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Sydney Stages ‘Off-Mainstream’ Contemporary Korean Cinema Spotlight

Jun 13, 2016
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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Tony Rayns Curates ‘Korea on the Verge: Social Faultlines in Korean Cinema’ Program

For its 63rd edition, which kicked on June 8th, the Sydney International Film Festival is staging a ‘Korea on the Verge: Social Faultlines in Korean Cinema’ program, curated by guest programmer Tony Rayns, the London-based Asian film expert and programmer for the Vancouver International Film Festival. The spotlight will include five features from “off-mainstream” contemporary Korean cinema.
Among the films is Alice In Earnestland, the debut feature by AHN Gooc-jin and a graduation project from the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA). Winner of the Grand Prize at last year’s Jeonju International Film Festival, awarded by a jury presided over by Tony Rayns, the film features actress LEE Jung-hyun as a woman exacting revenge on society as she tries to care for her comatose husband.
JUNG Yoon-suk’s documentary Non Fiction Diary, which explores various low points in Korean society during the 1990s, was the Mecenat Award winner for Best Documentary at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in 2013.
PARK Hong-min’s 3D arthouse feature A Fish, a mystery noir which features shamans on an island, debuted at BIFF in 2012. PARK’s new film ALONE also debuted there last year.
Love and... is an indie omnibus from acclaimed filmmaker ZHANG Lu, in which he ruminates on the medium of film with the help of top actors such as AHN Sung-ki, PARK Hae-il, MOON So-ri and HAN Ye-ri.
Finally, the program will also feature KIM Kyung-mook’s Stateless Things, examining the lives of a North Korean defector and a queer youth, which debuted at the Venice International Film Festival in 2011.
The Australia-Korea Foundation is supporting the program, which will also feature a talk by Rayns on the interpretation of Korean indie cinema on June 15th in Sydney. According to Rayns, “Korean cinema remains in many ways the liveliest in East Asia, but the program has gone a little off-mainstream.”
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