The London East Asia Film Festival proudly presents a retrospective of internationally acclaimed filmmaker Park Chan-wook, supported by Picturehouse Cinemas. With his versatility and idiosyncratic style, Park has become a powerhouse not only in Asia but across the globe. We want to do justice to his outstanding contribution to Asian Cinema, so Park will attend LEAFF to discuss his new feature THE HANDMAIDEN.
Watch the trailer above and get your tickets now!
< Retrospective Opening >
Friday 21st October, 6:30pm | Picturehouse Central
The Handmaiden| 아가씨 | 2016 | 145mins
followed by a Q&A with director Park Chan-wook
1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, a new girl (Sookee) is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress (Hideko) who lives a secluded life on a large countryside estate with her domineering Uncle (Kouzuki). But the maid has a secret. She is a pickpocket recruited by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count to help him seduce the Lady to elope with him, rob her of her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. The plan seems to proceed according to plan until Sookee and Hideko discover some unexpected emotions.
< All Nighter : The Vengeance Trilogy | Introduction from Director Park Chan-wook >
Saturday 22nd October, 6:00pm | Picturehouse Central
Park Chan-wook’s ruminations on revenge have created three of the most celebrated cinematic works of the new century – together they have garnered an impressive 28 film festival wins at prestigious international venues.
While these films can be thoroughly enjoyed on the surface as thrill rides, they are not just typical thriller fare. These are complex, emotional, powerful films that work in a space that ranges from extreme action to gorgeous art house, and show us intense violence and stunning, beautiful filmmaking.
*Please note that Lady Vengeance will not be screened as a 4K restoration.
The films will be played from DCPs converted from blu-ray.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance | 복수는 나의 것 | 2002 | 120mins
This ornately constructed revenge tragedy is the first part of Park Chan-wook’s thematic ‘Vengeance Trilogy.’ The excellent Ha-kyun Shin plays Ryu, a deaf/mute who is desperate to find a kidney transplant for his beloved sister. To raise some quick cash, he and his girlfriend team up to kidnap an executive’s daughter. But what should have been easy quickly goes south and the film descends into an operatic tragedy of murder and vengeance.
Old Boy | 올드보이 | 2003 | 120mins
Park’s breakthrough film, and the unmistakable masterpiece of the ‘Vengeance Trilogy,’ features the remarkable Choi Min-Sik as a man who is held captive in a hotel-like room for fifteen years without explanation. Upon his release, he embarks on a mission to seek revenge and the justification for his mysterious imprisonment. In what is considered his magnum opus, Park delivers a haunting, violent film filled with stunning revelations and boasting a forceful, engaging performance by Choi.
Lady Vengeance | 친절한 금자씨 | 2005 | 115mins
The film serves as the climax of the ‘Vengeance Trilogy,’ and follows a woman who, at the age of 19, takes the fall for the kidnapping and murder of a child. Betrayed by her accomplice, she spends her time in jail befriending women she can use to put her elaborate revenge plan into place. Featuring an impeccable performance by Yeong-ae Lee, LADY VENGEANCE solidified Park’s place as a major new voice in contemporary filmmaking.
After India’s (Mia Wasikowska’s) father dies in a car accident, her Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode), who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her emotionally unstable mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). Soon after his arrival, she comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives, but instead of feeling outrage or horror, this friendless girl becomes increasingly infatuated with him.
The creative team for Park’s first English-language film includes cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung (OLDBOY, THIRST), and music by Clint Mansell (HIGH-RISE, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM).
Day Trip | 청출어람 | 2012 | 18mins
A girl is upset at losing first place at a singing competition. The teacher wants to comfort her but he is no talent in comforting people. They climb the hill as usual for singingpractice in early winter, and something unexpected happens as she excels with the teachings of the teacher…
Joint Security Area (JSA)
Friday 28th October, 6:30pm | Ritzy
Joint Security Area | 공동경비구역 JSA | 2000 | 110mins
An incident in the J.S.A. (the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea) leaves two North Korean border guards dead and one South Korean wounded. The Swiss-Korean woman officer heading the neutral enquiry into the skirmish gets nowhere until she stumbles upon a history of secret fraternisation between some of the border guards on both sides. JOINT SECURITY AREA is an engrossing political thriller about murder, betrayal, and forbidden friendship along the heavily patrolled, mine-laden D.M.Z. The highly acclaimed film became the highest grossing film in Korea, and won several Grand Bell awards—South Korea’s equivalent of the Oscar. It gained international notoriety and allowed Park the financial freedom and creative confidence to create his ‘Vengeance Trilogy’.
Thirst + Judgement
Saturday 29th October, 6:30pm | Ritzy
Thirst | 박쥐 | 2009 | 133mins
THIRST won the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and stars Song Kang-ho (The Host) as a devout priest, whose selfless desire to help others has shocking repercussions when the wonder-vaccine he volunteers to trial turns him into a vampire.Ostensibly concerned with the psychological impact of the condition on a very spiritual man, this is a modern take on the Vampire story. Not for the faint-hearted.
Judgement | 심판 | 1999 | 26mins
Drawing on a tragic event that took place in South Korea, Park critiques capitalist greed. In 1995, in Seoul, the Sampung shopping centre collapsed, killing 500 people and injuring many others. In JUDGEMENT, two different families claim the body of a woman killed in the catastrophe…
I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay + Bitter, Sweet, Seoul
I’m a Cyborg, but That’s Okay | 싸이보그지만 괜찮아 | 2006 | 105mins
‘Young-goon’ (IM Soo-jung) enters a mod psychiatric hospital rich with extravagant imagination and fantasies. She scolds the fluorescent lights and worries about the vending machine as she believes she is a cyborg. ‘Il-soon’ (JUNG Ji-hoon), a man who believes he can steal other people’s traits, keeps a close eye on Yong-goon, the new patient. In reality, Young-goon’s physical condition is extremely worrying. With the aid of some of the other patients, a desperate Il-soon tries to put her back on her feet again.
Bitter, Sweet, Seoul | 고진감래 | 2014 | 63mins
This crowd-sourced film is a strange yet beautiful documentary sponsored by the local Seoul government and helmed by brothers Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong. Their campaign received over 11,000 submissions from around the world, 141 of which were short listed and edited by the brothers. The result is an eclectic, diverse homage to South Korea’s capital, showing warts and all through the lenses of phones to professional cameras.