Jeonju film festival puts Korean cinema in the spotlight

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Jeonju film festival puts Korean cinema in the spotlight


The Iranian film “Nader and Simin, a Separation” opens this year’s Jeonju International Film Festival, which kicks off on April 28. Provided by the organizer

The Jeonju International Film Festival opens its 12th edition at the end of the month with a strong focus on independent Korean films.

“We asked our programmer to seek out as-of-yet undiscovered but high-quality Korean films so that we could present them to a wider audience and promote them overseas,” JIFF director Min Byung-lock said at a press conference last month in Myeong-dong, central Seoul.

The Jeonju festival, in North Jeolla, is one of the nation’s largest and is devoted primarily to art house cinema. This year’s festival screens a total of 190 films from 38 countries.

Korean film fans will want to check out the Korean Cinema Showcase section, which will screen seven Korean films that have been released over the past two years.

“From a masterpiece by a veteran Korean filmmaker to an experimental film by a rising director, the spectrum is wider than ever,” said Maeng Su-jin, who curated the Korean films in this year’s festival.


The JIFF has two signature projects that provide funding to directors. Jose Luis Guerin from Spain (left) is one of the directors in the Jeonju Digital Project. Boo Ji-young is one of the filmmakers featured in the JIFF’s Short! Short! Short! project. At right is a still from her film. Provided by the organizer

The section includes two films by renowned Korean director Im Kwon-taek including “Hanji” and a provocative film by novice director Kim Sun called “Self Referential Traverse: Zeitgeist and Engagement,” which deals with violence in Korean society.

For the first time in the festival’s 12-year history, a Korean documentary called “An Escalator in World Order” by Kim Kyung-man will compete with other 11 foreign films in the International Competition section.

Another competition section, the Korean Feature Film Competition, which was launched specifically to promote Korean films, will have its winning film screened as the closing film of the festival.

In addition to its extensive screening schedule, JIFF provides funding to emerging artists through its two signature projects, the Jeonju Digital Project and Short! Short! Short!

The Jeonju Digital Project supports three directors every year. Each filmmaker is given 50 million won ($45,454) and digital filmmaking equipment. This year’s featured films are by Jean-Marie Straub from Germany, Claire Denis from France and Jose Luis Guerin from Spain.

JIFF’s other signature project - Short! Short! Short! - provides funding to Korean filmmakers who make short films. Featured this year are Yang Ik-jun, famous for his 2009 hit “Breathless,” and Boo Ji-young, one of a few female filmmakers whose work has gained recognition outside of Korea. Both short films are about love and both are expected to be popular at this year’s festival.

Besides the Korean films, JIFF features some of the most talked-about foreign films of this year and last.

One of these is the opening film from Iran, “Nader and Simin, a Separation,” which is a story about a couple who struggles to stay together but ultimately decides to live apart when she wants to immigrate to a different country for her daughter’s future but he wants to stay to take care of his ailing father. Directed by Asghar Farhadi, the film won the Golden Bear for Best Feature Film at the Berlin International Film Festival in March along with the best actor and actress awards. The film is the second Iranian film to open the festival; the first was Jafar Panahi’s “Offside” in 2006.

“Although the film deals with political and religious issues within Iranian society, the story unfolds in a way that anyone can relate to,” said festival programmer Yu Woon-sung.

Another film not to be missed is “Black Blood” by Chinese director Zhang Miaoyan, which follows people forced to sell their blood for a living.

“Exit through the Gift Shop” by British graffiti artist Banksy is also expected to be a festival favorite. The documentary grabbed the attention of critics and movie aficionados when it premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards earlier this year. It traces the story of a French immigrant to the United States who follows Banksy around to make a documentary film about him, only to have the immigrant end up becoming the subject of the documentary film.

* The festival opens on April 28 and runs through May 6. There are 14 screening venues, including Sori Arts Center in North Jeolla, where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held. Tickets for the opening and closing films will go on sale on April 12 at 2 p.m., and tickets for other films will be sold starting April 14 at 11 a.m. Tickets are 5,000 won ($4.50), but admission to films in the Youth Voice, JIFF Phone Film Festival and Outdoor Screening sections will be free of charge. For more information, visit or call (063) 288-5433.

By Sung So-young []

한글 관련 기사 [경향신문]

‘다큐’ 품은 전주국제영화제

28일부터… 개막작 이란 영화 ‘씨민과 나데르, 별거’

전 세계의 대안·독립영화를 소개하는 데 강점을 보여온 12회 전주국제영화제가 28일~5월6일 고사동 영화의 거리 등지에서 열린다.

전주영화제는 예산·상영작의 규모 면에서 부산국제영화제에 이은 국내 2위 영화제다. 그러나 올해부터는 덩치를 키우는 대신, ‘세계 대안·독립영화의 메카’라는 이미지를 구축하는 데 주력하기로 했다. 그 일환으로 지난해에 비해 상영편수를 9%(209편→190편) 줄이고, 작품의 다양성을 높였다. 상업성이 부족해 개봉이 어려운 영화들( <바흐 이전의 침묵> , <필름 소셜리즘> 등)을 구매해 개봉하고, 전주를 거쳐간 감독들의 책을 출간하는 것도 그 일환이다.

전 부문에 걸쳐 다큐멘터리의 비중이 높아졌다는 것이 올해 영화제의 특징이다. 편수가 늘었을 뿐 아니라 작품의 스펙트럼도 넓어졌다. 특히 극영화와 다큐멘터리 사이의 경계를 흐릿하게 지우는 작품들이 많아졌다. 해방 이후 한국사에서 미국이 차지하는 비중을 그린 다큐멘터리 <미국의 바람과 불> 은 한국영화로는 처음으로 국제 경쟁 부문에 선정됐다. 내레이션이 전혀 없이 기록 필름의 편집만으로 ‘종교적 신념의 대상’과 같았던 미국을 보여준다.

한국장편경쟁 부문에서도 <보라> , <동굴 밖으로> , <사랑할 수 없는 시간> 등 다큐멘터리가 강세다. 2008년 세계 경제 위기의 원인을 통찰한 <인사이드 잡> 은 올해 아카데미 최우수 장편 다큐멘터리 수상작이다. 배우 맷 데이먼이 내레이션을 맡았다. 베르너 헤어조크의 다큐 <잊혀진 꿈의 동굴(3d)> , 컨테이너 선박을 통해 자본주의 체제의 흥망성쇠를 그린 <잊혀진 공간> , 루마니아 독재자에 대한 이야기 <니콜라스 차우세스쿠의 자서전> 등이 영화팬들의 발길을 붙잡을 만하다.

개막작은 올해 베를린영화제 금곰상, 남녀 주연상 등 3관왕을 차지한 이란영화 <씨민과 나데르, 별거> 다. 이혼을 하려는 한 부부의 이야기를 통해 이란 사회 전반의 문제점을 드러낸다. 전주영화제만의 독특한 프로그램인 <디지털 삼인삼색> 에는 세계적 명장인 장 마리 스트라우브, 클레어 드니, 호세 루이스 게린이 참여했다.

세계영화의 흐름을 주도하는 영화감독의 작업을 집중적으로 조명하는 특별전에서는 4명의 감독들을 만날 수 있다. 최근 아시아에서 가장 각광받는 영화의 나라로 떠오른 필리핀 독립영화의 대부 키들랏 타히믹, <디지털 삼인삼색> 에도 참여한 스페인의 호세 루이스 게린, 멕시코의 신성 니콜라스 페레다, 그리고 한국의 이명세 감독이다. 영화제 홈페이지(에서 개·폐막식은 12일, 일반작품은 14일부터 예매할 수 있다

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