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15 Films you can’t miss at the 4th Ulju Mountain Film Festival

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We present a list of fifteen films you should not miss at the 4th Ulju Mountain Film Festival which will take place from September 6th – 10th in Ulsan, Korea.

About the festival:
Organized by the City of Ulju, Metropolitan City Ulsan, presented by Organizing Committee, Ulju Mountain Film Festival is the first and the only international mountain film festival in South Korea, dedicated to present and promote films & culture dealing with the mountains, adventure and exploration, nature and environment. The festival also provides an opportunity for filmmakers and mountaineers to meet and exchange ideas through the seminars, events, screenings and social gatherings.

Selected Films:

Aga

Aga by Milko Lazarov – Bulgaria | 2018 – 96 min. | Fiction
Section: International Competition

A hundred years ago, Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North captured on camera the harsh living conditions of the Inuit. A hundred years later, the film Aga again talks about the last great hunter in a Nanook family. In a significant twist, the title is not taken after the father ‘Nanook’, but his daughter ‘Aga’. Unlike her parents who have worshipped the reindeer, Aga became a miner. The dying wife’s dream is a prophetic dream about the fate of the tribe, which has already become the past. It is also a revelation about the sad reality that no longer allows them to be in the same world with their children. (MAENG Soo-jin)

 

Schedule:
September 7th | Saturday | Alps Cinema 1 | 12:30 pm

Trailer:

 

Beloved

Beloved by Yaser Talebi – Iran | 2018 – 61 min. | Documentary
Section: NETPAC

Anxiety and worry fall heavily during the winter like snow blanketing the land, but disappear like the spring wind when flowers start to bloom. The deeply set wrinkles on an 80-year old lady shepherd’s face resemble the Alborz range as if it represents her life of surrendering to God and nature, as well as the rocky course she has taken. The camera captures the old lady’s life as she abandons the mountains during the season change to spend the winter in her village, and then go back up the mountains when spring comes. But most importantly, the film follows her as she grumbles about her unfortunate life and her heartless children. And this is why the last scene of the film feels like a confession. (H.Jay LEE)

Schedule:
September 9th | Monday | Alps Cinema 1 | 15:00 pm

Trailer:

 

Cielo

Cielo by Alison McAlpine
Canada, Chile | 2017 – 78 min. | Documentary
Section: International Competition

This place with its endless sand dunes, dry trees shrivelled up to the point of crumbling apart, the stars filling the night sky, and the silence that fills the space is the Atacama Desert in Chile. From the Milky Way shining in various colors, the sunrise and sunset to the clouds quickly floating by, the sky hidden in the cityscape seems like a living entity here. The people occupying the space under this sky and looking up at it at night will naturally realize that humans are minuscule compared to the vast cosmos. Up till now, no film has shown the sky as such a deep, blue, vast and mystical life form like this film. (Billy CHOI)

Schedule:
September 9th | Monday | Alps Cinema 2 | 17:00 pm

Trailer:

 

Climbing to Spring

Climbing to Spring by Daisaku Kimura
Japan | 2014 – 116 min. | Fiction
Section: UMFF Life

This is the story of Toru, a young man running a mountain cabin located 3,000m above sea level in Tateyama, known as the Alps of Japan. The film was shot on location in Tateyama’s Onanjiyama service area. To run the cabin after his father passes away, Toru returns to his hometown, but everything is a challenge for him, from climbing the mountain with food supplies hoisted on his back to predicting the weather. It is his father’s cabin staff who offer help to the rookie cabin keeper. A healing film that steps away from the intensity of the city to return to a natural lifestyle, it highlights the family-like ties between the cabin staff and the vocation of a family business. (HAN Song-i)

Schedule:
September 7th | Saturday | Eonyang Theater 2 | 16:30 pm
September 9th | Monday | Alps Cinema 1 | 12:30 pm

Trailer:

 

Crossing the Border

Crossing the Border by Zhaoguan by Meng Huo
China | 2018 – 93 min. | Fiction
Section: NETPAC

