Korean Film Nights continue with a second season for 2019 ‘Love Without Boundaries’ – a programme of titles exploring Korean cinema’s bold exploration of romantic relationships existing on society’s margins.
Love, in its many guises, has always been a central concern in cinema. From the long-established vision presented in Hollywood studio pictures to the local dialect of any national cinema, romance has always had a place on film. Outside of cinema’s mainstream however, many exemplary filmmakers have long strove to represent a range of transgressive love stories in their work, bucking the idealised view codified in typical cinema fare. Delving deep into the key works from Korean cinema that have pushed against socially-accepted views of love and relationships, our season seeks to offer a snapshot into a diverse range of people and attitudes not typically seen on screens.
Comprised of six unique works from some of Korean cinema’s boldest voices from the past two decades (plus one remarkable early feature from 1956), our season explores representations of love located on the fringes of the cinematic landscape of their time. Challenging preconceived notions of what love should be, these films push up against societal views of what’s considered ‘normal’ to depict a variety of romantic relationships and the powerful human emotions they elicit. Encompassing taboo-busting depictions of same-sex romances and other marginalised individuals, the season offers a range of perspectives on bold, challenging subjects, offering a rare fully-realised and compassionate vision of people struggling for acceptance.
In our current social climate, past norms concerning gender, sexual orientation, and race, are increasingly being questioned and we’re seeing a sustained fight for diversity and inclusion in the film industry, both behind the camera and in front of it. ‘Love Without Boundaries’ aims to show how Korean filmmakers have pushed against societal norms by giving voice to characters who are not out to change the world, but are trying to live their lives and embrace their passions as best they can.
Screenings take place at the Korean Cultural Centre UK and Birkbeck Cinema and are free to attend. More info here.
A Girl at my Door 도희야 / Thursday 4th July, 7pm / KCCUK
Screened in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2014, July Jung’s directorial debut follows lesbian police officer Young-nam (Bae Doona, The Host) after she is stationed to a quiet provincial town following a personal scandal.
No Regret 후회하지 않아 / Thursday 11th July, 7pm / KCCUK
Regarded as the first South Korean feature from an openly gay filmmaker, No Regret follows the complicated love and working life of a young man after he heads to Seoul and finds work at a factory and as a ‘taeri’- a designated driver for wealthy patrons after a night of drinking.
The Hand of Fate 운명의 손 / Thursday 18th July, 7pm / KCCUK
This melodramatic spy-thriller utilises a visually striking, film-noir style, and acts not only as anti-communist propaganda, but also as a commentary on the shifting roles and expectations of Korean women.
Love Without Boundaries: Shorts Night / Thursday 25th July, 6:30pm / Birkbeck Cinema
Love Without Boundaries presents Queer Love: Loving Outside the Mainstream, a night of short films, revolving around a strong central theme of LGBTQ+ struggles within South Korea.
Wanee & Junah 와니와 준하 / Thursday 1st August, 7pm / KCCUK
Wanee is a disenchanted animator living in the city with her scriptwriter boyfriend Junah, but cracks begin to show in their outwardly peaceful relationship when childhood friend So-yang visits in this taboo-breaking forbidden love drama.
Oasis 오아시스 / Thursday 8th August, 7pm / KCCUK
Burning director Lee Chang-dong won Venice’s Silver Lion for his challenging portrayal of the relationship between a woman with cerebral palsy (Moon So-ri, Little Forest) and a man (Sul Kyung-gu, Memoir of a Murderer) fresh out of jail for manslaughter.