Time Out picks the highlights of the third K-filmfest
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The Korean Film Festival is here again, showcasing Korean language and culture on the big screen. The third such festival includes 20 features, 13 shorts and the 1st KOFFIA Short Film Competition. Short films made by Koreans or Australians studying film Down Under are eligible; finalists will be screened and a total of $5,000 in cash and prizes awarded.
Among the feature films, here are the highlights Time Out is looking forward to…
War of the Arrows (2011)
Kick-starting the festival is Korea’s highest grossing film of 2011, thriller War of the Arrows, set after the Second Manchu invasion of Korea in 1636. When young archer Nam-yi’s sister Ja-in is taken away by the Qing army, he sets off to single-handedly kill the army with his bow. War of the Arrows won awards including Best Actor and Best New Actress at the 48th Grand Bell Awards, Korea’s equivalent of the Oscars.
The Frontline (2011)
Early in the Korean War, Eun-pyo and Soo-hyeok are captured and brought before North Korean Captain Jung-yoon, who believes he knows exactly why they are fighting, brother against brother. Selected as South Korea’s submission for the 84th Academy Awards, The Front Line explores the loss of humanity in Korea’s decisive war.
Leafie: A Hen into the Wild (2011)
Leafie is a farmed chicken, living in a cage with other egg-laying hens. Dreaming of incubating her own eggs, she escapes the farm to live in the wild. Based on the globally popular children’s book by Hwang Sun-mi, Leafie: A Hen into the Wild has become the highest grossing Korean animation of all time.
This year, the festival is screening modern classics of Korean cinema, and no list of K-thrillers can leave off Park Chan-wook’s nail-biter, currently polled as the 92nd best movie of all time by IMDb.com. Businessman Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik) is inexplicably held prisoner for 15 years, until he is abruptly released, presented with money, expensive clothes, and five days to discover the reasons for his incarceration. Oldboy was awarded the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004.
The Taste of Money (2012)
Company president Yoon is one of the richest men in South Korea, but his wife Baek Geum-ok, whom he married for her wealth and influence, holds the true power. Critiquing the lives of the rich and famous, The Taste of Money screened in competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Closing the festival is Sunny, a poignant, heart-warming comedy focusing on middle-aged Na-Mi, reminiscing about her childhood friends. Setting out to reunite her high school group, Na-Mi finds she is not the only one who has struggled in life. Sunny has been shown at seven other film festivals and won Kang Hyeong-cheol the Best Director prize at the 2011 Grand Bell Awards.