London Korean Film Festival 2022: Korean Films to Discover

The London Korean Film Festival has returned for its 17th year on 3 November – 17 November 2022 to 10 cinemas within London and two regional venues: Ciné Lumière, Garden Cinema, Lux, Rio Cinema, V&A Museum, ICA, Genesis Cinema, Picturehouse Central, Regent Street Cinema and HOME Manchester and Glasgow Film Theatre.

This edition of the London Korean Film Festival is once more organised by the Korean Cultural Centre UK with the support of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism and Korean Film Council.

Outside of Korea, this festival has the biggest Korean cinema programme internationally. There are over 35 films within the festival divided in to category strands such as Cinema Now, Special Focus, After Dark: K-Horror, Indie Talents, Women’s Voices, Documentary, Shorts and Artist Video. As such, there is truly a category to cater to all tastes.

Kingmaker in London Korean Film Festival
Kingmaker in London Korean Film Festival

The Opening Night film for this edition was Alienoid, which had its UK premiere at the festival. The film has seen box office success in Korea.

The Closing Night film on 17 November 2022 will be Hansan: Rising Dragon. Korean film aficionados may be aware of director Kim Han-min’s preceding film, The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014), which is still the most successful Korean film to date as a naval warfare blockbuster.

This year there has also been the collaboration with an exhibition at the V&A, Hallyu! The Korean Wave. As such, The Thieves by Choi Dong-Hoon also features within the festival. The success of The Thieves means that it is bound to be attractive to an international audience and had a Q&A with the director.

Another notable film is Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Broker. This is also one of the Special Screenings and had featured in the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Broker’s success at Cannes resulted in a Best Actor award for Song Kang-ho.

Return to Seoul in London Korean Film Festival
Return to Seoul in London Korean Film Festival

Other films that are on our list to watch include The Anchor, Kingmaker and Return to Seoul from the Cinema Now strand. The Anchor by Jeong Ji-yeon seems to have a focus on gender inequalities amidst a psychological backdrop and therefore sounds intriguing. Davy Chou’s Return to Seoul, on the other hand, is a coming-of-age tale exploring French and Korean cultural differences and that quest for belonging. It appeared within the Un Certain Regard section at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. As for Kingmaker by Byun Sung-hyun, this is a film about that conflict between ambition and justice within the political sphere and that examination of friendships along the journey.

The life of acclaimed late actress Kang Soo-yeon is celebrated in the programme with a Special Focus strand dedicated to show films in which she appeared such as The Surrogate Woman (1987). Kang, after winning a Best Actress award at Venice for her performance in The Surrogate Woman, was renowned as the first Korean actor to receive an international film festival award.

 A Lonely Island in the Distant Sea in London Korean Film Festival
A Lonely Island in the Distant Sea in London Korean Film Festival

Independent film is also highlighted in the programme within the Indie Now strand. The films that piqued our interest in this category were the meditative, A Lonely Island in the Distant Sea from Kim Mi-young, which offers a nuanced portrait of a father-daughter relationship. Through My Midwinter was another film of interest which is a directorial feature debut by Oh Seong-ho. The film portrays the unexpected impact of socio-economic dynamics on a young couple’s relationship.

You can purchase tickets for films in the London Korean Film Festival here

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