This year’s International Competition can be summed up in one word: “place.” In System Crasher , nine-year-old Benni moves from one institution to another without a proper home. A young Spanish woman named Leonor dreams of a new life but encounters unexpected twists and turns in Journey to A Mother's Room. The protagonist of Thirty lives in a small apartment in Berlin, just as the immigrant worker in From Tomorrow On, I Will rests his body in a cramped room. Breathless Animals features Chinese apartments from the 1970s. In Last Night I Saw You Smiling , we get a glimpse of life in the White Building, Phnom Penh. Copenhagen in Sons of Denmark is a site of conflict between discontent immigrants and political reality, while the towns in Bosnia and Herzegovinian in The Stone Speakers remain deeply scarred by the civil war.
Ohong Village depicts scenes from everyday life in the peaceful southern village in Taiwan. Homing is set in Brazil’s peripheral towns, and The Innocent explores the space of reality for someone recently released from prison. Each of these places appears mundane, yet holds a special meaning to whoever lives in it. At the same time, those same places become “non-places” that lose their spatial significance. Everyone must now withstand the weight of reality. Therefore, the places in these eleven films are at once “non-places” and mirrors that reflect our present.
The majority of 104 films, submitted in the Korean Competition of Jeonju IFF this year, follow a recent tendency of independence films which reflect the anger and frustration of the young generation about the future of Korean society. The 10 films selected in the competition among them try to face the sad reality with their own values and emotions out of the repeated tendency.
My Punch-Drunk Boxer, a feature film based on the short film of the same title, depicts a person rushing toward a goal with the offbeat rhythm of pleasant and sad comedy, Scattered Night vividly captures the emotions of a child in a family of a crisis of divorce, Remain traces the subtle emotions of a female protagonist suffering from frigidity in everyday life, Atlantic City deals with the sinister criminal world that a Korean young man experiences as he adapts to the local life in the United States, and Goodbye Summer is an impressive film covering a typical theme of a terminally ill patient's last day with dreamy and optimistic atmosphere. All these films show their respective characteristics. A Bedsore, a film supported by last year's Jeonju Project Market (JPM), observes the absurdity of life based on the story of a love-hate relationship in a family with an elderly patient of which body is breaking down. And another JPM-supported film, Move the Grave also depicts the hatred and love between family members in the life that has come to a deadlock. WAVE is the second film by the director of Back From the Beat presented in the feature competition section last year, and focuses on the aspiration of young people who try to dream and work hard in disturbed society in a stronger tone than his previous film did.
And Finally, The Sea of Itami Jun is an excellent film that will carry on a tradition of the Jeonju IFF, which has discovered many outstanding documentaries over the past few years, and it describes the life and artistic accomplishments of famous Korean-Japanese architect through the memory of specific spaces. Another documentary that has entered the Competition section, Own Way, portrays young people who do not forget positive attitude about life, even though they have experienced a setback or a failure while looking for an alternative community.
Korean Competition for Shorts featured 1,026 films this year. The number of films, which shows an increase of about 100 films compared to last year, gave us the unexpected pleasure of discovery. Five judges, including the senior programmer, debated and selected the 26 finalists among 82 films chosen in the first round of preliminaries. In this year's Korean Competition for Shorts, the most prominent trends are found in the films that seek out the social position of women and young people and express opinions in their own way. Most short films do not just worry about the individual's desire not allowed in society but talk about how to realize it in an ingenious way. The directors do not show off superficial ethics, but they genuinely express the anxieties of their generation and seek the solidarity and coexistence with others through their films. They allow us to expect the bright future of Korean short films.
In addition, it is noteworthy that there are a number of short films that observe the relationship between human and society in the eyes of children and youth. They are distinguished by fresh settings, unique characters, and excellent psychological descriptions, which were rarely seen before. On the other hand, Jeonju IFF chose the films that combine literary sensibility with cinematic imagination. Apart from the above three trends, there are also the films featuring a unique story with eccentric power and energy, which do not follow the convention of existing short films. It is a hopeful sign that many short films show a new style not influenced by the established form and a willingness to confront with the conventional taste of the audience.
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