Film buffs, rejoice! The 11th Korean Film Festival will take place in Brussels and Luxembourg this year from September 27 to October 5 and will screen a selection of South Korea’s most prominent movies that made an everlasting impression on Korean and international audiences.

A tantalizing program comprising an array of movies that shook the Korean filmmaking scene is in store for the attendees. The theme this year, “Lights, Camera, Magic!”, refers to the screen as a portal in which the viewers can dive and be engulfed in a torrent of new worlds and magical warped realities, following the adventures of different multifaceted characters.

Korean Film Festival : A collection of mesmerizing films

The festival will open its doors on September 27 with the film Phantom (2023), a spy action movie set in 1933, during the Japanese occupation of South Korea. The Japanese colonial government gathers five suspects under suspicion of being the “Phantom” spy that belongs to the anti-Japanese resistance after a failed assassination attempt against the newly appointed governor general. Locked in a remote hotel, the suspects must find ways to make it out alive.

Upon completion of the event, Smugglers (2023), the closing film, will be put on the big screen. In the 1970s, local haenyeo (women divers who harvest seafood for a living) suddenly lose their job after a chemical plant is opened. Given the circumstances, they decide to throw themselves into a smuggling business, which will inevitably shatter the village’s peaceful nature.

© Korean Film Festival Belgium

Needless to say, the extensive program harbors intense sensations and shines a light on unprecedented messages, unlocking eye-opening perspectives and creative visions on a multitude of timelines. Viewers will also be able to attend Q&A sessions with the directors of the movies The Pregnant Tree and the Goblin (2019) and Girl Who Dreams About Time (2022).

The South Korean entertainment industry has been swiftly gaining ground in Europe, taking up an increasingly large spot in the hearts and minds of Western consumers, notably with K-pop, K-dramas and Korean movies, which keep on garnering exceptional reviews and popularity, transcending language and cultural borders. This year, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of European Union – South Korea diplomatic relations, a special focus was arranged as a tribute to the cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the EU and South Korea, to promote learning and allow the audience to keep the conversation going.

“Happy 20th Oldboy”

This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Korean cult classic Oldboy (2003), directed by Park Chan-wook. On the occasion, the Cinema Galeries, in partnership with the Korean Cultural Center, will host an exhibition entitled “Happy 20th Oldboy” from September 21 to December 17. Landmark work of the Korean film history, Oldboy is the first Korean movie to be awarded the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix in 2004. The story revolves around a man, held captive and sedated for years, who abruptly finds himself released with no explanation. Only then is he enticed to relentlessly seek revenge on his mysterious abductors. The exhibition will explore one main question: to what extent is this film’s place so significant in the evolution of South Korea’s cinematic history? Many noteworthy themes will be addressed, namely its divergence from the “Korean New Wave”, the influence that the advent of technology had on the plot, not to mention the recurring theme of emasculation tackled in the movie. The memorable film that still fascinates the whole world two decades later will be shown in the Cinema Galeries on the second day of the program: an opportunity that cannot be overlooked!

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11th KFFB – Trailer: