Film fans in London will find that September/October is a busy part of the year with Raindance, the London Film Festival, and the London Korean Film Festival packing a lot of movies into the two month period. Another film festival has recently sprung up and it’s called the London East Asian Film Festival.
The London East Asian Film Festival is positioned to open and run in the small gap between the BFI London Film Festival (07th – 18th October) and the London Korean Film Festival (02nd – 14th November). The inaugural LEAFF will take place from the 23rd to the 25th October and the programme consists of a wide range of cinema designed to show of the cinematic output of East Asia for general audiences.
The selection of titles comes from Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, mainland China, and the Philippines and covers horror, action, comedy, and drama. There are many titles that have played on the festival circuit this year whether it is Cannes, Berlin, or Busan. For many films this is the UK/European premiere. All of this has been put together by Hye-Jung Jeon, former director of the London Korean Film Festival, and Chris Fujiwara, former artistic director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and on top of curating the films shown at the festival, they have use their connections to secure some high profile guests. Here’s more about the films which will be screened with synopses from the Odeon cinemas website. Tickets can be booked at: http://www.odeon.co.uk or by clicking on the titles of the films listed below:
VETERAN: Ryoo Seung-wan | Action Crime | South Korea | 124min | 2015, European Premiere, Q&A with director Ryoo Seung-wan and producer Kang Hye-jung
Opening Gala, Friday 23rd Oct, 7pm, Odeon Leicester Square.
Directed by Ryoo Seung-wan (CITY OF VIOLENCE, THE UNJUST, THE BERLIN FILE).
A comic action extravaganza, Veteran pits hyperviolent, incorruptible police detective Seo Do-cheol (Hwang Jung-min) against superrich, sociopathic corporate heir Cho Tae-oh (Yoo Ah-in), first brought together at the afterparty of a TV cop show, and then playing out their punishing duel before CCTVs, cellphones and other cameras. It is an exciting, often very funny dash across Korea’s social divisions and class inequalities, culminating in the kind of thrilling, elaborate and hilariously over-the-top action sequences that have become Ryoo’s stock in trade. Aided by the dynamic choreography of long-time collaborator Jung Doo-hong, director RYOO takes the audience on a wild ride through Korea’s rough justice, Gangnam-style or otherwise. Released in domestic cinemas in August, the film has already struck a chord with local audiences, becoming one of the most popular films of all time in its country.
KAILI BLUES: Bi Gan | drama | China | 110min |2015, UK Premiere
Saturday 24th Oct, 3pm, Odeon Panton Street.
Human enzymes are stubborn. The enzymes of the soul are like water lilies. In a small clinic in the foggy and damp city of Kaili in exotic, subtropical Guizhou Province, two preoccupied doctors live ghost-like lives.
JOURNEY TO THE SHORE: Kiyoshi Kurosawa | drama | Japan| 128min | 2015, UK premiere
Saturday 24th Oct, 6pm, Odeon Covent Garden.
‘Journey To The Shore’ is a Japanese romantic drama directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where Kurosawa won the prize for Best Director.
Mizuki’s husband Yusuke, drowned at sea three years ago. When he suddenly comes back home, she is not that surprised. Instead, Mizuki is wondering what took him so long. ‘Journey To The Shore’ follows the couple as Mizuki agrees to let her returned husband take her on a journey.
VIOLATOR: Dodo Dayao | Horror | Philippines | 101min | 2014, UK Premiere
Saturday 24th Oct, 9pm, Odeon Covent Garden, co-presented with Terracotta Distribution.
Like early-career Kiyoshi Kurosawa, ‘Violator’ is a deliberately-paced puzzle that keeps your skin creeping as it stays one step ahead of its audience, delivering unforgettably macabre images that hint at one of the darkest world views we’ve ever seen.
The first half of the film is a series of surreal vignettes as a hurricane approaches Manila. As the hurricane rips into Manila, their station is cut off from the outside world and they realize that what’s inside with them is pure evil.
Dark, despairing, and beautiful in its ugliness, ‘Violator’ is one of the few horror films in recent years to be as interested in emotions as jump scares.
OFFICE: Hong Won-chan | Thriller | South Korea | 111min | 2015, UK Premiere
Sunday 25th Oct 1pm, Odeon Panton Street.
Exemplary officer worker Kim Byung-Guk murdered his entire family without any provocation and disappeared into thin air. Homicide detective Choi immediately begins his investigation at the ‘Office’, but all of Kim’s colleagues seem to be hiding something. He realizes that Kim and an intern named Mirae were close and attempts to dive into the mind of the killer.
‘Office’ was part of the official 2015 Cannes Film Festival Midnight Screening selection and impressed international audiences by delivering thrills within the small confines of a work place.
CHASUKE’S JOURNEY: Sabu | comedy | Japan | 106min |2015, UK Premiere
Sunday 25th Oct, 3.30pm Odeon Panton Street.
‘Chasuke’s Journey’ is the highly anticipated adaptation of writer-director SABU’s debut novel.
‘Chasuke’s Journe’y tells the story of a celestial tea server who returns to the physical world to save the life of a young woman fated to be killed in a car accident.
Sabu retained the novel’s basic elements in adapting it for film, but instead of the book’s fictional town, he relocated the action to Okinawa, where he has been living for the past three years.
SPL2 – A TIME FOR CONSEQUENCES: Soi Cheang | Martial Arts Action | Hong Kong China | 118min | 2015, UK premiere
Sunday 25th October 7pm, Odeon Leicester Square.
‘SPL2: A Time For Consequences’ is a Chinese-Hong Kong action film directed by Soi Cheang. The film stars Tony Jaa from ‘Ong Bak’, Wu Jing, Simon Yam and Zhang Jin, with Louis Koo making a guest appearance.
‘SPL2: A Time For Consequences’ sees undercover cop Kit (Wu Jing) become a junkie in order to catch Mr Hung (Louis Koo), the mastermind behind a crime syndicate. When the operation goes sour and Kit blows his cover, his supervisor and uncle Wah (Simon Yam) decides to terminate the operation.
– Odeon Leicester Square: 24-26 Leicester Square, London WC2H 7LQ
– Odeon Covent Garden: 135 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8AH
– Odeon Panton: 11-18 Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DP