LKFF & K-Animation Season Review: 메밀 꽃 필 무렵, 운수좋은 날, 그리고 봄봄 (Memilggot Pil Mulyeob, Woonsoo Joheun Nal, Geurigo Bombom/The Road Called Life) and Some Reflections on the Slump in Korean Animation


Year: 2013
South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Ahn Jae-hun, Han Hye-jin
Producer:  Lee Sang-Wook
Studio: Studio Meditation with a Pencil
Adaptation from: Yi Hyo-seok’s 메밀꽃 필 무렵 (Buckwheat Season); Kim Yu-jeong’s 그리고 봄봄 (Spring, Spring) and Hyeon Jin-geon’s 운수 좋은 날 (A Lucky Day)
Screenplay: Ahn Jae-hun
Art Direction: N/a
Animation Direction: N/a
Soundscore: N/a
Cast: Eom Sang-hyun, Jang Kwang, Ryoo Hyeon-kyeong, Park Young-jae, Lee Jong-hyeok, Jeon Hye-yeong, Kang Eun-tak
Runtime: 90 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website: N/a


This film is part of the K-Animation Season at Otherwhere. Seen at the 9th London Korean Film Festival. Special thanks to the KCCUK for providing me with a press ticket.

In 2011 Ahn Jae-hun and Han Hye-jin released their first feature-length animation, 소중한 날의 꿈 (Soljonghang Naluiggoom/Green Days), after eleven years of hard work. While it failed spectacularly at the box office, the reviews were largely positive, adding yet another work to the recently more active list of Korean animations. With The Road Called Life the team returned to making shorts, offering up an omnibus of three parts (each around 30 minutes long), all adapted from well-known traditional Korean tales set in different eras (1920s, 1940s and 1960s respectively). Continue reading “LKFF & K-Animation Season Review: 메밀 꽃 필 무렵, 운수좋은 날, 그리고 봄봄 (Memilggot Pil Mulyeob, Woonsoo Joheun Nal, Geurigo Bombom/The Road Called Life) and Some Reflections on the Slump in Korean Animation”

LKFF Group Interview with Ahn Sung-ki and Q&A Photos from 화장 (Hwayang/Revivre) Closing Night Gala


This interview was originally posted on Hangul Celluloid and is republished here with permission (Note: original Korean film titles have been added). All the hard work of transcribing the interview was done by Hangul Celluloid. The photos (from the interview and the Closing Night Gala Q&A) are my own. Special thanks to the KCCUK for organising this interview. Continue reading “LKFF Group Interview with Ahn Sung-ki and Q&A Photos from 화장 (Hwayang/Revivre) Closing Night Gala”

LKFF Mini-Review: 킬러앞에 노인 (Killeoapenoin/The Killer behind the Old Man) & Jung Woo-sung Photos

killer behind the old man

Year: 2014
Hong Kong
Language: Korean
Director: Jung Woo-sung (정우성)
commissioned by Hong Kong International Film Festival (omnibus)
Screenplay: Yoon Jung Lee
Cinematography: N/a
Soundscore: Mowg
Cast: Andy Choi, Woo Sang-jeon, Yoo In-yeong
Runtime: N/a
Distribution: HKIFF
Film’s official website: N/a

Trailer: Not available

Seen at the 9th London Korean Film Festival. Special thanks go to the LKFF organisers for providing me with a press ticket.

Screening together with the feature 감시자들 (Gamshijadeul/Cold Eyes, 2013) at the 9th London Korean Film Festival,  킬러앞에 노인 (Killeoapenoin/The Killer Behind, the Old Man) is the directorial debut of Jung Woo-sung. A short originally part of the omnibus Three Charmed Lives – three works directed by individuals better known for their work in front rather than behind the camera – it comes commissioned by Fushan Features and the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Continue reading “LKFF Mini-Review: 킬러앞에 노인 (Killeoapenoin/The Killer behind the Old Man) & Jung Woo-sung Photos”

Review:「黒い四角」(Kuroi shikaku/The Black Square)

The Black Square
Alternative title (Chinese): 黒四角
Year: 2012
Country: China/Japan
Language: Mandarin, some Japanese
Director: Okuhara Hiroshi
Studio: Black Square Film
Screenplay: Okuhara Hiroshi
Cinematography: Maki Kenji
Soundscore: Sangatsu
Cast: Nakaizumi Hideo, Hong Dan, Xixu Chen, Suzuki Miki
Runtime: 144 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website:  N/a
Special thanks to Raindance, which provided me with a preview screener of this film. Kuroi shikaku showed at the 21st Raindance Film Festival on September 28, 2013. I previously featured the film on Trailer Weekly #79/80.
When Japanese film director Okuhara Hiroshi travelled to Bejing in 2008 and visited the Song Zhuang Artist Village he spoke no Chinese. The place – the experience – seemed surreal to him, or, as he explained, “the whole atmosphere felt like science fiction, including the surroundings. I felt I could shoot a Tarkovsky-like movie in this place. […] That’s how it all began.” (quote) Continue reading “Review:「黒い四角」(Kuroi shikaku/The Black Square)”

LFF Review:《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young)

so young 5
Year: 2013
Language: Mandarin
Director: Vicki Zhao
Multiple involved, including China Film Group
Adaptation from:
2007 novel of the same title by Xin Yiwu
Screenplay: Li Qiang
Cinematography: Li Ran
Soundscore: Dou Peng
Cast: Mark Chao, Han Geng, Yang Zishan, Jiang Shuying
Runtime: 132 minutes
Distribution: China Film Group
Film’s official website: N/a
Seen at the 2013 London Film Festival at a screening with a director’s Q&A. Previously featured in Trailer Weekly #75.

