The Korean Competition section was also added last year to highlight the accomplishments of Korean female directors and encourage gender equality in the film industry. Seven feature films by Korean female directors have been invited to compete this year following a thorough screening process, 2 more than the previous edition, while a total of 26 films applied to take part representing a 20% increase from last year’s 21 films. The invited films are diverse both in genre, incorporating narrative, documentary, experimental, and more, and in terms of subject matter, exploring women’s solidarity, women’s personal lives and histories, everyday violence, sexuality, maternal love, disability, diaspora, and modern tragedy. This variety of work shows that Korean female directors have been active filmmakers in terms of both content and form. The seven selected films contain feminist perspectives and ethical explorations on contemporary themes.
Sub-zero Wind is director KIM Yuri’s debut feature film, and is a warm yet strong story of the solidarity of two girls who experience hardship and attempt to move on. A Bedsore is director SHIM Hyejung’s first feature-length film after a series of experimental shorts. The film delicately depicts the disturbance that arises within a family following the discovery of a bedsore on their mother’s back. Nothing Or Everything by KIM Gyeol exudes a unique power emphasized through the close-ups of LEE Yooyoung and KWON Sohyun. A War of Memories by LEEKIL Bora records the bodies and testimonies of the survivors of a civilian massacre by Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War, and tries to stand in solidarity with them. Tiptoeing by KWON Woojung reveals the courage of the director as she confronts her anxieties and conflicts while raising her daughter, who exhibits certain disabilities. The Fearless And Vulnerable by JEON Sungyeon and Us, Day by Day by KANGYU Garam are screened as world premieres. The two documentaries explore contemporary issues facing Korean feminists in their 30s and 40s, and record the activities of feminists in their 20s who surrounded Exit 10 of Gangnam Station following the Gangnam Murder Case. The two documentaries show that while it seems impossible these days to challenge and incite through film, it is important to realize it is still possible in the realm of the feminist movement films. Seven films, employing a variety of genres and subject matters, will compete for the Best Korean Film Award which grants the victor a trophy and 10 million KRW cash prize.
KWON Eunhye / Programmer