[KS] COREAN FILM FESTIVAL DC 2009 April 17 – June 10

nkw88 at hotmail.com nkw88 at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 7 18:03:21 EDT 2009

April 17 – June 10
The Corean Film Festival DC 2009 is made possible by the Corean Film Council and the Corea Foundation.
All films are 35mm and in Corean with English subtitles unless otherwise indicated.
Freer Gallery of Art
Meyer Auditorium
Independence Avenue at 12th Street SW
Washington, DC
Metro: Smithsonian
Free tickets are required for
films in the 300 seat Meyer Auditorium, located in the Freer Gallery.
Up to two tickets per person are distributed at the auditorium one hour
before show time.
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
8633 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, MD
Metro: Silver Spring
Wednesday, April 22, 9:30 PM, AFI
Thursday, April 23, 9:10 PM, AFI
young woman trapped in a man’s body discovers that same body may hold
the answer to her problems in this offbeat comedy-drama by Lee Hae-jun
and Lee Hae-young. Oh Dong-gu  is a high school student who has become
convinced that he was meant to be a girl rather than a boy. Emboldened
by the sassy attitude of his favorite singer, Madonna, and determined
not to be intimidated by his father, an alcoholic former boxer whose
tirades drove his wife from him, Dong-gu works a part-time job and
saves his money, dreaming of the day he can afford a sex change
operation. When he learns that a wrestling tournament is being held
with a large cash prize going to the winner, Dong-gu decides grappling
just might be the ticket to his new gender. (Description adapted from
the All Movie Guide) (2006, 112 min., Corean with English subtitles)
Friday, April 24, 7 PM, FGA
Jae-young’s deadpan performance as Do-man, an unwaveringly
straight-arrow cop, and a cleverly engineered plot make this one of the
best Corean comedies of recent years. After a rash of bank robberies,
the new police chief of the town of Sampo institutes a training drill
in which the officers reenact a robbery so they can better solve them.
But when Do-man takes to his role as the robber with the same
exactitude he brings to his job every day, pretty soon a very real
hostage situation threatens to embarrass everyone involved. Ra
Hee-chan’s debut feature “manages to sneak in elements of social satire
while being the most well-made, entertaining and downright likeable
take on the bank heist in a very long time.” (Robyn Citizen, Critics
Notebook) (2007, 102 min., Corean with English subtitles, video)
Sunday, April 26, 1 PM, FGA
witty, black comedy, Yoon Seung-ho’s directorial debut earned him
comparisons to the young Woody Allen. It follows the personal and
professional foibles of a filmmaker who is so neurotic that merely
writing a screenplay about a character suffering from aphasia causes
him to contract the condition himself. Although he manages to overcome
this obstacle with the help of a ventriloquist friend, but his problems
continue to mount when his girlfriend breaks up with him and the
producer of his film threatens to turn the project over to an
up-and-coming directorial team of Mongolian twins. Yoon’s film is full
of Corean film industry in-jokes, but its sense of the absurd is
universal. (2007, 99 min., Corean with English subtitles)
Sunday, April 26, 3 PM, FGA
is home to some 70,000 taxis, operated for the most part by drivers who
work exhausting 12-hour shifts for little take-home pay. To make Taxi
Blues, documentary filmmaker Choiha Dong-ha spent a summer working as a
taxi driver, with a camera mounted on his dashboard as he carried
passengers from all walks of life to every corner of the city. Choiha
creates candid, sometimes unflattering portraits of his clients, and
documents the toll this grueling job took on him in a film that, in the
words of Corean cinema expert Darcy Paquet, “gives new insight and
understanding into a profession that for many people seems so ordinary
as to be invisible.” (2005, 98 min., Corean with English subtitles)
Saturday, May 2, 3:30 PM, AFI
Sunday, May 3, 6:10 PM, AFI
is a 40ish, married painter who takes it on the lam to Paris after
getting caught smoking pot with some American tourists in Seoul. But
his escape doesn’t come a moment too soon: feeling trapped in life and
blocked in his art, the getaway proves welcome — only now that he’s
actually settled in the City of Light, what should he do? Hong Sang-soo
creates a beautifully observed, characteristically wry chronicle of
Sung-nam’s attempt to savor his wandering year even if it’s come 20
years too late. Not speaking a word of French, Sung-nam joins a
floating group of Corean ex-pats and exchange students. When he meets
art student Hyun-ju and her roommate Yu-jeong, it could be that love is
in the air—or is it just Paris?  Hong’s eye for telling details has
never been sharper, and Sung-nam’s running commentary on the French and
those aspiring to live like them is often hilariously perceptive.
(Description by the New York Film Festival) (Hong Sang-soo, 2008, 145
min., Corean with English subtitles)
Friday, May 15, 7 PM, FGA
multi-talented Noh Young-seok wrote, directed, produced, edited,
designed the sets and composed the music for his first feature, a droll
