8th edition of Korean Film Festival Canada opens with The Woman Who Ran by Hong Sang-Soo, and The Apology by Tiffany Hsiung, with over 42 films around the world
In the early 2000s, the Korean New Wave was a shockwave to the cinematic sphere. To this day, films from South Korea are praised all over the world for their unique qualities. With talented women directors like YOON Ga-Eun and KIM Bora, contemporary Korean cinema is in very good hands. The 8th edition of the Korean Film Festival Canada (KFFC), starts on Sept. 30 and runs until Oct. 30, 2021. The festival will show more than 42 films from South Korea, Canada, and around the world, highlighting the theme “Women’s Perspectives, Narratives Beyond Borders (Series 2).” This year’s films explore coming-of-age journeys, desire, economic struggle, history, identity, inequality, motherhood, postpartum depression, war crimes, and more. The 8th edition is co-presented with the Consulate of the Republic of Korea in Montreal but organized solely by Korean Film Festival Canada, based in Montreal.
Korea: This 20-film selection includes contemporary works and classics of Korean cinema. Among the recent films are The Woman Who Ran by HONG Sang-Soo (70th Berlinale Silver Bear for best director); Our Body by HAN Garam, which was invited to TIFF and to festivals in Busan, Osaka, Hong Kong, Paris, Rome, and Budapest; and the phenomenal House of Hummingbird by KIM Bora. House of Hummingbird won an amazing 59 awards, including three at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York. (Best International Narrative Feature; Best Cinematography and Best Actress.)
Working with The Korean Film Archive (KOFA) programming team, we have selected nine from among the best of classical Korean films. They include The Widow (1953) by PARK Nam-Ok, who is celebrated as Korea’s first woman film director; the Korean New Wave films A Day Off by LEE Man-Hee (1968) and The Insect Woman (1972) by KIM Ki-Young; the New Korean Cinema films Declaration of Idiot (1984) by LEE Chang-Ho and Whale Hunting (1984) by BAE Chang-Ho. IM Kwon-Taek’s Seopyeonje (1993) is credited with helping to revive interest in pansori, a traditional musical form dating back to the 17th century. These classic Korean films are presented free of charge, thanks to KOFA.
Side-By-Side: This category showcases films from around the world made by Canadians, Asian-Canadians and international filmmakers of Asian heritage. Films include, Adoption après 30 ans (2020) by Kimura Byol-Nathalie Lemoine; Dear Pyongyang (2005) by Yang Yonghi; and Rustic Oracle (2019) by Sonia Bonspille Boileau.
Carte Blanche: Multi-Monde: KFFC celebrates artistic achievement by bestowing a programming section upon an artist, production house or distribution company. This year, the honour goes to Multi-Monde, a Canadian company that distributes and produces “films that touch the heart, inform and awaken the mind.” Their five mesmerizing choices are Honour Your Word (2013) by Martha Stiegman, Kababaihan: Filipina Portraits (1989) and Brown Women, Blond Babies (1991) by Marie Boti and Malcolm Guy, Tibet: Land of the Brave (2011) by Geneviève Brault and Merging Colours (1999) by Belle Kei Wing Wong.
All About Family: A universal figure, the mother occupies a treasured place in the hearts of artists. Short films like the fabulous animation KKUM (2020) by KIM Kang-Min, No Crying at the Dinner Table (2019) by Carol Nguyen, or Single Fire (2019) by Alice Il Shin are delicate cinematic works that offer a deep dive into the intricate relations of families.
Experimental: From Canada to South Korea, showcases films from bold, innovative women directors with new and inventive ways of challenging gender and social norms. Actually, Korean women filmmakers have been at the avant-garde of cinema for more than 50 years. We will show The Hole (1973) and Colour of Korea (1986) by HAN Okhi, who is known as the pioneer of Korean experimental women filmmakers. She has led her woman-only, experimental-film group, Kaidu, since 1974.
Indigenous: This section gives a voice to women who have often been ignored by mainstream society. In The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open (2019) by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn, a prickly relationship between two very different Indigenous women begins after a chance encounter in a rainy Vancouver street. Áila, played by director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, instinctively takes Rosie to the safety of her own apartment, to get her away from her abusive partner. Marie’s Dictionary (2015) by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is about the last speaker of the Wukchumni language who created a dictionary of her language. Honour Your Word (2013) takes us behind the barricades as the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, Quebec, defend their traditional territory from clear-cutting and mining. If cinema can help heal wounds and preserve a trace of disappearing cultures, then this category would be one of its brightest proof.
War-Zone Bodies: ‘War-Zone bodies’ explores the unforgivable atrocities committed against the comfort women during World War II, and the lives of those women since the war. The KFFC presents a three-film package, with two documentaries – Murmuring Voices II (1997) by BYUN Young-Joo, The Apology (2016) by Tiffany Hsiung and the fictional film I Can Speak (2017) by KIM Hyeon-Seok.
Where We Come From: Can our unresolved past affect our current identity? As immigrants or children of immigrants, is there still time to reconnect with a distant part of ourselves that might seem lost? This category features stories by women asking those very same profound questions. “Where do we come from,” and why does it matter?
Zainichi (Korean-Japanese): The term “Zainichi,” which means “foreigner staying in Japan,” is mostly used to describe Japanese residents (are they citizens?) of Korean descent. The identity struggle between one’s nationality and ethnicity is experienced by many diasporic communities worldwide. Dear Pyongyang falls into this category, too.
Venues and Tickets
Films can be watched online from September 30 through to October 30. Tickets for online films are available on KFFC’s website: (https://koreanfilm.ca/ticket). A single ticket costs $6.50, a Festival Pass costs $19.50.
The Woman Who Ran by HONG Sang-Soo will be shown at Casa d’Italia (505 Rue Jean-Talon E., entrance on Berri) on October 3 at 6:30 pm, October 9 at 4:00 pm, and October 14 at 6:30 pm. Tickets for The Woman Who Ran must be purchased here: