We would like to sincerely thank everyone who submitted their valuable projects to the 21st JEONJU International Film Festival (JEONJU IFF)’s Korean Competition section.
This year, 10 fiction films and 1 documentary were selected.
We’re pleased to announce that the following works have been selected to screen in Korean Competition of the 21st JEONJU IFF.
The finalists of the Korean Competition are (Korean alphabetical order):
Gull (KIM Mijo) | Korea | 2020 | 74min | DCP | Color
Blessedness: Monsters and Specters (HONG Jiyeong) | Korea | 2020 | 77min | DCP | Color+B/W
Please Don´t Save Me (JUNG Yeon-kyung) | Korea | 2020 | 96min | DCP | Color
Take Me Home (HAN Jay) | Korea | 2020 | 98min | DCP | Color
DUST-MAN (KIM Nakyung) | Korea | 2020 | 94min | DCP | Color
Mom´s Song (SHIN Dongmin) | Korea | 2020 | 70min | DCP | Color
Black Light (BAE Jongdae) | Korea | 2020 | 104min | DCP | Color
Daldongne 33 Up (Cho Uhn) | Korea | 2020 | 124min | DCP | Color
Midsummer Madness (KIM Jongjae) | Korea | 2019 | 82min | DCP | Color+B/W
Dispatch (LEE Taegyeom) | Korea | 2019 | 114min | DCP | Color
Homeless (LIM Seunghyeun) | Korea | 2020 | 82min | DCP | Color
Judge’s commentary on the Korean Competition
Many say that independent films are reflections of that society. As such, the 125 films submitted to the Korean Competition section of JEONJU IFF this year show the true face of the current Korean society. These films take different approaches to uncover diverse serious problems we face in the society today, such as severe poverty and suffering in a polarized world, the tyranny of those in power and the weak struggling to oppose, and the discrimination and violence against women.
A particularly prominent trend we saw this year was the focus on various issues surrounding women. Gull is a film that continues the spirit of the Me Too movement. In the movie, a middle-aged woman becomes victim to sexual violence by a close acquaintance. It discloses anachronism while showing that male-centric ideas and absurd prejudice still exist. Dispatch is a movie that deals with female problems within the spectrum of labor. The woman in the film faces a complex entanglement of discrimination against female workers, as well as discrimination against subcontractors. YOO Dain plays the lead role and she makes a strong impression with her confidence. The consciousness of women naturally leads to a discussion on sexual minorities. Take Me Home is a story about a girl who lives with a female couple. The girl lost her mother in an unexpected accident, and she is left to live with her aunt and her partner. The film questions the definition of “family”, while underlining how powerless sexual minorities are in this society. The presence of the child actor KIM Bomin, who showed an amazing performance in Birthday, will also be a highlight.
Social polarization and poverty that threaten many people’s livelihoods are getting worse. Daldongne 33 Up is a monumental documentary by Professor Cho Uhn of Dongguk University, who traced the life of a family for the past 33 years. The documentary records how a family who had to relocate from Sadang-dong to Sanggye-dong due to redevelopment settles in their new home. After introducing this family at the JEONJU IFF 2010 with A Nice Place, this film shows us how the family’s life changed for the last 11 years. It deals with the sociological idea that poverty can be inherited, while the film has rich documentary film values. Homeless is a portrait of a young couple wandering in search of a home while raising a newborn baby. No matter how hard they try, it’s very difficult for them to find a single room. This film is a very convincing portrayal of the lives of young people who are increasingly facing harsh conditions. Black Light tells the story of two families suffering from the aftereffects of a traffic accident that happened one night. The conflict between the two sides pushes them to their limits, while the film smartly highlights that their confrontation is actually an unnecessary fight between two victims. Please Don´t Save Me shows the story of a mother and daughter in a dramatic situation through the eyes of a child. This film reminds us that pure and considerate heart of a child can sometimes bring us comfort.
As always, movies experimenting with new cinematic languages came to JEONJU IFF. Mom’s Song is a work that dissects the theme of family in an intense way, while Blessedness: Monsters and Specters is a film that deals with various social outsiders including sexual minorities in an unconventional film language.
The stories of people who pursue the value of art are always interesting. DUST-MAN tells the story of a young man living with a group of homeless people finding the possibility to live a new life through art. “Dust art”, which is at the center of this film, gives us visual pleasure. Midsummer Madness is a film about a woman who dreams of becoming a poet. In order to write poetry, she meets different people and she grows and discovers herself. This film’s story seems to understand the true essence of art.
Of the 11 titles selected for Korean Competition, 6 films, which are more than half of the total, were directed by female filmmakers. This seems to be a reflection of the fact that Korean society and the film industry are gradually riding the wind of change after the Me Too movement. Even in the films directed by male filmmakers, there were many female protagonists and themes about women which support this analysis. We sincerely hope that more female directors and filmmakers will continue to make JEONJU IFF shine.
Programmer MOON Seok
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