Queer Film Festival's third slate features strong Asian lineup

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Queer Film Festival's third slate features strong Asian lineup

The Queer Film and Video Festival is under way with no premieres, but greater emphasis on gaining public acceptance.

"We hope to create a forum for the public to rethink gay stereotypes," says Oh Seong-won, a founding member of the festival.

"Seoul Queer Archive," as this year's fest is called, opened Wednesday at the Seoul Art Cinema, in the Artsonje Building near Anguk subway station. It ends with the 7:30 p.m. Sunday screening of "Mars Canon," a Japanese film, directed by Kazama Shiori, exploring a series of complex relationships.

Highlights include "Lan Yu," directed by Stanley Kwan of Hong Kong, and "Naughty Boys," directed by Koichi Imaizumi of Japan. "Lan Yu" (2001) revolves around a rich man who falls in love with a younger man. The movie, based on an anonymously published e-book, "Beijing Story," is noted for its lush cinematography. "Naughty Boys" (2002) is a romantic comedy.

This year's festival opened with "I Am Not What You Want" (Hong Kong, 2001), about a young man's coming out and involvement in a love triangle, and "Looking for Angel" (Japan, 2000), two men's reflections on a young porn star who is found dead.

Organizers of the Queer Film and Video Festival attempted to hold their first fest in 1997. The Korean government shut it down. The group had planned to screen "Happy Together," a Wong Kar Wai movie about a gay Asian couple that had shown at the Cannes Film Festival. Debates arose whether the government's action constituted censorship.

"When the festival first started, there was no such thing [in Korea] as gay pride," says Mr. Oh.

The fest was successfully launched in 1998, although Mr. Oh recounts that he "was nervous, frightened, worried, you name it."

The festival was held again in 2000. This year's program features films from Korea, Japan, Vietnam, China and Hong Kong.

For more information about the festival, visit the Maxmovie Web site at www.maxmovie.com, or call (02) 3142-5626.

by Joe Yong-hee

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