Arts & Living
2009JIFF Kicks Off on April 30 for 9-Day Run
Screening Over 200 Films from 42 Countries
Associate Editor & Writer
independent art house film festival, will celebrate the 10th anniversary as it kicks off on April 30, 2009 in the provincial city of Jeonju for its annual nine-day run.This year's film submissions increased 24 percent compared with previous year. Among the total of 1,172 films sent from 62 countries, 200 films were specially selected from 42 countries for this year's festival.Jeonju, capital of the North Jeolla Province, is about three hours southwest of Seoul, with a fine reputation for its hospitality and traditional Korean food and historic architecture. In particular Jeonju is famous for its signature dish, "bibimbap," which is mixed rice and vegetables with gochujang (red pepper paste).In addition, it is also a city of exceptional beauty, which possesses some of Korea's finest surviving traditional architecture in juxtaposition with some very well designed modern buildings and state of the art universities.
A retrospective on the Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski, who recently returned to the big screen after a 17 year absence with his latest critically acclaimed "Four Nights with Anna" (2008), will include, some of his finest and most memorable contributions to international cinema, since the 1960’s. Damien Betrand’s 2003 TV documentary "Against the Clock: Skolimowski, Filmmaker, Painter, Poet", will also be shown, giving an insight into the life and work of this important artist. Skolimowski will also visit the JIFF in person and give a discussion on his work at one of the festival’s "Cinetalk" events.
THAILAND | 2008 | 122MIN | HD | COLOR
DIR_ URUPHONG RAKSASAD
Director Raksasad, has been making documentaries on his rural hometown that embodies the traditional way of Thai agriculture, this has almost disappeared since the industrialization and mechanization in this recent film, Agrarian Utopia. The director actually rented out the land to shoot the film for four seasons. Agrarian Utopia quietly, reports the sacrificed life of farmers who have suffered from the government’s policies that is only concerned with the economic growth of the country. One of the farmers deplorably says in this film, “How can we dream of utopia while our stomach is still grumbling?”
MEXICO, FRANCE, USA | 2008 | 90MIN | 35MM| COLOR
DIR_ AMAT ESCALANTE
This Southern California‐lensed drama consists of long stretches of dreary quotidian activity shrouded in dread due to something very bad you know is coming, all in the interests of presenting a rigorously reductive slice of earthly hell. Picʹs commercial prospects remain similar to those always faced by the directorʹs mentor and co‐producer, Carlos Reygadas."City of the World"
GERMANY | 2008 | 105MIN | DIGIBETA| COLOR
DIR_ CHRISTIAN KLANDT
An idyllic German town is not what it appears to be. Christain Klandt’s first feature film presents the twenty‐four hours leading up to the moment when two drunk teenage boys,
Till and Karsten, murder a homeless man. Failures at their jobs and in their personal relationships, the lives of these boys fill with a deadly boredom that threatens to carry them over the edge."The Exploding Girl"
USA | 2008 | 79MIN | HD | COLOR
DIR_ BRADLEY RUST GRAY
Twenty‐year old Ivy heads home for college spring‐break to New York with a fresh romance in her heart. When her best friend Al can’t find a place to stay, she asks her mother to take him in. Spending time in the city together strengthens their friendship, while Ivy’s boyfriend grows more distant. Although troubled, Ivy keeps her emotions in check, until her feelings become something she can’t control."The Happiest Girl in the World"
ROMANIA, NETHERLANDS | 2008 | 100MIN | 35MM | COLOR
DIR_ RADU JUDE
Delia has won an expensive car. She comes with her parents to Bucharest for the testimonial shooting ‐ the proof that she really won the prize. During the shooting Delia has long talks with her parents ‐ that eventually turn into ugly arguments: Delia wants to keep the car, while her parents want to sell it. What seemed to be a lucky event at the beginning, eventually becomes for Delia an extreme and emotionally painful situation, in which she has to rethink and question her family relations.
*Won C.I.C.A.E Award Berlinale 2009
PHILIPPINES | 2008 | 212MIN | HDV | COLOR
DIR_ SHERAD ANTHONY SANCHEZ
Rabat and Allen enjoys an albeit kind of childhood in a place where, for some reason, the kids find sanctuary on the crevasses of Punta Dumalag. As both try to pursue a world of their own—independent and free, they are pushed to spend their time on the point where the river meets the sea— it is in these waters that they witness a world that seeks to quench the hunger of common yet different desires of and for ʺmanhood.ʺ In this world of sewers, the seemingly banal challenge of crossing the river will become their own disturbing quest to being in stagnant yet dangerous waters. Camera work by John Torres, the director of ‘Years When I Was a Child Outside’ (screened at JIFF 2008).
*Won Lino Brocka Award Cinemanila International Film Festival 2008"Inland"
ALGERIA, FRANCE | 2008 | 138MIN | 35MM | COLOR
DIR_ TARIQ TEGUIA
Living almost as a recluse, the topographer Malek accepts a job in a region of western Algeria at the insistence of his friend Lakhdar. Malek arrives at the base camp previously used by a team, but decimated by fundamentalists. A young shepherd observes him from afar; several men, some armed, approach and question his being there. Having previously run from Islamist terrorism, these farmers decided to return to their village.
