Films: Mozart Town

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Mozart Town

Mozart Town

South Korea, 2008, 90 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Drama, Korean, Social Issues
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, Focus on a National Cinema: South Korea
Language: Korean English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Jeon Kyu-hwan
Producer: Miae Choi
Editor: Jong-hoon Han
Screenwriter: Jeon Kyu-hwan
Cinematographer: Jin-kyung Kim
Principal Cast: Joo Yoo-rang, Oh Seong-tae, Park Seung-bae, Moon Hyoung-joo

South Korean writer-director Jeon Kyu-hwan’s 2008 debut was the first in his Town Trilogy, which includes Dance Town and Animal Town (also appearing in SDFF 34) and explores the themes of urban alienation in the modern era. Mozart Town introduces us to Sara, a concert pianist visiting Seoul from Europe. She sees the city through the eyes of a tourist—everything is fresh, and as she records her travels in her journal, she feels content.

Parallel to this run the very different lives of the other characters, who are consumed by the misery they experience in the day-to-day drudgery of city life. Ji-won runs a newspaper stand and, as a hobby, photographs passersby; her husband has abandoned her and she finds more meaning in detached photographs than in real life. Etoo and Ayo are illegal immigrants from Africa; separated from their family and unable to make ends meet working at a laundry, they struggle in desperation. Deok-sang abandons his own ambitions to drive a tourist bus for his ailing father. Il-hwan is a gang member who extorts protection money from adult entertainment businesses, as do the cops. All are looking for their place in the world—and wonder if they will ever find it.

Throughout the trilogy, Jeon captures the ironic soullessness of Seoul’s urban jungle with his sparse dialogue and remote camerawork. Mozart Town features all amateur actors, whose performances lend an air of artless authenticity.
—REBECCA CARO

Sponsored by Asian Art Coordinating Council, Denver Chapter of the National Unification Advisory Council

Also by this director

  • Animal Town

    Animal Town

    South Korea , 2009 , 97 min. Set in modern-day Seoul, Korean writer-director Jeon Kyu-hwan’s drama portrays the lives of two men connected in the past by a horrific event; against the backdrop of bustling optimism, their lives are being destroyed by desperation. Animal Town is the second installment in the Town Trilogy.... more
  • Dance Town

    Dance Town

    South Korea , 2010 , 95 min. The final installment of Korean writer-director Jeon Kyu-hwan’s Town Trilogy, Dance Town tells the story of a couple defecting to South Korea. When Man-il is caught and detained by authorities, his wife escapes alone; she tries to start life anew.... more

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