The Freer and the AFI have done it again! This year’s Korean Film Festival DC, which begins this Friday, brings an exciting and eclectic mix of new and classic Chungmuro cinema to the District, including a special focus on female directors that includes in-person appearances by Yim Soon-rye, presenting her films Forever the Moment and Waikiki Brothers. With enough content to split between two venues, there’s plenty to see, but I’m especially excited about a few in particular:
Crush and Blush, the debut film from writer/director Lee Kyung-mi (who took home prizes for both at the 29th Blue Dragon Awards), has already garnered comparisons to Almodovar and been called an “anti-romantic comedy.” In addition, it’s also the first film to be produced by Park Chan-wook, the director of Oldboy and the upcoming priest-turned-vampire(!) film Thirst.
Daytime Drinking, which could be described as a Korean take on Sideways, is director Noh Young-seok’s soju-soaked take on the buddy road movie. This one will see limited arthouse distribution in the US later this year (there’s even an English-language website and a trailer on Apple’s site), but you won’t see it free anywhere except the Freer.
Another debut feature, director Na Hong-Jin’s The Chaser (pictured above) took the number 2 spot at the Korean box office last year and swept the Blue Dragon Awards with four statues, including Best Picture and Best Director. A cop-turned-pimp played by Kim Yun-seok (Tazza: the High Rollers) must use the skills of his former profession when one of his girls is kidnapped by a serial killer. See this one before the now-obligatory American remake, which is already happening with screenwriter William Monahan and “remake king” Roy Lee. Monahan and Lee both worked on The Departed, Scorcese’s shot-for-shot remake of Hong Kong director Andrew Lau Wai-keung’s Infernal Affairs.