2014

The History of C.C.C (2): 2014 Toronto Korean Film Festival

The History of C.C.C (Corea-Canada Cooperation) covers the history of friendly relations between Korea and Canada which had started in the Joseon Dynasty era. (And during that period, Korea was known as “Corea” instead of “Korea” to the international society.) The History of C.C.C will be in reverse order, starting from contemporary issues between Korea and Canada and tracing back to activities of Canadian missionaries in Korea during the late Joseon Dynasty.

 

The first article of the History of C.C.C was Korean Language Classes in the Korean Consulate General in Toronto (https://korcan50years.com/2014/05/15/the-history-of-c-c-c-1-korean-language-classes-in-the-korean-consulate-general-in-toronto/). Today, I will cover the 3rd annual Toronto Korean Film Festival held on May 27 to May 29 at Cinecycle (129 Spadina Avenue) and on May 30 to May 31 at AGO Jackman Hall (317 Dundas Street West).

 

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Toronto Korean Film Festival has been held by a non-profit organization since 2012 with the aims of introducing Korean cinema to the Canadian society and supporting local Korean filmmakers. The theme of this year is “On the fringe (경계의 사람들)”:

“Korean society is often represented as entirely homogeneous. In reality, this is not the case. Various groups, such as Korean-Canadians, Zainichi (Korean residents in Japan), and the LGBTQ community are in fact socially and politically underrepresented and marginalized. This year, TKFF aims to expand upon this theme through Korean cinema, showcasing the experiences of people who live within ‘the fringe.’ We invite the Canadian community to engage with this year’s program, consisting of various shorts, independent and feature films.” (from the official booklet)

 

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Among 1 Korean classics, 4 Zainichi short films, 6 Korean Queer short films, 8 Korean short films, and 4 feature films, I watched two feature films: BROKEN (방황하는 칼날) directed by Jung-ho Lee and OUR HOMELAND (가족의 나라) directed by Yong-hi Yang.

 

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Director Jung-ho Lee’s BROKEN illustrates tragic struggles of a father whose daughter was raped to death at an abandoned public bathhouse. The father feels so helpless in front of his daughter’s death that his heart is swelling with indignation. Eventually he expresses his anger into the revenge on the students who were responsible for his daughter’s death.

 

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“Life no longer exists to parents who lost their children…”

The movie BROKEN describes the distorted expression of the father’s despair and hopelessness in juxtaposition with puerility of the involved teenagers who feel helplessly scared in front of their responsibilities, which makes the audience feel poignant and hard to make a judgement about the situations.

 

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The second feature film OUR HOMELAND directed by Yong-hi Yang is about a “Zainichi (a second-generation Korean resident in Japan)” family who is temporarily reunited with a son/brother who has lived in North Korea after division.  The movie captures the confusion of estrangement which other family members who has lived in the democratic and capitalistic culture of Japan go through facing the totally different culture of “the son/brother’s country.”

 

Both movies deal with people who feel precarious  “on the fringe”, either a father who cannot do anything in front of his daughter’s loss or a family who struggles to embrace their son/brother from a hostile country. They are not emotionally provocative. Instead, each movie introduces a marginalized part of the Korean society with equanimity, which makes the audience ponder upon the situations from different perspectives before jumping into value judgement.

 

 

The poster of BROKEN from: http://newsdesk.widecoverage.co.kr/news/article.html?no=17335

The poster of OUR HOMELAND from: http://img.sbs.co.kr/newsnet/etv/upload/2013/01/22/30000220017_700.jpg

 

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