Director: Park Ki-yong
Cast: Lee Mi-yeon, Jin Hee-gyeong, Jung Woo-sung
Cert 18, 90mins, 1997
Four intimate encounters take place in Room 407 of Motel Cactus, a ‘love hotel’ in Gangnam, the southern part of Seoul. The redecoration of the room tells us that time passes between these episodes: the same woman appears in the first and third parts, the same man in the third and fourth. Park builds a rather downbeat view of what passes between women and men – not just the bodily fluids, also the assumptions, expectations and needs – but the long-take aesthetic and expressionist/impressionist imagery make it easy to engage and sympathise with some of these characters. The many famous names on the credits include cinematographer Chris Doyle, co-writer and assistant director Bong Joon-ho, assistant director Jang Junhwan, and stars-to-be Jung Woo-sung and Lee Mi-yeon. If you’re curious why a ‘love hotel’ would be named ‘Cactus’, well, that’s a question that also strikes at least one of its customers.
KCCUK, 10 Nov 2018 3:00 pm
Director: Park Ki-yong
Cast: Lee Dae-yon, Park Myung-shin
Cert 18, 91mins, 2001
Park’s first indie feature is essentially a two-hander. A man in a borrowed SUV picks up a woman outside Seoul’s domestic airport and drives her to a small enclave of restaurants, nightclubs and motels on the west coast. Both are middle-aged and married to other people, and know little about each other’s lives. After a seafood dinner and a visit to a karaoke lounge, they go to bed together for the first (and maybe last) time. The film offers cool, delicately nuanced observation of these two averagely careworn individuals as they try to escape the routine which has ground them down. Park asked his superb actors Lee Dae-yon and Park Myung-shin to improvise within parameters they discussed in advance; he likens the method to that of a jazz ensemble and says he tried not to follow convention. Why camels? They can survive well in adverse conditions and, it’s said, their eyes are always moist.
Regent Street Cinema, 11 Nov 2018 12:00 pm
Director: Park Ki-yong
Cast: Yoo Jungah, Kim Taehoon, Kim Moonhee
Cert 18, 89mins, 2017
After 15 years of running film schools and making documentaries, Park Kiyong returns to fiction with a movie that you could take as an ironic commentary on Motel Cactus and Camel(s). Jungsoo and Yoonhee dated when they were students, thirty-some years ago. They meet by chance at Incheon Airport as sadder and wiser adult smokers and agree to see each other again during the coming Lunar New Year holiday. There’s a lot of catching-up to do: between them they have the full range of grown-up problems, from a parent with Alzheimer’s to a bankrupt company and a terminally ill business partner. Both now find themselves alone in life, and one of them would like to turn the clock back … Made as a joint venture between Tokyo University of the Arts and Dankook University’s Graduate School, this is Park’s most sophisticated, touching and reflective film. It’s set in the winter of 2017, during the campaign to impeach President Park Geunhye.
Regent Street Cinema, 12 Nov 2018 6:30 pm
Director: Kim In-seon
Cast: Um Tae-goo, Lee Jae-in, Seo Jeong-yeon
Cert 12, 91mins, 2017
Kim In-seon has won prizes for her short films, and this debut feature gets so many things right that her future seems assured. Coming home from her father’s funeral, 14-year-old Kyung-un finds her life invaded by her feckless uncle Jae-min, a gigolo who preys on lonely, middle-aged women. No sooner has he manoeuvred himself into position as her legal guardian (her mother walked out when she was an infant) than he’s made off with her father’s life-insurance pay-out. Kyung-un goes on the warpath for restitution, but is inexorably drawn into Jae-min’s plan to scam Jum-hee, the unmarried owner of a pharmacy. The plot turns on a girl in high-school being more ‘adult’ than a grown man (Jae-min has never quite shaken his glory days as a member of a boy band), but it hinges on the fact that all three protagonists are deeply lonely, and trying to fill gaps in their lives. Kim In-seon’s aim is true.
Regent Street Cinema, 12 Nov 2018 8:45 pm
Kwak Min-gyu works afternoons as a food-delivery courier and works evenings playing the turntables in his friend Jihong’s bar Commune, where he’s known as “DJ Mingoos”. His girlfriend Si-eun works (too hard) in a private art school and sticks with him because she loves his music. Both of them have their troubles at work and money is always short, but they truck along okay … until the day Min-gyu stumbles into a conversation about employment rights and finds himself complaining about shortfalls in his wages. Big mistake! Choi Changhwan has form in this area: he worries that Korean laws are being circumvented and that people at the bottom of the ladder are suffering. But he frames these concerns as down-to-earth drama (no hectoring militancy here), and films his story in elegant widescreen compositions which anchor the likeable characters in their environments. Nice beats, too!
+ Short film, Even No Shadow
Picturehouse Central, 04 Nov 2018 5:20 pm
Director Park Kiyong started his career soon after graduating from the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) in 1987. His major break as a director came in 1997 with Motel Cactus, which was invited to screen at the 2nd Busan International Film Festival, followed by the 2002 lo-fi, black and white indie Camel(s), which received international recognition screening at the Berlin, Toronto, Fribourg, Singapore, and London International Film Festivals.
Later, as the Head of the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), Park developed the "Feature film & Animation Production” programme, that helped turn the institution into a world-class film school. Park Kiyong was involved with producing many of their feature length graduation projects, such as End of Animal (Jo Sung-hee, 2010) and Bleak Night (Yoon Sung-hyun, 2010), which went on to be a critical success and screened at prestigious international festivals. His credits also include To the Starry Island (dir. Park Kwang-su, 1993), the first Korean co-production with a European company, Channel 4, and Cinema on the Road (dir. Jang Sun-woo, 1995), the Korean episode for BFI's The Century of Cinema series.
Park served as the director of the Cinema Digital Seoul (CinDi), 2007-2012, an international film festival focused on showcasing digital media projects, discovering and supporting new talents from Asia, and promoting the development of digital filmmaking. He also became part of the faculty at the Dankook University Graduate School of Cinematic Content and has been teaching directing there since its opening in 2012.
More recently Park has worked on documentaries, starting with his first essay film Moving (2011), about a Korean immigrant couple struggling to survive after the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand. He is trying to make one essay film every year on issues he finds interesting - Garibong (2013) and Yanji (2015) deal with the diaspora issue, Fifties (2014) was about mid-life crises. Picture of Hell (2016) and Old Love (2017) marked his return to narrative fiction; with Mokpo in post-production, and a documentary on the 2018 Paralympics in the works.
Park Kiyong’s selected filmography:
Noli Timere: The official film of the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic winter games (2018) - Director
Tears of Mokpo (2018) - Director / Editor / Producer
Old Love (2017) - Director/ Writer/ Editor/ Producer
Picture Of Hell (2016) - Director/ Writer/ Editor/ Producer
Yanji (2015) - Director/ Cinematographer/ Editor/ Producer
50_Fifties (2014) - Director/ Editor/ Producer
Garibong (2013) - Director/ Cinematographer/ Editor/ Producer
Moving (2011) - Director/ Cinematographer/ Editor/ Co-producer
Camel(s) (2001) - Director/ Writer
Digital Search (2001) - Director/ Writer
Motel Cactus (1997) - Director/ Writer
Moderator: Tony Rayns
Regent Street Cinema, 11 Nov 2018 2:30 pm