In the opening scene of《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young) the heroine, Zheng Wei (Yang Zishan), finds herself in a lush fantasy world, populated by fairy tale creatures both good and bad, only to awaken and find it was all a terrible dream. No more than a few minutes long, this opening reveals much of what is wrong with Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchū, for as luxuriantly beautiful that dream world is – the scene must have cost a good chunk of the film’s 30 million yuan (US$5 million) budget – it is also completely irrelevant, for nothing that happens is of any importance for the story that follows. Continue reading “LFF Review:《致我们终将逝去的青春》(Zhì wǒmen zhōng jiāng shìqù de qīngchūn/To Our Youth That Is Fading Away aka So Young)”

Photologia: Brick Lane Sundays

Update: I still don’t have my computer back. I drafted this post previously, but wasn’t going to publish it for a while yet because I was planning to go back to Brick Lane for more photographs. However, since other posts aren’t really going to happen until I get my own computer back, I thought I might as well send this one out to the world in the meantime. (I actually have a film review ready too, but no pictures uploaded for it, as my picture folder is you-can-guess-where. And I don’t want to google for the same images again…)
When I moved to London in 2009, I didn’t know the city at all and, by pure chance, ended up living on a side street of Brick Lane, essentially sealing my fate to become an East Londoner (I have moved house twice since, but loyally stayed in the East, which is generally considered the ‘poorer’ and more ‘ethnically mixed’ part of the city. I think it’s young, alive and hip.). Brick Lane is known for its curry houses – thanks to a large number of Bangladeshi immigrants, it has been London’s ‘Banglatown’ for decades – but also its weekend market, where everything from vintage clothes to unique art is sold. Another highlight are the food stalls, which serve cheap and tasty treats from all around the world.
Note: Obviously the white corner of the header photo needs to be blackened out. I just don’t own an editing programme at the moment that lets me do that.
Continue reading “Photologia: Brick Lane Sundays”


kuro 2
Year: 2012
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Director: Shimote Daisuke
Studio: Particle Pictures
Screenplay: Shimote Daisuke
Cinematography: Haibara Takahiro
Soundscore: N/a
Cast: Kido Airi, Saito Yu, Nakaizumi Hideo, Matsumoto Wakana, NorA, Wagatsuma Miwako, Kajiwara Hikari, Saka Koichiro
Runtime: 100 min
Distribution: Particle Pictures
Film’s official website:
Twitter: @hanarebanareni_

Seen at the 2013 East End Film Festival in London.
Hanarebanareni falls into that very particular category of nothing-much-happens indie films, which people generally either love or hate. The plot can certainly summed up in a single sentence: three strangers escape from their every day lives and play games by the seaside. Continue reading “Review:「はなればなれに」(Hanarebanareni/Kuro)”

Review:「長州ファイブ」(Chōshū faibu/Chosyu Five)

長州ファイブ (Choshu Five)

Year: 2006
Country: Japan
Languages: Japanese, English
Director: Igarashi Sho (五十嵐匠)
Screenplay: Igarashi Sho ((五十嵐匠)
Cinematography: Teranuma Norio (寺沼範雄)
Soundscore: Yasukawa Goro (安川午朗)
Cast: Matsuda Ryuhei (松田龍平), Yamashita Tetsuo, Kitamura Yukiya, Miura Akifumi, Maeda Michiyoshi, Michelle Duncan, Paul Riddley
Runtime: 119 min
Distribution: Libero
Film’s official website: (日本語)

Seen at the monthly Films at the Embassy of Japan event, at a special screening commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Chosyu Five’s arrival in London. The film had an additional screening at University College London (UCL), the institution where the Chosyu Five became the first Japanese students in Great Britain.
Note: 長州 [ちょうしゅう] is romanised both as Chōshū as well as Chosyu.
Chōshū faibu is as much a film about the past as it is one about the present and even the future. It reminds us of a time that is so distant, so different from the now we live in that we can barely relate to it, but simultaneously reveals, if we look closely enough, that not only connections remain, but that some things have not changed at all.
Continue reading “Review:「長州ファイブ」(Chōshū faibu/Chosyu Five)”

Review: 화차 (Hwacha/Helpless)

hwacha 1
Year: 2011
South Korea
Language: Korean
Director:  Byeon Yeong-joo (변영주)
Adaptation from:
Miyube Miyaki’s novel「火車」 (Kasha, 1992, translated into English as All She Was Worth in 1999)
Screenplay:  Byeon Yeong-joo (변영주)
Cinematography: Kim Dong-Young
Soundscore: Kim Hong-jip
Cast: Lee Sun-gyun, Kim Min-hee, Kim Min-jae
Runtime: 117 min
Seen at the film’s UK premiere at the 56th BFI London International Film Festival.
Hwacha is, in essence, a longer, prettier version of CSI Seoul: it is a feature-length film with striking cinematography from the opening shots on but with a story we have been told in some form before, most likely while watching a crime television series. Continue reading “Review: 화차 (Hwacha/Helpless)”