The 5th Annual Korean Film Festival In Australia Hits Melbourne!

KOFFIA 2014Touring nationally, the 5th annual Korean Film Festival In Australia is about to bow in Melbourne from September 9 – 16, 2014. This, from their official website

The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) is back for its milestone 5th year and it promises to be bigger than ever! KOFFIA is the most celebrated annual festival in Australia to showcase the very best and latest in Korean cinema. From ground breaking blockbusters to heart warming rom-coms there truly is something for everybody!

Presented by the Korean Cultural Office Australia and Samsung, this year’s festival will offer a deep insight into the world behind Korean films which has been steadily taking the world by storm. We welcome you to Hallyuwood, the exciting industry which continues to amaze the world through its consistent output of quality content taking to heart the practices and ideals of Hollywood. It’s time to mark the dates in your diary, select the films you want to see and get ready for something… Spicy!

All tickets are available via the ACMI website here

On the slate this year we have 19 films from the 2013-2014 period for you to sink your teeth into:

COLD EYES (감시자들)

Synopsis: Ha Yoon-ju (HAN Hyo-joo) who possesses crystal clear memory, keen observation, and utmost concentration skills, becomes the newest member to a unit within the Korean Police Forces Special Crime Unit (SCU) that specializes in surveillance activities on high profile criminals. She is assigned under Hwang Sang-jun (SEOL Kyung-gu), the veteran leader of the unit, who is rough, reckless, but warm hearted and known for his animal-like senses and intuition. The two gradually develop a close partnership when they attempt to track down James (JUNG Woo-sung), the cold-hearted mastermind of an armed criminal organization. Using his unmatched intelligence and strategy, James proves to be the hardest target SCU has ever come across…. A state-of-the-art cop thriller ensues as the two groups go head to head in a stake all operation. Cold-eyes melds a tight, exciting game which will leave viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish featuring new genre rules and high technicality.

VENUS TALK (관능의 법칙)

Synopsis: A story about three women who still seek vitality in work, love, and sex. Hae-young indulges her passion with a new love after getting divorced. However, her stay-at-home daughter is always on her case. Mi-yeon enjoys a second honeymoon with her Viagra dependent husband, after sending their son to study abroad. Shin-hae starts dating a younger man after breaking up with her long-time boyfriend. At full bloom, these three women in their 40s still want hot, passionate love and sex. But life gets in the way of their romanticism and reality is as harsh as ever. Shin-hae gets scabies and Hae-young is diagnosed with cancer. Mi-yeon witnesses her husband going strong with a younger woman… without the use of Viagra. The three women get fallen with grief over their aging bodies compared to their young hearts. Which shall prevail? Venus talk is the Korean ‘Sex and the City’ tale that delivers a raunchy punch

NORAH NOH (노라노)

Synopsis: Korean fashion is steadfast becoming recognised across the globe. Leading KPOP artists and models have cemented their appeal in the 21st century. Before KPOP. Before Gangnam. There was Nora Noh. The Coco Chanel of Korean fashion, Nora, was the top leading fashion designer who dominated the scene in women’s fashion and culture during her reign. She was the first designer ever to hold a solo fashion show in Korea and to make designer readymade clothes. She dressed the Korean singer Yoon Bok-hee in a miniskirt making it the first controversial mainstream appearance in the then-conservative Korea. Nora’s culture breaking introductions were unheard of in Korea at the time and sparked freedom and individualism within women. A new horizon in feminist power was opened through her contributions and Korea’s eye opened to the world of fashion. Today, Nora Noh is still rigorous and creative in her field. Explore Nora’s world and her vast influence in the global world of fashion.

THE TERROR, LIVE (더테러라이브)

Synopsis: Yoon Young-hwa (Ha Jung-woo) was once a top news anchor, but gets demoted due to an unsavoury incident. Pulled from primetime TV news and recently divorced, he is now the jaded and bitter host of a current affairs radio program. One day during his morning show, Yoon receives a peculiar phone call threatening to blow up a major bridge that crosses the Han River. At first, Yoon takes it as a prank call and tells the terrorist to proceed. He watches in shock as the caller follows through on the threat and blows the bridge. Realizing this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make his comeback, Yoon strikes a dangerous deal with the terrorist to exclusively broadcast their conversations live, as the whole nation watches. With several people remaining on the bridge as hostages, the terrorist threatens a second explosion. He also reveals to Yoon alone that he put a bomb in the anchor’s earphone, and that if the president doesn’t appear, the bomb will explode in his ear, live on air.