An old man who barely survived from the Cultural Revolution is told that his friend is currently suffering from hemiplegia. Having survived the Cultural Revolution together, the old man set off on a journey to see his friend. By tricycle, he takes his seven-yearold grandson on the back seat. With the form of a Road Movie, he meets a wide range of people on the road while sharing warm words as he travels. This film is based on the memory of the director’s grandfather. Whenever the little grandson is terrified by something strange while slowly following the country road in China, the grandfather teaches the kid the benefits of familiarity. The wisdom he shares gives us the strength of mind to melt emotional barriers. (HAN Song-i)

Schedule:
September 7th | Saturday | Seonbawi Theater | 13:30 pm
September 8th | Sunday | Starlifht Theater | 17:00 pm

Trailer:

 

Goodbye

Goodbye, My Girlhood by Kim Han-seok
Korea | 2018 – 81 min. | Documentary
Section: UMFF Life

An ordinary sixteen-year-old girl, Wangmo, is forced to leave home due to poverty and sets out on a ‘Pad Yatra’, the Journey of feet. The film cross-cuts between the difficult path she takes through the Himalayas’ harsh cold and the spring day-like times she enjoyed before leaving home, showing the clear contrast her life before and after she set out on her course. Puzzled by the elderly trainee’s advice that perseverance, perseverance and perseverance are the three things required for Pad Yatra, she constantly raises the question, ‘Where am I going?’ And through the process of penance, Wangmo finds the answer herself, and finally bids farewell to the brilliant years of her youth. (AHN Jung-ah)

Schedule:
September 8th | Sunday | UMFF Cinema | 19:00 pm

Trailer:

 

Hang in There

Hang in There, Kids! by Laha Mebow
Taiwan | 2016 – 90 min. | Fiction
Section: UMFF Life

In a village in Taiwan, three young boys are growing up. Watan is parentless and is living with his grandmother. Lin Shan’s parents fight every time they drink. Chen Hao lives with his father but hasn’t seen his mother who lives in Taipei for a long time. They all bravely deal with their lives despite their familial misfortunes. They sell peaches downtown and organize an event for their lovely teacher, Lawa who cannot walk after getting into an accident. This film is like a collection of heartwarming and delightful coming-of-age diaries of the three mischievous boys as they go about the ordinary courses of their lives. (AHN Jung-ah)

Schedule:
September 8th | Sunday | Eonyang Theater 2 | 11:30 am

Trailer:

 

Holy Tour

Holy Tour by Valery Rosier, Meryl Fortunat-Rossi
Belgium, France | 2018 – 70 min. | Documentary
Section: Adventure & Exploration

Le Tour de France, the bicycle race running for three weeks throughout France, has become a symbol of the annual summer vacation as well as a national celebration. Likewise, fans flock to key routes to witness the race. This docudrama offers a fresh new take on the race not from the competitors’ point-ofview, but from those cheering at the side of the road they pass through by following retirees waiting for the competitors along the Alps roads. As indicated in its original title Le Grand-Messe, to these people, Le Tour de France is not simply a sport, but a holy ritual that must be attended with reverence. How about joining the crowd’s passionate wait for the day of glory when competitors pass by right before their eyes. (SEO Do-eun)

Schedule:
September 8th | Sunday | Alps Cinema 3 | 13:30 pm

Trailer:

 

Kekexili

Kekexili: Mountain Patrol by Chuan Lu
Hong Kong | 2004 – 89 min. | Fiction
Section: UMFF Life

Based on a true story of China’s last primitive highlands, Kekexili, this film deals with the clash between poachers hunting Tibetan antelopes and mountain rangers. However, the film never attempts to define any side as good or evil or defend or critique. It follows the storytelling developments of film, but borrows documentary techniques, constantly maintaining an objective gaze on the desolate highlands to raise the subject of nature and humans, and life and death-related issues of survival that surround them. Ultimately, it’s up to the audience to make any value judgment or choose the ethical grounds they wish to stand on. (AHN Jung-ah)

Schedule:
September 7th | Saturday | Alps Cinema 2 | 9:30 am

Trailer:

 

Namdev Bhau

Namdev Bhau in Search of Silence by Dar Gai
India, Ukraine | 2018 – 83 min. | Fiction
Section: NETPAC

Namdev is fed up with the noise in Mumbai torturing him day and night. He decides to go to ‘Silent Valley’ despite the heavy grumbling of his wife. However, while he expected to find peaceful silence, he ends up travelling with a boy who talks all the time as a companion. Thus unfolds the comic situation of an old man who wants to escapes from the noise and a talkative boy. This amusing journey completely turns into a new story when Namdev accidentally figures out the truth of the game which the boy practices. This film is comparable to Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni. (MAENG Soo-jin)

