Puchon film festival specializes in surprises

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Puchon film festival specializes in surprises

For those of you who are used to seeing the horror-comedies of Stuart Gordon in his 1984 film “Re-animator” and “Dolls,” his new film will be a shocker.
“King of the Ants,” based on a novel by Charles Higson, is a story about a young laborer, Sean Crawley, who is paid cold cash to follow a city hall accountant and eventually kill him.
Unlike Mr. Gordon’s previous works, the film is a gruesome foray into the dark side of human nature, told in a heavy, serious tone.
Indeed, “King of the Ants,” which will be the opening film at the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival this year, is one of the festival’s many surprises for local cinephiles in the market for something more than subtlety onscreen.
For this year’s PiFan, whose 10-day run begins on July15, festival organizers have gathered an unusual collection of over 260 films including classic Japanese animation from the 1920s and films by Troma Studio, an independent film studio best known for a spirit not seen in most Hollywood productions.
“We focused on films from non-Western countries including Argentina, Brazil, India and Kazakhstan,” says Kim Myung-deok, the festival’s program director. “It’ll be a rare chance to check out the latest trends in Asian genre films.”
In addition to films from Troma and Japanese animation, the festival dishes up the work of Jorg Buttgerreit, a German director who explores necrophilia.
A retrospective of the Shaw Brothers, supposedly “the shining jewel” of Hong Kong’s golden era of cinema, features some of their legendary martial-art films, including “The Assassin,” “The Mighty Peking Man” and “The Blood Brothers.”
“Twentidentity” features a collaborative project done on digital camera by 20 graduates of the Korean Film Academy. “Cop Festival” is a series of shorts, all containing a combination of cops and comic elements as their main theme. The “Family Section” presents features from such countries as India, Canada and Singapore, that depict political and social disputes across the globe from the eyes of children. The festival will close with Ahn Byung-ki’s latest horror, “Bushinsaba.”
Particular attention should be paid to “An Empty Dream,” a film by the veteran avant-garde filmmaker Yu Hyun-mok; the last 10 minutes of the original film reel had been damaged, but was recently restored.
The film, which deals with a trivial incident that occurs in a dental clinic one afternoon, was neglected by Korean audiences at the time of its release in 1965 due to its abstract images and unfamiliar subject matter (Mr. Yu uses a toothache as a metaphor for the perpetual pain that results from the horrors of war). “An Empty Dream” also gained notoriety at the time of its release due to the scenes of a naked actress captured from behind.
This year’s PiFan will be a festival unto its own. As a sideshow, there will be midnight screenings accompanied by live local bands, outdoor screenings and other small concerts and traditional performances.
Directors from abroad are also expected to participate. Lloyd Kaufman, the founder of Troma Studio, will present a special workshop, “Make Your Own Damn Movie” at 4 p.m. on July 19.

by Park Soo-mee

For ticket reservations in English visit: http://english.pifan.com. Tickets go on sale tomorrow. Admission is 5,000 won ($4.25) per screening except for special events, which are 10,000 won.
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