Festival Focus 2024: South Korea

The Country in focus for our 2024 Festival is: South Korea

For the 2024 edition of Cheltenham International Film Festival, we are excited to make Korea our country of focus.

South Korean cinema is perhaps the most vibrant film industry in the world at the moment and, while Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite, Mother, The Host) and Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, The Handmaiden, Decision to Leave) might have garnered most attention for their recent successes on the international stage, there is a wealth of other South Korean filmmakers creating exceptional work.

Western cinema, particularly US cinema, have undoubtedly had an impact on Korean filmmakers, but the joy of Korean films is that, while they might incorporate a broad cultural palette, they tell their stories in a distinctive Korean way.

Korean films are often made of a cloth woven with the fabric of many genres, sometimes with mystery providing a prominent thread, interwoven with a strand of comedy, a yarn of melodrama and blending in of the black chord of horror.

Politically engaged filmmakers such as Lee Chang-dong (Burning, Poetry) wrap their socially aware stories inside the cloak of a gripping thriller.

But one of the main appeals of Korean cinema is that there’s something for everyone from romantic comedies to action movies, dramas, and thought-provoking social commentaries.

The Korean film program at the core of Cheltenham International Film Festival aims to honour the history of Korean Cinema, with some key classics, and also to showcase the full range of new Korean cinema.


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