By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Editor Kevin Lee, Reporter Lee Ji-hyun
JIMFF bares 10 ‘must-see’ music films on opening day tomorrow. Time is running out and, alas, it is tomorrow when the 18th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival (JIMFF) starts (on August 11, 2022)!
The host has disclosed the presentation of 10 more film recommendations selected by the Festival's programmer. This year’s edition of the festival features 139 music films from 39 countries, which is the highest number in the festival’s history.
Programmer Maeng Soojin chose four films from non-competitive sections, one from Figgis’ Picks, one from All About Korean Music Films, two from Curator of the Year: Cho Young-wuk, and two from Over the Rainbow. The two films from Over the Rainbow section, CODA, which won the Best Picture at the 94ths Academy Awards, and the original film, The Belier Family, will give audiences the opportunity to compare the original and the remake at the same site.
La Traviata, My Brothers and I:
Section: Dynamics | Director: Yohan Manca | France, 2021, 108min
Synopsis: It's the summer holidays for Nour, a 14-year-old boy who lives in a working-class neighborhood by the sea. Struggling between reckless older brothers and an absent mother, his meeting with Sarah, a young opera singer, will give Nour the opportunity to escape the blazing heat of his environment and chase his new opera dream.
Program Note: The song that represents the parents’ love story is passed on as an oral folktale. Nour and his brothers also have such a song: arias from the opera La Traviata that their Italian father sang to get to their mother’s heart. Nour, who continuously plays Pavarotti for his ailing mother, passes by a vocal classroom by coincidence and meets Sarah, who teaches him vocalization. Nour experiences the world and senses his potential through music. The film depicts the bonds of families while calmly emphasizing the hope found only outside such boundaries. (Nam Sunwoo)
For the Left Hand:
Section: Dynamics | Directors: Gordon Quinn, Leslie Simmer/USA, 2021, 74min/Korean Premiere
Synopsis: At age 5, Norman Malone discovered he was a natural at the piano. Tragically, when Norman turned 10, his father attacked him with a hammer to the head, leaving him paralyzed on his right side. Undaunted, Malone began a lifelong quest to reclaim his place at the piano – mastering some of the most difficult music ever written for left hand alone. Nearly 70 years after his tragic attack, Malone revealed his story and launches a much-delayed, triumphant concert career.
Program Note: If the piano performance you hear while waiting for the elevator sounds professional, you’d be more than curious about the player. And if it was performed only with one hand, wouldn’t you want to tell your critic friend? That’s how “the pianist of the left hand” Norman Malone became famous in Chicago. He could only use one hand due to a tragedy in childhood, yet he never left the piano. The passion that is not to be taken neither too seriously nor too lightly is what moves this old man. (Nam Sunwoo)
Run Raven Run:
Section: Dynamics | Director: Michael Rainin | USA, 2021, 101min | Asian Premiere
Synopsis: Run Raven Run is a groundbreaking music documentary about the past and present of Roma music, narrated by Michael Madsen. But, it is also much more than that. It depicts how venerable traditions are turned upside down by new movements being spawned inside inaccessible ghettos. It shows the rise of youth culture to redefine outdated values of society. And its soundtrack is off the charts! Viewers, young or old, attracted to any of these elements of storytelling will want to watch Run Raven Run.
Program Note: In this film, we can learn about Romanian gypsy culture and music that we did not know well before; through the history of gypsy migration and settlement; the history of ordeal such as discrimination against them and the Holocaust of the 20th century; Nicolae Ceausescu’s ruling, perestroika; the Western music formed by globalization; and the formation of the Manele genre influenced by Türkiye and Eastern music. Like black music in the United States, the suffering and resentment that the oppressed experienced have been sublimated into gypsy music and art, and they have maintained their identity and culture. We can also understand that some gypsy music contains emotions similar to Korean resentment. (Noh Kwangwoo)
Section: Special Presentation | Director: Ted Braun | USA, 2022, 99min | International Premiere
Synopsis: ¡Viva Maestro!, the uplifting and timely new documentary from acclaimed director Ted Braun, follows Gustavo Dudamel around the world as he responds to unexpected and daunting obstacles with powerful music-making and an innovative and triumphant concert that celebrates the power of art to renew and unite.
Here’s a conductor whose handprints are on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and whose autographs are popular among hundreds of children. It’s Gustavo Dudamel, a violinist from the Venezuelan youth music program “El Sistema” and a world-famous conductor. Now the music director of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, he is always thinking about constructive ways to use his influence as a global classical celebrity. The documentary demonstrates how an artist grows to be a leader while offering great pleasure with orchestral performances. (Nam Sunwoo)
Section: Figgis' Picks | Director: Bo Wideberg | Sweden, 1967, 90min
Synopsis: Hedvig Jensen is a famous ropewalker and is known to her public as Elvira Madigan. She meets Lieutenant Sixten Sparre, a Swedish officer who is married and has two children. They both decide to run away, but since Sixten deserted the army, he cannot find any job and the couple encounters many hardships. Moreover, while on the run, Sixten meets a friend who tries to convince him to come back to his country and family.
