Early Korean Cinema: Lost Films from the Japanese Colonial Period

It was once assumed that all pre-1945 Korean cinema had vanished from existence, but in the 2000s a series of remarkable archival discoveries revealed a diverse treasure trove of melodramas, propaganda films and newsreels from the colonial period. We’re delighted to present them for the first time in the UK, thanks to the restoration work of the Korean Film Archive. Here you can learn about the stars, directors and politics of this complex and controversial period in Korean history – a time when the nation was under Japanese occupation. However, rejecting these products as nothing more than colonial propaganda refuses to acknowledge the skills, desires and ambitions of the Korean filmmakers behind them. These are unique creations that, despite their background, are the very origins of contemporary Korean cinema.

Constellation of History: The 'Archival Turn' of Recent Korean Documentary Cinema

Jihoon Kim is associate professor of cinema and media studies at Chung-ang University, Seoul. He is currently working on two book projects, Documentary's Expanded Fields: New Media, New Platforms, and the Documentary and Post-vérité Turns: Korean Documentary Cinema in the 21st Century.

Visiting London in January 2019, he will give a talk on recent tendencies in South Korean documentary filmmaking, Constellation of History: The 'Archival Turn' of Recent Korean Documentary Cinema. Join us at the Korean Cultural Centre UK on the 24th January for a closer look at the ‘archival turn’ of these cinematic works.

Shifting Landscape

The release of Park Kwang-Su’s 1988 film Chil-su and Man-su marked the starting point of the Korean New Wave. The relaxation of censorship laws in the country gave aspiring filmmakers the opportunity to tell stories and address issues previously forbidden to them. The resulting films provided a new and incisive look on South Korea, its politics and history, and were hugely influential in shaping South Korean cinema as we know it today.

This season revisits the works of two New Korean Cinema directors, Park Kwang-Su and Chung Ji-Young, and examines the social context behind the release of their films as well as their place in South Korea’s illustrious cinematic history.

London Korean Film Festival 2018

The London Korean Film Festival 2018 Highlight Video

The London Korean Film Festival 2018 ran from 1- 14 November in London before taking highlights around the country with the annual UK Tour. The festival featured an in-depth Special Focus entitled A Slice of Everyday Life, along with an exciting mix of UK and International premieres, guests and events across a diverse set of strands; Cinema Now, Women's Voices, Indie Firepower, Contemporary Classics, Artists Video, Animation and Shorts.

You can see images from the 2018 festival here.


All film screenings are organised by the Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK). For more information on the KCCUK and its many events, including film, music, visual arts, literature and more, please visit the website here.

Whats on?

Upcoming events

07 Feb 2019

Crossroads of Youth
6:00 pm, BFI Southbank

09 Feb 2019

Sweet Dream + Fisherman's Fire (35mm)
3:50 pm, BFI Southbank

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