Short films festival reveals directors experimenting with new styles

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Short films festival reveals directors experimenting with new styles

Short films were once considered a passing phase for Korean directors ―a stepping stone at the start of a career. However, established directors who compete in Venice and Cannes have recently been using shorts as a way to experiment with new concepts and techniques for longer features.
Kim Ji-woon shot "Coming Out," a short mystery-horror film that was shown at an online festival before he released “A Tale of Two Sisters,” which put a new spin on traditional horror. “If You Were Me,” a project organized and funded by the Human Rights Commission of Korea, compiled six short films about discrimination by noted feature-length filmmakers.
Short films are still an independent art form, which frees directors from the pressures of distributors and producers.
A film festival that starts today provides a great opportunity to sample Korean short works. “Korean Films: Past in the Future ― A Study for Narrative Cinema” is a series of shorts arranged to shed light on the hidden potential of Korean cinema. Selected works represent the independent spirits of Korean cinema since the 1990s.
“One Day Out” by Kim Sun-kyung follows a mother and her pregnant daughter as they search for a new house. It is a typical example of a low-key visual story without dramatic events or substantial dialogue.
The festival includes films that deal with unique themes but may have been too risky for big-budget features.
“Monkey in the Pool” by Roh Jae-seung, is about an amateur baseball player who is actually a monkey cursed to be born as a human. “Boiled Egg” by Hwang Chul-min is about a woman who tries to revamp her life through a stranger she meets at a casino. Hwang raises profound questions about the meaning of life, but rather than supplying an answer, the director plays with words, using a synonym for “boiling” in Korean that implies that life is a boiled egg.


by Park Soo-mee

“Korean Films: Past in the Future” begins today through Sept. 21st at Seoul Art Cinema. For more information call 02-741-9782. About half the films have English subtitles.
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