As the film festival program’s backbone, the World Cinema section shares 22 films of a wide spread of genres from around the globe.

Directors connected with JEONJU IFF showcase their newest films including Damien MANIVEL who previously created Isadora’s Children through JEONJU Cinema Project and directed the mystical new dramatic feature Magdala. One of this year’s JEONJU IFF International Competition jury members, Mariano LLINÁS, also directed a fascinating documentary called Clorindo Testa based on the architect of the same name. These films exemplify how JEONJU IFF continues its relationships with directors by sharing their newest films at the festival.

On the other end of the spectrum, World Cinema introduces South American films from last year’s limelight such as Money Exchange! which deals with the perilous efforts of Argentinians trying to earn money through illegal currency exchange amidst an economic crisis, Chile’s 1976 which depicts a homemaker secretly helping those in the resistance during a military dictatorship, Argentina’s TRENQUE LAUQUEN that features two men who set off to find a missing woman and fairytale-like The Castle which captures the last month spent by a city-bound daughter and mother who inherited a mansion in the Argentinian countryside she worked as a housekeeper in, under the condition that she can never leave or sell the house. Also included are high quality French films such as MASQUERADE featuring prominent French actors such as Isabelle Adjani, Pierre Niney, etc. who give equally matched performances as characters who embody the hypocritical, vain, and parasitic nature of high society and Father & Soldier narrating the moving story of a father in Senegal volunteering to fight in World War I to protect his son who was recruited against his will.

La Ciotat is famous as the home of the world’s oldest cinema Eden Theater and as the location where the Lumière brothers filmed The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat. The Dardenne brothers guide viewers through La Ciotat of today, narrate how a small village in the South of France came to hold such a special place in the world of film and show the rise and fall of Eden Theatre through the documentary The Eden of La Ciotat. World Cinema also includes a diverse array of documentaries including the story of a Greek arm wrestling athlete in ARM WRESTLER, a trip taken by German photographer Thomas Hoepker, who found recognition through Magnum, and his wife across the United States despite the pandemic and his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in Dear Memories – A Journey with Magnum Photographer Thomas Hoepker, devotion shown by Ukrainians in facilities caring for war orphans in a small city in the East of Ukraine embroiled in war in A House Made of Splinters and a religious son and religion-averse father taking a trip that evokes ideas of family, religion and personal beliefs in Poland’s GOD & LUNAPARKS WARRIORS. Films such as the science fiction The Pod Generation which inspects the future of humanity through a couple who participate in a new program where children are grown in artificial wombs, Portugal’s musical romantic comedy WILL-O’-THE-WISP which, despite its short 70 minute running time, received a great deal of attention and Iran’s thriller Without Her which features eye-catching performances round out the multifarious and international films featured in the World Cinema section.

Programmer CHUN Jinsu

The Focus: East Asian Films Now has been newly launched to introduce new filmmakers from Korea, China and Japan, and to encourage their active interaction. A total of seven East Asian films are scheduled to be screened.

The film Stonewalling jointly directed by Chinese director HUANG Ji and her Japanese husband, OTSUKA Ryuji, just may be the most fitting film to be screened in this section. This film tells the story of a college girl named Lynn who deals with her unexpected pregnancy. This film drags the sacred process of pregnancy and birth into the frame of money-driven modern capitalism to fundamentally question the legacy of China’s one-child policy that is still prevalent today as well as the myth of maternal instinct.

Alone Together by Japanese director MISHIMA Yukiko who previously presented Red and A Stitch of Life at the JEONJU IFF is an artistic attempt to show how people think and feel in the pandemic era. Befitting her self-dubbed title of “half-documentarist,” Director MISHIMA requests the actors to share how they felt on a day via self-camera, and the actors share their sense of isolation, loneliness, relief, and hope in various ways. Thus, this film is a reflection of the pain and sadness that still remain as well as a vivid record of an era.

The female Chinese director, Violet DU FENG, directed the documentary Hidden Letters that sheds light on female existence throughout Chinese history. During the time when women were not properly educated in China, they developed a writing system called Nushu that only women can understand to record their lives. This documentary depicts two women who inherit this exclusive writing system in their own ways, what women mean in Chinese history, and what they aim to freely express with Nushu.

My Anniversaries by the Korean-Japanese director KIM Sungwoong deals with the life of Sakurai Shoji who was imprisoned for 29 years for a murder he didn’t commit in 1967. He was ruled innocent in the criminal court in 2011 and won compensation in a civil court in 2021. And just when he was finally freed of his wrongful charges and achieved victory, he was met with life’s irony and got diagnosed with terminal cancer. This documentary follows Mr. Sakurai who has faced life’s turmoil head on by writing poetry and singing songs with his undying optimism.

Yangzi’s Confusion by female Chinese director LI Jue is a home drama that looks at a divorced family from the perspectives of a child and a mother. The ten-year-old girl Yangzi reads her divorced mother’s diary and is heartbroken when she learns why her mom abandoned her. Her mother does not seek communication with Yangzi, but this mother-and-daughter pair is forced to face each other due to Grandmother’s 60th birthday. This film underlines the social issues of modern China with its increasing number of divorced families.

Winny by Japan’s MATSUMOTO Yusaku who also directed Noise and It’s All My Fault deals with the software Winny that took the Japanese society by storm in the early 2000s. Much like the American Napster and Korean Soribada, Winny was a P2P-type software that allowed individuals to share files without a particular server. When its developer Kaneko Isamu first launched the software, Winny completely blew up online. But the music industry and the government accused Kaneko of violating intellectual property, which led to a long legal battle. The film tells this controversial topic, focusing on this extraordinary person we know as Kaneko Isamu.

The film White River, a debut film by China’s MA Xue, stands out as an erotic film told from a female director’s perspective. The heroine of this story is a woman called Yang Fan who lives in Bejing’s commuter town, Yanjiao. Stuck between Beijing’s lockdown due to the pandemic and living with her voyeurist husband, the film shows Yang Fan’s oppressed libido expressed in various ways. This dreamlike, erotic movie reveals the world of female eroticism peppered with some inventive sense of humor.

Programmer MOON Seok

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