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Korean films continue to captivate at international film festivals

Korean films have continued to capture worldwide attention at a number of prestigious international film festivals. Two Korean films in competition for best short at the 61st Berlin International Film Festival, “Night Fishing” and “Broken Night,” both won awards, while other Korean films like “The Journals of Musan” and “Oki’s Movie” triumphed at the 40th International Film Festival Rotterdam, which wrapped up on February 6.

Korean films in the spotlight at the Berlin International Film Festival

On February 20, the Berlinale awarded PARKing CHANce, a collaboration by brothers Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong with the Golden Bear for “Night Fishing” and director Yang Hyo-joo with the Jury Prize Silver Bear for ”Broken Night.”

Broken Night (left) directed by Yang Hyo-joo and Night Fishing by the Park Brothers won the Jury Prize and the Gold Bear Award at 2011 Berlin International Film Festival (Photo courtesy of the Korean Film Council)

“Night Fishing” was one of the first films to be shot completely on an iPhone. “Broken Night” was made by Yang as her graduation piece for the School of Film at the Korea National University of the Arts.

Still from Night Fishing (Photo courtesy of Innocean Worldwide)

The Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, Choung Byoung-gug, sent a congratulatory message to the directors, saying that the awards recognize the global level of their films and artistic creativity. He also urged the directors to continue promoting Korean films overseas.

“Journals of Musan” wins at International Film Festival Rotterdam

The International Film Festival Rotterdam, which drew a close on February 6, honored “The Journals of Musan” by Park Jung-bum, with the Tiger Award. The award is given for debut and second feature films only, to encourage new and talented directors. The film also received the FIRPRESCI Award from the International Federation of Film Critics.

“The Journals of Musan” examines the life of a North Korean refugee struggling with capitalist life in South Korea.  Prior to wining the Tiger and FIRPRESCI awards, the film also took the “Etoile d’or” at the 10th Marrakech International Film Festival in December.

Still from The Journals of Musan (Photo courtesy of Jinjin Pictures)

Established in 1972, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, nicknamed the “Sundance of Europe,” is one of the most important international film festivals, offering a wide variety of independent and experimental works. “Bleak Night” by director Yoon Sung-hyun was also nominated for the festival, along with 14 other works.

Another Korean film that picked up honors was “Oki’s Movie” by Hong Sang-soo, which took the Return of the Tiger Award. The Return of the Tiger Award is given to previous Tiger Award winners. Hong previously won in 1997 for his movie “The Day a Pig Fell into the Well.”

Cannes-winning “Poetry” to have global release extended

“Poetry,” featuring actress Yun Jung-hee, was also on view at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. Written and directed by noted Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong, “Poetry” is now playing in five different cities in Holland. The Korean movie, which won for best screenplay last May at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival, received positive reviews from local critics while making a strong impression during the screening in France last August.

Director Lee Chang-dong’s fifth work, “Poetry” (Photo from official web page)

“Poetry” also premiered in Manhattan at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema and Quad Cinema near Union Square. In conjunction with its release on February 11, the New York Times covered the Cannes’ selection through the review, “Consider an Apple, Consider the World.” “Poetry” was also featured in the New York Times’ film section on Feb. 4. To read the reviews, click here: or

By Hwang Dana Staff Writer


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