The 13th annual Jeonju International Film Festival will open this year on April 26 and run through May 4th. It is not too early to begin planning what movies you want to see if you are coming. Since many of these films will later get limited theatrical releases and eventually DVD releases, even if you are not coming, you can still appreciate what will be showing. ((All film descriptions and images are taken from the JIFF program recently made available at press conferences in Seoul and Jeonju and is not available for download on the Jiff website)) The following is a list of films, both short and feature length, in competition at the festival but this is less than a third of the total films screening. There are many more including some interesting retrospectives and numerous films from South America. To see a full list, visit the JIFF website at http://eng.jiff.or.kr
French-Swiss filmmaker Ursula Meier’s second feature-length drama Sister (L’enfant d’en haut) is a well-made coming of age film which calmly portrays the dragging lives of the brother and sister; Simon, who has learnt a dangerous way of life between the poor valley down below and the up high ski resort of the rich, and Louise, who seems to have entered the world of grown-ups at a very young age and wanders through life aimlessly.
The 13th Jeonju International Film Festival’s closing film is A Simple Life (Tao Jie) by Ann Hui, which has been premiered last year at Venice International Film Festival and received a huge acclaim from critics. The story focuses on the relationship between film producer Roger (Andy Lau) andhis amah Tao Jie (Deanie Ip), who has served his family for over 60 years through 4 generations, which, in the film, is described more like a mother-son relationship rather than the one of usual master and servant. After Tao Jie has a stroke she seeks for a nursing home in order not to be a burden to Roger who is unable to stick by her side because of his work. Since she moves to the nursing home, how she grows accustomed to her new surroundings, the life of the people at the nursing home, the dedication and the deep affection Roger and his family feel for Tao and how she faces her death, all these stories are being depicted calmly and candidly without any sentimental blow, but masterly enough to gradually touch something deep inside our hearts. The elements such as the contrast between Asian and Western perspectives, the gap between different generations and social classes, are being handled with a subtle touch as inherent components of Hong Kong as a social and cultural complex rather than the ones for dramatic conflicts.
I initially tried to just post the images since they have the film descriptions written on them, but between the pink color and the size of the print, it is impossible to read.. for me at least.. so I will include the English descriptions written on the image below each set pictures. For once, grammar and spelling mistakes are not mine ^^;
About the Pink Sky (Japan): Izumi, whose daily routine is rating newspaper articles, finds a wallet containing a large sum of cash. She eventually returns the wallet to its owner, a wealthy high-school boy named Koki, who notices the missing money, and as compensation, asks Izumi to do something for his friend.
Ex Press (Philippines): Fiction and fact are mixed as in a dream. A dream about trains and the sinister affairs that surround them. The young filmmaker only needed one take for each scene. Metaphorically speaking, the entire country is moving, like a train, and the population suffers from institutionalized brutality.
It Looks Pretty From a Distance (Poland): Unfolding in a secluded Polish village by the woods and a river, it is a love story between a scrapper and a girl. The men’s disappearance triggers a chain of unexpected events in the strikingly beautiful surroundings, under the scorching sun human evil surfaces.
It’s the Earth, Not the Moon (Portugal): Situated in the Archipelago of Azores, Corvo is one of the autonomous regions of Portugal and the smallest island in Europe. Agriculture and dairy farming are the main industry for most of its 440 residents. Amidst beautiful scenery, the director collects and records simple but wise life stories, turning the island itself into the film’s protagonist.
Padak (Korea): It’s a fish’s story about the struggle after he trapped in a little aquarium of a sashimi house. The fish gets in lots of trouble with the old flat fish who actually powered all over the aquarium. It’s a new vivid animation of the fish’s fierce journey.
The River Used to Be a Man (Germany): A German man makes a trip to a foggy village in Africa. His bizarre journey begins when his boatman dies. By describing how a European experiences Africa’s belief in traditional superstition after a man’s death, this film provides a fresh perspective on psychological isolation and conflict.
Southwest (Brazil): In a secluded Brazilian coastal village, where everything seems to stand still, Clarisse watches her life over the course of a day, unlike those around her who live that day just like any other. She tries to understand her obscure reality and the destiny of the people around her in a circling, disturbing sense of time.
