You won’t believe it, but there I was in the middle of drafting an article about various FREE to watch Korean films online (some as part of the KCCUK / LKFF‘s Korean Film Nights season, “On The Front Line”) when I received a Press Release about ANOTHER season.

So, what do we have this time?

Well, first of all we some pretty well-known Korean directors!

We also have a theme perfect for the world right now.

Add to this the fact that this is in collaboration with Birkbeck University (well, Birkbeck Film Programming and Curating MA course)!  Regular attendees of LKFF film events and/or KCCUK film seasons you will be familiar with the venue where some of these screenings are held… I’m referring to the lovely Birkbeck Cinema!

Here are the details:

Korean Film Nights:  Trapped!  The Cinema of Confinement

July 17  –  August 27, 2020
(Curators: Maisie Germain, Julia Martos, Maya Kuzina, Thomas Flew)

17th July – “301/302” – Park Chul-Soo, (1995) 98 mins.

30th July – “The Eunuch” – Shin Sang-Ok, (1968) 94 mins.

13th August – “Transgression” – Kim Ki-young, (1974) 111 mins.

27th August – “Sopyonje” – Im Kwon-Taek, (1993) 113 mins.

Korean Cultural Centre UK and Birkbeck, University of London continue their collaboration with a new season of Korean Film Nights. This time the season, curated by a collective of MA students from Birkbeck, responds to life in the time of pandemic. We are under lockdown, shielding at home, with restricted access to the public space. We have become, in one way or another, trapped. T rapped! The Cinema of Confinement is a meditation on the themes of isolation, restriction and incarceration, both physical and psychological.

The programme delves into the rich and expansive Korean Film Archive, an online resource with hundreds of freely available classic titles. The archive is used as a way to explore our contemporary

confinement, discovering how films from the past can connect viewers today and take on new meanings to help us make sense of our current predicament. C haracters in the selected films are in their own way confined by religious or societal dogmas, physical force or even their own psychology. Four rarely screened works by renowned Korean directors portray dreams of escape, transgression and even disappearance.

The opening film is 301/302 by Park Chul-Soo, a cult psychological thriller from the 1990s. The film will excite fans of stylish genre works, and, thanks to its central theme of food, speak to an increased interest in home cooking necessitated by lockdown. Two women, two distinct apartments, two separate dark pasts and one tensely shared present: 301/302 explores the trappings of female identity and sexuality — plus recipes for Korean dishes that range from the mouth-watering to the shocking.

The Eunuch is a sensual costume melodrama by influential director Shin Sang-Ok. It tells a love story between a young and beautiful concubine sold to the monarch by her father and her lover who disguises himself as a eunuch and sneaks into the palace to save her.

Transgression is a rarely-screened mysterious drama by the brilliant Kim Ki-young set in a mountainous Buddhist settlement. It is a story of hunger, desire for human touch and the expansiveness of passionate young hearts that opposes the strictness of religious doctrine.

Trapped! will close with historical drama Sopyonje by Im Kwon-Taek, the acclaimed Korean megahit that brought traditional Korean folk music pansori to a new generation. It is a theme which resonates in today’s context of familial conflict, with tense domestic scenes punctuated by the beautiful vistas of the Korean countryside.

The four events will be held digitally and accompanied by introductions from the curatorial team, as well as blogs including short films amplifying the themes of Trapped!

The programme will close with a live discussion, allowing a space to explore the issues and how they resonate with our contemporary experience.

Trapped! The Cinema of Confinement will be hosted on the KoreanFilm.co.uk website as well as the KCCUK YouTube channel. Our first recorded introduction will be live on 17 July in a playlist followed by 301/302, from the Korean Film Archive channel.

This season is programmed in collaboration with the Birkbeck Film Programming and Curating MA course.

See you ‘there’…!

*****   끝   *****