Singapore, 25th October 2015 – Heads up film lovers, the Korean Film Festival returns to Singapore this October! From 23rd October 2015 to 1st November 2015, you can catch 10 featured films, released in 2014 and 2015, specially selected by the organising committee. This year’s theme is “Simply Ten Most Recent Korean Films”, but the featured films are more than just ordinary movies. Of the 10 films, 7 have yet to be screened in local theatres, and 2 of them are the biggest blockbuster movies in Korea – Assassination (2015) and Northern Limit Line (2015). The annual festival will be held at the Shaw Theatres Lido in celebration of 2015, as it marks the 40th year of diplomatic relations between Singapore and South Korea.
With many fans of Korean culture here in Singapore, the film festival will satisfy viewers with a wide variety of movie genres. Korean Ambassador Suh Chang-Ha has assured in his opening speech that the 10 movies will “entertain and touch your heart, while offering you a glimpse of Korea’s contemporary culture and modern history”. Ode to My Father (2014) and Love Forecast (2015) will tug your heartstrings with the touching storylines surrounding family ties and friendships; if you prefer action-packed films, check out The Divine Move (2014) and Assassination (2015). A Hard Day (2014) is a mysterious action film with thrilling scenes and effects that will leave you in awe as the secret unravels; while comedies Detective K: Secret of the Lost island (2015) and Twenty (2015) will bring lots of laughter to viewers.
Northern Limit Line (2015) Review & Summary
The opening night on the 23rd October kick-started with Northern Limit Line (2015), a film based on the 2002 Second Battle of Yeonpyeon that broke out when patrol boats of North Korea attacked the South at the Northern Limit Line. Taking place on the 29th June, 2002, it was the day of the 2002 Korea Japan World Cup consolation game between South Korea and Turkey. North Korea’s battleship 684 crossed the Northern Limit Line at 10AM. And despite several warnings from the South Korean battleships, North’s battleship 684 refused to turn back and started an ambush of South’s battleship 357. The year 2002 was of much significance in South Korea, which saw its national soccer team finally making it to the World Cup, thus, the military clash was overshadowed by Korea and Japan’s hosting of the World Cup games. The movie had created a huge sensation in Korea, for accurately and realistically portraying the 30 minutes long of life and death struggles of the soldiers who had engaged in the battle. It reminds us of the tensed relationship between the North and the South, and this war-at-sea movie will definitely touch your heart.
The film started off on a light note, with endless cheers coming from both the stadiums and the streets as the citizens of Korea gave their support to the national soccer team at its game with Turkey. Lee Hyun-Woo, who plays the role of medic Park Dong-Hyuk, was the heart of the film as he introduced to audience the situation at the frontline through his eyes. “We all wanted to go back alive.” was the first line heard from him, which briefly showed severely injured Dong-Hyuk receiving medical help from the military medic team on a helicopter. Within seconds, the scene turned back in time, and Park Dong-Hyuk was reporting to the Navy Operating Base for his first day after being transferred over. The theatre broke out into laughter as the two friends, Dong-Hyuk and Ki-Hyung (played by Kim Dong-Hee) take a tour around the ship to introduce Dong-Hyuk to the other sailors. Dong-Hyuk was different from the other sailors; at least for the fact that he dared to speak up. Helmsman and Chief Petty Officer Han Sang-Guk (played by Jin Goo) grew fond of Dong-Hyuk, and eventually even agreeing that they were similar to brothers.
Despite countless scenes that showed the hilarious interactions between the sailors, the film also brought about numerous situations that evoked anxiety and tension to both the characters and the viewers. Sirens, battle-situation commands, quick preparation for battle in the middle of the night – all these scenes were worry-filled as the newly appointed leader of the battleship 357, Captain Yoon Young-Ha (played by Kim Moo-Yul) wanted his team to be alert at all times. It’s honestly nerve-wrecking as audience anticipate for the battle, and even more painful to watch knowing that the movie was based on a real-life event. There may be some scenes that had uncomfortable blood-filled injuries which the soldiers suffered, but what touched audiences the most was the overall brotherly love of the seamen, who seeks strength and courage from their families to fight for the nation they love.
The film ended off with real-life interviews of the survivors from the battleship 357, revealing their thoughts and memories of the battle, and spoke of deeply missing their team mates who gave their all to protect their country. Director Kim Hak-Soon conveyed his thoughts on making the film: “I hope this film conveys the feelings of appreciation, sorrow and loyalty to our country, and provokes empathy from audience members.” It indeed did, bringing back a lost page to Korea’s modern history and respect for those who risked their lives in this battle.
Don’t miss out on Northern Limit Line, or the other fantastic movies the KFF will be screening on local screens at the Shaw Theatres Lido, including even a guest appearance by Kang Ha-Neul (lead actor of the film Twenty)! You can find out more details on the movies through Shaw Theatres’ site and the official KFF site.
That’s all from us, and we’ll see you at the festival!
Venue: Shaw Theatres Lido, 350, Orchard Road, 5th/6th Floor, Shaw House, Singapore 238868
Dates: 23 October 2015 – 01 November 2015
Tickets: Sales begin on 5 Oct 2015 at Shaw Online or Shaw Theatres Lido
1) Northern Limit Line (연평해전) directed by Kim Hak-Soon
2) Assassination (암살) directed by Choi Dong-Hoon
3) The Target (표적) directed by Chang
4) Ode to My Father (국제시장) directed by JK Youn
5) Love Forecast (오늘의 연애) directed by Park Jin-Pyo
6) The Chronicles of Evil (악의 연대기) directed by Baek Woon-Hak
7) A Hard Day (끝까지 간다) directed by Kim Seong-Hun
8) Detective K: Secret of the Lost Island (조선명탐정: 사라진 놉의 딸) directed by Kim Sok-Yun
9) The Divine Move (신의 한수) directed by Jo Bum-Gu
10) Twenty (스물) directed by Lee Byeong-Heon
Article by: Cherlyn Lum
Photos by: Carmen Tan