Tuesday, January 17, 2017

London Korean Film Festival 3 to 17 November 2016.

Having enjoyed some of the films in previous year's festivals, I was looking forward to this year's
offerings though making a selection was not easy.
The Last Princess seen on 9 November is based on the true story of the last princess of Korea who
was sent as a child to Japan which had just annexed Korea.   Although she is promised a return
visit to see her family she is effectively held captive and eventually married to a Japanese prince.
Meeting a childhood friend with whom she falls in love she tries, with the help of him and his
friends, to escape but the Korean general who took her to Japan and has become all but Japanese
thwarts their plans.   Even when World War II ends, her return is refused and she grows old in
exile until she is finally allowed to return to Seoul to be greeted by her former servants and friends.
A solid, well-acted film with a strong emotional end.
A Fish seen on 11 November in 'homemade' 3D has a troubled professor looking for his wife.   He
hires a psychotic private detective who traces her to an island where she is training to be a shaman.
A number of disconnected episodes follow in what is decidedly one of the odder films I have seen
for a long time.
Alone came the next day and was also directed by Park Hong-min whose 3D film we had seen the
previous day.   Set in the labyrinthine back streets of one of the older districts of Seoul, the lead is
a photographer who sees a murder take place across the rooftops but he is spotted and chased to
escape eventually winding up naked in an alleyway.   The rest of the film has him wandering around
while trying to piece together what has happened to him.   He meets the same people, including a
young boy who may or may not be himself, more than once is what is well-photographed but rather
a disappointing film.

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