Korea Dreaming is a festival devoted to contemporary South Korean cinema. The series celebrates one of the most vital film industries on the world stage, highlighting a national cinema which is the heart and soul of Korea's contemporary culture.
The commercial and critical success of recent Korean cinema was foreshadowed by the “golden age” of the 1950s and 60s - a time of renewal following the destruction of the film industry during the Korean War. Whilst still at the mercy of the political events, the emergence of talented and original auteurs enabled a subtle examination of Korea’s struggle to recover, reunite and modernise. A strict code of censorship caused a drastic decline in film-making in the 1970s followed by slow rebirth in the 1980s, when the country moved towards a more open democracy, and, by the late-1990s, a momentous renaissance.
Blossoming in the 21st century, Korean cinema is nourished by talented directors and writers, a robust domestic popular culture and commercial viability. A screen quota system, in which Korean theatres were required to devote significant space to locally produced movies, built an audience for the home-grown product. Subsequently Korean popular culture swept East Asia in what became known as hallya or the “Korean Wave", with cinema gaining worldwide prominence. Much of Korean cinema’s ongoing success can be attributed to its diversity, with films generally differing from the Hollywood product in their unpredictable plotting and their exploration of domestic social issues and politics. Frequently examining the women’s perspective in a traditional patriarchal society and the ramifications of living in a divided country, Korean cinema represents the collective dreams of a country rising against overwhelming odds, from a troubled history.
This series begins with a classic “golden age” film, The marines who never returned, directed by Lee Man-hui (1963), followed by a selection of contemporary popular and art cinema from directors such as Kim Ki-duk, Lee Chang-dong, Im Sang-soo, Park Chan-wook, Bong Joon-ho and Kim Dae-seung. Highlights of the season include a poignant drama of atonement and revenge, Samaritan girl (2003); a sensitive exploration of fantasy and reality, 3-iron (2003); a humanist depiction of outcast love,Oasis (2002); a beautiful and poetic Buddhist fable, Spring, summer, autumn, winter…and spring (2002); a bitter political comedy, The president’s last bang (2005); a chilling, hard-edged police corruption story, Memories of murder (2003); a scathing family drama, A good lawyers wife (2003); a period murder mystery, Blood rain (2005); a meticulously observed relationship drama, Jealousy is my middle name; a thrilling political allegory/monster movie, The host (2006); and a post-cold war melodrama depicting soldiers stationed on either side of the demilitarised zone, Joint security area (2000).
The series, curated by Robert Herbert, runs for 13 weeks from 11 March to 7 June 2009 and is supported with the generous assistance of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea.
Korea Dreaming screening schedule …
11 & 14 Mar - The marines who never returned, Dir: Lee man-hui 1963
18 & 22 Mar - Spring, summer, autumn, winter …and spring, Dir: Kim Ki-duk 2003
25 & 29 Mar - Samaritan girl, Dir: Kim Ki-duk 2004
1 & 5 Apr - Oasis, Dir: Lee Chang-dong 2002
8 & 12 Apr - The way home, Dir: Lee Jeong-hyang 2002
15 & 19 Apr - A good lawyers wife, Dir: Im Sang-soo 2003
22 & 26 Apr - Jealousy is my middle name Dir: Park Chan-ok 2002
29 Apr & 3 May - The president’s last bang, Dir: Im Sang-soo 2005
6 & 10 May - 3-iron, Dir: Kim Ki-duk 2004
13 & 17 May - Memories of murder, Dir: Bong Joon-ho 2003
20 & 24 May - Blood rain, Dir: Kim Dae-seung 2004
27 & 31 May - Joint security area, Dir: Park Chan-wook 2001
3 & 7 Jun - The host, Dir: Bong Joon-ho 2006
Supported by Korea Foundation, Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, Top Media Group, LG Electronics, Korea Chamber of Commerce in Australia, JCDecaux, Hyundai Motor Company, Orient Express Tour & Travel and Samhwa Printing.