Review: 바라나시 (Varanasi/From Seoul to Varanasi) and Q&A

Year: 2011
Country:
South Korea
Language: Korean, some English
Director: Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환)
Screenplay: Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환)
Cinematography: Choi Jung Soon
Cast: Yoon Dong-Hwan, Choi Won-jung, Shin Ye-an, Nollaig Chandra Vedan Walsh, Cassandra Holmes
Runtime: 96 min
Trailer: on YouTube

Seen at the VUE cinema as part of the  Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환) month of the KCCUK’s Korean Film Night programme “2012: Year of the 12 Directors”.

Note: This film is rated R and contains graphic imagery.

In the post-screening Q&A the film’s director, Jeon Kyu-hwan, noted that what lies at the heart of Varanasi is a wish to expose hypocrisy, the hypocrisy in human behaviour that permeates our realities. Hypocrisy it is indeed when a married man that has been having an affair with one of his protégées at work for months reprimands his wife after she miscarries the child she was pregnant with in a terrorist attack committed by her own lover. Continue reading “Review: 바라나시 (Varanasi/From Seoul to Varanasi) and Q&A”

Review: 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 (Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anhneunda/Come Rain Come Shine) and Q&A


Year: 2011
Country:
South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Lee Yoon-ki
Adaptation from:  
Areno Inoue’s 2003 short story「 帰れない猫」 (Kaerenai Neko/The Cat that Can Never Come Back)
Screenplay: Lee Yoon-ki
Cinematography: Jang Young-Ok
Cast: Hyon Bin, Im Soo-jeong
Runtime: 105 min
Trailer: on YouTube

Seen at the Apollo Cinema (Picadilly Circus) as part of the Lee Yoon-ki (이준익) month of the KCCUK’s Korean Film Night programme “2012: Year of the 12 Directors”.
Ever so often when I watch a film, the narrative unfolding on the screen skips a beat: something is hushed over or ignored in a way that doesn’t realistically reflect life. Characters, for example, end up confined in some space for days but somehow the issue that there is no toilet never seems to come up. Or certain moments – like the moment after a couple has sex – are glossed over. Gaps of this sort may be to trim off bits that are not essential and to keep a tight storyline, however, too often it simply feels that directors take the easy way out, omitting what is too awkward or simply too mundane to show, leading, in the worst of cases, to lapses in the film’s narrative logic. Continue reading “Review: 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 (Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anhneunda/Come Rain Come Shine) and Q&A”

K-Directors: Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환) Month at the KCCUK in September


If you attended the screening for August director Lee Yoon-ki’s 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 (Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anhneunda/Come Rain Come Shine, South Korea, 2011) on Thursday night, you will have already had a taster of the K-director of September: a trailer for Jeon Kyu-hwan’s 바라나시 (Varanasi aka From Seoul to Varanasi, South Korea, 2011) preceded the screening and gave a glimpse of what this coming month holds in store. Like myself, you might have been equally awestruck about how much emotion a completely dialogue-less trailer of 2:30 min evoked already, hinting at a craftsman who knows his game and promising a rewarding month ahead for London film fans. Continue reading “K-Directors: Jeon Kyu-hwan (전규환) Month at the KCCUK in September”

K-Directors: Lee Yoon-ki (이윤기) Month at the KCCUK in August


As August arrives and the world comes to London for the Olympics, so does the cinematic vision of Lee Yoon-ki, the KCCUK’s director of the month. Like always, there are four film screenings to look forward to, which I am all going to miss out on except the last one (I will be out of country). That last one – 사랑한다, 사랑하지 않는다 (Saranghanda, Saranghaji Anhneunda/Come Rain Come Shine, 2011) – I have been wanting to see so much that I gave up on an extra week or two that I could have still spent away and booked my return flight to arrive, just in time, the day before the screening plus Q&A. Yes, that’s the extent of my K-film addiction.
Continue reading “K-Directors: Lee Yoon-ki (이윤기) Month at the KCCUK in August”

Review: 그대안의 블루 (Geudaeanui Beulru/The Blue in You)


Year: 1992
Country:
South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Lee Hyun-seung (이현승)
Screenplay:  Lee Hyun-seung (이현승)
Cast: Ahn Seong-gi, Kang Soo-yeon, Choi Yu-ra
Runtime: 115 min
Trailer: no trailer available
Seen at the Korean Cultural Centre (KCCUK) during the Lee Hyun-seung (이현승) month of KCCUK’s Korean Film Night programme “2012: Year of the 12 Directors”.
Geudaeanui Beulru isn’t the kind of film that is instantly likeable. You will most probably find yourself feeling lost in its first 15-20 minutes, which are a fast-paced flash of bright images, often oddly monochrome – not, as one might initially presume, because the film’s physical quality has decayed over time. As little is explained and no narrative thread is yet obvious (even if the same faces repeat on the screen), what is happening – and where it is all going – is not clear at all. Only when Yurim (Kang Soo-yeon) moves in with Hoseok (Ahn Seong-gi), does a storyline begin to emerge.
Continue reading “Review: 그대안의 블루 (Geudaeanui Beulru/The Blue in You)”