Thoughts from the Korean Film Festival in Australia

The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) was held in Melbourne from 6th to 13th of September, and it was the ninth year of this festival. The films screened in the festival are various, including high-budget films, indie films, pop ones, which offers a platform to display the Korean culture.koffia2018-1

 

Compared with the international or local film festival, the Korean film festival may target on the narrower audience. The audience who it can attract may be the minorities, who are interested in Korean films or culture. Take myself as an example, the reason why it interested me is that, being a Chinese, we have the similar culture, and sometimes similar social issues, by watching Korean film may arouse sympathy and can have much understanding. Apart from that, I had done some research on Korean war films in one subject when doing the undergraduate course, so the film ‘A Taxi Driver’ attracted me by telling the story of the critical uprising event and political issues.

 

In the film ‘A Taxi Driver’, it portrays a period of distressing history. It tells a story of a taxi driver who in the beginning just wanted to earn much money by driving a German reporter to Gwanju to film and record the uprising, but finally witnessed the students and common people were repressed and the death of them which gave him the determination to assist the reporter to cover it and seek for help. The film itself is touching, and it makes people feel much sadder since it is based on the reality which has ever happened almost forty years before. While watching it, many people teared which shows that the charm of films is that no matter which country you are from or which culture you have, films can give people a chance to experience more and stimulate more sympathy, and festivals like KOFFIA are playing an important role of helping to realize it.

 

As de Valck et al (2016, p.186) assert that, ‘the art of film and its exhibition cannot be separated from its politics’, the film is selected to screen in the festival reflects that their attitude of facing up to history. Choosing this historical film to display on the overseas platform shows that directors of the festival want to express the national identity, and make use of the opportunity to describe the selfhood and humanity. They did not hide the scar from history or avoid speaking up about this, to the contrary, told frankly to the people who are too young to experience it or from the different culture that never heard about it. Making people reflect and rethink the history in the height of humanity may bring more social values.

 

Festivals like KOFFIA also creates people a feeling of being in community. The films in the festival have different themes, which may fulfill the different desires and interests for audiences from different ages, where the audience can enjoy the fun brought from films and think about social or historical issues under the topic of the same culture.

(By Jie Mei)

References:

de Valck, M., Kredell, B. and Loist, S. eds., 2016. Film festivals: History, theory, method, practice. Routledge

 

The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) 2018, ‘The Korean Film Festival returns for 2018 bringing the best Korean films down under’, viewed 10 September 2018, http://www.koffia.com.au/

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