Director: Park Hong-min
Cast: Lee Ju-won, Song You-hyun, Yoon Young-min, Kim Dong-hyun
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.
Picturehouse Central, 12 Nov 2016 7:00 pm
Director: Park Hong-min
Cast: Lee Jang-hoon, Kim Sun-bin, Choi Soe-un, Park No-sik
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.
Picturehouse Central, 11 Nov 2016 7:00 pm
Director: Jeong Ga-young
Cast: Jeong Ga-young, Kim-Choi Yong-joon, Lee Ha-yoon
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.
Picturehouse Central, 15 Nov 2016 7:00 pm
Director: Park Sang-hun
Cast: Kim Min-hyuk, Jang Liu, Jeon Yeong-woon, Jeong Min-joon, Jeong Jin-ok
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.
Picturehouse Central, 14 Nov 2016 7:00 pm