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10 Short Films you cannot miss at the 21st International Film Festival

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We present a list of ten short films that you shouldn’t miss at the 21st Jeonju International Film Festival, which is taking place online from May 28th until September 20th, in Jeonju, Korea. * Online only for people based in South Korea*

About the Festival:
Launched in 2000, Jeonju IFF is now recognized as Mecca of independent film festival of Asia and the widest window of avant-garde cinema around the world. While you can find latest waves of Korean independent scene in Korean Film Competition, International Competition introduces new talents across the world and showing the potential of new cinematic aesthetics. A number of new, rising filmmakers have been introduced to the world stage by Jeonju IFF and it resulted in that the awardees of Jeonju IFF have been critically acclaimed by international film festivals scene. The directors with the Grand Prize include Suwa Nobuhiro, Apichatpong Weerasrtakul, LiuJia-yin , Denis Cote, YING Liang, Matías Piñeiro and Sherad Anthony Sanchez.

Important: This year the festival will have theater screenings only to those who produced and directed the films. General public can view some films online via the Wavve.com platform (only available for people living in Korea). For more information on how to watch the films please go here: http://eng.jiff.or.kr/Ticket/ticketOnline.asp

 

Selected Films:

Damage

Damage by Kim Sunghwan – Korea | 2019 – 29 minutes

“Damage(てまち)” is a Japanese slang that means that there is no work. 59-year-old Jeongtae, who works as a carpenter at a construction site, starts drinking assuming there will be no work as it kept on raining since dawn. Rain finally stops before 9 a.m. and Jeongtae receives a phone call rushing him to come to work. In order to receive the next work, they have to meet the construction schedule. Jeongtae has already emptied several bottles of soju. It is not easy to take a taxi or public transportation for someone who is staggering with a tool bag wearing muddy shoes. Upset Jeongtae continues to drink more, and eventually policemen are brought in. This middle-aged man who is intoxicated and swearing is now considered a threat. On Jeongtae’s hard commute, there lies our society’s viewpoints toward the manual laborers and elder generation alienated by digital information. The performance by stage actor LEE Songhee, who has been active in Daegu, attracts attention. [Na Wonjeong]

 

 

Dear Juhee

Dear Juhee by Oh Hyundo – Korea | 2020 – 27 minutes

Nayoung, who is looking for a job, mentors high school student Juhee as part of her volunteer work. However, Juhee refuses Nayoung with a sharp reaction. She thinks it’s just filling up required volunteer hours after all. Nayoung is also not pleased with Juhee. One day, Nayoung drops off her clothes to a laundry of Juhee’s grandfather. Her grandfather goes to delivery laundry late at night and gets into a terrible accident. Nayoung is haunted by guilt but cannot tell the truth to Juhee. Director OH Hyundo’s Dear Juhee is a film that gently taps the shoulders of youths who are caught up in life. The situations of Nayoung who is looking for a job and Juhee who is having trouble going college are no different. In the sense that there is no better tomorrow, they are each other’s past and future. The film does not carelessly judge nor explain the pressure and fatigue they feel but silently observes. The slow and lingering pace paradoxically highlights the truth heart of the film. Those hesitations that gently penetrate and cleanse the mind are dependable. [Song Kyung-won]

 

 

Doong-ji

Doong-ji by Jo Kyoungwon – Korea | 2020 – 20 minutes

Han Doong-ji, a second grader in junior high school, is being bullied. One day, there is a group project filming a self-introduction video in their respective homes, but no one wants Doongji in their group. Class president Jina intentionally invites Doong-ji to her group to get a high score in performance evaluation. Doong-ji discovers an expensive camera at Jina’s house and ends up stealing it. Her group member Soyeon starts questioning her. However, Jina acts like it’s no big deal, and this makes Doong-ji more uncomfortable. As the day to visit Doong-ji’s house approaches, her anxiety worsens. Director JO Kyoungwon’s Doong-ji sensibly follows the psychology of an adolescent girl who doesn’t want to be disregarded. Doong-ji does not want others to discover her current situation but the people around her are not considerate of her feelings. The desolate hearts of the characters are more horrifying than the brutal truth faced at the end. Unlike the cold plot, the imbalance of the bright and sensual images is impressive. [Song Kyung-won]

 

 

Driving School

Driving School by Yu Sujin – Korea | 2020 – 29 minutes

Dreaming of being a film director, Choi Seon lies that she possesses a Level 1 driver’s license so she can join the production team and work with her favorite director. However, in reality, every time she takes the test, she fails. The deadline to submit her driver’s license to the assistant director approaches, and she heads to the driver’s license test center for one last hope. During the test, things keep getting messed up and don’t go as expected. Would Seon obtain her Level 1 driver’s license? Seon has low self-esteem. She enjoys tarot reading although she goes to church. She is very committed to her boyfriend yet she is worried that they might break up. Her passion for film exceeds everyone else, but unsure of the path she is taking. Her life which is not working out as intended is like a never-ending driver’s license test. For Seon, Level 1 driver’s license refers to the society filled with strangers who blurts out “girls don’t know squat” that she has to live with or the ‘pride license’ she must obtain. [Sohn Hee-jeong]

 

 

Goodtime

Goodtime by Kang Dongin – Korea | 2020 – 24 minutes

Express delivery driver Hyungdo is having a rough day. His motorcycle broke down, he got into a quarrel with a passerby, and his sister urged him to come to the hospital because his father was admitted to ICU again. Instead of going to the hospital, Hyungdo ends up delivering an Eternity Plant which is known to bring you fortune. Before he leaves, out of nowhere, Hyungdo throws a question to his client. This suddenly creates a strange feeling in the film. The bitter reality that cannot lead a good life without money, Hyungdo’s silent wailing against the reality, and doing his part without a choice at the end of the day are deeply engraved in the film. It shows how great the directing about the bitter reality which revolves around an Eternity Plant and powerful performance by KWON Daham who plays the role of Hyungdo are. [Kim Sol]

