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As long as I can remember or indeed as long as the KCCUK has been in existence perhaps, the brilliant venue has been showing films – and FREE ones at that!
I can recall about a decade ago, when I first started frequenting the Korean Cultural Centre, London/UK, there was a FREE film screening every fortnight*. Although there may have been no theme sometimes – just randomly selected Korean movies – these pictures introduced me both to Korean cinema and Korea itself! It also started much of the film work I’ve been undertaking since then.
In fact, the following video [in which you’ll see Mr MMM (yours truly, aka @MiniMiniMovies), as well as pals and fellow London Asian Film Society co-founders, Mr Philip Gowman (LondonKoreanLinks.net) & Mr Paul Quinn (HangulCelluloid.com)] gives you an idea of how things were and indeed when they were celebrating the KCCUK’s, and their ‘partner’ the LKFF’s – London Korean Film Festival – 100th Korean Film Night!
And below the video and indeed taken from the description under this very montage on YouTube are some words which tell you what’s been going on at the KCCUK and its Korean Film Nights. I even have a photo** of me dressed up in Hanbok from the 2010 screening it mentions (see foot of article, if you dare)!!
“Celebrate the Korean Film Night’s 100th Screening 26th April 2012, Apollo Cinemas, Piccadilly.
Since 2008, the Korean Cultural centre UK with its free film screenings has been London’s home for Korean cinema enthusiasts. There have been many accompanying events which have enriched these screenings also, each giving the audiences the chance to discover and learn about Korean culture.
In February 2010 at the screening of the epic film “Forbidden Quest” the audience took the opportunity to try on traditional Korean clothes and at the screening of “Daytime Drinking” we tasted Soju, Korea’s famous alcoholic drink.
With Director Song Il-Gon’s 2011 film ‘Always’ the KCCUK presents its 100th Korean Film Night and after the Q+A we will celebrate this milestone with a small reception.”
I won’t go on too much about that as I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ve also posted articles about such films and more relevantly [to this article] the KCCUK’s film nights or film seasons! An example of some of the seasons can be found in links towards the end of this article though.
Instead, let’s skip forward to 2020.
What a year, and we only half way through it!
Firstly, we had “Parasite” and it’s record and award breaking success – Remember when we went to the cinema, back in Winter 2019/2020 and Spring 2020?
Next, from a Parasite to a Virus! We are still sky high up to virus levels, here in the UK at least [you can join MMM in criticising the government if you want, we won’t stop you!] and one of the worst countries in the universe for fatalities. However, when you look at [South] Korea, their second success, following “Parasite” was surely their handling of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.
Well done South Korea for BOTH of these achievements!
From the dreaded virus to where we are now, and ultimately to the reasons for this article:
- I can’t say I haven’t had time to write about this latest film season (unless you count editing my latest screenplay, of which the film shoot itself has – understandably – been put on hold!) although other jobs I’ve been meaning to get done at home are now semi-completed, but not knowing what was going to happen to this scheduled Korean Film Nights season didn’t help in whether to write an article or not.
- Leading on from all of the above, we recently had some positive news regarding some of these film screenings.
- One of the films, available now online to stream for FREE [read on!] is one I’ve been waiting to see for a few years, for various reasons.
I could list other reasons but I’ll simply get on with the show!
So, this season was announced a few months ago and such these [FREE – I’ll keep saying that!] screenings were to take place at the KCCUK, as is the case, usually.
Although I’m pretty sure that not all these films were new to me, I booked – via the KCCUK / KoreanFilm.co.uk / eventBrite – to see some or all.
Alas, this big screen happening was not going to… well… happen!
WELL, IT IS NOW…! Errr… Kind of!
Before I elaborate on what we are being treated to and which films we are talking about, & where we can see them, let’s use some of the blurb from the KCCUK / London Korean Film Festival guys:
“KOREAN FILM NIGHTS 2020: ON THE FRONT LINE
Korean Film Nights (KFN) is a year-round programme of lm screenings, mini-lectures and discussions that guide audiences through different aspects of Korean cinema and culture. Having run since 2008, KFN has showcased a wide spectrum of lms based around a variety of different themes and is put together in collaboration with external partners to bring fresh insight and diversity to the programme.
The first season for 2020, On The Front Line (March – June), will mark the seventieth anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War (1950-53) with 8 carefully selected titles from South Korea, the US and UK. Each one shedding light on one of the most important events in Korean history and collective memory. On Sunday the 25th June 1950, a formidable force of North Korean soldiers and tanks invaded South Korea. The commemoration of most 20th-century wars focuses on the end of the ghting: 11 November for WWI, VE-Day and VJ-Day for WWII. The Korean War was halted with the signing of an armistice on the 27th of July 1953, but with no subsequent peace treaty that date has not inspired much commemorating. The war ended in a bloody stalemate and to this day the two Koreas are both technically still at war. “
There is much more to be said or indeed what the LKFF & KCCUK guys say, but you can access the PDF brochure here:
However, as the mention of elaboration alludes to, we’re not finished with this topic yet…
Those lovely people at the KCCUK have begun to bring films from this season to our homes!
