Jun 2016 VOL.62


  • Korean Films Festivals Capture Europe's Imagination
  • by LEE Eun-sun / 11.30.2012
  • London, Paris and Berlin Electrified by Korean Cinema
    Europeans’ love for Korean films has been consistent, but interest and participation exploded this year. Audiences in London, Paris and Berlin who have longed for Korean films were not disappointed. They had a chance to meet the hottest Korean films from festivals and the top of the Box Office charts. They devoured films from directors acclaimed in Europe. Actors also flew to Europe, which was a further thrill for spectators. Below is the summary of what happened at the London Korean Film Festival and the Paris Korean Film Festival, both of which finished recently, as well as the retrospective on HONG Sangsoo, held in Berlin.
    ◆ The 7th London Korean Film Festival
    The 7th London Korean Film Festival opened on November 1st starting its journey up to the 16th with The Thieves at the Odeon in London Leicester Square. After the film ended, the audience gave it a big round of applause. The popularity for the opening film The Thieves and closing film Masquerade was enormous. Along with these films, I AM : SMTOWN LIVE WORLD TOUR in Madison Square Garden, a film about live recording of SM Entertainment’s musicians also sold out on its first day of ticket sales.
    During the opening event, the director of The Thieves CHOI Dong-hoon and the actor KIM Yoon-seok made an appearance and had a Q&A section with the audience. During the festival, a retrospective of CHOI Dong-hoon was shown and a ‘Global Korean-wave Forum’ on the globalization of Korean films was held. KIM Yoon-seok who has attended the hand-printing ceremony after the opening film said that he was amazed to see the enormous interest that London has toward Korean films and is expecting the fast growth of Korean films and how it will affect the global market.
    Masquerade, which drew over 12 million viewers in Korea, screened at the closing of the London Korean Film Festival. Director CHOO Chang-min and actors LEE Byung-hun and RYU Seung-ryong visited the event on November 10th. Earlier when LEE Byung-hun appeared before the screening, the theater filled with shouts of joy.
    Dean PARISOT, Bruce WILLIS, John MALKOVICH and Helen MIRREN, who were in London to shoot Red 2, also went to the closing ceremony and gave comments about the film and LEE Byung-hun. WILLIS and MALKOVICH said, “It was really exciting and touching at the same time. Especially LEE Byung-hun’s acting which was excellent. The mise-en-scene was very beautiful. It was also good to see LEE’s new charm which I hadn't realized before.” PARISOT, the director of Red 2 also praised the film by saying, “Masquerade is basically a comedy, but it also has a strong message. I really liked it because I found the hidden side of LEE.” 
    During the festival, a number of popular films such as All About My Wife, Dancing Queen, Deranged, PaceMaker, Eungyo, YEUN Sang-ho’s The King of Pigs, JANG Kun-jae’s Sleepless Night, and a variety of 40 different genre films were shown to audiences. This year’s festival toured around 4 cities in England, including Bristol, Bournemouth, Glasgow and London asit increased British audiences' interest in Korean films.
    By virtue of the high interest of local fans in Korean films, many of the screened films including The Thieves, Masquerade, Eungyo and Deranged were completely sold out. A questionnaire revealed that 99% of the audience were ‘Satisfied’. What is noteworthy is that over a third (35%) of the audience returned from last year, which shows that the popularity of Korean films is consistent. Nick POWELL, the dean from the National Film And Television School has said the original stories are the biggest strength of Korean films and added that this is the main reason why the number of fans in Europe continues to rise.
    Meanwhile, the retrospective of director IM Kwon-taek sponsored by BFI was held from October 22nd to November 3rd. At this event, 8 of his films including Pursuit of Death, Kilsodeum, and Aje Aje Bara Aje were screened and IM made an appearance on October 25th during a face-to-face meeting with the audience. ICA also held an event showing 7 of his films including Village Of Haze, Festival and The General's Son  from October 19th to November 2nd.
    ◆ The 7th Paris Korean Film Festival
    The 7th Paris Korean Film Festival was held at Cinéma Saint-André-des-Arts 30 located in district 6 of Paris between October 30th and November 6th. The festival was hosted by Association 1886, an organization of youngsters who love Korean films, and supported by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and KMDb. The festival didn’t simply introduce hit films and award winning films. They also introduced creative and unique programs to show as many Korean films as possible to French film fans.
    In the ‘Paysage’ section, 14 films covering a broad spectrum including Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time, Silenced and Talking Architect, screened. The ‘Portrait’ section focused on Korean directors of tomorrow and showed feature and short films directed by KIM Kyung-mook such as Stateless Things and Sex/Less. The ‘Shortcuts’ section is a competition section for Korean short films, where 15 films met French audiences. 3 short films directed by HYUN Jeong-jae, the winner of the 6th Prix FlyAsiana award sponsored by Asiana Airlines, were presented in the special program.
    The ‘Avant-Premières’ section offered an opportunity for French people to meet The Taste of Money and War of the Arrows, prior to their official release in France. The ‘Classiques’ section was composed of 5 films that examined the concept of sex in different decades from the 1950s to the 1990s like Madame Freedom and Madame Emma.
    The online booking service finished in 3 days because all the tickets were sold out and the festival was forced to sell extra tickets due to the explosive requests from French fans of Korean films. The opening film was also given an extra screening. November 1st, the day after the opening, was All Saints’ Day. A lot of French people went on vacation on that day. Those who have constantly showed their love for Korean films during the 6 editions spent All Saints’ Day at the festival.
    However, many were forced to wait in line for 4 hours before screening because no more online tickets were left. On the day when the opening film Masquerade was rerun, their was a long line of movie-goers from early in the morning even when it was raining.
    CHOI Dong-hoon, the director, LEE Jung-jae, a leading actor and AHN Soo-hyun, the producer of The Thieves, JEONG Jae-eun, the director of Talking Architect, KIM Kyung-mook, the director of Stateless Things and HYUN Jeong-jae, the winner of the FlyAsiana award visited the festival. They had in-depth conversations with French audiences. After the Q&A session, they met more fans at Vénus Noire, the official bar of the film festival. At this bar, a place that was once frequented by the French poets Baudelaire and Rimbaud, a meeting was held at 7 p.m. everyday except the opening and closing days. The meetings proved the growth of French cinephiles' love toward Korean culture.
    The 7th Paris Korean Film Festival showed a wide spectrum of Korean films to French cinephiles with unique programs and promised to come back with its 8th edition in 2013. The Paris Korean Film Festival systematically built a Korean film archive to found a practical film network in Europe based in France and has constantly introduced Korean films there even after the festival ended. They run the Media Center k.inema to introduce and distribute films that screened at the festival, Cine-Artelier k.inedu to teach Korean culture through films, and the k.ineclub FFCP to conduct regular screenings of Korean films at the Korean Cultural Center.

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