Korean Films at TIFF 2014

Courtesy of TIFF
Courtesy of TIFF

Wondering about the Korean films at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this year? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Now that all the films have not only been announced, but we have updated our article with the screening times. There are 13 Korean films this year – hmm, I wonder if that’s a record? In fact, unless I miss my guess, there are more Korean films at TIFF this year than any other year! ^^

This is in part because Seoul – Korea’s capital city – is the spotlight city for TIFF’s City to City programme. Keep reading for a listing of all the Korean films, documentaries, shorts and even an installation at TIFF.

Before I get to the films, let’s talk about which ones I’m looking forward to most. While I’m sure there isn’t a bad film in the bunch, there are a few that jump out to me as ones I just can’t miss. Which ones? Haemoo (해무) – there’s so much buzz about this film I can’t wait to see it; Scarlet Innocence (마담 뺑덕) – I’m a huge fan of Jung Woo Sung (who I hear will be in attendance); In Her Place – it’s by a local Korean-Canadian director; and Gyeongju (경주) – the description for this film intrigues me. What films are you looking forward to watching?

But don’t worry, we’ll be reviewing all 13 Korean films (I can’t wait). Speaking of the films, here are the Korean films that will be screening at TIFF this year.

Gala Presentations

Haemoo / Sea Fog (해무)

Shim Sung-Bo, South Korea

International Premiere

The ragtag crew of a fishing boat takes on a dangerous commission to smuggle a group of illegal immigrants from China to Korea, in this tense high-seas adventure co-scripted by South Korean genre-movie guru Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Snowpiercer).

  • Tue, Sept 9 @ 6:30 pm,  Roy Thomson Hall *PREMIUM*
  • Wed, Sept 10 @12:00 pm, Ryerson Theatre
  • Sun, Sept 14 @ 12:00 pm, Ryerson Theatre


Hill of Freedom (자유의 언덕)

Hong Sangsoo, South Korea

North American Premiere

South Korean master Hong Sang-soo crafts yet another delightful, soju-saturated tale of love thwarted, in this story of a heartsick Japanese man who travels to Seoul to attempt a reunion with the woman he still pines for.

  • Wed, Sept 10 @ 4:45 pm, Isabel Bader Theatre
  • Fri, Sept 12 @ 9:30 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1
  • Sat, Sept 13 @ 9:00 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2

Revivre (화장)

Im Kwon-taek, South Korea

North American Premiere

A middle-aged man who has recently lost his wife to cancer indulges in fantasies about a young woman at his work, in the new film from Korean master Im Kwon-taek (Chunhyang).

  • Thu, Sept 11 @ 9:30 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1
  • Fri, Sept 12 @ 9:30 am, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
  • Sun, Sept 14 @ 9:00 pm, Isabel Bader Theatre


In Her Place

Albert Shin, Canada/South Korea

World Premiere

A wealthy couple seeks to secretly adopt the unborn child of an impoverished and troubled rural teenager, in this compelling drama from writer-director Albert Shin.

  • Sat, Sept 6 @ 2:00 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2
  • Tue, Sept 9 @ 3:30 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 4
Our handy chart of all the Korean film screenings to help you plan your viewing experience.
Our handy chart of all the Korean film screenings to help you plan your viewing experience.

City to City Programme

A Dream of Iron (철의 꿈)

Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, South Korea/USA

Canadian Premiere

Multi-media artist Kelvin Kyung Kun Park looks back to the “heroic age” of heavy industry in 1960s South Korea and the contemporary ruins of those utopian dreams of modernity. Documentary

  • Thu, Sept 11 @ 7:00 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 3
  • Fri, Sept 12 @ 2:15 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 13
  • Sun, Sept 14 @ 3:00 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 9

A Girl at My Door (도희야)

July Jung, South Korea

North American Premiere

Banished to provincial purgatory after a censure for misconduct, a former star of the Seoul police force finds her maternal instincts unexpectedly awakened when she meets a troubled teenage girl. Starring Kim Sae-ron, Bae Doona and Song Sae-byuk.

  • Mon, Sept 8 @ 9:30 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 3
  • Thu, Sept 11 @ 4:00 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 4
  • Sun, Sept 14 @ 6:45 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 8

A Hard Day (끝까지 간다)

Kim Seong-hun, South Korea

North American Premiere

A luckless police detective becomes the target of blackmail after trying to cover up a hit-and-run in this wild neo-noir thriller. Starring Lee Sun-kyun and Cho Jin-woong.

  • Wed, Sept 10 @ 9:45 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 4
  • Thu, Sept 11 @ 9:45 pm, Isabel Bader Theatre
  • Sun, Sept 14 @ 9:45 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 8

Alive (산다)

Park Jung-bum, South Korea

North American Premiere

A simple labourer in a remote mountain village is driven to desperate measures to provide for the women in his life in this wrenching yet beautiful drama. Starring Park Jung-bum, Lee Seung-yeon, Park Myung-hoon and Shin Heat-bit.

