The city of Florence in Italy is currently playing host to 30 Korean films. The eighth edition of the Florence Korean Film Festival takes place this year from March 12-20. The festival, supported by various local groups, KOFIC and the Korean Ministry of Culture and Tourism, shows mostly European and Italian premieres of new Korean films. This year the festival is comprised of a K-Horror section, the competitive Orizzonti Coreani section, the Independent Korea section (also competitive) and a retrospective on director Heo Jin-ho
Given the notable status of the horror genre in Korea, the festival is screening seven horror films, to be presented by famed Italian director Dario Argento. The section includes Kim Seong-ho
's "Into The Mirror
" (2003), Yim Pil-sung
's "Antarctic Journal
" (2005), Park Ki-hyeong
's "Whispering Corridors" (1998) and "Acacia"
(2003). "Whispering Corridors" is particularly notable for kicking off the highly successful Yeogo goedam series of school girl horror films. The advent of these films and other copy cat horrors set in girl's high schools marked an age relatively free from the grips of conservative censorship which plagued films up to the mid 90's.
The Orizzonti Coreani section presents a number of highly successful Korean films in competition. Some of the highlights include Yoo Ha
's controversial period drama "A Frozen Flower
" and the late 2008 released "Speedy Scandal
" which went on to become Korea's most successful comedy ever. There is a wide variety of genres in this section including the 70's period drama "Go Go 70s
" (2008) and Bong Joon-ho
's highly acclaimed dramatic thriller "Mother - 2009"
(2009). The festival also includes four independent films highlighting the recent rise in profile for such low budget films. The Independent Korean section includes Sin Dong-il
", the film which focuses on the plight of foreign workers through the eyes of a Bangladeshi worker and his relationship with a young Korean girl.
Prolific director of romantic drama films, Heo Jin-ho
is presenting four films through his retrospective including the seasonally themed "Christmas in August
" (1998), "One Fine Spring Day
" (2001), "April Snow
" (2005) and the more recent "A Good Rain Knows" ("Season of Good Rain
", 2009). The festival kicked off with last year's ski jump hit "Take Off"
and will wrap up on the 20th with Park Chan-wook
's vampire film "Thirst"
David Oxenbridge KOFIC