COMMITMENT (동창생)

Synopsis: After his father’s botched espionage mission, North Korean Myung-hoon (T.O.P) and his young sister Hye-in(Han Ye-ri) are sent to a labour prison camp. In order to save his sister’s life, Myung-hoon volunteers to become a spy and infiltrates the South as a teenage defector. His mission: to assassinate another North Korean agent who has taken residency in South Korea. While attending high school in the South, he meets Hye-in, a bullied schoolgirl who shares the same name as his sister and rescues her when she comes under attack. South Korean Intelligence soon discover Myung-hoon’s activities and begin tracking him, all the while his own government sends a vicious assassin to eliminate him. The film that saw sales to 8 Asian countries before its release, the highly anticipated film ‘Commitment’ spans above an action flick to give a social message about the divided Korean peninsula and its effect on modern day Korean youth.

FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT (롤러코스터)

Synopsis:  In actor Ha Jung-woo’s(The Terror, Live, Nameless Gangster) directorial debut, a Korean pop star(Jung Kyung-ho), a businessman, a monk, newlyweds, opthalmologist and a paparazzi photographer are among the passengers on an airplane staffed by a bizarre crew headed from Tokyo to Seoul when a typhoon strikes. With it the comedic shenanigans of the passengers and crew, all convinced a crash is imminent. Befittingly named Roller Coaster in the Korean release, the film is a flurry of plot and dialogue which doesn’t let loose in its barrage of jokes and quirky situations which will have our audience in fits and giggles.

THE DINNER (만찬)

Synopsis: An ailing daughter who is a divorced single mom, the youngest son who makes a living as a chauffeur service driver, the eldest son who tries to keep the family from falling apart and their destitute older parents who are reluctant to ask them for money. With his astute observations of an afflicted Korean family, Director Kim Dong-hyun (A Shark/ Hello, Stranger) shows clear signs of maturation in his craft surpassing his previous works. Realizing over breakfast that today is his wife’s birthday and that none of their troubled, grown children are likely to do anything for their mother, the aging father decides to bring home hamburgers for dinner, a meal his wife has never had before. Meanwhile his children are neck deep in trouble to remember their mother’s birthday. The youngest is paralysed with fear after an accident. The eldest is let go from his job and is struggling to make ends meet. ‘The Dinner’ dispassionately portrayed yet heart-wrenching has cemented itself as a new classic of family melodrama.

ROUGH PLAY (배우는 배우다)

Synopsis: KPOP sensation Lee Joon(MBLAQ) makes a triumphant acting debut in ‘Rough Play’ as Young, a nameless actor who dreams of becoming a big movie star. Then one day, he makes a breakthrough with a film and seamlessly becomes a star overnight. He discovers a new hidden world of fame, power, and pleasure, but inevitably all good things tag along with a dark ugly side. The industry which raised him up begins to haunt him and puts Young and everyone around him in danger. A script written and developed by legendary film maker Kim Ki-duk (Pieta, Bad Guy, Samaria) ‘Rough Play’ is the rise and fall story set in Hallyuwood.

NEW WORLD (신세계)

Synopsis: Goldmoon, the biggest crime organization in Korea, is suddenly in chaos when its leader Chairman Seok is killed in a mysterious car accident. Top-level police officials initiate project “New World“ to intervene in Goldmoon’s election process for the next leader, and to use Chairman Seok’s death to their advantage in controlling the crime organization. The project leader detective Kang(Choi Min-shik) calls upon Goldmoon’s apparent heir Jung Chung’s(Hwang Jung-min) right hand man Ja-sung(Lee Jung-jae), an undercover cop who he planted deep within the organization 8 years ago. But Ja-sung, who had been waiting long for the day he is reinstated into the police, is conflicted by Detective Kang ’s contradictory mission. Caught between Jung Chung who trusts him with his life, and Kang whose orders are not in his best interests, Ja-sung is wedged between both opposing hierarchies and must make a final decision that rests on loyalty and betrayal.