Schedule:
September 9th | Monday | Alps Cinema 4 | 21:00 pm

Trailer:

 

Night Light

Night Light by Kim Moon-young
Korea | 2018 – 108 min. | Fiction
Section: International Competition

 

Hee-tae, who only has a short period left to live, receives a letter from his ex-wife. While it is not certain what the letter is about, it shifts his life in a different direction. After the scene transitions, Hee-tae is spending a brief time in the mountains with his son, who doesn’t know his father. They are different but come to understand and look like each other through the time they share. Within the flow of time, mountains and winds, and through nature, this film presents wisdom on how to embrace life, yourself, us and fate. (MAENG Soo-jin)

Schedule:
September 8th | Sunday | Alps Cinema 3 | 16:00 pm

Trailer:

 

Piano

Piano to Zanskar by Michal Sulima
UK | 2018 – 86 min. | Documentary
Section: Opening Film

Having worked as a piano tuner in London all his life, Desmond is now 65 and almost at retirement. He begins a journey to a school in Zanskar, a remote little mountain village in the Himalayas to deliver a piano. Those around him can’t understand why he won’t just take it easy cashing his pension checks, but unperturbed, Desmond treks on, taking 20 some year-old Anna and Harold as helpers and companions. Despite the perilously steep mountainsides they must travel while carrying a piano, there is no shortage of smiles as they care and show consideration for one another. Here is a magical journey of a person who wants to share what he loves the most with others, and his beautiful companions who want to take part in that goodwill despite hardships. (Billy Choi)

Schedule:
September 6th | Friday | UMFF Cinema | 20:00 pm
September 8th | Sunday | Seonbawi Theater | 13:30 pm

Trailer:

 

Queen without land

Queen without land by Asgeir Helgestad
Norway | 2018 – 70 min. | Documentary
Section: International Competition

The polar bear has lost its home when the ice began melting and has since become a mascot representing climate change. Wildlife photographer Asgeir Helgestad follows Frost, the ‘Queen without Land’, and her cubs to capture on camera vivid images of what the no longer freezing ocean is doing to the polar bear. Unlike people who can control home temperature at will and ignore the climate crisis, wild animals are truly threated by the climate change. With the crack on the cycle of seasons that provide the conditions for the food chain, the polar bear continues to lose ground. The director’s concern that we may be the last generation to see polar bear walking on ice is vividly screened. (SEO Do-eun)

Schedule:
September 8th | Sunday | Seonbawi Theater | 11:00 am

Trailer:

 

The River

The River and the Wall by Ben Masters
USA | 2019 – 110 min. | Documentary
Section: International Competition

The filmmaker and four friends set out on a 12,000- mile journey along the U.S.-Mexico border and the Rio Grande. As the border wall construction has become a real issue in the Trump era, the wall’s impact on the eco-system has become an unavoidable question for environmentalists. The group of 5 travels through the border on bike, Mustang and canoe. Carefully prepared political questions are raised against a backdrop of breathtaking scenery captured on camera. Is it possible to build a human-made wall across this beautiful and great nature? Can problems be solved with a wall? (MAENG Soo-jin)

Schedule:
September 8th | Sunday | Alps Cinema 1 | 9:30 am

Trailer:

 

The Sweet Requiem

The Sweet Requiem by Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam
India, USA | 2018 – 91 min. | Fiction:
Section: NETPAC

Dolkar is slowly losing her identity as a Tibetan. Then one day she meets Tibetan independence activist Gatso whom she is rather suspicious of. This is because the faint childhood memory of climbing the Himalayas seems to suggest that this stranger is actually Gompo. Through their encounters, Dolkar comes to terms with her identity, and pieces of her memory along with those of Gatso-Gompo help her find perfect closure. The Sweet Requiem deals with a life deprived of choice and the resistance of this reality may require some level of imagination to understand, but in the end, leads us to an endless realm of soul-searching. (H.Jay LEE)

Schedule:
September 8th | Eonyang Theater 1 | 10:30 am

Trailer:

 

 

For more information about the program and schedule please visit the official website of the festival: UMFF Website

Categories: News

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