Film festival requires strong stomachs and a strange imagination

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Film festival requires strong stomachs and a strange imagination


“Phantom of the Opera,” from the Italian horror cinema section, directed by Dario Argento

The return of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival on July 12th is a story that has some history.
After the city’s mayor dismissed the festival’s commissioner and programmers in 2004, saying previous festivals had too many films “streaming ooze and heads being chopped off,” the spirit of the festival, which attracted thousands of cult and B-movie fans, has increasingly diminished with uninspiring selections pushing out those with a sharper edge.
After a boycott by the local film industry, the festival tried desperately to recuperate. Its best move was to hire Han Sang-jun, a respected critic and the former programmer of PiFAN and Pusan International Film Festival. He joined PiFan this year and set about reviving the original spirit of the festival with a focus on fantasy, horror and science fiction.


“Eyes Without a Face,” directed by Georges Franju, will be shown in the French sci-fi section

This year’s festival opens with “For Eternal Hearts,” a fantasy drama about a middle-aged professor who dips into his past love life, which involves a dead girlfriend.
For features in Puchon Choice, the programmers stuck strictly to the fantasy genre.
“Grim Love” by Martin Weisz is based on the true story of criminal psychology student Katie Armstrong, who examines a murder case involving the cannibal Oliver Hartwin. “Dark Sea” by Roberta Torre, is the story of a young criminal investigator and it is a good example of the modern fantasy genre.
In “World Fantastic Cinema” the festival screens the second series of “Masters of Horror” by directors such as John Landis, Norio Tsuruta and Gordon Stuart.


“For Eternal Hearts” directed by Hwang Qu-dok, which will open the festival

One of the best sections of the festival is “Forbidden Zone,” showing films that have caused controversy with their bold approaches; “Family Fanta” screens a mix of nostalgic animation and fairy tale-like drama for a family audience. “Ani Fanta” features experimental animation.
Cine Rock Night, one of the most popular events, consists of a movie and a live concert performed by young alternative musicians. This year the festival screens “Stoned,” a documentary about Brian Jones, an early member of the Rolling Stones.
The festival closes with “Kala” by Joko Anwar, a young Indonesian director. It’s the story of police investigators and reporters involved in a murder case.


“Viva,” directed by Anna Biller from the World Fantastic Cinema section. Provided by the organizers

Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival runs from July 12 to July 21. For more information call (032) 345-6313. The screenings are 5,000 won.

By Park Soo-mee Staff Writer []

· Human flesh dumplings, burning books, techno-nightmares and a little sensitivity
· Four retrospectives feature Hellman, Argento, Fleischer and Lee Bong-rae
· Organizer hopes for good weather and fans who like their horror served raw
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