Films / Programs

Focus on a National Cinema: South Korea

Each year the festival shines the spotlight on one particular country in order to illuminate its range of cinematic treasures. Though still a stranger to the multiplexes and only an occasional visitor to arthouses, South Korean cinema is (and has been for decades) a staple in film festivals around the world. And while what we get here in the States tends toward the outrageous (The Host; The Good, The Bad, The Weird; I Saw the Devil), the industry is wildly diverse. Im Kwon-taek has been making beautifully poetic films since the early 1960s (we’ll be screening 1993’s Seopyonje); Kim Ki-duk was recognized as the enfant terrible of the Korean New Wave until he hit a creative block—Arirang is his self-reflective return. Hong Sang-soo, the newest and youngest hit on the festival circuit, churns out two to three films a year. His 2010 film Ha Ha Ha won the top prize of the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes last year; we’ll be showing his 2011 film, The Day He Arrives. Also, screening for the first time stateside, is the complete Town Trilogy by Jeon Kyu-hwan.

Sponsored By: Denver Chapter of the National Unification Advisory Council

  • 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
  • Arirang


    South Korea , 2011 , 100 min. In 2008, the once-prolific Korean director Kim Ki-duk watched as his leading actress suffered a near-fatal on-set injury. Traumatized, the devout Buddhist went into hiding and has not re-emerged—except in the form of this raw, corrosive, self-critical video diary.... 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
  • The Day He Arrives

    The Day He Arrives

    South Korea , 2011 , 79 min. South Korean director Hong Sang-soo provides a self-referential, seriocomic portrait of a brawling, drunken, desperate film director in crisis, combining elements of 8 1/2 with the man-in-a-wheel repetitions of Groundhog Day.... more
  • Haunters


    South Korea , 2010 , 100 min. Cho-in (Gang Dong-won) has the power to control anyone he can see—with the exception of his doppelgänger, Kyu-nam. When Cho-in tries to rob the shop where Kyu-nam works, an epic chase begins that will end only when one man is left standing. Kim Min-suk directs this crisply satisfying Korean thriller... more
  • Mozart Town

    Mozart Town

    South Korea , 2008 , 90 min. South Korean writer-director Jeon Kyu-hwan’s 2008 debut was the first in the Town Trilogy (appearing as a whole in SDFF34), which examines themes of urban alienation and desperation. Sara is a pianist who sees Seoul through the eyes of a tourist, while the city’s own residents struggle daily.... more
  • A Scene at the Sea

    A Scene at the Sea

    South Korea , 2010 , 21 min. A father and son whose roles have reversed as junior becomes the caretaker of senior execute a delicate dance at the edge of the sea.... more
  • Seopyeonje


    South Korea , 1993 , 112 min. Three Korean pansori singers travel by foot through the countryside, their convoluted stories revealed in a series of flashbacks. Director Im Kwon-taek began his career as a maker of commercial films; after encountering the pansori tradition, he got down to more serious work.... more
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