Now in its 11th year, Korean Film Nights open for 2019 with ‘Home Truths’ – a season exploring how Korean domestic spaces on screen reflect cultural and societal change.

Their six-part programme traces the often-fraught relationship that exists between interior and exterior life across 50 years of Korean history. This chosen focus, though conceptually abstract, is a motif visible throughout Korean cinema that not only offers insight into a number of Korean social conventions, but has also provided many filmmakers with creative opportunities to undermine them.

Each of these six titles welcome us across the threshold into private spaces. Behind these closed doors, we witness how characters interact outside of the gaze and earshot of public scrutiny, and once sustaining customary social pretenses is no longer such a necessity. This exclusive access invites audiences to reconsider a number of historic Korean traditions on a much more human level: how do gender roles function in domestic space? In what ways do family hierarchies reveal themselves in the home? What are some of the potential sources of social stigma? Interior spaces can provide us with a platform to explore these kinds of questions critically.

Still from “An Affair”

In an effort to chronicle a long history of Korean domestic life, the six films present narratives ranging from classics of the 60s and 70s to contemporary indie works. These narratives offer a wide range of perspectives on domestic living, representative of shifting focuses within the country over time. This variety of ideas therefore problematises the notion of there being any one definition.

‘Home Truths’ is a season that seeks to reveal social customs via Korean living spaces, whilst simultaneously challenging familiar concepts of domesticity through the lenses of some of cinema’s more unconventional iterations. These contesting visions of interior and exterior life come together in thoughtful negotiations of the personal and the political.

The films screened as part of the program are:

The World of Us 우리들 / Thursday 2nd May, 7pm
A quietly devastating drama that follows a lonely schoolgirl who finds comfort through a new friendship, only for that relationship to be tested at the beginning of a new semester.

The World of Us 우리들 / Thursday 2nd May, 7pm
A quietly devastating drama that follows a lonely schoolgirl who finds comfort through a new friendship, only for that relationship to be tested at the beginning of a new semester.

An Affair 정사 / Thursday 9th May, 7pm
Architect’s-wife Seo-hyun, is constrained by domesticity, until one day she meets her younger sister’s fiancé, Woo-in. Emotions simmer and start to crystallise; soon both face an overwhelming desire to risk all that they once held dear…

The Room Nearby 그녀들의 / Thursday 30th May, 7pm
Hong Sangsoo regular Jung Yu-mi plays a private tutor desperate to break out of the dormitory-style box room where she is forced to live and work in this absorbing look at the everyday struggles faced by young women in Korea.

Still from the “The World of Us”

Lies 거짓말 / Thursday 6th June, 7pm
After some steamy phone calls, J and Y meet and begin exploring each other’s bodies with a rabid intensity that takes them deep into the realms of shocking sadomasochism.

Woman of Fire 화녀 / Thursday 13th June, 7pm
Kim Ki-Young remakes his 1960 classic The Housemaid with an energy and passion that would come to define Korean cinema of the 1970s. Woman of Fire follows a composer and his wife, whose lives are thrown into turmoil by the introduction of a new housemaid…

Mother and a Guest 사랑방 손님과 어머니 / Thursday 20th June, 7pm
From Shin Sang-ok, one of the most prolific and respected figures of the Golden Age of South Korean Cinema, Mother and a Guest tells the tale of six-year-old Ok-hee, a little girl playing matchmaker between her mother and their charming new houseguest..

If you need more information about the screenings or would like to buy tickets, please look here.

Ever since I watched Takeshi Kitano's "Hana-Bi" for the first time (and many times after that) I have been a cinephile. While much can be said about the technical aspects of film, coming from a small town in Germany, I cherish the notion of art showing its audience something which one does normally avoid, neglect or is unable to see for many different reasons. Often the stories told in films have helped me understand, discover and connect to something new which is a concept I would like to convey in the way I talk and write about films. Thus, I try to include some info on the background of each film as well as a short analysis (without spoilers, of course), an approach which should reflect the context of a work of art no matter what genre, director or cast. In the end, I hope to pass on my joy of watching film and talking about it.