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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Preview: 26th Fribourg International Film Festival

I'm thrilled to report that I will be covering the upcoming Fribourg International Film Festival which gets underway this Saturday and runs through to the 31st.  This major European event is now in its 26th year and has remained true to its focal points, namely Latin American, Asian and African films, and it continues to be committed to showcasing some of the very best of truly international cinema, much of which passes us by by without much chance of exposure.  The festival will feature 118 films from 47 countries.

The FIFF has been a significant promoter of Korean cinema over the last few years, having showcased Lee Chang-dong in 2008 and awarded its top prize (Le regard d'or) to Jeon Soo-il for The Bird Who Stops in the Air in 2000 and Lee Chang-dong again for Poetry during last year's edition.  Sadly there won't be much in terms of Korean cinema at this year's event but there is still a mighty program on offer.

This event will mark the first time that Modern Korean Cinema actively covers content beyond the site's core focus of Korean cinema, though it certainly won't be the last!  That being said, there will be some Korean cinema on offer at this year's FIFF including the European premiere of Countdown (2011), starring Jeong Jae-yeong and Jeon Do-yeon, which will be vying for the top prize alongside 11 other films.  Director Huh Jong-ho will be attending the festival and MKC will have the opportunity to sit down with him so look out for an interview which will likely appear in early April.  Also on offer will be Park Jee-youn's short animation Camels (2011).  Beyond the traditional schedule there will be a co-located program for schools and children which will be presenting the Seong-yun Oh animation Leafie, A Hen Into the Wild (2011).

I grew up near Fribourg and always wanted to attend the festival but was never able to as it clashed with school and college and subsequently I moved away, so I am particularly glad for a chance to sample what's on offer at my local festival.  The program is broad and features many exciting projects and some fascinating sections,  I only wish that I could see everything.  As it stands I am going to try and squeeze in about 45 films but of course things can always slip through the cracks.  The morning after each day I will post a recap of the films that I saw with brief impressions until we get to the prize-giving on Sunday, the 1st of April.

The highlights that I am most looking forward to are Asmaa (Egypt, 2011) Good Bye (Iran, 2011), Guerilla (Bangladesh, 2011), Tatsumi (Singapore, 2011), The Raid (Indonesia, 2011),  The Rambling Guitarist (Japan, 1959), and This Is Not a Film (Iran, 2011).

I hope you will join me as I make my way through the programme of the 26th edition of the Fribourg International Film Festival!

Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema.  For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office UpdateKorean Cinema News and the Weekly Review Round-up, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (GMT+1).

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