 

 

Mouth

Mouth & Mouth Fighter by Seo Gahyeon – Korea | 2020 – 15 minutes

Sari has a peculiar ability to chew and eat anything. In order to not end up in a mental hospital like her father who had the same ability, Sari hides her identity and is actively looking for a job. One day, Sari discovers eating sound contents created by YouTuber Yoonbyul who makes unique props and eats them. Inspired by this idea, Sari starts ASMR eating real objects that are not props and gains great popularity. Then, one of Sari’s fan dies from copying her. Rival Yoonbyul takes this as an opportunity to bring Sari down. Now, Sari has to confront Yoonbyul without getting busted by her “peculiar ability.” In this world, it seems like the only way for youths to live is through “attention competition” with eccentric behavior, violent language, or stimulating contents. In order to survive in the market, individuals must be unique, but that uniqueness must not go beyond what the society permits. Slanders and fake news that threaten the lives of others and instigating hatred against minorities are not a problem, but identity different from others is. Sari must fight social prejudice within this fierce attention competition. And She must pay the price for jumping into the competition that goes through fire and water. A brilliant and exceptional film that deals with current issues using extraordinary imagination. [Sohn Hee-jeong]

 

 

Quitting My Destiny

Quitting My Destiny by Chang Hyungyun – Korea | 2020 – 25 minutes

A live-action film by director CHANG Hyungyun who produced animations such as A Coffee Vending Machine and Its Sword (2007), The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow (2014) and Ireesha, The Daughter of Elf-king (2018). Martial artists in the age of swords are not disappearing in modern times but continue to live hiding all over the country. As he turns 20, Jin Young-young, the successor of Jinsa swordmanship and owner of Cheongmyeong sword, is disgusted by the life of martial artists so he decides to leave the countryside and enters college to live like a normal person. The film’s comic setting reminds us of the director’s previous work A Coffee Vending Machine and Its Sword, but the fact that he produced this ridiculous story into a live-action film is quite humorous Martial arts is just a tool, the core is comedy and drama. If you remove the martial arts element, there lies the agony and distress of the youth that fights with the world and wanting to be recognized. The embarrassing and old-fashioned romance was short but surprisingly addictive. This unique martial arts comedy even turns its crude parts into humor. The more brazen, the funnier the movie is. [Song Kyung-won]

 

 

Some Errors

Some Errors of the Construction-universe by Park Koonje – Korea | 2020 – 15 minutes

There is one principle in the world on screen. It is the principle of construction. Unfinished or abandoned buildings are regarded errors and starts to debug for maintenance of order. However, there is a movement to deviate from the principles of construction-universe. The images start to blend the time and space of the abandoned building and the information of the space under construction. Eventually, the combined data causes errors, and those combined images and sounds attempts to leap out of the flat world of the screen. Director PARK Koonje’s Some Errors of the Construction-universe is an experimental film that makes you think about the outside view through the collision of images and sounds. The collected images under the theme of construction and space begin to form a unique atmosphere about construction. It stimulates our existing perception on construction and development and extends out of the screen. Especially, the soundscape created by a combination of natural sounds and noises suits quite well with the film’s theme, space. Then this leads to an experience so-called “landscape of sound.” [Song Kyung-won]

 

 

The Floor Below

The Floor Below by Hwang Hyein – Korea | 2020 – 23 minutes

Elementary school student Junyoung goes to the playground in the apartment complex with his younger sister Won. There they meet his classmates who lives in the same complex. They are not friendly toward Junyoung, and his excited sister is no help to embarrassed him. “Junyoung, do you live in this complex?” Without putting much thought, Junyoung quickly responds, “Yes.” His classmates dare him to go to the basement to prove that he lives in the complex. To avoid the bullying, Junyoung grabs his sister’s hand and heads to the basement. There, he witnesses something unbelievable. What is scarier than the basement scenery is the reality outside the basement. The Floor Below apathetically depicts Junyoung’s world ? bearing a heavy burden with no adults and no social safety net. The film also captures the present world where words like “Hugar (Humansia apartment beggar)” or “rentroach (rental apartment residents)” are used like no big deal. In the horror created by the film, the audience faces a question. Who are they referring to as ‘the silent one’? It may be us, the audience. [Sohn Hee-jeong]

 

 

Walking Backwards

Walking Backwards by Bang Sungjun – Korea | 2020 – 33 minutes

32-year-old Siheon, a delivery worker at Eurwangni Beach, is soon to be a college student. One day, as he is congratulated by the aunties at the restaurant, a Japanese man approaches and informs him his mother is dead. 30-year-old Ryota is the son of Siheon’s mother who left young Siheon and have a new family of her own in Japan. The brothers who met for the first time and Siheon’s friend Yejin head to Siheon’s old house in Chinatown where his mother’s trinkets are buried. Reflecting on the hidden life of the family that one parted is a common theme of director BANG Sungjun’s work. In his short About Magnolia (2017), the son connects with his father’s spirit, and in Passing Over The Hill (2018), the mother discovers her dead son’s poem and finds the warmth to continue living. Walking Backwards is a road movie that looks back on the childhood that Siheon has turned away. The director’s affection toward Incheon where he has filmed most of his works reminds us again how beautiful this city is. [Na Wonjeong]

 

For more information about the films and how to watch them please go to the official website: http://eng.jiff.or.kr/

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