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The 7th Korean Film Festival in Australia

DISCOVER a new taste of film when the popular Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) returns to Melbourne in September. Natalie Ng selects her choice films from the festival.

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The Korean Film Festival in Australia (KOFFIA) is back for its seventh year after another successful run last year. With them, they bring the best the Korean film industry has to offer in the past year as well as other surprises.

This year’s theme for KOFFIA is “A new taste of film!” with the festival’s poster and campaign featuring ‘Gujoelpan’, a traditional Korean dish incorporating the wrapping of an array of ingredients to make one flavor that comes together. KOFFIA 2016 therefore seeks to bring together all genres and types of Korean films and showcase them for film enthusiasts to enjoy.

This year’s line-up features 20 films and will see more than 80 screenings starting from Sydney on August 10, before moving on to Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and finally concluding in Perth on September 25.  The films range from high stakes espionage films to fun romantic comedies so there will definitely be something for everyone.

The Melbourne leg of the festival will take place from September 1 – 8 at its usual location at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) over at Federation Square. For those who want to catch their favourite Korean stars on the big screen, this is the opportunity to do so. And for those who aren’t sure what to see, here are our choice picks from the festival.

Train to Busan

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If you missed Train to Busan during its time over at the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF),  here’s your chance to catch it again. Starring fan favourite Gong Yoo, what seems like a story of a father taking his daughter to meet her mother in Busan turns into a harrowing, zombie apocalypse story taking place in the claustrophobic confines of a train.

Train to Busan screened at the Cannes Film Festival’s Midnight Screenings section to an enthusiastic reception and recently opened in South Korea to huge aplomb, breaking box office records. The film also marks writer-director Yeon Sang-ho‘s first foray into mainstream live action filmmaking, having helmed three previous indie animated films.

Assassination

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From the director of blockbuster heist film The Thieves comes his follow up feature, the period espionage thriller Assassination. This film boasts a starry cast packed with thrills and fast-paced action.

Set across decades starting in 1911 to 1933 during Japan’s occupation of Korea, it follows a group of resistance fighters in their mission to assassinate several key members in the Japanese occupation.

Big name actors Lee Jung-jae, Jun Ji-hyun and Ha Jung-woo headline this espionage thriller full of crosses and double crosses, promising to leave its audience on the edge of their seats.

Like for Likes

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Like for Likes follows a group of six young people and their meetings, friendships and trials in falling in love.

The ensemble cast consists of South Korean film and TV’s brightest young stars, including Yoo Ah-in, Kang Ha-neul, Lee Mi-yeon, Choi Ji-woo, E-som and Kim Joo-hyuk.

The film is a thoroughly modern examination of what friendships and relationships mean in the modern day with the ever prevalence of social media in our lives.

Alice in Earnestland

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Alice in Earnestland, inspired by its Wonderland counterpart, takes a surreal, dark and blackly comic look of a woman’s descent into extreme behaviour and revenge.

The story follows Soonam, an ordinary woman pushed to breaking point by the injustices of the government’s indifference and callousness, and her own struggle with an invalid husband. This is signature South Korean cinema: extreme, violent, with a razor sharp eye for social and political commentary.

KOFFIA 2016 will take place in Melbourne from September 1 – 8 at ACMI. The festival’s official Facebook page will feature up to date news and competitions that will no doubt enrich your festival experience.

Tickets go from between $11 for ACMI members to $16. Students get a concession rate of $12.50. A 6-session pass is available for purchase at ACMI’s box office.

Tickets can be purchased at ACMI’s box office or online at KOFFIA’s official website. More information about the festival including a full look at its program can also be found at its official site.

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