Belgium’s largest film festival is in full swing! For its 49th edition, Film Fest Gent has a special focus on South Korean cinema. Festival visitors are in for a treat with the luscious programming that brings forth! Of course, the festival traditionally ends with the famous World Soundtrack Awards ceremony. What to watch? Lukas Dhont’s Close proved itself a worthy festival opener, but there is plenty more to experience. Read all about it below!
Still from Holy Spider, 2022.
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Gent between now and the 22nd of October, don’t miss out on these films and events:
South Korea may seem far away, but music and film transcend national borders and travel distances. This allows us to make a musical trip to the peninsula that continues to put out countless subversive and commercial film hits. The film music concert Korean Composers gathers music from generational talents such as Jung Jae-il (Parasite), Cho Young-wuk (Oldboy) and Lee Byeong-woo (Mother), among others.
For Korean Composers, maestro Dirk Brossé conducts the Brussels Philharmonic in the Concert Hall of Music Centre De Bijloke.
dir. by Ali Abbasi
2001-2002, Mashhad (the second-largest city in Iran). Construction worker Saeed Hanaei murders sixteen sex workers with their own hijab. The serial killer then becomes a folk hero to the religious right, as he claims to be on a holy mission to “purge the city of prostitution”.
Director Abbasi stays close to the macabre reality, but adds a female journalist. She investigates the murders and observes that women in Iran are second-class citizens in an autocratic-patriarchal society. Holy Spider is thus both a riveting thriller and a merciless dissection of Iran.
dir. by Bong Joon-ho
Still from The Host, 2006.
Of course there’s a plot in The Host: a not-so-savvy father joins several other family members in search for the monster that has emerged from the sea and dragged his little daughter to its unknown hiding place. The strength of the film, however, lies in the sheer cinematic imagination with which Bong Joon-ho spins variations on the obligatory tropes of the monster movie. Masterfully, the filmmaker pushes the terror to the limit and manages to dose the black, socially critical humour in such a way that the funniness does not undermine the seriousness of the situations.
dir. by Maryna Er Gorbach
Still from Klondike, 2022.
In Klondike, expectant parents Irka and Tolik live in the Donetskregion of eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. It is disputed territory in the early days of the Donbas war. One day, the vicinal crash of flight MH17 violently disrupts the anticipation of their first child’s birth.
Tolik’s separatist friends expect him to join their efforts. Irka’s brother, however, is enraged by suspicions that the couple has betrayed Ukraine. Irka refuses to be evacuated. Even as armed forces occupy the village, she tries to make peace between her husband and brother.
Make sure to check out the full programme here! All (edited) synopses and images are from the website of Film Fest Gent.
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