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This year’s Korean Cinema includes a huge number of documentaries. Aftermath is a film by Kim Jinhyuk who left EBS in 2013 when the company ordered him to halt the production of the documentary on the Special Investigation Committee of Anti-National Activities. Five years after his resignation from the company, he visits the people he interviewed about the Committee to restructure the film. Woo Kwang-hoon’s Jikji Route, Terra Incognita is a sequel to Dancing with Jikji (2017), which was selected to screen as a part of the Korean Competition of JEONJU IFF. Just like its prequel, the documentary follows the crew’s journey all around the world to prove the hypothesis that Gutenberg’s metal type copied Goryeo’s Jikji. People Crossing the River (2006)’s director Kim Duk-chul has crafted The Family of One Hundred Years for a long time. From the nationalistic education movement conducted by Koreans living in Kawasaki, Japan, to the battle against hate speeches, the film offers an opportunity to witness the spirit of Koreans who have overcome the suppression from the Japanese government. Blooming over the line depicts the life of Rev. Moon Ik-hwan. From the painful loss of his friends Yun Dong-ju and Song Mong-gyu to his visit to North Korea in 1989, the film remembers his life as a whole. Rev. Moon’s voice is restored through AI technologies, leaving an even bigger impression. Jung Jae-hoon, who has grabbed people’s attention with Hosu-gil (2009), created Trans-Continental-Railway, which is technically not a documentary. Still, it is an experimental film or music video that follows a documentary-like narrative. Composited with Band Organic Beer’s music video, the film combines fierce sound with documented videos.
The new films by the regulars of JEONJU IFF, the directors who have joined the festival many times, are also introduced. Choe Equan, whose films If I were You (2016) and roooom (2018) were selected to screen in JEONJU IFF, created a film MY SON that depicts the story of a disabled son, his father, and people around them. The film is based on the play Kill Me Now, and its main actor Jang Hyunsung was nominated for the Best Male Actors section at the Milano International Film Festival Award in 2020. Ko Bongsoo, who continues to join the festival since he won Korean Competition with Delta Boys (2016), also offers a new film. The rain comes soon depicts a funny and sad story that unfolds around the various people who visit a film screening on a hot summer day. In addition to Ko’s crew, actor Lee Hui-jun also appears in the film. Choi Changhwan, who screened two films in Korean Competition, Back from the Beat (2018) and The Boy from Nowhere (2019), for two consecutive years has also joined with a new film. Plant Cafe, Warmth shows various stories created by the owner and customers at a café that sells and treats plants and trees. As an analogy between people’s stories and plants, the film is an “illustrative book of plants for life” shaped through analog sentimentality. The Slug’s Choi Jinyoung participated in JEONJU IFF once with Yeonhuidong (2018) in Korean Competition and has continued to create films with Jeonju at its center. In The Slug, Chunhui gets struck by lightning and meets herself as a child. Many places in Jeonju are depicted throughout the film.
Also, emerging directors showcase their debut films. Yang Yunmo’s Shape of Tulip is a strange love story. It depicts the reunion of Yuriko, who comes to Korea to find a guy she met out of the blue in Tokyo, and Seok-young, who finds his favorite female actor from classic Japanese films in Yuriko. When Winter Comes shows the changes inside a man who has given up making films and became a bus driver when he meets a woman. The former Korean girl group member Han Seonhwa’s acting is striking. In Rolling Girl, the protagonist who used to lock herself up at home away from the outside world is forced to take care of her mother’s kimbap place temporarily. Shim Dalgi, who plays the protagonist, depicts simple and subtle emotions inside people remarkably. Please don´t forget to take a look at 11 short films with different charms.

(MOON Seok)

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