The London Korean Film Festival 2019: 5 Films to Watch

The new trailer for the London Korean Film Festival has now launched and can be seen here. The festival is now within its 14th year and returns to London during 1-14 November 2019 before embarking on a UK wide tour. Given that 2019 commemorates the 100th year anniversary of Korean cinema there is an emphasis on the classical Korean films and as such there is a dedicated strand to such films within the festival’s programme.

Taking place over a multitude of London cinemas such as the Odeon Covent Garden, Picturehouse Central, the Rio Cinema and Regent Street Cinema, the different strands of the film festival are likely to appeal to all. As well as the Special Focus strand relating to the classical films there will also be the opportunity to watch some of the new films emerging from Korean filmmakers in the Cinema Now strand.

Returning to the festival’s programme will be the Women’s Voices strand focusing on the works by Korean women in film. For this year, the films featured in such strand are by first time women directors. There will also be documentary, shorts and animation strands within the festival’s programme.

Here is my selection of 5 films to watch across the Women’s Voices and Cinema Now strands during this year’s festival:

1) Youngju

Directed by Cha Sung-duk, Youngju features within the Women’s Voices strand and will have its UK premiere during the festival. It tells the tale of recently orphaned Youngju and her brother whose financial situation causes Youngju to grow up quickly and undertake part-time work to support them. However, the dynamics start to change when Youngu meets those responsible for the deaths of her parents.

2) Grass

Featuring in the Cinema Now strand, Grass is directed by Hong Sangsoo and is a nuanced tale of a writer sitting in a café observing others and overhearing their conversations. Grass will have its UK premiere at the festival and had been nominated within the Berlin Film Festival.

3) Extreme Job

Another UK premiere for the festival, Extreme Job offers some light relief as the hilarious escapades unfold for police officers working undercover in a chicken shop. Their new chicken recipe makes the shop extremely popular which causes everything to change! Directed by Lee Byeong-heon, Extreme Job has had a tremendous box office success in South Korea.

4) A Resistance

An historical drama which has its European Premiere during the London Korean Film Festival. Directed by Joe Min-ho and based on a true story, A Resistance recalls the story of those Koreans that struggled to obtain independence during the time of the Japanese occupation.

5) Height of the Wave

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Locarno Film Festival and directed by Park Jung-bum, Height of the Wave will receive its UK premiere during the festival. The film outlines the tale of a police officer dispatched to work on an isolated island with her daughter where strange situations involving the locals start to occur.

The full programme for the London Korean Film Festival can be accessed here

2 Replies to “The London Korean Film Festival 2019: 5 Films to Watch”

    1. It will be my first time attending and so I hope that you might be able to watch some of the films too! I’ll be visiting Korea as well shortly after the festival ends!

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