2015. Directed by Lee Kwang-kuk , starring Yu Jun-sang, Shin Dong-mi, Kim Kang-hyun , 99 mins.
Imagine Woody Allen, at his most playful, making a film in Arirang, South Korea, about struggling theatre actors striving to make it, while also trying to decipher their dreams after sleep. Gently surreal and drily funny, has the narrative intricacies of an early Hong Sangsoo. A detective, who has a gift for interpreting dreams, bumps into the budding thespians and sheds enlightenment. Career and romantic frustrations plague the characters, and the film aims to decode modern day dejection. Dextrous, and with the lightest of touches, signals a new talent to watch out for in writer-director Lee Kwang-kuk. Humorous melancholy has a new champion.
By Hemanth Kissoon
2015. Directed by Jang Kun-jae , starring Kim Sae-byuk, Iwase Ryo, Lim Hyung-kook , 96 mins.
A Korean director (Lim Hyung-kook) travels to the Japanese town of Gojo to scout for locations for his next film. He is joined by his assistant director, Mi-jung (Kim Sae-byuk), who interprets for him and together they tour the area, interacting with locals along the way. Soon, a story of romance told in the early stages of the film takes centre stage as a Korean actress (again Mi-jung) meets a local farmer. Together, the two take a gentle journey around the town, slowly opening up to each other, finding areas of commonality along the way. More than anything elsedetails the often desperate search for human to human connection.
By Paul Quinn
2013. Directed by Jang Kun-jae , starring Kim Soo-hyun, Kim Joo-ryoung , 65 mins.
Hyunsoo (Kim Soo-hyun) and Joohee (Kim Joo-ryoung) have been happily married for two years. Having both reached their mid-thirties, the pressure to have a baby – fuelled by those around them – is growing on a daily basis but financial worries make the thought of an addition to their family almost a frightening prospect. As their conversations on the subject continue, a disagreement over pay at Hyunsoo’s work causes him to quit his job while Joohee finds her bike has been stolen. With everyday life pressures mounting, the couple’s loving conversations edge ever closer to argument. Nuanced and subtle throughout, watching is like watching real life unfold.
By Paul Quinn