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5 Must-watch Korean Films at the 27th BIFF with Full of Audiences in 3 Years

Oct 11, 2022
  • Writerby Hellen Park
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From a Veteran Director’s Social Critical Film to New Directors’ Amazing Debut Films




The 27th Busan International Film Festival, the largest film festival in Asia, opened on Oct. 5 and is in its middle stages. This year, the film festival's goal of holding a ‘normal film festival in every way’ in 3 years after the COVID-19 Pandemic seems to be successful. The theaters, which use all seats without distancing, have been enjoying sellouts every single day, and the audience filling the seats and the filmmakers visiting Busan are actively meeting through many events.


The 27th Busan International Film Festival will screen a total of 354 films (243 official invitations from 71 countries and 111 films for Community BIFF Screenings) until the 14th. Among them, we introduce 5 anticipated Korean films that receive hot attention at BIFF this year. 


Korean Cinema Today - Special Premiere

The Boys, Chung Jiyoung’s New Film, the Master of Korean Social Conscience Film



In 1999, a robber breaks into a supermarket in a small town, killing an elderly woman and running away. The police identifies three boys as the culprits and quickly close the investigation. Soon after, Hwang Juncheol (Sul Kyunggu), who is newly appointed as the chief of the squad, is convinced that Choi Woosung (Yu Junsang), a high-ranking police officer, and his team have manipulated the case for a quick result. Hwang attempts a reinvestigation and retrial with his unique persistent and robust investigation capacity. Based on a true story, The Boys is the latest feature by Chung Jiyoung, a director known for creating compelling films that blend fact and fiction. The movie unfolds a small hero narrative that warms the hearts of the weak while enhancing the genre′s fun by moving back and forth between the past and the present. Star-studded casts stand out, including Sul Kyunggu, Yu Junsang, Jin Kyung, Heo Sungtae, and Yeom Hyeran


Korean Cinema Today - Special Premiere 

20 Century Girl, the Splendid First Love Film by New Director Bang Woori



Yeondu (Noh Yoonseo) asks her best friend Bora (Kim Youjung) to collect all the information she can about Baek Hyunjin (Park Jungwoo) while she is away in the U.S. for heart surgery. Bora decides to get close to Baek’s best friend, Pung Woonho (Byeon Wooseok) first. However, Bora′s clumsy plan unfolds in an unexpected direction. In 1999, a year before the new century, Bora, who turns seventeen, falls into the fever of first love. Director Bang Woori′s 20th Century Girl is about both the joys and the sorrows of puppy love. 20th Century Girl conveys a warmth toward its characters that imbues a feeling of nostalgia for the 20th century and optimism for what will come in the 21st century. 


New Currents

Hail to Hell, Director Lim Ohjeong's Debut Film That Received Hot Responses from the Audience



Nami and Sunwoo, who have been suffering from bullying and school violence throughout their school days, attempt suicide while their classmates go on a school trip. The story makes us anticipate unbearable tragedies, but the story of Hail to Hell is somehow lively and unpredictable. After the silly yet ridiculous suicide failure, the two try to take revenge on Chaerin, who bullied them most and now lives happily in Seoul. However, their plans go awry. Ridiculously, Chaerin, the worst bully ever, has found religion and has turned into a genuinely good person. What should they do now? Hail to Hell is a fascinating adventure story and an ironic moral drama created by a storyteller who combines outlandish planning and imagination. 


Korean Cinema Today - Vision

Beyond, Director Lee Haram’s Debut Film Equipped with New Charms Perfectly 



During the Korean War, a deserter finds a mute boy’s hut and steals his meager meal. Later, while his sister is away, a ghost visits the boy, who is now on the verge of starvation, and leads him to hell. A mournful children′s song accompanies this sad fairytale-like story, but despite its serious themes, the story still features a kind of playfulness. It is a mixture of intentionally blurred and disturbing silent cinematic images reminiscent of Guy Maddin′s early films, bizarre impressions of Korean horror films, and the primary color techniques of animation. Beyond is a travelogue and fantasy at the same time, where audiovisual stubbornness and originality shine on the premise of a defiant imagination.


Korean Cinema Today - Vision

The Dream Songs, an Amazing Directorial Debut by Actor Cho Hyunchul Who Receives Attention



On a bright spring day before a school trip, Semi falls asleep on one side of the classroom and suddenly awakens in tears over an ominous dream. She runs to Haeun, who is in the hospital after injuring her leg in a bicycle accident. Semi and Haeun are best friends. The film depicts a special day between the two. A spring day, puppy love, jealousy, friendship, small misunderstandings, shameful confessions, anxiety and wacky wit, red nose tips and ears, or the heels and dead skin cells in dreams, the verdant hill behind the village and the yellowish sunset—every small thing that makes up the world gathers up here and creates an unexplained and brilliant atmosphere, completing a kind of dreaming vision. The Dream Songs is full of vitality even in its sad moments.

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