LKFF Review: 화이: 괴물을 삼킨 아이 (Hwayi: Gwimuleul Samkin Ahyi/Hwayi: A Monster Boy) and Q&A

hwayi 6 Year: 2013
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Director:  Jang Joon-Hwan
Producer: Lee Jung-dong
Screenplay: Park Joo-suk
Cinematography:  Kim Ji-Yong
Soundscore: Mowg
Cast: Kim Yun-Seok, Yeo Jin-Goo, Lee Kyoung-Young, Jang Hyun-Sung, Cho Jin-Woong, Kim Sung-Kyun, Nam Ji-Hyun
Runtime: 125 min
Distribution: N/a
Film’s official website: N/a
Trailer: (Please note that the trailer reveals quite a lot of the plot – you may want to skip it.)

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

Hwayi, an Oedipal action thriller that falls neatly into its genre as well as into Korean cinema (of the darker kind) more generally, comes as the long-awaited return of director Jang Joon-hwan, who last made a featurelength film in 2003 (지구를 지켜라!/Jigureul Jikyeora!/Save the Green Planet, 2003).

Continue reading “LKFF Review: 화이: 괴물을 삼킨 아이 (Hwayi: Gwimuleul Samkin Ahyi/Hwayi: A Monster Boy) and Q&A”

LFF Review: 우리별 일호와 얼룩소 (Wooribyeol Ilhowa Eolrukso/Satellite Girl and Milk Cow)

satellite girl 2 Year: 2013
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Jang Hyung-yoon (sometimes written Chang Hyung-yun)
Screenplay: Jang Hyung-yoon
Art Direction: N/A
Animation Direction:
Soundscore: Black Magic
Cast: Yeong Yu-mi, Yoo Ah-in, Lee Don-yong, Hwang Seok-jeong
Runtime: 81 min
Distribution: Indiestory Inc.
Film’s official website: (in Korean)

Seen at the 2014 London Film Festival. This review is part of the K-Animation Season on Otherwhere. Other than two festival screenings, the film has not been released in the UK although it will be shown at the Leeds International Film Festival on November 7 and 10, 2014. A Region A Blu-ray disc with English subtitles is however available from

It rather seems that every year there is yet one or another Korean director that we have barely or not at all heard from before that has his/her feature-length animation debut, only then to seemingly disappear forever again. This year (well, last year, if you want to be technical) it is Jang Hyung-yoon that brings an animated tale alive on our screens for the first time.

Continue reading “LFF Review: 우리별 일호와 얼룩소 (Wooribyeol Ilhowa Eolrukso/Satellite Girl and Milk Cow)”

Review: 「自分の事ばかりで情けなくなるよ」(Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo/How Selfish I Am)


How Selfish I am

Year: 2013
Language: Japanese
Director: Matsui Daigo
Screenplay: Matsui Daigo
Original story: Ozaki Sekaikan
Cinematography: Shioya Hiroki
Soundscore: CreepHyp
Cast: Ikematsu Sosuke, Kurokawa Mei, Yamada Maho, Ando Sei, Shunsuke Daitoh  Onoue Hiroyuki
Runtime: 106 min
Distribution: N/A
Film’s official website: Jibun Bakari (日本語)


Special thanks to Raindance for providing me with a screener for this filmThe film recently screened at the annual London Raindance festival.

If definite answers are something you seek in films, then Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo is probably not one to watch as it falls squarely into the slice of life genre and offers no more than a glimpse into the rather bleak lives of several characters, with many details unexplained.  Continue reading “Review: 「自分の事ばかりで情けなくなるよ」(Jibun no Koto Bakaride Nasakenaku Naru Yo/How Selfish I Am)”

Review: 「そこのみにて光輝く」(Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku/The Light Shines Only There)

soko nomi nite hikaru kagayaku 4
Year: 2014
Language: Japanese
Director: Oh Mipo
Adaptation from:
Novel of the same title by Sato Yasushi
Screenplay: Takada Ryo
Cinematography: Kondo Ryuto
Soundscore: Tanako Takuto
Cast: Ayano Gou, Ikewaki Chizuru, Suda Masaki, Takahashi Kazuya, Hino Shohei, Isayama Hiroko, Tamura Taijiro.
Runtime: 120 min
Distribution: Open Sesame (Tokyo)
Film’s official website: Hikarikagayaku (日本語)
Trailer: A trailer is available, but I’m not linking it here on purpose. I think it’s best to go completely blind into this film – the trailer contains some tiny, spoilerish bits. If you do insist, it’s below the Image Gallery at the end of the post. You might prefer to read this review post-film too.
Special thanks to Raindance for providing me with a screener for this film. The European premiere of Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku, which was recently chosen as Japan’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, will be at the Raindance Film Festival on September 29, 2014. A second screening will take place on September 30. Tickets can be booked here.
soko nomi nite hikaru kagayaku 7
Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku is the sort of film I would like to write two reviews for: one for the people that have seen it and one for those who haven’t. It is the sort of film about which there is, afterwards, much to discuss, but which it is best to go into blind because not knowing is, at least in a first viewing, much of its power. Continue reading “Review: 「そこのみにて光輝く」(Soko nomi nite Hikari Kagayaku/The Light Shines Only There)”

Review: 나의 P.S. 파트너 (Naui P.S. Pateuneo/My P.S. Partner)

Alternative English title: Whatcha Wearin’?
Year: 2012
Country:  South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Byun Sung-hyun
Screenplay: Byun Sung-yun, Kim Min-soo
Cinematography: Choe Sang-ho
Cast: Ji Sung, Kim Ah-joong, Kang Kyeong-jun, Shin So-yul, Kim Bo-yeon, Kim Sung-oh
Runtime: 114 min
Distribution: CJ Entertainment
Note: The film came with an 19+ rating in South Korea as it contains coarse language as well as some nudity and sex.
When Naui P.S. Pateuneo released in Korean cinemas in 2012, it hit the one-million admissions mark within ten days – faster than any other adult rom-com that had come before. It sold itself with a veiled but racy title (P.S. stands for Phone Sex), enticing viewers with a titillating trailer (watch above) and plenty promise of naughty. Continue reading “Review: 나의 P.S. 파트너 (Naui P.S. Pateuneo/My P.S. Partner)”