from Lee Man-hee in which a doctor (Kim Jin-kyu) offs his inconvenient mistress (Moon Jeong-suk) to marry the boss’ daughter only to be haunted (or not?) by the memory of his transgression. Review.
  • Homebound – Moon Jeong-suk, the director’s then muse, stars again for Lee Man-hee as a middle-aged woman finds herself trapped between personal desire and social convention when she falls for a young reporter (Kim Jeong-cheol) and considers leaving her embittered, bedridden war veteran husband (Kim Jin-gyu). Review.
  • A Day Off – legendary, long believed lost drama from Lee Man-hui originally banned for its bleakness in which a young couple find themselves in an impossible situation. Review.
  • Ticket – ’80s drama from Im Kwon-taek exploring the lives of three young women working in a “ticket” bar “coffee delivery” shop. Review.
  • The Man with Three Coffins – 1987 drama from Lee Jang-ho in which a man wanders the country looking for a place to scatter his wife’s ashes.
  • A Pillar of Mist – a young couple grow apart over time in Park Chul-soo’s 1986 drama.
  • The Age of Success – Ahn Sung-ki stars as a salesman at a sweetner company who falls ill after battling a competitor and comes up with a genius idea to get back at them while in the hospital.
  • Why Has Bodhi-Darma Left for the East? – drama exploring the lives of three monks shot over seven years.
  • North Korean Partisan in South Korea (Nambugun) – 1990 drama inspired by the life of war correspondent Lee Tae.
  • A Single Spark – biographical drama about a Jeon Tae-il, a worker who self-immolated to protest unfair working conditions.
  • The Day a Pig Fell into a Well – debut from Hong Sang-soo in which a married man on a business trip gets stranded and ends up having a weird encounter with a sex worker.
  • Three Friends – debut from Lim Soon-rye in which three misfits report for military service.
  • The Contact – romance in which love blossoms over the airways.
  • Peppermint Candy – modern masterpiece from Lee Chang-dong in which a disappointed man looks back over his life.

Hidden Figures: Ha Gil-jong

Pollen of Flowers banner

  • The Pollen of Flowers – Ha Gil-jong’s debut makes a subtle jab at the repressive Park Chung-hee regime as a businessman introduces his male secretary into the home he shares with his mistress.
  • The March of Fools – 1975 drama which begins as campus comedy and then gets progressively melancholic and reflective. Review.
  • The Ascension of Han-ne – in the 19th century a woman is saved from suicide but ostracised by her community after a shaman pronounces her bad luck.

Cinema Now

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  • Grass – Hong Sang-soo drama starring Kim Min-hee as a writer eavesdropping in a coffee shop.
  • Birthday – powerful drama following a family bereaved by the Sewol ferry tragedy. Review.
  • A Resistance – historical drama inspired by the life of a teenage independence activist. Review.
  • Idol – neo-noir in which a bereaved father tries to expose the true facts surrounding the death of his son while a politician attempts to maintain his squeaky clean image. Review.
  • Extreme Job – broad comedy in which bumbling policemen open a fried chicken joint as part of a stakeout only for the place to take off. Review.
  • The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale – a weird family adopts a zombie after discovering his bite has healing qualities in Lee Min-jae’s hilariously surreal comedy. Review.
  • Height of the Wave – latest from Park Jung-bum following a policewoman transferred to a remote island.

Women’s Voices

A Bedsore (Women's Voices)

  • Youngju – a young woman looking after her brother becomes involved with the man who killed their parents.
  • A Boy and Sungreen – a schoolboy and his friend attempt to track down his absent dad.
  • A Bedsore – grandma’s bedsore exposes the cracks in an ordinary family.
  • Yukiko – chronicle of a family scarred by war.

Documentary

night before the strike

  • Water Utilization Tax – documentary from 1984 following the four month struggle of farmers in Gurye.
  • Blue Bird – 1986 doc interviewing farmers about their working conditions.
  • The Night Before the Strike – 1990 doc following factory workers’ attempts to unionise.

Animation

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  • A Story of Hong Gil-dong – 1967 classic adapting the traditional folktale.
  • Astro Gardener – fantasy adventure with an ecological message.

Mise-en-scène Shorts

Yuwol

  • Freckles – bittersweet tale of first love.
  • To Each Your Sarah – a woman rebuilds her life after leaving her husband.
  • Goodbye Bushman – brothers discover a “bushman” in the woods.
  • Milk – a hotel maid commits a crime to pay for baby food.
  • Yuwol: The Boy Who Made the World Dance – musical following a young boy with an urge to dance.
  • Camping – a woman is kidnapped from a campsite.
  • The Stars Whisperer – a young girl with hearing difficulties makes a new friend.
  • The Lambs – a pastor and a member of his congregation share an obsession with a dead woman.

Artist Video

Songs from the North (Artist Video)

  • Songs from the North – Yoo Soon-mi’s documentary portrait of the North.
  • Dangerous Supplement – early work from Yoo Soon-mi showcasing the theme of memory.
  • Sets – Park Chan-kyong’s examination of the North’s vision of the South.
  • Flying – Park Chan-kyong explores the North/South divide.
  • Believe it or Not – Park Chan-kyong narrative piece inspired by those who have crossed the border.

The London Korean Film Festival runs 1st – 14th November in London before touring the country until 24th. Full details for all the films as well as screening times and ticketing information will be available shortly via the official website and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.