Seven Korean films highlighted at this year’s Spring Showcase
While the Hawaii International Film Festival is a truly international film festival, we definitely lean more toward Asia and the Pacific Rim while programming the films in the festival. Much of this has to do with our location between the East and the West, the heavy Asian influence in the islands, and our audience’s tastes. Here’s a highlight of the seven Korean films we have this spring. All screenings below will be held at the Dole Cannery 18 Theaters.
A COMPANY MAN stars heartthrob So Ji-Sub, who is more known for his TV drama work, but was the lead in “Always” which played at last year’s Spring Showcase. It’s about a cold and callous hitman who has a change of heart and tries to quit, but his former employers will not let him do so easily…
A Belgium, UK & North Korea production, COMRADE KIM GOES FLYING has the distinction of being the first western-financed feature made entirely in North Korea. Kim Yong-mi, a coal miner in a small village, dreams of one day joining the national circus and performing on the trapeze – despite the fact that she is deathly afraid of heights. When she is promoted and sent to the capital, she has an opportunity to make her dream come true.
Set during the 1948 Jeju Uprising in South Korea, JISEUL tells the story of a number of villagers who hid in a cave for 60 days from soldiers who were under shoot-to-kill orders. Shot in black & white, this is a very intense look at events that led up to the Korean War. Winner of the World Cinema Grand Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
LOVE 911 is a comedy and melodrama starring Han Hyo-Joo (also in “Always”) and Ko Soo (“The Front Line:”, 2011). A doctor gets sued after a misdiagnosis and tries to get a rescue firefighter to be a character witness for her; After he initially refuses, she volunteers to be a paramedic to work alongside him.
When you’re a gangster, respect is everything. But what happens when a gangster suddenly gains the mystic powers of a shaman? MAN ON THE EDGE is a comedy about a man who’s fate was changed by a cut on his palm, who now sees ghosts and has to help them, or they won’t leave him alone!
In MIRACLE IN CELL NO. 7, a mentally handicapped man is accused of kidnap and murder, then given the death penalty and incarcerated. After spending some time in the prison, he saves the life of one of his cellmates. To help return the favor, his cellmates plan to help him see his daughter. The film, a box-office phenomenon, is now the 3rd highest grossing film in Korea.
PIETA, the latest film from auteur Kim Ki Duk (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring), is about the relationship between a brutal man who works for loan sharks and a middle aged woman who claims to be his long lost mother. The Pietà is a subject in Christian art showing the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus. This is a very controversial film, and recently won the Golden Lion at the 69th Venice International Film Festival.
WARNING: Contains violent and highly sexual content.