A scene from the opening of the 16th London Korean Film Festival “Escape from Mogadishu” directed by Ryoo Seung-wan. (Korean Cultural Center UK)
The festival organizer announced that it will screen 35 Korean films of various genres, including independent films, classic films, animated films and short films.
Last year, the annual event took place as a hybrid online and offline festival due to the pandemic, but this year all films will be screened at nine local cinemas in London.
“Escape from Mogadiscio” directed by Ryoo Seung-wan was selected to open the festival.
Set in Somalia in 1991 – as the two Koreas fought for membership in the United Nations and each sought to prevent the inclusion of the other – the film begins with a scene between South Korean Ambassador to Somalia Han Shin -sung (played by Kim Yoonseok) and Kang Dae-jin (Jo In-sung), a spy for the National Security Planning Agency. The two discuss how to prevent the North Korean ambassador (played by Heo Jun-ho) from establishing a stronger relationship with the Somali government. But then, civil war breaks out in Somalia and diplomats from both Koreas are put in a situation where they have to cooperate.
Ryoo’s film was recently chosen as Korea’s entry into the Best International Feature Film category at the 94th Academy Awards.
The closing film of the 16th Korean Film Festival in London is “Heaven: To the Land of Happiness” directed by Im Sang-soo.
Im’s movie centers on two men: # 203 (played by Choi Min-sik) and Nam-sik (played by Park Hye-il). The aging # 203 is a longtime prisoner who has only a few months left before his release. One day, while still waiting, # 203 discovers that he only has two weeks left to live due to a brain tumor. Hearing the news, he escapes from prison. On the run, he meets Nam-sik, who suffers from an incurable disease.
This South Korean boyfriend film was shortlisted for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival official selection. Additionally, it premiered at the 26th Busan International Film Festival.
A scene from director Kim Ki-young’s “Fire Woman” starring Youn Yuh-jung which will be screened at the 16th Korean Film Festival in London. (Korean Cultural Center UK)
By Song Seung-hyun ([email protected])