The London Korean Film Festival returns for its 13th edition, with two weeks of screenings across the capital with another diverse programme of films and events putting a spotlight on Korean cinema. Focusing on the theme ‘A Slice of Everyday Life’, the festival presents over 50 exciting films within seven strands, which range from South Korea’s current hits, to female filmmakers, to independent cinema, and to must-see classics. Taking place from November 1 to 14, the festival is then set to tour across the country to Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Manchester, and Nottingham from November 16-25.
The festival opens with the UK premiere of Jeon Go-woon’s Microhabitat, a film that follows a woman as she steps back into the lives of her former bandmates after being evicted from her home. Starring Lee Som in the lead role, the film explores the struggles faced by young Koreans, and indeed young people around the world, as they try to navigate their way through the world around them. LKFF closes with female-led drama The Return by Danish-Korean adoptee Malene Choi, which sees a woman travel to Korea to try and find her birth parents. With Karoline Sofie Lee at the helm, and being an adoptee herself, the film promises to be an emotional rollercoaster for its audience.
Venues for screenings in London include Picturehouse Central, Regent Street Cinema, the ICA, Phoenix Cinema, Close-up, LUX, and Rio Cinema. While events and films will also be shown at Birkbeck’s Institute of Moving Image, Kingston University, the National Film & Television School, the British Museum, and the KCCUK. With the festival’s focus on stories that escape the overtly dramatic in favour of the profound stories that can be seen in day-to-day life, LKFF has a lot on offer for cinephiles, and MyM Buzz has a guide to the top 5 films to look out for.
Created by up-and-coming director Lee Dong-eun, and his follow-up to his powerful LGBT drama In Between Seasons, the film examines the complex bond between parents and children. In a similar vein to his feature-film debut, the drama looks at the relationship between a woman and the ‘difficult’ teenage boy who her late husband shared with another woman. Forced to become his guardian, the film examines their relationship and what it truly means to be a parent. Given Lee’s talent as a filmmaker, and writer, this is one that shouldn’t be missed.
This heart-warming film sees Hye-won return to her roots in the countryside after losing sense of herself while living in Seoul. She learns how to live off the land, and the joys of creating nourishing home-cooked meals from scratch for herself, her friends, and her family, and this film is a loving examination of the joys of a simple life. With The Handmaiden’s Kim Tae-ri in the lead role, Little Forest is sure to nurture you with its charming story – just don’t watch it on an empty stomach!
For those interested in the more dramatic, The Witness is sure to set pulses racing with its intense narrative that sees its lead character Han Sang-hoon choose not to report a brutal murder he witnessed so he can protect his family. As a result, the killer is able to stay one step ahead of the police at every turn, much to the frustration of the detective set to find him. As other witnesses begin to get viciously attacked, Sang-hoon is soon thrown into a cat-and-mouse game that he’s not sure he’ll be able to get out of.
Writer Hyeon Taekji (Yang Ik-june) is a second-rate poet who struggles to live with his strongminded wife, who is determined to have a baby with him before it’s too late. One day, he becomes inextricably struck by the beauty of young man Seyun, a high school dropout who splits his time between taking care of his ailing father and selling donuts. Confused by his feelings, and the prospect that he could be gay, Taekji’s life is soon thrown into a loop by the young man in Kim Yanghee’s astonishing feature film debut.
Veteran director Lee Myung-se is the special focus of the festival this year, with his Love Trilogy gracing the silver screen once more. The first of which, My Love, My Bride, is a romantic comedy that follows the budding romance between poet Yeong-min and his college sweetheart Mi-yeong. It begins with a proposal gone wrong, that creates a snowball effect of hilarious misunderstandings between the pair. Shaped by these comical mishaps, their relationship proves to be a humorous love affair, that viewers are sure to fall in love with.
Tickets for the London Korean Film Festival are out now, and more information about screenings can be found on http://koreanfilm.co.uk/.