The curtain rises next week on Gwangju's 4th Film Festival and an explosion of young, global talent
The 4th Gwangju International Film Festival (GIFF) kicks off Sept. 2 and promises to fire-up movie lovers with around 120 films from a pool of rising directorial talent in 19 countries.
Running until Sept. 11, it is tied in with the Gwangju Biennale 2004, which opens Sept. 10. The southern city is just under three hours from Seoul by KTX, Korea's new bullet train.
The concept for the 2004 film fest is "discovery" and "rediscovery". Organizers aim to introduce outstanding documentary and young directorial talent that otherwise is ignored by the mainstream movers and shakers of the industry both here and overseas.
They have also targeted trends in world cinema and hope to give moviegoers a more broad understanding of film that is rarely accessed by Koreans but which have "high aesthetic and historic value".
A wide range of extra events is set to punctuate the excitement of film buffs. There will be retrospectives and special screenings, including a program called the "Golden Age of Widescreen" showing masterpieces with aspect ratio of 2.35:1 by greats like "Rebel Without a Cause" director Nicholas Ray, Jean-Luc Godard, and Masaki Kobayashi.
This is a rare chance for film lovers to catch their favorite films like "Doctor Zhivago" (1965), "Exodus" (1960), "The Good, the Bad and The Ugly" (1966) and "The Leopard" (1963) on the big screen.
Taking a step back into past, GIFF will showcase the largely forgotten Korean actor Kim Deok Lin, who was working in Shanghai in the 1930s under the name Jin Yan. The 1932 film "The Peach Girl" and "Big Road" (1935) are on tap, among five more films.
As a section devoted to "discovery", the "Young Cinema" part of GIFF will show "The Green Hat" (2003) by Chinese director Liu Fen Dou, "In the Battlefields" (2004) by Lebanese director Danielle Arbid and "My Mother" (2004) by French director Christophe Honore, among others.
Another good chance to see some top-rated contemporary cinema is at the "Citizen's Cinema Scape", which offers a chance to take in some unforgettable cinematic moments. Films such as "Not For Or Against" (2003), directed by Cedric Klapisch, "Ping Pong" (2002) by Fumihiko Sori and "The Middle of the World" (2004) by Vicente Amorim, among others, will be featured.
Last year was the first time a "Non-fiction Cinema" section was included at GIFF and this year it is back with experimental and documentary movies, including "Bright Leaves" (2003) and two other movies by Ross McElwee -- the renowned "personal cinema" director who seeks to connect social and political issues to personal and family histories.
French documentary director Raymond Depardon's "The 10th District Court" (2004) will also make an appearance on Sept. 4 and Sept. 9.
Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet retrospectives are on tap and a tribute to Michelangelo Antonioni is set with showings of five of his films.
GIFF will also screen a diverse panorama of Chinese filmmaking in a program dubbed "Chinese Cinema -- Now and Then". Ten recent short and long Chinese films, including those by Zheng Dong Tian ("My Bittersweet Taiwan" 2003), Peng Xiao Lian ("Shanghai Story" 2004) and Xie Fei ("Mongolian Tale" 1995), will be shown.
"Loved Gun" (2004), by Japanese director Watanabe Kensaku, will open the festival with a depiction of a love story between Hayamada, a hit man pursuing the murderer of his parents, and Miyuki, a young girl who also had just lost her parents.
Rounding up the 10-day event will be a low budget feature titled "Road" (2004), by Korean director Bae Chang Ho. It is the story of an unpleasant, peripatetic blacksmith who plies his trade in the underdeveloped south of the country in the 1970's.
Ticket prices are 10,000 won for the opening and closing shows and 5,000 won for general admission throughout the 10-day event.
The Gwangju International Film Festival Web site has more on the scheduling and how to get to the venue.