Friday, November 9, 2012

Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Reveals Korean-Heavy Program

The Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) is coming back for its 16th edition, which will run November 12-28 in Tallinn, Estonia. Originally a showcase for Nordic film, PÖFF has grown to become one of Europe's largest and most varied film festivals, and of late they have been very kind to Korean cinema, with 2012 proving to be no exception.

Jeon Kyu-hwan's The Weight, which won the Queer Lion Award earlier this year at the Venice International Film Festival and has also screened at the Busan International Film Festival and Sitges Film Festival, will take part in PÖFF's 'EurAsia' competition section, which last year awarded its main prize to Ahn Hui's A Simple Life. Jeon's first three films, the trilogy comprising of Mozart Town (2008), Animal Town (2009) and Dance Town (2010), all previously screened at Black Nights.

Kim So-yong, the Korean-American filmmaker who helmed the indie favorite Treeless Mountain (2009), returns with For Ellen, starring Paul Dano, a Sundance pick which will compete in the 'North-American Indie' section.

Kim Ki-duk's Golden Lion-awarded Pieta will also be screened as part of a special program consecrated to filmmakers that have been featured at least twice before at PÖFF. Kim's new film, which has also screened in Busan, Stockholm and Hamburg, is his eighth to finds its way into a Black Nights program, after works such as The Isle (2000) and 3-Iron (2004).

In the festival's Panorama section there will be no less than four Korean films. These include: Hong Sang-soo's (HaHaHa, 2010; The Day He Arrives, 2011) In Another Country, his Isabelle Huppert-starring 13th feature which has screened at a slew of fests following its Cannes debut in May; the popular sci-fi omnibus Doomsday Book, which is a collaboration between talent cineastes Kim Jee-woon (A Bittersweet Life, 2005; I Saw the Devil, 2010) and Lim Pil-sung (Antarctic Journal, 2005; Hansel & Gretel, 2007); the romantic thriller Helpless from Byeon Young-joo (Flying Boys, 2004), which was based on a popular Japanese crime novel; and Howling, the fifth feature from Yu Ha (A Dirty Carnival, 2006; A Frozen Flower, 2010), starring Song Kang-ho (Memories of Murder, 2003; The Host, 2006) and Lee Na-young (Maundy Thursday, 2006).

Screen International's Critics' Choice section will also screen the enormously popular film The Thieves, the Choi Dong-hoon (Tazza: The High Rollers, 2006; Woochi, 2009) heist thriller that recently became Korea's most successful film at the box office.

In addition, a German documentary called Camp 14: Total Control Zone from director Marc Wiese, which deals with the atrocities that occur in North Korean prison camps and is co-produced with South Korea, will screen in a special program on human rights.

With all of the above, many Korean guests in attendance (including director Jeon Kyu-hwan and producer Choi Miae for The Weight), not mention a wealth of other great cinema, the 16th Black Nights Film Festival looks to be a great destination for cinephiles in late 2012.

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