The 7th Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) is just around the corner and Hello Asia gives you the synopsis for all 20 films showing at KOFFIA!
4th Place (4등)
Australian Premiere. Dir: Jung Ji-woo, 2015, 120min, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Park Hae-joon, Yoo Jae-sang, Lee Hang-na
11 year old swimmer Joon-ho hopes to become an Olympic medallist. But he has one problem; he always comes in 4th at all the swimming contests he participates in. His mother who has placed high expectations on the boy becomes more and more frustrated. Hearing rumours about a competent coach, Gwang-su, she pursues his contact and manages to hire him as Joon-ho’s personal coach. But the coach who was once the most promising athlete on the national team had quit due to his hard drinking and gambling problems. Now, as a disillusioned individual, he trains Joon-ho in the only way he knows how; by using violence.
Collective Invention (돌연변이)
Australian Premiere. Dir: Kwon Oh-kwang, 2015, 93min, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Lee Kwang-soo, Lee Chun-hee, Park Bo-young
‘Park Gu’, participates in a medical experiment as a means to get by while preparing for his career as a civil worker. But an unexpected side-effect turns him into a half-fish-half-man mutant. Because of his story he receives heavy publicity and becomes a star rising to meteoric fame but with it comes the cons of being in the spotlight. A hero and victim to some a conman and poseur to others, the more his renown grows, the more Gu comes to represent whatever is projected upon him. Will he be able to return his life to how it all was before? Or will he become engulfed with the world around him?
Australian Premiere. Dir: Hong Won-chan, 111min, 2015, U18+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Ko Asung, Park Sung-woong
To move up to a permanent job, intern Mirae has been working hard for 5 months. One day, her gentle supervisor Byung-guk slaughters his entire family and sneaks back into the office. Tensions rise in the office as co-workers become psychologically pitted against one another as the looming notion of the psychopath murderer Byung-guk, remains at large. What in the office could have made the man go mad? How will he reveal himself to his co-workers? Whichever way this story unfolds it is guaranteed to keep you thrilled until the end. This is not your normal day at the office.
Alice In Earnestland (성실한 나라의 앨리스)
Dir: Ahn Gooc-jin, 90min, 2015, U18+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Lee Jung-hyun, Lee Hae-young
After tying up a therapist, Soonam tells her that she’s always tried to do the right thing but has always ended up a victim. With her husband in a coma and bills to pay, she works hard but finds herself on the wrong end of political disputes, police enquiries and vicious interrogations. It’s enough to drive a woman to murder…
The Priests (검은 사제들)
Dir: Jang Jae-hyun, 2015, 108min, U18+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Kim Yun-Seok, Gang Dong-won, Park So-dam
A young girl, who is part of Father Kim’s parish, is in coma after a hit-and-run accident. Father Kim believes that she is possessed by an evil spirit. After failed attempts at exorcisms with various partners, Father Kim is left with one last resort… a young, rebellious seminarian named Choi. Once they take up the task to free the girl from the demon’s powerful grasp on her soul, they realize that this nameless evil is far more dangerous than they had initially thought. With lives hanging in the balance and time running out, do the priests have what it takes to defeat it?
Train To Busan (부산행)
Dir: Yeon Sang-ho, 2016, 118min, U18+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi
Seok-woo, recently divorced, is a man who is always caught up with work leaving him no time to spare for her daughter Su-an. Su-an insists that she wants to see her mother and Seok-woo is pushed to accompany her to Busan, located 453km from Seoul. As the train departs, an abnormal virus spreads and people begin to transform into zombies. The viral outbreak pushes Korea into a state of emergency and the government declares martial law. With the country in mayhem and no one to protect them, those left on board the train see Busan as their last hope of survival. Will Seok-woo safely protect his daughter and reach Busan unscathed?
Australian Premiere. Dir: Park Min-kook, 2016, 95min, U15+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Choi Hyun-woo, Kim Hye-yeon
After being diagnosed with stomach cancer, Yeon-hee decides to record everything about her life before she dies. She wants to show how she met her computer repairman boyfriend, where she went with him, how he proposed to her, and all that happens to her in the hospital. Her friend, an aspiring film director, helps with the film as their cinematographer. The completed work follows a mockumentary format, recording Yeon-hee’s final journey with her friend’s help. The film that had Busan International Film Festival talking, ‘Recording’ will stay with audiences long after the credits roll.
Like For Likes (좋아해줘)
Australian Premiere. Dir: Park Hyun-jin, 2016, 123min, U15+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Lee Mi-yeon, Choi Ji-woo, Kim Joo-hyuk, Kang Ha-neul
A notoriously shrewd writer for television meets a top profile star actor, a nosy chef moves into a spinster flight attendant’s house and a virgin genius composer begins to harbor a secret admiration for a scatterbrained producer. Six individuals, three meetings, one love. This feel good rom-com omnibus explores the birth of relationships in the modern day as our lives and interactions are constantly changing through social media.