HOPE (소원)

Synopsis: On her way to school, young So-won gets sexually abused by a male stranger. She undergoes a major surgery, but ends up with wounds that cannot be healed for life. So-won’s family falls under utter despair from the trauma of the incident as she refuses even her father, Dong-hoon. No longer able to be with Hope, Dong-hoon hides under the costume of his daughter’s favourite cartoon character and becomes her guardian angel by her side. Thanks to the love of those around her and her guardian angel, So-won gradually becomes brighter. At the sight of So-won slowly finding stability and laughter, her family also begin to change and try to find hope in the midst of despair. Hope is based on true incidents of 2008 that shattered the nation. The story of So-won’s inner and physical recovery then served as a message of hope not only for the country but for all mankind.

MISS GRANNY (수상한 그녀)

Synopsis: Her family and neighbors have long judged seventy-year-old widow Mal-sun (NA Moon-hee) as a stubborn crank, but when her daughter-in-law is hospitalized from depression because of her hysterical temper, the family decides that’s enough. It’s off to a nursing home. Overhearing her family’s intentions, Mal-sun goes off to a photo studio to retrieve a picture an idol from her youth, KIM Ji-mi, so that she can take it her to her grave. The next day, she wakes up in the body of her 20-year-old self. With no one recognizing her, Mal-sun decides to call herself Ji-mi (SHIM Eun-kyung), enjoy her youth again and accepts her guitarist grandson’s invitation to join his band and enters a TV singing competition. Will this 70-year-old girl find happiness with her newfound look? A film that looks at what it means to be young and what it means to seize your dreams, Miss Granny is the feel good movie of the year!

HIDE AND SEEK (숨바꼭질)

Synopsis: Sung-soo has everything. A thriving business, a loving family and a beautiful home. But Sung-soo has developed insomnia and suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder. One day, he hears that his brother, Sung-chul, has gone missing. Sung-chul begins his search for his brother by visiting the shabby apartment complex he resides only to find it creepy and unwelcoming. The residents look terrified, hurriedly locking themselves when Sung-soo and his family arrive at the apartment. He discovers strange symbols inscribed under the door bells of each of the apartments. Returning from the trip, strange things start to happen. The house keys disappear and an attempt at arson occurs while only the children are home. Then finally, the strange engravings from the apartment complex appear under his own doorbell. Sung-soo has been dragged into the frightening and sinister game of hide and seek that will take him, and his family, to hell and back.

VERY ORDINARY COUPLE (연애의 온도)

Synopsis: Co-workers Lee Dong-hee (Lee Min-ki) and Jang Young (Kim Min-hee) have just broken up after an intense relationship. They work as bank clerks, and their seemingly nasty split turns scandalous in the office. After going through a period of irrational behaviour, including physical fights and Young’s impulsive one-night stand with a mutual colleague at work, the two decide to give their relationship another try. As the second honeymoon phase ends, the same problems resurface. The boredom, the trust issues and the mutual dishonesty about what they really want. The hot-tempered Dong-hee seems like he needs anger management classes, while Young tries to avoid conflicts by telling small lies which eat away at their trust. The probability of a couple maintaining a relationship that has broken before falls at a mere 3%. Will our very ordinary couple be able to fit into the percentage? I f you have loved before, Very Ordinary couple is a rom-com not to be missed!

THE SUSPECT (용의자)

Synopsis: Dong-chul(Gong Yoo) was the best special field agent in North Korea, but he is abandoned by his government during an operation. While on the run, he looks for his wife and child, who were sold as slaves to China, only to discover their corpses. He soon discovers that a fellow agent was behind the killing and defects to the South in search of his nemesis. Planning his revenge during the day, working as a driver by night, Dong-chul spends his day until one night his client is killed and he is thrust into accusations for the murder by the intelligence service. The hunter becomes the hunted as Dong-chul becomes wedged between the interests of both North and South. Intense action, gun-play, fight scenes, car chases and explosions carry the film to its glorifying climax. Korea’s answer to the ‘Bourne’ series, ‘The suspect’ will not disappoint.

HOT YOUNG BLOODS (피끓는 청춘)

Synopsis: Set in rural Hongseong County in 1982, Young-sook (Park Bo-young) is the feared leader of a female gang at Hongseong Agricultural High School. Although she is known for her toughness and foul mouth, she secretly has a crush on Joong-gil (Lee Jong-suk), the biggest playboy in school. Joong-gil has attempted to woo all the girls at school, except Young-sook. Purely because Gwang-sik the leader of a rival school’s male gang, sees Young-sook as his girl. An innocent, beautiful female transfer student from Seoul arrives in their high school and Joong-gil falls for her instantly. The jealous Young-sook picks a fight with So-hee to prevent her new rival from encroaching on her secret crush. Trouble brews as Gwang-sik, suspicious of the ties between Young-sook and Joong-gil, also harasses So-hee to instigate Joong-gil. Set in the period when the Korean Ministry of Education eliminated uniforms for high schoolers, Hot Young Bloods is about the freedom and individualism of youth and about growing up, not growing old.