Summer of Giacomo (Italy): A summer day in Italy. The camera follows the deaf-mute Giacomo and a childhood girlfriend Stefi closely – in the woods, by the river – without wanting to disrupt the mystery of their relationship, between restrained sensuality and childhood games.
Twilight Potrait (Russia) : A social worker, a child psychologist in the middle life crisis, Marina, gets injured by policemen. She seeks revenge. Then she finally meets the initiator of the dramatic event, she decides to use her professional skills instead of common weapons.
Two Years at Sea (UK): A man called Jake lives in the middle of the forest. He is seen in all seasons, surviving frugally, passing the time with strange projects, living the radical dream he had as a younger man, a dream he spent two years working at sea to realize.
Ankorwat (Korea): Park Il-rae dreams of a better life for his family, but is cheated out of his entire family savings. In deep despair, Il-rae decides to commit suicide together with his family. The movie reaches out to those who are hurt and forced in the corner in their lives.
Big Good (Korea): In his mother’s absence, Hyeong-geun conspires to gain independence along with his music-loving friend. They try to rent the small room attached to his mother’s store to make some extra cash. Meantime, a senior from school encourages them to explore the vastness of the ‘World Wide Web.’
Bhikkuni- Buddhist Nuns (Korea): Baekheungam is a training temple for female Buddhist monks keeping away from the public. There are monks who left material things and the secular world, and entered into Buddhism. The film tells the inside stories of Baekheungam; the female monks are silently stepping on for the awakening.
Fire in Hell (Korea): Ji-wol, a Buddhist monk, is excommunicated because of an inappropriate affair with a female believer. He rapes and kills another woman and leaves with her ashes for the Philippines where her family lives. However, there he falls in love with her twin sister. A shocking interpretation of karma.
Jeju Prayer (Korea): Focusing on Mrs. Kang sang-hee’s life, she lost her husband in Jeju Uprising (March 3rd, 1948). The film views the dark-side of Jeju Island, a huge grave, which is completely opposite of the other side of the island, the famous tourist attraction. It says that the tragedy has been going on about the recent Gang-jeong village situation.
Morning Glory (Korea): Hyun-jun, a musical actor, makes his mind to go abroad for further study. He returns to his hometown where he meets his cousin So-yeon. After getting a taste of the countryside with her, So-yeon makes the unexpected confession that she has loved him for a long time.
Sleepless Night (Korea): 2 years into marriage, the couple hesitates to have a baby. Money is the biggest obstacle. They are rushed by others around, however the pressure makes their love sturdier some time. A report about the marriage in real life, not a fantasy.
Without Father (Korea): Two Japanese women, who have lived in Korea with a difference of a half century, go to Japan. They are Yoko in Kawashima Watkins’ So Far from the Bamboo Grove and Masako living in Korea after the marriage with a Korean. The audience will follow their journey through the views of the two women.
Comedy (Korea): A former comedian has been run down and run out of money. He works a part-time job as a replacement driver with a whiny baby that gives him no peace. He is faced with the irony of his life that trying to be funny and work “for fun” doesn’t bring you any in the end.
Early Spring, Gyeongju (Korea): After her divorce, Hee-myeong leaves Seoul for Gyeongju where her mother lives. However her ex Jun-ho follows her and begs to get back together, while she only wants to go back to the time before everything became so entangled.
Ik Hou Van Jou (Korea): Dae-hyun works at a glass factory and is secretly in love with someone. She has been dating Joo-sung, who is Dae-hyun’s junior colleague. While their relationship is going well, Dae-hyun talks anxiously about Joo-sung behind his back to Sun-hwa.
The Day Going to Market (Korea): The director attends his parents who come and go between Seoul and Twaechon to go to market for their restaurant twice a month. They are usual trips for him. However, in the usual trips, he reminds himself of changing things, unchanging things, and shouldn’t-change things.