Two Rooms, Two Nights (두개의 연애)
Australian Premiere. Dir: Cho Sung-kyu, 2016, 110mins, U15+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Kim Jae-wook, Park Gyu-ri, Chae Jung-ahn
In-Sung is a handsome and popular movie director. He has a girlfriend, Yoon-Joo, who works as a screenwriter but they keep their relationship a secret. One day. In-Seong hears from his ex and together travel to the countryside. In-Seong tries to win her back, but gets turned down. Left all alone, In-Seong invites his current girlfriend to join him. When he goes to pick her up at the bus terminal, the three encounter. In an attempt to keep the two women and him apart, In-Seong makes up one excuse after another, and the lies grow like a snowball until it explodes in spectacular fashion.
The Classified File (극비수사)
Australian Premiere. Dir: Kwak Kyung-taek, 2015, 108min, U18+ Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Kim Yoon-seok, Yoo Hae-jin
Busan in 1978. Gil-young, a veteran detective receives a special request from the parents of a missing child to investigate their case. The kidnapper is clever and elusive, leaving no trails behind. As the case becomes more and more of a mystery the detective brings in Joong-san, a fortuneteller. Aiding in their case the fortuneteller foretells the girl’s whereabouts and people begin to believe his words. But when Joong-san predicts that it is only Gil-yong who can save the child, the two are pitted on an intense gruelling cat and mouse game where there can only be one winner. With no one to trust, Gil-yong and Joong-san continue to close in on the kidnapper by using any means possible. This movie is the record of 33 days in the lives of two men going through hell to find a missing girl and bring her back home alive.
Inside Men (내부자들)
Dir: Woo Min-ho, 2015, 130min, U18+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Cho Seung-woo
LEE Kang-hee, an editor at an influential conservative newspaper raises congressman JANG Pil-woo to the position of a leading candidate for President using the power of the press. Behind this, there was his secret deal with the paper’s biggest sponsor in the form of… AHN Sang-goo, a political henchman supporting LEE and JANG, who gets backstabbed when he is caught pocketing the record of the sponsor’s slush fund. WOO Jang-hoon, an ambitious prosecutor, starts to investigate the relationship with JANG and the sponsor believing that this is his chance to make a big break to the top. While getting down to the grass roots on the case, WOO meets AHN who himself had been plotting his revenge. An all-out war between the one blind for power, the one hell bent for vengeance and the one eager for success begins.
The Wailing (곡성)
Dir: Na Hong-Jin, 2016, 156min, U18+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Jun Kunimura, Chun Woo-hee
Within a seemingly peaceful village, a plague of mysterious & violent deaths suddenly take place. The police conclude poisonous wild mushrooms are the cause of the deaths. However, police officer Jong-Goo hears a rumour that these incidents only began when a mysterious Japanese man moved into the neighbourhood. With the deaths continuing to no avail and all clues pointing fingers to the mysterious man, Jong-Goo cannot help deny that supernatural forces are at work. But it is only when Jong-Goo’s daughter Hyo-Jin comes down with the crazed symptoms similar to what the other villagers had before their deaths, Jong-Goo becomes desperate. He heads out into the mountains to find the old Japanese man’s home. Meanwhile, his mother-in-law calls in a shaman, Il-Gwang, to perform an exorcism on Hyo-Jin. Death lingers in the air.
Dir: Ryoo Seung-wan, 2015, 124min, U15+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Hwang Jung-min
After an international auto theft sting, a dim-witted detective Do-chul is treated to a night at a club where he meets third-in-line heir conglomerate, Tae-oh, whose rude behaviour rubs Do-chul the wrong way. Convinced Tae-oh is a drug addict, Do-chul tries to investigate, but is stopped by his boss. This is the harsh truth of society, the rich are untouchable. But after Tae-oh beats and humiliates a truck driver who petitioned for over-due pay, Do-chul takes justice into his own hands and with it punches through all obstacles placed by society’s top tier. The battle between an unstoppable cop seeking justice and an untouchable elite begins!
Dir: Choi Dong-hoon, 2015, 140min, U18+, Korean and Japanese w/English Subtitles
Cast: Jianna Jun, Ha Jung-woo, Lee Jung-jae
1933 Korea, the country is under Japanese occupation and many Korean resistance activists base their operations in China to hide from the Japanese authorities. A command is passed down to Ok-yun, a top notch sniper to covertly assassinate the Japanese Army’s commander. For this task, Sek-jin, an agent of the interim government extricates Ok-yun and her comrades from prison. But the grand plan is exposed to Japan by an internal spy and a hit man, Hawaii-pistol is hired to hunt down Ok-yun. Will the assassination be successful?
