Indie Firepower

Alone + Q&A

Alone1111
Film info

Director: Park Hong-min
Cast: Lee Ju-won, Song You-hyun, Yoon Young-min, Kim Dong-hyun
90mins, 2015

There are still old districts in Seoul composed of labyrinthine, winding alleyways, often built on hillsides, most facing demolition and redevelopment. One of them is the setting for Alone, a gripping mystery thriller in the vein of Christopher Nolan’s Memento: a man apparently trapped in a nightmare struggles to find the exit from the maze. Soomin wakes naked and amnesiac in a night alley near his studio; he recalls witnessing and photographing a murder, and the film charts his increasingly desperate struggle to understand what has happened since then. Premiered at last year’s Busan IFF, Alone won stage actor Lee Juwon a deserved prize as Best New Actor.

Tony Rayns


Picturehouse Central, 12 Nov 2016 7:00 pm

A Fish + Q&A

A Fish
Film info

Director: Park Hong-min
Cast: Lee Jang-hoon, Kim Sun-bin, Choi Soe-un, Park No-sik
95mins, 2011

Superbly shot in home-made 3-D, Park Hong-min’s neo-noir mystery involves murder, shamanism, a violent gumshoe and an increasingly deranged husband. Professor Lee has walked out on his students in mid-class. Now he’s driving south to rendez-vous with the seedy private eye who tells him that his missing wife has become a shaman on Jindo Island. But the detective seems to be a psychotic menace, and Lee finds himself losing touch with reality. Meanwhile two men on a nearby fishing platform start speculating about the dreams of fish … Amazingly skilful for an indie debut (even the subtitles are in 3-D!), this delivers more frissons-per-minute than most Hollywood thrillers.  

Tony Rayns

Picturehouse Central, 11 Nov 2016 7:00 pm

Miss Ex

Miss Ex
Film info

Director: Jeong Ga-young
Cast: Jeong Ga-young, Kim-Choi Yong-joon, Lee Ha-yoon
99mins, 2016

Who most influences young Korean indies these days? On the evidence of Jeong Ga-young’s sparky debut (as director-writer and lead actress), the answer is Hong Sangsoo. Shot in very cool black-and-white, this four-chapter film charts daytime drinker Ga-young’s determined attempt to re-seduce her former boyfriend Jeonghoon while his parents are out. He has a new girlfriend (unseen) and a sister (who turns up) and actively resists getting back together with Gayoung. But she’s a persistent and resourceful young woman … The visual style and emphasis on banter may derive from Hong Sangsoo, but the insights into a new generation’s sexual and emotional issues are fresh as a pin.

Tony Rayns

Picturehouse Central, 15 Nov 2016 7:00 pm

A Mere Life

A Mere Life
Film info

Director: Park Sang-hun
Cast: Kim Min-hyuk, Jang Liu, Jeon Yeong-woon, Jeong Min-joon, Jeong Jin-ok
76mins, 2012

This is what the Germans call a Trauerarbeit: a work born of infinite sadness. It shares characteristics with films by Bela Tarr, but still seems quintessentially Korean. Park Ilrae (whose name ironically means “change”) has a family but no prospects. He and his wife Han Yurim are estranged from their parents, so they have no-one to turn to for help with cash or with minding their son Yeongsu. She has a McJob in a crummy convenience store; he drinks too much and is one day swindled out of his meagre savings. In meticulous images and sounds which acknowledge a Buddhist perspective, the film explores Park’s karmic downfall.

Tony Rayns

Picturehouse Central, 14 Nov 2016 7:00 pm

Jesus Hospital + Soju & Icecream

Soju And Icecream
No further details available at this time

Picturehouse Central, 16 Nov 2016 7:00 pm