Instead of car chases and battles with aliens, the human condition took center screen recently as the Eighth Jeju Film Festival screened more than 30 films in three days at two theaters.
The festival featured a wide variety of new work by Korean filmmakers who are finding their creative voices and preparing to lead the future of cinema.
The Cinus Academy Cinema in Topdong hosted the film festival Aug. 21 to 23, with 30 Korean films varying from shorts to full length features. Also included were six Spanish films given to the festival by the Spanish Ambassador to Korea, which screened at the Korea Cinema.
The annual event is non-competitive and aimed at discovering new talents and leaders for the Jeju film industry. “There was no theme this year, we just focused on independent films from Korea,” said Oh Ju Yeon, festival manager. She and a committee chose the 30 films presented from over 270 submissions.
“We looked for films that were creative and had meaning, with a theme that came across,” she said.
A collection of films highlighting family relationships started the festival at 11 a.m. “June’s Grammar,” written and directed by Joh Han Ah, was a four- minute film about the traumatic memory of a little boy that surfaces during a school lesson. It was bright, succinct, and surprising.
“Moondy” told the story of an immigrant widow and her Korean mother-in-law trying to make peace with each other after the death of their husband/son. The filmmaker, Jang Hae Shim, showed real promise with the tender 15 minute film.
“Milk Caramel,” by Kim Ju Seok, was a 22-minute exploration of how a little boy views his single father, told from the child’s point of view through fantasies and low angled shots. The cinematography beautifully depicted the small village and the child’s turbulent emotional life.
“Cherry Blossoms,” written and directed by Hwan Han Seung, was the real highlight of the show. The story followed a young Chinese woman who visits Seoul to meet the family of her boyfriend who died tragically. She meets two young men who help her recreate the day she and her boyfriend would have spent together.
The film featured a unique visual look using overexposed lighting and a variety of camera techniques. All the elements worked seamlessly together to tell the story; bittersweet and sorrowful memories of the past played against a carefree day in the cherry blossoms.
Next year, the festival will be at the same time of year at the same two places: the Cinus Academy Cinema and Korea Cinema in Gu Jeju. The program includes the names of all the films and a chart with the subtitles listed. Each film is rated G or by age: Under 12, Under 15, or Under 18. Viewers under the age of the rating will not be admitted. The best bet for the family is the earlier time slots where all the films are G.
The festival plans to expand its scope to include a variety of international filmmakers work. Locally, The Jeju Peace Island Film Festival is coming up in late November. There are also a wide variety of other film festivals across Korea. Check out http://koreanfilm.org/tom/?p=2109 for a list of film festivals nationwide.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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