With the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival just a couple of days away, it occurs to me that I never wrote that Korean cinema @ JDIFF article I promised in my intro to JDIFF article. Whoops.
I’d be lying if I watch a lot of Asian films at the moment, but I used to… When I did I found that the South Korean films often stood out to me. I don’t particularly know why, just that they had interesting ideas and were generally very well made. The horror films in particular were very strong but I also enjoyed their dramas. I decided then that I like Korean cinema – hey, there comes a point where you have to lay your cards down.
It pleased me to see that JDIFF this year is dedicating a section of their schedule to Korean cinema so I wanted to highlight them for you.
Without further ado, here’s a summary of the Korean films in the JDIFF this year.
Mother (Madeo) – Friday Feb 19, 6.30pm, Cineworld 9
If you haven’t seen those films I would highly recommend them. They’re very different though. The Host is great ol’ monster film, it’s like Cloverfield except more fun and not so hard on those who suffer from motion sickness. Memories of Murder is a crime drama based on the story of Korea’s first known serial killer. Think along the lines of Zodiac but oddly funnier…
Mother is a return to murder/mystery genre for Bong. It follows the story of a single mother (Hye-Ja) and her mentally challenged son (Do-joon). When a young girl turns up dead, suspicion falls on her son and Hye-Ja relationship with him is tested to breaking point.
I’m sure it will be better than I’m making it sound, after Memories of Murder I have faith that Joon-ho Bong will make this something brilliant.
Castaway on the Moon (Kimssi pyoryugi) – Saturday Feb 20, 6.15pm, Cineworld 9
It’s about guy down on his luck. He’s lost his job, is heavily in debt and his girlfriend has just dumped him. He decides to pack it all in and jump into the Han river… things don’t go to plan though and when he wakes he finds himself stranded on a small island in the middle of the river. A modern day Robinson Crusoe. He decides to buck up and get on with his new life but things take an odd turn when a woman, a recluse confined to her apartment, notices him. What kind of relationship can you have if you never meet.
Like I said, sounds like fun.
Breathless (Ddongpari) – Sunday Feb 21, 6pm, Cineworld 9
I’ve heard a lot of buzz about Breathless lately, which naturally means I’ve been avoiding reading about it. Unfortunately I don’t think I’m going to have a chance to see it in the festival but I’m hoping it gets a general release. If you have a chance though I’d recommend you go along.
Like most of the Korean films in the festival, the director of this film is also the writer. The difference here is that Yang Ik-Joon also plays the lead. It’s probably simplest to say that Breathless is a gangster film. Or at least it’s about a gangster. I was a little disturbed by the description in the JDIFF programme, no offence meant folks, but it kind of put me off a bit.
Basically the film is about a low-life debt collector living in a spiral of violence, abuse and anger. Nothing new there I guess. But when he meets a schoolgirl he find he’s met a person who may force a change in him.
I guess it’s impossible to summarise a film without making it sound a little simple. I am assured by the internet that this is a film that is worth of the buzz around it so I hope you’ll go along.
A Brand New Life (Yeo-haeng-ja) – Tuesday Feb 23, 6pm, Cineworld 9
French-Korean writer/director Ounie Lecomte used her own life to inspire the story of A Brand New Life. The film is about a young child who finds herself abandoned at an orphanage, not knowing why or what to do next.
The ratings on IMDb seem good and it has won a couple of awards so I assume this is a good solid drama. Probably not a particularly happy drama but I wouldn’t hold that against a film.
Hansel and Gretel – Wednesday Feb 24, 6pm , Cineworld 9
This one is a little older than the other Korean films in the festival. It was first shown in South Korea in December 2007 and has been on the festival circuit ever since. It seems unlikely that this will receive a general release so if you don’t catch this at JDIFF you probably won’t get to see it on the big screen here again.
Out of all the Korean films it’s probably the one that sounds most interesting to me plotwise however that may be a bit of a risk It is a horror film though and I’ve enjoyed most of the Korean horror films I’ve seen Hmm.. I wonder if my budget can stretch to another film… anyway I should probably tell you a bit about it.
Hansel and Gretel is a… reworking I suppose… of the classic fairytale recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Eun-soo is a salesman, on the road late at night, heading to visit his sick mother. He gets a phone call from his wife and, distracted, he runs his car off the road and awakens hours later in a dark forest. A little girl finds him and takes him to their “House of Happy Children”. Creepy kids, car off the road, dark forest. You know this isn’t going to go well for our salesman…
I’ll leave it there but the more I read about it the more likely I think it is that I’m going to make a dash to Cineworld next Wednesday night…
So that’s all the Korean films in the festival. Let me know if you’re thinking of heading to any of them and if you do go along let me know what you think!Read More