End Of Winter (철원기행)
Australian Premiere. Dir: Kim Dae-hwan, 2016, 103min, U15+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Mun Chang-gil, Lee Sang-hee
Upon the retirement of the father, who has been a teacher at Cheolwon Technical High School, his wife, two sons and daughter-in-law gather in Cheolwon. The retirement ceremony is rather quiet and all seems to be routine until the father drops a bombshell during dinner. He will be filing for divorce, the mother is outraged and lost for words, while the sons and daughter-in-law are lost for words. Heavy snow hits Cheolwon keeping the buses from operating, and the family is stuck together at the father’s residence. Tensions rise as the children all want to wait for the right time to ask for a share of the family inheritance all the while trying to not set off any mines in the process. The family stuck in Cheolwon, stuck in their dilemma of misunderstandings try to resolve their emotional burdens.
The Throne (사도)
Dir: Lee Joon-ik, 125min, 2016, U15+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Song Kang-ho
In the year of 1762, in the 35th year of King Yeongjo’s rule, crown prince Sado is accused of plotting treason by his biological mother lady Yi. Yeongjo falls into a dilemma as he cannot penalize his own son as a traitor as it would mean that he would become the father of the very traitor threatening his throne. This results in the King ordering Sado to take his own life. As Sado’s lieges oppose Yeongjo’s decision by putting their own lives at risk, Yeongjo locks Sado in a wooden rice chest. Deprived from succeeding the throne, Sado is locked up without being given a single drop of water. The film follows the most tragic and iconic 8 days in the history of Joseon Dynasty disclosing what forced a father, trapped by a rigid social order, to kill his own son.
Right Now, Wrong Then (지금은 맞고 그때는 틀리다)
Australian Premiere. Dir: Hong Sang-soo, 2015, 121min, U18+, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Jung Jae-young, Kim Min-hee
Quite by accident, a film director arrives in town a day early. With time to kill before his lecture the next day, he stops by a restored, old palace and meets a fledgling artist. She’s never seen any of his films, but knows he’s famous. They talk. And together, they go to her workshop to look at her paintings, have Sushi and Soju. More conversation follows, and drinks, and then an awkward get-together with friends where all sorts of secrets are revealed. All the while, they may or may not be falling for each other. Then, quite unexpectedly, we begin again, but now things appear somewhat different.
A Crybaby Boxing Club (울보 권투부)
Australian Premiere. Dir: E Il-ha, 86min, 2015, Korean and Japanese w/English Subtitles
A right-wing extremist group is demonstrating in front of a Korean school in Tokyo. ‘Leave Japan. There’s no place here for you.’ But, what about the inside of the school? The classrooms are filled with all the usual fuss of high school and the energies of ordinary 16 and 17-year-old boys. In the gym after school, there are the shouts and the dripping sweat from the boys in the school boxing club team, who spend every day diligently working toward their respective dreams. The coach KIM Sang-su and the members of the club train day and night for the central competition to be attended by all Korean schools in Japan. As each member prepares to enter society with their dreams—the culmination of three years of youthful devotion, they remember the harsh cruelty and discrimination that wait beyond the fence of the school.
Crossroads Of Youth (청춘의 십자로)
Dir: Ahn Jong Hwa, 80min, 1934, Korean w/English Subtitles
Cast: Lee Won-yong, Shin Yil-seon
The silent film sensation ‘Crossroads of Youth’ returns to the screen in all its glory featuring a full live band, musical actors and a charismatic film narrator taking audiences back in time to Korea 1934, the beginning point of the country’s modernization. ‘Crossroads of Youth’ spins a tale of the intertwining teenage lives of our protagonists involving betrayal, ambition, love and revenge. Both dramatic yet hilarious, the silent film musical has sold out in Berlin, New York and London… Sydney, don’t miss Crossroads of Youth!
Dongju: The Portrait of a Poet (동주)
Australian Premiere. Dir: Lee Joon-ik, 111min, 2016, U15+, Korean and Japanese w/English Subtitles
Cast: Kang Ha-neul, Park Jung-min
In the Japanese colonial era, young Dong-ju writes poems about the harsh reality of his life. As Japan’s policies become more strenuous, writing anything in Korean becomes prohibited. Just when the slight possibility of publishing his poems seems to have evaporated, a Japanese professor sees Dong-ju’s talent and suggests that he publish his poems in English. But before his work is published, Dong-ju is suspected of anti-Japanese activities. Will Dong-ju’s dream ever be realised? Or will his poems vanish into thin air? An insightful and emotional recount of an artist pitted against the changing of times.
KOFFIA 2016 runs from 10th to 18th August in Sydney, 23rd to 29th August in Brisbane, 1st to 8th September in Melbourne, 3rd to 4th September in Canberra, 15th to 18th September in Adelaide and 22nd to 25th September in Perth. For ticketing and screening information www.koffia.com.au.