Korean Cultural Centre UK, Grand Buildings, 1 – 3 Strand, London WC2N 5BW
Main Entrance on Northumberland Avenue
Tel: +44 (0)20 7004 2600
Fax: +44 (0)20 7004 2619
This year the Korean Cultural Centre and The London Film Festival has put together an excellent screening programme of classical and contemporary South Korean cinema. These screenings generally take place on Thursday evenings and are free, but need to be booked beforehand. The programme has been structured monthly, with each month introducing a different director and screening four of their films, with the last film being screened at the Apollo Cinema, Piccadilly. At the final screenings, the Director is present and the films are followed by an informative Q&A session with them.
19 Regent Street, St James’s,
London, SW1Y 4LR
Telephone: 0871 220 6000
Unfortunately due to work pressures, I have not been able to attend all the screenings and/or Q&A sessions at the Apollo Cinema until fairly recently. However I have been impressed by the quality and diversity of the films that I have been able to catch, and it has also introduced me to the work of some directors that I am not very familiar with. I was also extremely honoured to be asked to conduct the Q&A session with Director Lee Jun-ik, which has been one of the highlights of my year. Director Lee was a delightful man, with a wonderful sense of humour which is apparent in his films – particularly in Battlefield Heroes (평양성: 2003) and the sequel Once Upon a Time on a Battlefield ( 평양성: 2010) – and a passion and dedication to cinema which is to be admired. I gained a great deal from spending time with him: details of this will be posted at a later date.
July was dedicated to the films of Lee Hyun-seung perhaps best known outside of his native country for Il Mare (시월애: 2000), a film which often appears on lists of the best romantic dramas, and which was the first South Korean film to get a Hollywood makeover as The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.
August is dedicated to the films of Lee Yoon-ki, whose films share a feminist sensibility with Lee Hyun-seung, featuring strong female protagonists and critiquing the oppression of women in South Korean society.
September sees the films of Jeon Kyu-hwan, who is noted for his Town trilogy: 3 films that show different aspects of contemporary life in the metropolis in contemporary South Korea.
October is slightly different to the other months, as it sees a retrospective of one of South Korea’s most prolific and successful directors, Director Im Kwon-taek, with a total of 15 films, details of which are still to be finalised.
November is devoted to Song Hae-seong, and is a month that I am particularly looking forward to as the final film is the remake of one of my all time favourite John Woo films, A Better Tomorrow.
The year comes to a close with the films of Lim Soon-rye, one of South Korea’s feted female directors. The final film is her most recent film, Rolling Home with a Bull (소와 함께 여행하는 법: 2010).
Further details of The Year of the 12 Directors can be found on the official site of the London Korean Film Festival: http://www.koreanfilm.co.uk/
To book tickets for any of the upcoming films as well as details of other Korean cultural events in the capital: http://london.korean-culture.org/welcome.do