Yes, this idea – and one surely initiated thanks to this pandemic – is not only a relatively new idea by the LKFF/KCCUK people but perhaps the first time they have done such a thing?*** By which I mean, to supply us with FREE films online, and not just on the internet but on their already existing KCCUK channel:
Sure, there have been snippets on there before, or montages from film festivals and indeed music or other events, but FULL LENGTH Korean movies??
It’s as good a point as any to say that we already are fortunate enough to have an ARRAY of brilliant Korean films FREE to watch over on the Korean Film Archive’s channel:
In fact, by flicking through the KCCUK’s channel Playlists you’ll see one entitled “Film” and this not only takes you to such movies on the Korean Film Archive channel but many more related Screen Talks, Trailers etc etc.
If you search hard enough or are lucky enough to scroll, be on the right page or indeed be eagle-eyed you will see the area named “KCCUK Film Programmes” and within this there is the Playlist, “Korean Film Nights”! It’s there where you’ll see, amongst other videos TWO FULL LENGTH FILMS – “FREE” [yep, I’m stressing that again] – to view at your leisure.
These 2 FREE films form part of the “ON THE FRONT LINE” Korean Film Nights season, which technically was running from March through to the end of June. The films I speak of are:
“TO THE LAST DAY (이 생명 다하도록)” – a film by the well-known Korean director Shin Sang-ok and about the realities of war.
“JISEUL (지슬)” – a film based around the 1948 Jeju Uprising [Jeju Massacre; Jeju 4.3] and written and directed by O Muel (오멸), himself a resident of Jeju.
It’s unclear how many others from this 8 film season may appear but these two are definitely worth watching. However, I can confirm that at least one of them is available on the Korean Film Archive YouTube channel which I’ve mentioned earlier in the article:
“THE MARINES WHO NEVER RETURNED” (Full Film w/English Subtitles available):
I’d been waiting for some time to be able to see “JISEUL”, having not caught it at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2013. I even thought it had once played at the Korean Cultural Centre, London itself and that perhaps I had missed it (maybe even being over in Korea at the time!!) but I’m thinking it never screened there – this 2020 screening, therefore, would have been its English ‘Premiere’ had everything gone to plan and been shown in the KCCUK. Again, I could be wrong… It’s been known to happen ㅋㅋㅋ… ****
Furthermore, 2012 was my first visit to the Busan International Film Festival and although “JISEUL” Premiered there I also couldn’t make that screening!
Having frequented Jeju a few times already – and reasons in part for another political situation there (Gangjeong village and its US navy base issue – footage can be found on my YouTube channel, but more to come!) – and learning the horrors of the Jeju Massacre, I have a big passion for that subject… if passion is the right word.
Links to both these films online can be found here:
The latter website is the one for the annual London Korean Film Festival, which has now been going for around a decade and a half.
I’ll finish with some words on what the LKFF and KCCUK are doing with this uploading of films on there.
+ MORE “FREE FILMS”…!
Although circumstances for this may be sad – after all, these are times of a giant pandemic – I feel that by screening films in this way, the KCCUK are going in the right direction. Incidentally, it’s not just films from the Korean Film Night season which have recently emerged on their YouTube channel but at least one other, and one which has sadly left, as indeed “Jiseul” and “To The Last Day” may eventually.
The film I speak of here is a film by Garam Kangyu called “MY FATHER’S HOUSE”. It was screened for a limited period, as was a little introduction video by the director herself.
The name Garam Kangyu may be familiar to attendees of the London Korean Film Festival because a couple of years ago another film of hers was there: “CANDLE WAVE FEMINISTS”. I hope to post a review of that film soon, as well as the interview we conducted with this director. Watch this space.
Do you think I’m FINISHED with FREE Korean films? NO. A couple more online freebies:
If you missed the film “AIMLESS BULLET” at the London Korean Film Festival recently you can catch it online!
In addiction to that, the Oscar nominated short film regarding the Sewol Ferry tragedy, “IN THE ABSENCE” – which also recently had its UK Premiere – can also be watched.
Both of these are FREE and you can find links to them in this LKFF article:
LASTLY, AND JUST AS THIS ARTICLE WAS [FINALLY] GOING TO PRESS, THERE WAS NEWS OF YET MORE FREE FILMS:
- SEE HERE: http://koreanfilm.co.uk/news/matthew-barrington-ricardo-matos-cabo-recommend
- YET ANOTHER FREE Korean Film Season: https://miniminimovie.com/2020/07/03/korean-film-nights-trapped-free-korean-films/
***** 끝 *****
* Korean Film Nights “since 2008”: http://koreanfilm.co.uk/site/korean-film-nights-2020
** Photo below.
*** Correct me if I’m wrong.
**** Correct me if I’m wrong… again.
KCCUK Film Season Articles / Podcasts:
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Standing in the @KCCUK around a decade ago! Who would have known where this obsession would have taken me?! Not only filming several events in the #KoreanCulturalCentre UK itself & giving talks / speeches in South Korea but also interviewing many actors / directors / artists / musicians and really affecting films I make, video art I’ve been commissioned to do and 7 trips to KOREA itself, so far. #Hanbok #한복 #한 #정 #KOREANculture 🇰🇷 🇰🇵 @kccuk_exhibition @london_korean_film_festival #kccuk