The London Korean Film Festival 2021 – 5 Film Highlights

The London Korean Film Festival is back in London for its 16th edition on 4-19 November 2021 offering in person cinema screenings. There will be over 35 films from Korea featuring within this year’s festival.

The London Korean Cultural Centre organises the festival and it is supported by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism alongside the Korean Film Council to promote Korean cinema. The films will be screening at a range of venues across London including the ICA, Everyman Screen on the Green and Picturehouse Central to explore over the 15 day festival.

The festival has continued to screen the films within strands such as Cinema Now, Indie Talent, Documentary, Women’s Voices and Animation reflecting the diverse range of Korean cinema.

This year’s Special Focus strand will spotlight the renowned actress Youn Yuh-Jung who was awarded the Best Supporting Actress Award at 2021’s Oscars for her impressive role as the grandmother in Minari. A collection of the films from her career can be seen during the festival including Woman of Fire, The Bacchus Lady, A Good Lawyer’s Wife.

In no particular order, let’s take a look at some festival films that have piqued an interest for this year.

Aloners

This film features within the Cinema Now strand and also appeared within the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. Aloners is the debut feature film from female director Hong Seong-Eun and its premise sounds intriguing.

Addressing the Korean phenomenon of Holojok, a solitary woman re-examines her isolated existence after her neighbour dies alone in his apartment. Yu Jina is a loner, constantly wearing headphones to work and obsessed with her phone but the intrusive noise from the apartment next door threatens her solitary rituals.

Aloners featuring in London Korean Film Festival
Aloners featuring in London Korean Film Festival

In Front of Your Face

Featuring within the Cinema Now strand this is the latest film by Hong Sangsoo, the renowned director of Grass, Right Now, Wrong Then, In Another Country and several other films. In Another Country tells the tale of a former actress who returned to Seoul after following a lover to the US and she attempts to revive her career. The film itself sounds quite meta and fascinating as real-life actress Lee Hyeyeong has also returned to the big screen recently. Expect philosophical musings and lots of drinking from another Sangsoo film!

Awoke

Part of the Indie Talks section and co-directed by Jung Jae-Ik and Seo Tae-Soo, Awoke explores a tale of accessibility and inclusivity. Jaegi is disabled, following a car accident. However, he faces a bureaucratic nightmare to find a job without an assessment of his condition. However, his condition is mis-diagnosed within the assessment leading to a series of complications for him.

Climbing

An animated feature within the animation section of the festival. Climbing focuses on a professional climber who falls pregnant before a large competitive event. As such, the film explores the conflict between work and motherhood. A compelling twist is that the protagonist receives a series of messages seemingly from herself in the near present following an alternative pathway and indicating that she would be happy to keep her baby.

Described as an animated horror film, Climbing from director Kim Hye-Mi certainly appears to be one to watch.

Climbing featuring in London Korean Film Festival
Climbing featuring in London Korean Film Festival

Snowball

Snowball is a coming-of-age tale featuring within the Women’s Voices section. The film follows a group of young female friends who are inseparable and decide to run away together. However, in living together their friendship is severely tested. Being in such close proximity to each other regularly, adds an unexpectedly different dynamic to their friendship which threatens the intimacy that they had previously shared.

Tickets for the London Korean Film Festival can be purchased here.

Are there any particular films that you are looking forward to from the programme? Leave your comments below about the Korean films that are on your list to watch.

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