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Korean Film Festival in Australia 2023

Get your Korean cinema fix with five days of top-notch films at ACMI.
By Sarah Ward
July 28, 2023
By Sarah Ward
July 28, 2023

Thirteen years ago, Korea's cinema standouts scored their own showcase Down Under, with the inaugural Korean Film Festival in Australia debuting in 2010. Since then, the festival has kept returning — and expanding — to celebrate both the latest and greatest flicks that South Korea has to offer. It was playing Bong Joon-ho films before Parasite swept the Oscars. It was revelling in Korean thrillers prior to Squid Game becoming an international success, too. It loved Korean genre fare before Train to Busan as well. And, KOFFIA will keep the nation's must-see titles in Melbourne this spring.

2023's festival has a date with ACMI from Thursday, September 7–Monday, September 11. Across five days, it'll endeavour to give audiences a new Korean favourite, or several, from a selection that spans everything from murder-mysteries and detective dramas to revenge thrillers and musicals.

There's no such thing as a standard Korean film, which is true of every country's movie output; however, this national cinema is mighty fond of twisty tales. Accordingly, it should come as no surprise that Confession and Gentleman are both on the 2023 bill. The first is a locked-room mystery with an IT company CEO suddenly finding himself the prime suspect, while the second involves a private detective agency's head honcho being falsely accused of a crime.

Also on the lineup: The Devil's Deal, which sees a political candidate disqualified, then out for revenge; and The Night Owl, about an acupuncturist who is blind in daylight, can see clearly at night, and witnesses a tragic event one evening. The latter opens the festival, and the directors of both films — The Devil's Deal's Lee Won-tae and The Night Owl's An Tae-jin — are coming to Australia for KOFFIA.

Elsewhere, comedy 6/45 hits the Korean Film Festival after proving a box-office smash at home, focusing on soldiers from both North and South Korea finding a windfall; Hero heads back to 1900s Korea to hone in on independence activist Ahn Jung-geun's plight battling Japanese colonial rule; musical drama Life Is Beautiful sees a husband trying to locate his wife's childhood sweetheart; and Next Sohee, which played Cannes 2022, is all about an exploitative work situation.

Or, the standouts also include Switch, where a celebrity wakes up one morning to discover that he's living a completely different life — and romance Nothing Serious, about an aspiring novelist who writes a sex column.

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