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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

It’s a story Filipinos are all too familiar with. A girl is left heart-broken after her boyfriend of seven years calls it quits for no apparent reason. For some time after, she tries to get back with him until she realizes that it’s a lost cause.

Finding herself at a point where she feels without a purpose, there came someone who made her believe that she could love and be loved again. But just as she has already moved on and has already found peace, a chance encounter with her former love throws everything into disarray.

The story of the emotionally-damaged Hyun-jung (one of Korea’s finest actresses Hyeon-jeong) is one that’s been experienced by most Filipinos at one time or another and in the film Sa-kwa, we are shown how one girl with a normal office job and from a normal family handles it.

Sa-kwa, a light-hearted drama that has been featured in 16 international film festivals, is one of the seven movies featured during the Korean Film Fest at the Shangri-La Plaza from September 24-29. The event serves as a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Korea.

Fresh from the success of the Cine Europa 2009, the Shangri-La Plaza is once again offering the films for free, enabling Filipinos who have already fallen in-love with Koreanovelas a chance to view what Korean film excellence is.

Driving with My Wife’s Lover follows Tae-hun, a stamp shop owner who learns that his wife is having an affair with a taxi driver. Tae-hun decides to go to Seoul and intentionally gets in the cab that his wife’s lover drives. Along the way, they experience many things and it’s what Tae-hun discovers along the way that makes the film worthy of its awards at the Sundance, Rotterdam, and Belgrade International Film Festivals.

In Forbidden Quest, a writer comes upon an erotic novel, which, upon reading it, decides to write one himself. With his rival Gwang-heon drawing the illustrations, their book “Heukgokbisa” becomes the hottest item in town. The film won honors at the Grand Bell Awards, Blue Dragon Film Awards, and Korean Film Awards in 2006.

The drama/comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite has been in international film festivals in Asia and the United States despite its simple premise. Part-time lecturer Yoon-Ju is becoming irritated with the barking dog in his apartment and decides to take it and hide it in the basement. However, after returning one day, he hears the dog barking once more and when he goes down to the basement to find that the dog is gone.

The Show Must Go On is another drama about a loving husband and father who doubles as an underworld kingpin. His daughter is shamed of his chosen path while his wife insists that he get a real job. His only wish, however, is to build a wonderful life for his family and these issues have found ways of getting in the way of his work. And then there’s the underling whose power-grabbing plans is something he has to deal with.

Old Boy sees a man drugged and kidnapped from his home and thrown into a private prison where he is supplied with food, water, and a television. He finds out from the news that his wife has been murdered with him apparently being pointed as the suspect. After 15 years, he is released in the same manner that he was taken. He then sets out to find the truth.

Beyond the Years is the tale of Dong-ho and Song-hwa, who were adopted separately by Yu-bong, a nomadic singer. The kids grow up as siblings but Dong-ho has developed feelings for his “sister” while Yu-bong is insistent on making Song-hwa a great singer. Dong-ho decides to leave but continues to follow Song-hwa’s career, at the same time improving on his drum-playing skills in the hopes of matching her singing.

The 2009 Korean Film Festival is hosted by The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in cooperation with the Korea-Philippines Cultural Foundation, Inc. and The Shangri-La Plaza. Dexter R. Matilla

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