  • Sun, Sept 7 @ 9:30 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3
  • Mon, Sept 8 @ 12:15 pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
  • Sat, Sept 13 @ 3:00 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 8

Cart (카트)

Boo Ji-Young, South Korea

World Premiere

The employees of a big-box discount retail store band together when contract workers are summarily laid off. Starring Yum Jung-Ah, Moon Jeong-Hee, Kim Young-Ae, Kim Gang-Woo, Hwang Jung-Min, Chun Woo-Hee and D.O.

  • Sun, Sept 7 @ 6:00 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2
  • Tue, Sept 9 @ 4:00 pm, AGO Jackman Hall
  • Sat, Sept 13 @ 7:00 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 8

Confession (좋은 친구들)

Lee Do-yun, South Korea

International Premiere

When a faked robbery ends in tragedy, three long-time friends have their fierce loyalty to one another put to the test in this noir-ish action thriller. Starring Ji Sung, Ju Ji-hoon and Lee Kwang-soo.

  • Sat, Sept 6 @ 4:15 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 1
  • Sun, Sept 7 @ 9:15 am, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 2
  • Sat, Sept 13 @ 12:00 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 8

Gyeongju (경주)

Zhang Lu, South Korea

North American Premiere

In this charmingly off-kilter romantic comedy, a Beijing university professor visits the ancient Korean capital of Gyeongju on a nostalgic quest to revisit a “dirty” café painting he first saw years before, and finds an unexpected connection with the beautiful present owner of the establishment. Starring Park Hae-il and Shin Min-a.

  • Wed, Sept 10 @ 6:15 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 3
  • Thu, Sept 11 @ 9:00 am, AGO Jackman Hall
  • Sun, Sept 14 @ 12:30 pm, Scotiabank Theatre 8

Scarlet Innocence (마담 뺑덕)

Yim Pil-sung, South Korea

World Premiere

A university professor gradually succumbing to blindness is entranced by an obsessive love in this modern-day adaptation of a classic Korean fairy tale. Starring Jung Woo-sung and Esom.

  • Thu, Sept 4 @ 6:00 pm, Ryerson Theatre
  • Sat, Sept 6 @ 10:30 am, Isabel Bader Theatre
  • Sat, Sept 13 @ 11:00 am, Scotiabank Theatre 11


Songs From the North

Soon-Mi Yoo, USA/South Korea/Portugal

North American Premiere

Multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker Soon-Mi Yoo (Far from Afghanistan) makes her solo feature film debut with this sharp and sensitive essay film about everyday life and ideological distortion in North Korea.

  • Sun, Sept 7 @ 2:00 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 3
  • Tue, Sept 9 @ 4:45 pm, TIFF Bell Lightbox Cinema 4
  • Sat, Sept 13 @ 9:30 am, Scotiabank Theatre 10


Kim Kyung-man, South Korea, Short

International Premiere

Experimental filmmaker and multi-media artist Kim Kyung-man explores his country’s institutionalized culture of fear and hatred toward North Koreans.

  • Sat, Sept 6 @ 7:45 pm, AGO Jackman Hall

Future Projections Programme

Some Graphic Sex, Heavy Drinking, Bloody Violence, and Dirty Language: Seven One-minute feature-like films about Seoul, 2014

World Premiere

Seoul-based art collaborative Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries — composed of Young-hae Chang (Korea) and Marc Voge (USA) — is known for its innovative and anarchic video works that exist at the nexus of visual art and digital literature; their iconic style recognizable on the Internet and in museums around the world. Commissioned by TIFF to create an installation inspired by the Festival’s City to City spotlight on Seoul, this intervention-like, seven-part installation will maximize TIFF Bell Lightbox’s state-of-the-art technology as it is intermittently exhibited on monitors in the atrium and projected onto the wall above the box office, with its bilingual prologue running along the ticker tape on the building’s façade. Spanning the dark and pulpy to the factual yet outlandish, this septet of feature-like, one-minute films will test the viewer’s knowledge of the Korean capital, and of Korean cinema itself. 

Presented at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square, 350 King Street West. Exhibited daily, September 4 to 14.

All descriptions courtesy of TIFF.

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.

3 thoughts on “Korean Films at TIFF 2014

  • August 19, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Wow, there’s so many titles this year! I heard that Sea Fog/Haemoo is the best commercial movie in Korea… but Roaring Currents is breaking records! im curious to see Haemoo. 🙂 Are you going to TIFF this year, Cindy?

    • August 19, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Yeah, it really helps that this year’s spotlight city in TIFF’s “City to City” programme is Seoul. ATK Magazine has partial press accreditation (yay!!) so we’ll try to cover all the films. I covered all 5 Korean films last year but 13 films will be a fun challenge. ^^ Are you going Noreen?

      And yes, I’ve heard some really good things about Sea Fog/Haemoo (can’t wait to see it). Roaring Currents is currently in the theatres in Toronto (Yonge/Dundas and Empress Walk) so go see it if you can.

      • August 19, 2014 at 4:46 pm

        Yes, i really want to see some of the movies this year. I was gonna go see Cold Eyes last yr, but i was discouraged by the bad weather that day. I have a friend who is a TIFF patron so i’ll see if she can help me score some screenings! Maybe we’ll bump into each other there!

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