Review: Toronto Korean Film Festival (Part One)

Image courtesy of Toronto Korean Film Festival

Hello lovely readers, if you are in Toronto I urge you to go to the Toronto Korean Film Festival. It’s happening right now and it’s a fabulous way to either discover the world of Korean film or to see Korean films that you might not have watched otherwise. I’ve been covering it and everything I’ve seen so far makes me recommend it more. Have I loved all the films? No. But I love having the opportunity to experience films that I won’t have watched on my own.

What am I talking about? The Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF) is showcasing a wide variety of film genres and films from horror to dramas to animation, from shorts to documentaries to feature films. Like most people, I have my favourite genres of films and those are the ones I tend to watch most often. Yes, I watch a lot of Korean films for a variety of reasons: they help improve my Korean listening; there are some great Korean films out there; and some hot actors to crush on. But I tend to watch romantic comedies, action, adventure, thriller or historical dramas as those are the genres that most appeal to me in any language.

One of the beauties of film festivals in general – and of TKFF in particular – is the opportunity to watch films that fall outside my normal spectrum. I absolutely love how TKFF is grouping films together in genres. It makes it easy to decide which nights – or films – you might want to see if you aren’t familiar with the titles. But I want to encourage everyone to step outside their normal film preferences and try something different.

I’ll give you an example why I think it’s important. I’m the world’s biggest wuss when it comes to scary or horror movies. No joke! You know the stereotypical girl who squeals and hides her face in her boyfriend’s shoulder while watching a scary movie? It’s seriously not far off what I do except there’s no squealing (I do jump each time I get startled) and I hid behind my hands (or behind a pillow if watching in my living room). So I don’t usually watch them.

But I went to TKFF’s horror night last Saturday because I wanted to step outside my comfort zone. Man, am I glad I did! I thought I might like A Tale of Two Sisters (장화,홍련) which is the main reason I wanted to go, as it sounds more like a thriller than a horror flick and it was a good film, but I absolutely loved Epitaph (기담) and didn’t expect to. I would never have watched Epitaph otherwise because it’s billed as a horror flick and the description didn’t pull me in. For me, that’s the beauty of TKFF! By presenting such a wide variety of Korean films, not only is there something to appeal to just about everyone, but there’s also an opportunity to see films that you might not otherwise have had the chance or perhaps inclination to see. And like Epitaph surprised me, some of those films might surprise you. Go see something different! TKFF is the perfect place for it.

I especially recommend going to TKFF if you aren’t familiar with Korean films as it’s a great way to experience some of the great Korean films of the past decade. The organizers of TKFF have done a wonderful job of selecting the films to give Torontonians who have never seen Korean films or who have only seen one or two a great cross-section of the different types of Korean films available. With more and more Korean films playing in theatres in Toronto – All About My Wife (내 아내의 모든 것) is currently playing at the Yonge-Dundas AMC – TKFF is doing a fabulous job of introducing the world of Korean cinema to Toronto.

Step outside YOUR comfort zone and go watch some of the films at TKFF! The festival is happening now with different screenings each night until July 1st. You won’t be disappointed.

Just the facts:

  • What: Toronto Korean Film Festival
  • Where: Innis Hall (2 Sussex Avenue) near St. George station
  • When: ongoing until July 1
  • Why: great Korean films
  • How much: $12 for a single ticket ($10 with coupon, available on their website)
  • How to buy tickets: at Innis Hall
  • TKFF website

Stay tuned for film reviews of all the films screening at TKFF. I’m a little behind due to having caught a cold ㅠ.ㅠ but the first one will be up tomorrow. Oh, and I’ll also have a “part two” review of the festival as a whole after it’s finished. But I’d really love to know if any of you have been to TKFF? What did you see? Thoughts, opinions on the films?

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

2 thoughts on “Review: Toronto Korean Film Festival (Part One)

  • July 2, 2012 at 2:41 am

    please share photos from the festival if you went! looking forward to them. – San Diego Korean American girl 🙂

    • July 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

      Unfortunately I didn’t take a lot of pictures but it was a fabulous festival – look for another article on the festival (with a few pictures) and several film reviews coming soon!

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