The City in the Water

Film info

Director: Kim Eungsu
80mins, 2014

Following the decade long construction of the Chungju Dam, which stretched from 1975 to 1985, a community was forever destroyed. explores what is left of the cities, small villages and rural communities that became submerged under the water. The Chungiu Dam has created a complex network of over 100 artificial lakes covering an area of 40 kms dramatically altering the landscape and the lives of the people who once called this place their home. This once prosperous city which once boasted over 600 plus households has now, over the course of 30 years, seen these reduced to just 8. Kim Eungsu’s audio-visual essay focuses on the histories of those who remain, eliciting memories from that which is lost. Engaging with the striking area and the people who have remained, the film’s intensity stems from the director’s approach to the landscape - he skims the water shot after shot in long pans creating a material tension between what’s visible and what’s not. He takes us on the board of a cruising tourist boat visiting the landscape, showing us how the lake has become something other than the history it contains, and turning all this into a memorable cinematic experience.

By Matthew Barrington


Film info

Director: Mun Jeong-hyun and Lee Won-woo
Cast: Kim Min-woo
78mins, 2014

Collapse initially appears to be a straightforward documentary focusing on a group of disabled adults but while that subject matter does form a significant part of the narrative’s early stages, a far more intimate and experimental cinematic work soon emerges. For, while director Mun Jeong-hyun films the ongoing activities of the members of the ‘Jesus Love Club’ fears grow that his soon to be born child may suffer from Down’s Syndrome. As if that wasn’t enough of a worry to deal with on its own, the collapse of a building close to the director’s residence leads to further angst and fears of life unravelling, on almost a daily basis. Ultimately, is both a documenting of perhaps the most difficult period in Mun Jeong-hyun’s life and a story of strength in the face of adversity.

By Paul Quinn

The Island of Shadows

Film info

Director: Kim Jeongkeun
Cast: Kim Jin-sook, Park Sung-ho, Kim Ji-yeon, Park Hee-chan, Yun Guk-sung, Jung Yi-gyun, Jung Tae-hoon, Jin Sang-woo
99mins, 2014

Hanjin Heavy Industries was founded in 1937 and was the first shipbuilding company in Korea. It has since gone on to become one of the world’s leading shipbuilders. , through interviews and archive footage, documents over a period spanning 20 years the workers experience of the conditions on the shipyards and the circumstances which led to them forming a union. is extremely powerful in telling the stories of the workers’ struggle. Reflecting a burgeoning trend for Korean documentaries addressing themes of protest and unionising. This film is one of the strongest recent films addressing this subject. There is both an attempt made to provide historical context to the workers’ situation, a linking of their struggle to the social upheaval in the 1980s protests and other expressions of discontent while remaining focused on the stories of the individual workers and their thoughts, opinions and stories. A key theme throughout the film is to examine what happens to those who are stripped of their dignity, and the ramifications of the workers’ decision to stand up to their employers. is a clear and engaging documentary despite telling an increasingly complicated and sombre narrative. The film has the potential to inspire audiences through the passion and commitment of the workers despite the bleak situations they encounter.

By Matthew Barrington

Miryang Arirang - Legend of Miryang 2

Film info

Director: Park Bae-il
Cast: Kim Young-ja, Park Eun-suk, Kim Mal-hea, Son Hee-keong
106mins, 2015

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