Program Note: "Swedish cinema is of course dominated by Ingmar Bergman and I subsequently discovered that this left many notable directors in his long shadow. In fact Elvira Madigan is a kind of masterpiece full of warmth and love and great beauty. Beauty of the human form and also nature and landscape. But what makes the film so poignant is the use of music, or to be specific the repetition of Mozart’s piano concerto Number 21 in C major. Such was the impact of this film that now the Concerto is now also known as ‘Elvira Madigan’." (Mike Figgis)
Section: All About Korean Music Film | Director: Kim Kee-duk | Korea, 1975, 105min | World Premiere (Restored)
Synopsis: Nam-jun comes to Seoul with the dream of becoming the Best Singer but finds his friend Dong-hun is a singer no one knows, so he sacrifices himself to support him. He even takes the fall for Dong-hun's car accident but once Dong-hun ignores Nam-jun once he becomes famous. While in despair, Nam-jun meets a girl called Min-hyang who recognizes his talent and gives up studying in the U.S. to help him.
Program Note: Kim Kee-duk, director of The Barefooted Young(1964) which became the best youth film of his time by making Shin Sung-il on stardom, also directed Best Singer starring Nam Jin, the best Korean superstar of the 70s. The film brings the various aspects of Nam Jin, who had been the top singer every year since the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. The film satisfies the audience’s curiosity about the show business world by telling them why Nam Jin was called Elvis Presley in the East through spectacular stage scenes. (Maeng Soojin)
Section: Curator of the Year: Cho Young-wuk | Director: Shinoda Masahiro | Japan, 1964, 96min | Korean Premiere (4K restored)
Synopsis: Muraki has just been released from prison and returns to his old yakuza haunts. During the day, Muraki is beset by people from his past gangster milieu, while at night, he falls increasingly under the spell of the attractive drag racer Saeko. Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil might have stood godfather for Shinoda’s classic film noir, which enduringly shaped the genre of yakuza thrillers. Pale Flower glorifies big-city life in a manner as morbid as it is lyrical, accentuated by composer Toru Takemitsu’s cool jazz score.
Program Note: "Its music is done by a Japanese contemporary musician Toru Takemitsu. I heard his music first through Woman in the Dunes by Hiroshi Teshigahara. I liked it so much that I followed his filmography. The music in Pale Flower by Dir. Masahiro Shinoda is exquisite, standing between sound and music with various percussions. It steers the film into an emotionless cynical mood as if reflecting the empty lives of the protagonists. It's one of the most impressive works by Toru." (Cho Young-wuk)
Section: Curator of the Year: Cho Young-wuk | Director: Mike Hodges | UK, 1971, 112min | Asian Premiere (4k restored)
Synopsis: A vicious London gangster, Jack Carter, travels to Newcastle for his brother's funeral. He begins to suspect that his brother's death was not an accident and sets out to follow a complex trail of lies, deceit, cover-ups, and backhanders through Newcastle's underworld, leading, he hopes, to the man who ordered his brother killed.
Program Note: "I first saw this film in 2000. I follow actors like Michael Caine, Lee Marvin, and Gene Hackman. I watched this film as I found it in Michael Caine's filmography. End of 60s and early 70s is the big bang of pop culture and I like films from that time—it's when great musicians like Lalo Schifrim and Quincy Jones were active. The film's composer Roy budd may be less known but Get Carter is certainly one of the most symbolic jazz films of the 70s along with The French Connection by William Friedkin and Bullitt by Peter Yates. I really like this film." (Cho Young-wuk)
The Belier Family:
Section: Over the Rainbow | Director: Eric Lartigau | France, 2014, 105min
Synopsis: Paula, the only one in her family that can hear and speak, falls in love with Gabriel, a transfer student, and joins the chorus he's in. The teacher discovers Paula has talent and suggests auditioning for a chorus school in Paris and sets a duet performance with Gabriel. However, Paula is worried that her family would be overwhelmed if she left because she was the bridge connecting them to the world. Finding out what her mother really thinks, Paula gives up the audition.
Section: Over the Rainbow | Director: Sian Heder | USA, France, 2021, 111min
Synopsis: As a CODA(Child of Deaf Adults) Ruby is the only hearing person in her deaf family. When the family's fishing business is threatened, Ruby finds herself torn between pursuing her passion at Berklee College of Music and her fear of abandoning her parents.
The 18th Jecheon International Music & Film Festival, where audiences can enjoy music and film to the fullest, will be held for six days from August 11 to August 16 in the Jecheon City Area. With the iconic music program One Summer Night, as well as brand new programs such as Films in Live and the Special Concert by Justin Hurwitz, the festival will bring to the audience the joy of the festival that we all missed.
Date: Aug. 11(Thu) thru Aug. 16 (Tue), 6 days
Venue: Megabox Jecheon, CGV Jecheon, Uirimji Stage, Airfield Stage and Jecheon City Area
Host: Jecheon International Music & Film Festival
Organizer: Jecheon International Music & Film Festival Executive Committee
Sponsor: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Chungcheongbuk-do, Jecheon-si, Korean Film Council