Director: Yim Soon-rye
Cast: Kim Tae-ri, Ryu Jun-yeol, Moon So-ri
Cert U, 103mins, 2017
"I'm hungry," says dissatisfied student Hye-won (Kim Tae-ri), explaining to her friend Eun-sook (Jin Ki-joo) why she has returned from her studies in Seoul to her rural village. Arriving mid-winter, she has come for only a few days - but will stay on for a year, rediscovering the patience and preparation necessitated by the rhythms of the seasons. Adapted from Daisuke Igarashi's 2002 manga series, Yim Soon-rye's film comes with the barest outline of a love triangle, but is mostly content to observe Hye-won slowly restoring both herself - and the viewer - with a gentle routine of good food and friendship. Along the way, she reestablishes her relationship to her absent mother (Moon Sori) and to mother nature, while reaping the rewards of her own replanted joie de vivre. With its heavy focus on cooking and eating, Little Forest will have you feeling hungry too.
Edinburgh Filmhouse, 16 Nov 2018 6:00 pm
Director: Jeon Go-Woon
Cast: Lee Som, Ahn Jae-hong
Cert 15, 104mins, 2017
Mi-so (Lee Som), like many thirty-somethings, finds herself unprepared for the harsh economic realities of adulthood. Working as a housekeeper with low wages and zero job security, she struggles to pay the exorbitant rent on her cramped apartment. Mi-so’s spirited youth playing in a band seems a distant memory. The only modest pleasures she has left are smoking and drinking. When she can’t even afford these, Mi-so chooses to give up her home rather than her whisky. What might at first seem a callow choice becomes symbolic of her courageous stand for human dignity. Embarking on an odyssey through Seoul, Mi-so looks up her old bandmates in search of help. Writer-director Jeon has given us a potent heroine for our time in her graceful, wildly inventive debut feature tackling serious themes with style and humour. A truly original voice joins the front ranks of South Korean cinema.
Edinburgh Filmhouse, 18 Nov 2018 3:45 pm
Director: Kim Yang-hee
Cast: Yang Ik-june, Jeon Hye-jin, Jung Ga-ram
Cert 15, 110mins, 2017
We’re on Jeju Island, though we see nothing of its tourism industry. But in spirit we’re closer to Venice – the Venice of Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice (1912), where a middle-aged writer is suddenly, inexplicably struck by the beauty of a young man and finds his whole life upended because of it. The Jeju writer is Hyeon Taekji (Yang Ik-june), a second-rate poet mired in defeatism with a strong-willed wife who’s determined to get pregnant before it’s too late. The boy is Seyun, a dropout from high school who is the main carer for his ailing father and works daytimes selling sugary American donuts. Hyeon worries that he might be gay, but his wife is scornful and resentful … Kim Yanghee’s astonishing debut feature moves from delicious comedy to a transfixing, precisely measured map of the human heart. Yang Ik-june is indelible as Hyeon, a role light years from the gangster he played in his own debut feature Breathless (2010).
Edinburgh Filmhouse, 21 Nov 2018 8:35 pm