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Korean Film News

Cannes Taps PENINSULA and HEAVEN: TO THE LAND OF HAPPINESS for Official Lineup

Jun 11, 2020
  • Writerby Pierce Conran
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3rd Cannes Selections for Directors YEON Sang-ho and IM Sang-soo


Though the festival will not take place this year owing to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Cannes Film Festival announced its 73rd official selection on the evening of June 3rd. Among the 56 titles for this unusual 2020 edition, which features no sections, are a pair of Korean films - YEON Sang-ho’s Peninsula and IM Sang-soo’s Heaven: To the Land of Happiness. Both filmmakers have had two films featured at Cannes in the past. 

Peninsula is the hotly anticipated big-budget sequel to TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016), the global zombie smash which bowed in the Midnight Screenings section at Cannes in 2016. The events of Peninsula take place four years after those of TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016), as various factions of survivors fend for themselves in a land that has descended into a lawless dystopia. The film features a new cast, led by GANG Dong-won (The Priests, 2015) and LEE Jung-hyun (The Battleship Island, 2017). YEON’s debut, the animation The King of Pigs (2011), was also featured in Cannes, in the Directors’ Fortnight lineup in 2012. Peninsula is handled internationally by Contents Panda and will be released domestically by Next Entertainment World in July.

Making a return to the Cannes lineup after an eight year absence is veteran filmmaker IM Sang-soo, with Heaven: To the Land of Happiness. Starring CHOI Min-shik (Forbidden Dream, 2019) and PARK Hae-il (The King’s Letters, 2019), the film is a road movie about a man who escapes from prison and embarks on the road to happiness with a man he meets by chance. Director IM has had two films in Cannes before, both in competition - The Housemaid in 2010 and The Taste of Money in 2012. International sales are handled by Finecut on the film which was produced by Hive Media Corp. No local release date has been set so far.

Korean films have long been a prominent fixture on the Croisette, reaching a high point in 2019 when BONG Joon-ho’s PARASITE became the first ever Korean film to earn the coveted Palme d’Or. It went on to box office glory and notched many historic firsts, including becoming the first ever foreign language film to Best Picture at the Academy Awards earlier this year, where it won a total of four prizes.

While no festival will take place on the Croisette this year, films receiving the official selection badge can expect a boost to their distribution hopes and many may appear at major events later this year, provided they go ahead. Meanwhile, an online edition of the Cannes Film Market is scheduled to take place from June 22nd to 26th.
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