independent comedy. Dumped by his girlfriend and stranded in the
countryside after his drinking buddies forget to join him on a trip
they planned, the film’s hapless hero winds up on a series of comical
misadventures as he bumbles across the wintry landscape encountering
rude guesthouse operators, mysterious seductresses and endless
opportunities to drink himself into a stupor in the middle of the
afternoon, all of which lead to a hangover of epic proportions. Clever
and refreshingly unpretentious, Daytime Drinking marks the debut a
talented new director on Korea’s independent cinema scene. (2008, 116
min., Corean with English subtitles)
Saturday, May 16, 7:30 PM, AFI
Wednesday, May 20, 7 PM, AFI
this utterly riveting, twisting, no-holds-barred thriller, an ex-cop
turned pimp races against time to locate one of his girls after she’s
kidnapped by a serial killer who’s been terrorizing the streets of
Seoul. Director Na Hong-jin embeds the film’s harrowing suspense and
relentless brutality in a furious denunciation of police ineptitude and
corruption. As the morally compromised hero, Kim Yoon-suk gives a
knockout performance in more ways than one. One of Corean cinema’s
biggest hits last year and winner of best picture, director, actor, and
screenplay at the 2008 Corean Film Awards. (Description by the Film
Society of Lincoln Center) (2008, 125 min., Corean with English
Sunday, May 24, 5:30 PM, AFI
Wednesday, May 27, 7 PM, AFI
sidelong glance, the shared ice cream, the lazy afternoon nap, the date
that no one's calling a date - out of these tiny details Hur Jin-ho
builds a movie about the beginning of falling in love. Considered by
many to be the Great Corean Movie Romance, this is a gentle mediation
on life, death, and parking violations that's lingers on your eyes long
after it's over.  In 1998, it swept the Corean Film Awards, coming away
with "Best Picture", "Best Director", "Best Actress" (Shim Eun-Ha), and
"Best Cinematography." (Description by Subway Cinema) (1998, 97 min.,
Corean with English subtitles)
Sunday, May 31, 2 PM, FGA
Kang-ho, star of, among other films, The Host and Memories of Murder,
and one of the best actors in Korea if not on planet Earth, gives a
true star turn in Han Jae-rim’s The Show Must Go On. He plays a
successful gangster whose main aspiration is to provide an idyllic
middle-class lifestyle for his family. But when trouble at work spills
over into his domestic life, he finds himself on the verge of losing
everything. “Brimming with crime, comedy and (finally) poignancy.”
(Russell Edwards, Variety) (2007, 112 min., Corean with English
Saturday, June 6, 12:30 PM, AFI
Monday, June 8, 7 PM, AFI
actor Yang Ik-June also serves as director, scriptwriter, and producer
of this story based on the autobiographical experiences of a gangster
and extortionist.  Having grown up with a violent father whom he held
responsible for the deaths of his mother and sister, things begin to
change his life when he meets cheeky schoolgirl Han Yeon-Heui who is
herself the daily victim of the brutality of her mentally-ill father
and insensitive brother.  (Description courtesy of the International
Film Festival Rotterdam) (2008, 130 min., Corean with English subtitles)
Tuesday, June 9, 9:20 PM, AFI
Wednesday, June 10, 9:20 PM, AFI
visually lyrical and horrific, this film codirected by Jung Sik and
Jung Beon-sik is a bloodstained foray into the depths of obsessive love
and unbearable grief. Set in a small Corean hospital, the once peaceful
place is now a labyrinth of haunted corridors and the stage for
frightful events: a medical student is inexplicably drawn to a
beautiful dead girl; a troubled child is tortured by bloody visions of
her dead parents; and a married couple find themselves investigating a
series of gory murders. Certain to give you goosebumps and have you
peering over your shoulder with every ghastly twist, this Corean
chiller will keep you guessing till the end. (2007, 98 min., Corean
with English subtitles)
Friday, April 17, 7 PM, FGA
Saturday, April 18, 5 PM, AFI
In Person: Yim Soon-rye
major hit at the Corean box office, Yim Soon-rye’s crowd-pleasing
sports melodrama won the Best Picture award at the 2008 Blue Dragon
Awards (Korea’s equivalent to the Oscars).  The film recreates the on
and off court turmoil leading up to the Corean women’s handball team’s
silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics. Yim focuses on the unique
struggles faced by female athletes as they try to balance their daily
lives with their sports careers, and skillfully builds up the tension
to the exciting finale, in which “everything is where it ought to be,
including our tears.” (Brian Hu, Asia Pacific Arts). (2008, 124 min.,
Corean with English subtitles)
Saturday, April 18, 2 PM, FGA
In Person: Yim Soon-rye
wistful comedy documents the disintegration of a never-quite-successful
rock band made up of a bunch of high school friends now sliding into
middle age. Sprinkled with goofy cover versions of Western and Corean
pop hits, Im’s film depicts its characters’ inability to let go of
their dreams with perfect emotional pitch. “The start-it-up garage-band
myth has never had such a witty and despairing redress.” (Michael
Atkinson, The Village Voice.) (2001, 105 min., Corean with English
Sunday, April 19, 1 PM, FGA
In Person: Lee Kyoung-mi, Yim Soon-rye 
Kyoung-mi’s debut feature is a madcap comedy of vengeance and
obsession. It stars Gong Hyo-jin (in a brilliant comic performance), as
a middle school teacher who suffers from a condition that makes her
blush bright red whenever her emotions get out of control.
Unfortunately for her, this happens quite a lot. Obsessed with one of
her colleagues, who just happens to be married and dating another
fellow teacher on the side, she befriends her love object’s daughter in
order to concoct a revenge scheme that ends up spinning hilariously out
of control. Intended for mature audiences. (2008, 101 min., Corean with
English subtitles)
Yim Soon-rye’s short film The Weight of Her is a
satirical look at female body images set in a girls’ finishing school,
with a surprising twist at the end. (2003, 20 min., Corean with English
subtitles, video)
Sunday, April 19, 3:15 PM, FGA
Yim Soon-rye and Lee Kyoung-mi join scholars Kelly Jeong and
Seung-kyung Kim to discuss increasing role women play in Corean
Soon-rye is the director of the features Three Friends (1996), Waikiki
Brothers (2001) and Forever the Moment (2008).  Her films have been
shown at major film festivals around the world and been honored with
prizes at the Pusan International Film Festival and the Blue Dragon
Awards, among others.
Kyoung-mi got her start in the film industry working on the crew of
Park Chan-wook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). Crush and Blush
(2008), her first feature, had its world premiere at the Pusan
International Film Festival.
Jeong is Assistant Professor of Corean Studies, Department of
Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages at the University of
California, Riverside. She is the author of Modernity Arrives Again:
Crisis of Gender, Masculinity, Nationhood in Modern Corean Literature
and Cinema, forthcoming from Lexington Books. 
Kim is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and an affiliate faculty
of Department of Anthropology, Department of American Studies, and
Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland.  Her
research expertise includes Women and Work, Gender and Labor Politics,
Gender and Development, Ethnography, Feminist Theory, and women in East
Asia and Asian America.
Vick, film programmer, Freer and Sackler Galleries and author of Asian
Cinema: A Field Guide, published by HarperCollins/Smithsonian Books.
Sunday, April 19, 5 PM, AFI
Tuesday, April 21, 7 PM, AFI
Jin and her younger sister Bin live on the edge of disaster, but they
are not aware of it. One day their mother packs all their belongings.
For Jin, the days of going to school are over. Mommy is gone, leaving
her and Bin in a hostile home with their alcoholic big Aunt and a piggy
bank to slowly fill with tinkling coins and shining hopes. Evoked by
early childhood memories, the story of a precocious journey to maturity
comes into focus with exquisite simplicity in Kim So-yong’s gentle
masterpiece. (Note courtesy Toronto International Film Festival) (2008,
89 min., Corean with English subtitles)
Friday, May 29, 7 PM, FGA
Hee-jung, the first Corean director to receive support from the
prestigious Cinefondation Cannes Residence program, makes an assured
debut with this poignant character study. Talented young actress Lee
Se-young plays Soo-ah, the daughter of a struggling single mother,
whose overactive imagination and teenage angst lead her to believe that
her real mom is actually a famous pop star. Superb performances and
Kim’s subtle direction make this a closely-observed portrait of an
adolescent misfit’s physical and psychological world. (2007, 95 min.,
Corean with English subtitles)
Friday, May 8, 7 PM, FGA
film by pioneering director Kim Soo-yong begins with a tragedy: despite
bad omens, a fishing boat departs from a small village, only to be lost
at sea, leaving several of the town’s women widows. Widely praised for
its questioning of the restrictive Confucian beliefs on gender roles
that dominated Corean society at the time, Kim’s film tells the story
of one of them, who, left alone after only ten days of marriage,
decides to freely pursue her passions. (1965, 91 min., Corean with
English subtitles)
Sunday, May 10, 2 PM, FGA
with Three Coffins is about two travelers - a man carrying his wife’s
ashes to her hometown, and a nurse secretly escorting the dying CEO of
a business conglomerate to his – who cross paths on their way to their
destinations, which lie near the DMZ.  Drawing on Corean Shamanist
imagery and themes (including fortune telling and reincarnation), and
haunted by the legacy of the Corean War, Lee Jang-ho’s beautiful,
brooding film is, unfortunately, rarely given its due as a great work
of Corean cinema. But, asDarcy Pacquet writes, it is “too good to be
forgotten.” (1987, 104 min., Corean with English subtitles)

Noh, Kwang Woo

Doctoral Candidate
Graduate School
College of Mass Communication and Media Arts
1100 Lincoln Drive
Southern Illinois University 
Carbondale IL 62901 USA
Phone) (work) 618-453-3093

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