Toronto Korean Film Festival – Film Lineup
Image courtesy of Toronto Korean Film Festival
It’s almost time for the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF)! Are you excited? I am! TKFF launches on Friday with its opening film, Secret Sunshine (밀양), followed by the opening party at Lee’s Palace, which is sure to be a rocking one! For information on tickets and locations, scroll to the bottom of the post, for information on what’s playing… keep reading.
Want to know what to expect at TKFF?
Friday June 22 – Opening Night
The opening film is Secret Sunshine 밀양 (2007) and will show at 7pm. I’ll be honest, this is one of the few films playing that I had never heard of but some quick research showed that this award-winning film (including a ‘Best Actress’ at Cannes) will be an emotional tear-jerker. I’m definitely bringing tissues as I’m sure to cry. It’s about a young recent widow who moves with her young son from Seoul to the small town on Miryang (the Korean title) after her husband’s death. In the middle of rebuilding her life, another tragedy strikes and her life is altered yet again.
Friday is also the time for the opening party, which will be at Lee’s Palace (Bloor & Bathurst). The doors open at 10 and the party will start rocking at 10:30pm. Fabulous tunes will be spun by DJ Jaybe. Seriously, I’ve heard DJ Jaybe several times and he plays great music… I can’t wait to dance. You can also buy tickets to the opening night party only for $10.
Saturday June 23 – Horror Night
Epitaph 기담 (2007) is the first showing at 6pm. This film is set in 1942 in Seoul near the end of the Japanese colonial rule. It’s a horror film set in a hospital involving a young intern, his deceased finance who committed suicide (whom he never met), a 10 year-old victim of a car accident and a serial killer.
A Tale of Two Sisters 장화,홍련 (2003) is the second film of the night, showing at 9pm. This horror film, inspired by a Korean folk tale, is about two young sisters, the step-mother and their father. The sisters, whom had been hospitalized in a psychiatric facility, return home to the unwelcoming care of their step-mother. The situation becomes progressively unstable as secrets and horror unravel.
Sunday June 24 – Sci-Fi Night
Invasion of Alien Bikini 에일리언 비키니 (2011) will be the first film of the night, showing at 6pm. This sci-fi film has an interesting premise… a beautiful female alien needs to collect human sperm (yep, you read that right) to get pregnant. She’s ‘rescued’ by a self-styled virgin superhero and the film follows her attempt to seduce him while he tries to hold onto his virginity. Be forewarned… apparently it gets quite violent.
Save the Green Planet! 지구를 지켜라! (2003) will show at 9pm. It’s a film of alien conspiracy, kidnapping, torture and revenge. This isn’t a classic sci-fi movie but rather a blending of sci-fi and horror. Violent, but with some interesting plot twists, this award-winning film is a must see.
Monday June 25
* No shows *
Tuesday June 26
Korean-Canadian Shorts will start screening at 7pm. For more information on each of the shorts, click the link.
- D.C. al Fine (2012)
- A Drummer’s Passion (2010)
- In Retrospect (2011)
- Numbers (2012)
- My Grandpa (2011)
- Open Invitation (2012)
- Death Buy Lemonade (2010)
Wednesday June 27
Korean Indie Shorts will also start screening at 7pm. Click the link for more info.
- Nan Jian Wan Zi 난자완스 (2012)
- Ari 아리 (2011)
- Etude Solo 에튀드 솔로 (2011)
- The Ordinary People 보통의 존재 (2011)
- Mark’s Festival 마크의 축제
- Sera 쎄라 (2011)
- Metamorphoses 변신이야기 (2011)
Thursday June 28
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring 봄 여름 가을 겨울 그리고 봄 (2003) will be the only film on Thursday and it will show at 7pm. This film follows a Buddhist monk throughout the “seasons” of his life as he grows up from childhood to adulthood to old age. It is a tale of human emotions and growth.
Friday June 29
The documentary Planet of Snail 달팽이의 별 (2010) will screen first at 6pm. If you missed this doc during this year’s Hot Docs, now is your chance to watch it. This is a heartwarming love story of deaf-blind Young-chan and his wife, Soon-ho, who has a spinal disability.
Mother 마더 (2009) is the other screening on Friday at 9pm. Set in a small town in Korea, it’s the story of a mother’s love & devotion to her intellectually disabled son. He’s accused of killing a high school girl and she sets about proving his innocence. It debuted at Cannes.
Saturday June 30
The animation film, Leafie, A Hen into the Wild 마당을 나온 암탉 (2011), will be the first film of the night at 6pm. A story of motherhood and family through the eyes of a hen who has always wanted to raise her own young and the duckling she raises as her own.
The second screening will be Failan 파이란 (2001) at 9pm. It’s the story of a low-level gangster and his deceased wife – whom he never met. She’d had come to Korea looking for family and marries through a broker for a visa. A letter that arrives after her death forces him to re-evaluate his life choices.
Sunday July 1 – Closing Night
First up is Sympathy for Lady Vengeance 친절한 금자씨 (2005) at 6pm. This is the third film in Park Chan Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy (Old Boy was the second and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance was the first). It tells the tale of wrongly imprisoned young woman (for kidnapping and murder) who upon her release, sets upon both a revenge mission against the real killer and to find her daughter.
The final film of the night – and of TKFF – is Old Boy 올드보이 (2003) at 9pm. This is probably the most well-known Korean film to Western audiences and is being remade by Hollywood. Old Boy is about a man who was imprisoned in a hotel room for 15 years without knowing why. When released, he sets out on a quest for revenge but things are not as simple as they seem.
While there isn’t a bad film in the mix, I can’t decide which film I’m most excited for. I’ve already talked a little about how much of a wimp I am when it comes to horror movies and I often cover my eyes at extreme violence in films as well but that’s not going to stop me from watching A Tale of Two Sisters or Sympathy for Lady Vengeance – two of the films I’m most excited about. I’ve heard (and read) nothing but good things about both. Both of the films on Sci-Fi Night seem extremely quirky, odd and violent, which makes me think they will either be amazing or simply strange – Save the Green Planet! has some great reviews so if you can only see one… But I think Mother is the film I most want to see – of the full length films. Many of my friends though, highly recommend Leafie.
However, I’m very intrigued by the line-ups of both Korean-Canadian Shorts (on Tuesday June 26) and the Korean-Indie Shorts (on Wednesday June 27). D.C. al Fine, Death Buy Lemonade, Nan Jian Wan Zi 난자완스, The Ordinary People 보통의 존재, Metamorphoses 변신이야기 all sound interesting. So don’t forget to check out the shorts on Tuesday and Wednesday!
Regardless of your taste in films, TKFF has something for everyone! Come on out and experience Korean films. And as always, if you see me, come say “Hi!”
Just the Facts:
- What: Toronto Korea Film Festival (TKFF)
- When: June 22-July 1
- Where: All screenings are at Innis Hall (2 Sussex Avenue) – Opening party is at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor Street West)
- Why: Great films, learn about Korea & Korean culture
- How much: see below
- Where to buy tickets: see below. Please note: advance tickets will only be sold until June 21st. From June 22nd-July1st, tickets will be sold at Innis Town Hall only.
- For more info: Check out TKFF’s website
Image courtesy of Toronto Korean Film Festival