*Won FIPRESCI Award at Venice Film Festival 2008"Mid August Lunch"
ITALY | 2008 | 75MIN | 35MM | COLOR
DIR_ GIANNI DI GREGORIO
Gianni is a middle‐aged man, the only son of his widowed mother, with whom he lives in an old house in central Rome. Living under the tyranny of this impoverished aristocrat, his life drags on between housework and going to the bar. The day before the August bank holiday the condominium manager asks him to take his mother into his home for the two days of the bank holiday. In exchange, he will knock some money off the condominium debts Gianni has run up over the years.
*Won Pasinetti Award & Luigi De Laurentiis at Venice Film Festival 2008"North"
NORWAY | 2009 | 79MIN | 35MM | COLOR
DIR_ RUNE DENSTAD LANGLO
North is a road movie comedy set in romantic natural surroundings. It is the story of an athlete Jomar who has isolated himself in a sad lonely existence after having a mental crisis. On a snow scooter, with 5 liters of moonshine as provisions, Jomar embarks on a strange and dramatic journey towards the far north, where his ex‐girlfriend lives with his child that he just learned about.
CHINA |2008 | 81MIN | 35MM | COLOR
DIR_ ZOU PENG
Xiao Xue, a 19 year old girl lives in a northern city of China. She’s a salesgirl in a clothing market by day, but at night she accompanies her boss on his social exploits; hosting dinner for his friends, going to karaoke and doing the nightclub scene. Xiao Xue sees this as a chance to seek a better life for herself, but an unplanned pregnancy has sent her life careening in a new, unexpected direction…."The One Man Village"
LEBANON | 2008 | 86MIN | DIGIBETA | COLOR
DIR_ SIMON EL HABRE
As the only remaining inhabitant of Ain El Hazaroun, a small village outside Beirut,
Semaan stubbornly remains, while other villagers, who fled the besieged village during the
15‐year civil war, have failed to return. As well as recounting the remarkable hardships and isolation faced by his uncle, El Habreʹs moving and brilliantly shot film highlights the countries bitter in‐fighting has had on countless similar villages and towns, which were left deserted and ruined."Rain"
ARGENTINA | 2007 | 110MIN | 35MM | COLOR
DIR_ PAULA HERNÁNDEZ
Lluvia is water that falls, wets, shakes, pierces, slaps, exiles. It is distortion, it is out of focus. It is what can and can’t be seen. Lluvia is winter and is night, is Buenos Aires or any other city. Lluvia is people in movement or stuck in traffic, trying to find a possible direction for their own lives. It’s a woman who does not know where she is going to and a man who does not know where he comes from. Lluvia is running the painful risk of focusing on who we are rather than on what we think we are."Tokyo Rendezvous"
JAPAN | 2008 | 104MIN | 35MM | COLOR
DIR_ IKEDA CHIHIRO
Nogami was burdened with a debt his late father has left. He comes up with the decision of selling his grandfather’s property to pay it off. The apartment in the property seems just an old building to him, but his grandfather would not say yes to the demolition of the apartment. He happens to start living in the apartment with two other young people. They feel lost in life, but start finding their own ways when they start knowing more about the people with life experience surrounding them. Nogami comes up with a final decision when he finds out the story hidden in one of the rooms.Digital Shorts Program
Closing FilmThe Festival Closes on the 9th of May, with "Machan" (2008) directed by Umberto Pasolini. Uberto Pasolini who marked remarkable debut with his film Machan is best renowned as a the producer of the smash hit film "The Full Monty" (1997). Machan resembles The Full Monty in a way that it is a neo‐realistic comedy where the financially devastated guys bring hilarious sequences continuously for their outrageous ideas to overcome crisis. In Machan, 23guys from the slum village of Sri Lanka create ‘A National Handball Team’ as a ploy to get visas to Europe (‘A National Handball Team’ never exist in Sri Lanka), and the whole concept of Machan is as wacky as the unemployed steel workers in Sheffield get involved in a strip show to make some money in The Full Monty (1997). Machan is a noteworthy film that fairly combined realism envisaging the hard point of view towards realities and the virtue of popular genre. Prasanna Vithanage, the well‐known Sri Lankan filmmaker participated in Machan as a producer. JIFF hopes that the closing film of the 10th JIFF Machan will provide the audiences a great opportunity to discover the unknown cultures and realities of Sri Lanka.Tickets cost 10,000 won for the opening or closing ceremonies and 5,000 won for general screenings.
Tickets can be bought during the festival from May 1 onwards at JIFF Space and JIFF Service Center on Cinema Street, an arcade in downtown Jeonju, set up for the especially for the festival.
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Matthew Love serves as an Associate Editor & Writer of The Seoul Times. He specializes in European film as well as other cultural and social areas. He earned his BA degree with honors in Media Production with English Literature at the University of Luton, England, and MA degree in International Cinema at the University of Bedfordshire. He is the director of Kool4katz.Tv based in Bulgaria.
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