White Night (Korea): Won-gyu, a steward, returns to Seoul 2 years after he left with a painful memory. He meets Tae-jun acquainted on the Web and they have a special night at the place of Won-gyu’s bad memory. A queer film by Leesong hee-il inspired by an actual case of random street assault by a homophobe in Jong-no.
Hoarders (Korea): Recycling workers and artists in Hwanghak-dong appear very different and opposed at first; however, through a communal system of rotation, they achieve a kind of social equilibrium. The film stands on the border between labor and art, asking questions about art’s true nature.
Kids On Board (Korea): Geun-woo is a boy in a small mountain town. Slowly, his friends begin to move away. Even Hyun-woo, his last friend, eventually leaves. With concise cinematic rhetoric, the film shows the progressive extinction of a small village communitythrough the day of a boy left alone.
Amateur (Korea): Yu-ri is working on the pre-production for her own film. She feels great sympathy for the middle-aged woman character, ‘Ajumma,’ although she is estranged from her own mother. Identity, self-reflection and the gap between filmmaking and real life are explored through this unique cinematic experiment.
Memories of the Night (Korea): After breaking up with Jun-young, Hyun-ji recalls the time he first confessed his love to her. She recalls the day they went to see the skeleton Jun-young had found when he was young. Nostalgia mixes with lyricism as Hyun-ji sifts through memories of the past.
Who Killed Gong Jung-Hwa? (Korea): Twenty nine-year old Jung-hwa spends her meaningless days without any desires. She embarks on a destitute journey until news of her death arrives. The director explores the plight of today’s youth, forced into endless competition and introspection.
The Arrival (Korea): A woman who once lived in China as a Korean refugee searches for her former lover in Seoul. The film takes us on an exhausting urban journey thr ough themes of displacement and loss.
Noodle Fish (Korea): Noodle Fish is a fresh and distinctive animated short, made with plain noodles bought from regular markets. The film tells the story of a small and sincere “noodle fish” as it struggles to leave the water.
Shadow Monster (Korea): While a mother is asleep, a thrilling duel occurs between a child and a shadow monster. Shadow Monster is an interesting work based on the changing character of shadows depending on the angles, directions and the distance of light.
Nun (Korea): A woman starts her job at a cell-phone plant. She cannot get used to everyone sitting and working in same monotonous manner with the same expressionless looks. Can she be of help to the man she runs into by chance outside the factor?
The House (Korea): A window is painted on white paper and a middle aged man appears, looking like a landlord. As rent has risen, the window gradually descends from the 2nd floor, to the first floor, to the basement, until finally vanishing. The body of the man also begins to descend.
Paradise (Korea): In the near future where water is nearly all dried up, a penguin survives by digging up canned foods on some deserted seaside. One day, the penguin finds the body of a gigantic whale and brings it home for food. But the “dead” whale suddenly opens up its eyes.
Allegro (Korea): Depending only on his sneakers, the courier service man weaves his way through the residential jungle, which is difficult for even cars to pass through. With thrilling agility and ingenuity, he avoids every obstacle… except his boss.
Dusts (Korea): At an abandoned construction site at night, roaming spirits talk to us in the form of dust, rocks, broken branches and whistling wind. Interweaving small pieces of daily life, the director expresses his lament about the sense of loss for the people who have left.
Expansion of Anxiety (Korea): Using seemingly random footage of mobs, the director creates dramatic incidents by blowing up footage, making unrelated cuts or mixing music. A skillful take on distortion and misconception in modern media and the audience’s addiction to stimulation.
Interfere (Korea): Interfere is a fascinating experimental film that captur es delicate moments produced by the convergence of water and structure, line and face. The camera tenaciously observes the splendid and unpr edictable interaction between the
bridge piers and the Han River flow.
Tree or Wood (Korea): Trees are readily seen in our surroundings. Their wood grains are like beautiful abstract paintings. Tree Or Wood is a sharp warning about attempting to process the genuine beauty of nature and becoming obsessed with artifial beauty.
Why Does the Wind Blow? (Korea): Why Does Wind Blow has been r econstituted from instructional 16mm films collected by the director from film archives. It presents a sensational experience through the juxtaposition of visualized movement of physical objects and the cinematic creation of time.