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EIFF hosts focus on Korea

The 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF) is hosting a Focus on Korea and held a special reception, screening and dinner last night (June 24).

These included EIFF artistic director Chris Fujiwara, director/producer couple Ryoo Seung-wan and Kang Hye-jung of The Berlin File, director Kang Yi-kwan of Juvenile Offender, EIFF chief executive Ken Hay, Korean Cultural Centre UK director Kab Soo Kim and London Korean Film Festival director Hye-jung Jeon.

Korean director Bong Joon Ho was also on hand, multitasking between post-production for his highly anticipated Snowpiercer and heading the International Competition jury here.

Robert Dunn, directorate for Culture, External Affairs and Constitution of the Scottish Government, delighted guests by handing out lapel pins with little Scottish and South Korean flags crossed on them.

The Focus on Korea comprises The Berlin File, Jiseul, National Security, Pluto and The Virgin Forest.

Fujiwara said of his programming for the Focus: “I wanted to show the range of what’s out there in Korean films, and have a showcase that lets viewers know what has happened in Korea in the past and what’s going on now. With The Berlin File, it shows how advanced the Korean film industry is. I wanted to hit the audiences over the head with the scale and technical impressiveness of the film.”

The North-South Korean espionage thriller screened to a packed house on Sunday with a lively Q&A enhanced by Ryoo’s humor.

“Edinburgh has also always had an independent and artistic slant for its films, and that applies to the Korean films we selected this year, too. We look for striking, innovative films and films that look at how to tell a story or use images and sound in a new way,” said Fujiwara.

Last night’s screening was of Juvenile Offender, the Korean film in the International Competition.

Juvenile Offender has a more traditional kind of storytelling. It’s a completely sustained film and beautifully done in all ways,” said Fujiwara.

The film screened against Jurassic Park 3D, yet kept a dedicated audience - members of which let out audible sighs of satisfaction at the end of the film and stayed on for a long Q&A with the director.

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