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JEONJU IFF Unveils 2021 Korean Competition Selection
2021-03-22 21:31:00Hits 69
22st JEONJU International Film Festival (2021)
10 Finalists for Korean Competition

2021-03-12

🙋JEONJU IFF's Korean Competition 2021 Selection!
10 Finalists were selected for Korean Competition

Hello there,

Korean Competition is one of the major sections of JEONJU IFF. For this year, 10 finalists by new directors who will lead the Korean independent and arthouse film industry were selected!

Despite the pandemic, final works were selected through stiff competition from a total of 108 films. Regarding the general trend seen in the submissions, MOON Seok, a programmer of JEONJU IFF explained, ”Many of the 108 films submitted to the Korean Competition of this year's JEONJU IFF were representative of the Korean independent film community, which has actively engaged with the affairs of the world.” 

Here are 10 finalists for Korean Competition of the 22nd JEONJU IFF, with comments of programmer MOON Seok. 

💎10 Finalists for Korean Competition of the 22nd JEONJU IFF💎

"You said you won. And that's it." 
"That means it's the only beginning."

Programmer's comment
Nineteen-year-old high school baseball star Gwangho is the protagonist of NOT OUT. Feeling hurt when he is not chosen in the professional baseball draft, he decides to go to college instead. Yet Gwangho’s decision leads to his high school baseball coach surreptitiously asking for a bribe, and his friends turning their backs on him. The film follows Gwangho, as he makes bad decisions on his bumpy journey of life.

"When parents get hateful looks in the queer festival, 
we think they would be afraid. However, that's not the way it is. 
They become fighters after seeing those looks on their children."

Programmer's comment
Coming to you is a documentary about gender minorities and their parents. Portraying the lives of four individuals—Hangyeol, a transgender man, and his mother Nabi; Yejoon, who is gay, and his mother Vivian—this film exposes Korean society’s exclusivity against the LGBTQ community while also demonstrating that an alternative relationship is possible between minorities and non-minorities. This documentary is particularly significant in the Republic of Korea today, marked by the tragic death of Staff Sergeant BYUN Heesoo. 

"We Can't die about stuff like that."

Programmer's comment
Awoke gives a cogent account of the troubles of Koreans with disabilities through the protagonist, Jaegi, who became severely disabled due to a car accident. His heart-rending struggle to be recognized as a “person with severe disability” sheds light on the grave defects in the system. Possibly because the film was created by a crew and a cast of both people with disabilities and without disabilities, the contradictions in the disability rating system and the social landscape within the community of disabled people, where people with disabilities exploit others with disabilities, exposed by this film feel almost too real.

"I'm not gonna live like this forever."

Programmer's comment
The story of Jeonghee and Minyoung, two girls in the film Kim Min-young of the Report Card, begins in their last year in high school, at the age of 19. Having become inseparable friends through the “Three-line Poetry Club,” the girls each enter on a separate path of life upon graduating from high school. During the summer, Minyoung, now a college student, and Jeonghee, unemployed after losing her part-time job, end up spending a night together in Seoul. With unique sensibilities, this film presents a delicate web of the two girls’ intimate relationships.

"Mum, I'm sorry."

Programmer's comment
The protagonist of the film Nineteen is, as the title suggests, a nineteen-year-old girl named Sojeong. She lives with her mother in a public rental apartment, but one day her mother passes away. It follows her anxiety that she will be kicked out of the apartment if she reports her mother’s death and that she might have to live with her violent father instead.

"Watching my senior colleagues, 
I decided I wouldn't do that, I would be nice to trainees."

Programmer's comment
Influenza spotlights “taeum,” a hazing practice among Korean nurses that once received wide news media coverage. The film scrutinizes why and how senior nurses bully and harass junior nurses, and the results of such bullying. The process in which the protagonist, Dasol, is transformed from a victim of the “taeum culture” to a senior nurse in charge of a junior nurse reveals the shadow of power cast over every community. 

"Do you really have to do this to work? 
I'm telling this for your good."

Programmer's comment
First child follows Jeong-ah a married woman with a child and makes a strong case about the difficulty of realizing the seemingly ordinary desires of average Korean women—to marry, have a child, and pursue a career. In the process of trying to achieve her ordinary dreams, Jeong-ah comes to see the nanny as another woman like herself, and this is the decisive factor that differentiates this film from other conventional stories. 

"Why do I laugh? Why do I have to laugh?"

Programmer's comment
Corydoras is a documentary that follows the life of PARK Dongsu, a poet who has a disability. It portrays the inner world of a person who has led a difficult life in a facility for disabled people for 23 years but has now begun a new life in the real world. As he has difficulty using his limbs, PARK writes poetry using his foot, and he admires ornamental corydoras, and the emotions brought on by these scenes are certainly not light. The documentary avoids objectifying the protagonist, which also leaves a deep, lingering impression. 

"Goodbye. It was nice to meet you."

Programmer's comment
Aloners is a rather timely piece, given the increasing number of people who are doing things alone (termed holojok in Korean) in the COVID pandemic. Rather than simply describing this issue, the film uses this issue as a knife to slice a corner of life in modern Korea and examine it. The frightening and harsh moments of life that the film’s protagonist Jina experiences may ultimately intensify the loneliness and terror of the viewers. 

"Then when will we go on a trip?"
"We can go on a trip whenever we want."

Programmer's comment
The train passed by does not bring a social issue to the surface, but the film unfolds against the backdrop of an “industrial accident,” which is one of the biggest problems in Korean society. Tracing the pallid footsteps of a woman laborer who has no particular presence in society, this film makes an unmissable accomplishment through extremely simple and concise expressions. The commendable performance of GONG Minjeong, one of the celebrated actors in the Korean independent film industry, is also something that merits viewers’ attention. 

Next time, we will bring some introduction of Special Focus: I am Independent, a special section focused on female directors who left a remarkable legacy in the history of independent and art filmmaking.

Please, stay tuned!

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