The Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) together with the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) presented a programme with 10 iconic films to celebrate the “Centenary of Korean Cinema”.
Lee Chang-dong, master filmmaker of the multi-award winning Burning (2018), and KOFIC Chairman OH Seok-geun will attend the screenings. Lee will also hold a masterclass after the screening of Peppermint Candy (1999). His co-writer in Burning, Oh Jung-mi, will also share her insights with Lee in the post-screening discussion of their latest film.
Films list for screenings:
My Mother and Her Guest by Shin Sang-ok – South Korea | 1961- 102 min.
A masterpiece from the legendary Korean film couple, director Shin Sang-ok and his actress-diva-wife Choi Eun-hee, tells a beguiling story with a quiet grace during the era of political censorship. In a narration full of innocence, a child brings out the romantic feelings between her widowed mother and a painter lodger, yet their relationship is thwarted by social taboos. Chopin’s melancholic symphonies flow through the will-they-won’t-they tension of a romance, with a hope too quiet to see. (HKIFF Catalogue)
March 23rd | Saturday | Hong Kong Arts Center Louis Koo Cinema | 9:30 pm
March 31st | Sunday | Hong Kong Science Museum Lecture Hall | 8:00 pm
Ieodo by Kim Ki-young – South Korea | 1997 – 110 min.
After The Housemaid (1960), Kim continued to shock and disturb audiences with this haunting classic exploring sexuality, violence and twisted behaviors. A mysterious murder leads to an isolated island populated by women – sexstarved, ritualistic divers who need the souls and more from their dead fishermen husbands to scrape out survival. As he unfolds the mystery in labyrinthine flashbacks, lurid color and inventive camera angles, Kim presents a world of bizarre complexities of human relationships in stunning imagery. (HKIFF Catalogue)
March 22nd | Friday | PREMIERE Elements | 7:15 pm
March 29th | Friday | MCL Telford Cinema | 7:30 pm
Mandala by Im Kwon-taek – South Korea | 1981 – 113 min.
In a personal quest for enlightenment, Beob-wun becomes trapped within his solipsistic belief in overcoming his suffering through negating the outside world, while Jisan, a wandering monk, finds his Buddhas in the bottles of soju and in the bodies of women. Their chance encounter leads Beob-wun out of confusion towards his road to Nirvana. Putting Korean films on the world stage, Im’s (Revivre, 39th) masterpiece raises questions about spirituality, the futility of existence and the transcendence of the self.
March 21st | Thursday | The Metroplex | 7:15 pm
April 1st | Monday | MCL Telford Cinema | 9:45 pm
The Day a Pig Fell into the Well by Hong Sang-soo – South Korea | 1996 – 113 min.
Debut feature turned modern classic from Hong Sang-soo (Hotel by the River). The drama emerges as symphonic and wonderful improvisations by four powerful actors who intersect in the tales of four intertwined characters created by four writers. A failed novelist, his adulterous mistress and her salesman husband (who complicates everything) and a love-struck ticket seller complete the quartet: such a simple structure to encapsulate the most complex of emotions in all its twists and turns. And no pigs in sight.
March 24th | Sunday | The Metroplex | 2:30 pm
March 30th | Saturday | MCL Telford Cinema | 7:30 pm
Peppermint Candy by Lee Chang-dong – South Korea | 1999 – 129 min.
Where does a movie go when it begins with the suicide of its protagonist, Yong-ho? Lee (Burning) takes us backwards, step by step, through an unfurling in which we slowly come to understand the connections between human trajectory and national crisis. Yong-ho has evolved from innocence to despair, destroying relationships and hope. His life has been embedded with the trajectory of South Korea itself, marked by student demonstrations and savage repressions. A dark, powerful history, personal and political. (HKIFF Catalogue)
March 19th | Tuesday | Hong Kong Conventional and Exhibition Center | 7:30 pm
March 26th | Tuesday | PREMIERE Elements | 7:15 pm
Memories of Murder by Bong Joon-ho – South Korea | 2003 – 130 min.
Korea’s first serial killing startled the nation in the 1980s. Building on this, Bong (Mother, 38th) follows a triad of policemen, passionate yet artless, in their pursuit of suspects while the murders continue around them. Old school detectives who beat confessions out of men they identify by intuition meet a cop who plays by the book but also snaps with frustration. A mystery whose power lies not in revelations but in the complexity of the search and the human dramas it engenders. (HKIFF Catalogue)
March 23rd | Saturday | The Metroplex | 7:00 pm
April 1st | Monday | PREMIERE Elements | 9:30 pm
Our Body by Han Ka-ram – South Korea | 2018 – 96 min.
Han Ka-ram makes her feature directing debut with this fascinating look at contemporary women stymied by the ageist and sexist social structures holding them down. After years of studying for a civil service exam, disenchanted 31-year-old Ja-young gives up her career ambitions and turns away from society and its expectations. Then one evening, trim and alluring Hyun-joo literally runs into Ja-young’s life, putting the two women on an enticing but perhaps destructive path towards self-discovery. (HKIFF Catalogue)
March 20th | Wednesday | Festival Grand Cinema | 9:45 pm
March 22nd | Friday | The Metroplex | 8:00 pm
Hotel by the River by Hong Sang-soo – South Korea | 2018 – 96 min.
Parallel but intersecting stories of the shattered loves of men and women amid the mellow snowscapes of a sleepy hotel. The aging poet Young-hwan, fearing death, tries to reconnect with sons alienated by the pain he caused his wife. Meanwhile, Sang-hee struggles to move past a broken relationship: her dialogue with her friend Yeonju provides the counter melody to the silences of the men and a bittersweet commentary on love and life itself. Warm, tender, even humorous midwinter reflections. (HKIFF Catalogue)
March 24th | Sunday | Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | 6:30 pm
March 27th | Wednesday | The Metroplex | 10:15 pm
Burning by Lee Chang-dong – South Korea | 2018 – 148 min.
Who is Hae-mi? What do we know of her past? Or her future? Lee skilfully transmutes a story by Murakami Haruki into a masterpiece of psychological tension in a multi-sided triangle in contemporary Korea. Does Jong-su love her? Understand her? Even trust her amidst her – and his – mobile entanglements with the equally mysterious Ben? After an eight-year hiatus, Lee Chan-dong returns to the screen with a film garnering critical interest and praise worldwide. (HKIFF Catalogue)
March 20th | Wednesday | Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center | 7:30 pm
Innocent Witness by Lee Han – South Korea | 2019 – 129 min.
Seeking to clinch lucrative partner status at a renowned law firm, an ambitious lawyer must defend a suspect in a high-profile murder case in which the only witness is an autistic teenage girl. As the reclusive girl opens up, the lawyer rediscovers the true value of life. Celebrated star Jung Woo-sung and talented newcomer Kim Hyang-gi beautifully bring out the sensitivities of a complex yet simple relationship, adding flashes of care and warmth to a captivating courtroom drama. (HKIFF Catalogue)
March 20th | Wednesday | PREMIERE Elements | 9:15 pm
March 22nd | Friday | Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University | 7:45 pm