THREAD OF LIES (우아한 거짓말)

Synopsis: Hyun-sook (Kim Hee-ae) is a widowed single mother raising two teenage daughters while working at a big grocery store. One day, her youngest child, 14-year-old Cheon-ji (Kim Hyang-gi) suddenly commits suicide by hanging herself. To Hyun-sook and her older daughter Man-ji (Go Ah-sung), Cheon-ji was the sweet child of the family who rarely complained and studied hard, while trying to comfort her hardworking, often-weary mother. Struggling with guilt and anger, and not knowing why Cheon-ji chose to kill herself, the two women wonder whether there was something they missed or something they could have said or done. By chance, Man-ji hears a story that may have related to the death of her sister after meeting friends of Cheon-ji. Tracking down clues, Man-ji discovers that Cheon-ji’s best friend, Hwa-yeon was behind all the events that happened. While seeking the secret behind her sister’s death, Man-ji finds a note that Cheon-ji left inside a red knitting ball.

SECRETLY, GREATLY (은밀하게 위대하게)

Synopsis: As a North Korean sleeper cell agent, Ryu-han(Kim Su-hyun) infiltrates the South and assumes the role of a village idiot in a rural town. He observes the townsfolk and waits patiently for his mission. One day, after 2 years of playing the role of the village idiot, fellow elite spies Hae-rang(Park Ki-woong), posed as a rock star and Hae-jin(Lee Hyun-woo), posed as an ordinary student, are dispatched to the same town as Ryu-han. He helps the other two spies settle in and teach them how to adjust in the South. Passing boring time without receiving any orders from the North, they gradually get used to life as ordinary neighbours in their assigned small town. There is a sudden drastic political power shift in the North and all three spies receive an urgent mission: commit suicide. Meanwhile their North Korean army instructor Kim Tae-won crosses the border to eliminate those who refuse to follow. Hearts will throb for our protagonist as this story unfolds. Secretly… but Greatly.

TOP STAR (톱스타)

Synopsis: Tae-sik(Uhm Tae-woong) is a struggling day to day manager of the top star Won-joon(Kim Min-jun), but he dreams of becoming famous like Won-joon in the future. An unexpected opportunity falls on Tae-sik’s lap one day when Won-joon is involved in a hit-and-run accident and Tae-sik takes the blame as the driver instead of Won-joon. In exchange, Won-joon promises Tae-sik his debut as an actor. Tae-sik’s acting career kicks off when he gets out of jail, and his success and stardom start to threaten and intimidate Won-joon. Tae-sik’s rise finally sees him become much more popular than Won-joon. Tae-sik begins to then develop a love for Mi-Na(So E-Hyun) Won-joon’s secret lover. He sees what was once his pure innocent passion turn into greed and finds himself on the fast road to corruption. Top Star takes us into an industry which can make a man and lavish him with fame and success but destroy his integrity. An in depth look behind the scenes of Hallyuwood. Don’t miss Top Star!

THE SATELLITE GIRL AND MILK COW (우리별일호와 얼룩소)

Synopsis: Il-ho(voiced by Jung Yu-Mi), the satellite ‘KITSAT-1’, is launched into space. She observes Earth over a long time and becomes curious about the human heart. Kyung-chun(voiced by Yoo Ah-in), an aspiring musician, is heartbroken and turns into a milk cow when his long-time love interest, Eun-jin, starts to date another guy. Then Kyung-chun finds himself attacked by the Incinerator which tracks down and preys on those with a broken heart. Il-ho falls from space and Kyung-chun is able to avoid immediate danger. With the fall, Il-ho is magically transformed into a human girl. Gradually, Il-ho and Kyung-chun become close and Il-ho begins to slowly understand the human heart. A fantasy animated adventure from genius director Jang Hyung-yun, ‘Satellite girl and milk cow’ has set the bar high for more Korean animation to follow.

THE 5TH ANNUAL KOREAN FILM FESTIVAL IN AUSTRALIA runs SEPTEMBER 9 – 16, 2014 in MELBOURNE @ ACMI