Seen in Jeonju

Far East Film Festival 14

18th January 2012


The Far East Film Festival is held annually in the city of Udine, Italy not far from Venice. I was fortunate enough to attend a few years back and it was an enjoyable and memorable experience.  This morning I received an email from the festival Press Office about the 14th Far East Film Festival which will be held from April 20th to the 28th. It seems, in addition to many other plans, this years festival will be focusing on Korean films of the 1970s. Quoting the press release:

Udine, however, will not only be giving its attention to contemporary Asia but will also be looking at its past, through the study of 10 films unseen in the West, from one of the darkest periods (yet culturally one of the richest) in the history of South Korea: the Seventies. Entitled The Darkest Decade: Korean Filmmakers in the 1970s, this valuable retrospective, authored by Darcy Paquet, will show us how despite the difficult political and social environment, equally repressive and characterized by ferocious censorship, and notwithstanding the careers of several talented directors being abruptly suspended (Lee Jang-ho was arrested in 1975 for using marijuana, and banned from making films until the assassination of President Park Chung Hee; Shin Sang-ok had his license to make films revoked by the government in 1975, and was subsequently kidnapped and taken to North Korea), several directors managed to remain active throughout the 1970s, and produced some of their most memorable works in this period.

The Darkest Decade is a celebration of their achievements, and an opportunity to tell, for the first time outside of the confines of South Korea, the story of their struggles.”

There is no word yet as to which films will be shown but it sounds like it will be very interesting, particularly if they select some of the more obscure works not already on DVD. I am especially interested as I have been working on indexing the films produced in Korea during the 1970s and there are many I would love to have the opportunity to see. More information will be posted on the festival in the coming months.

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