Accidental Film Festival

Regular readers of this space know that I have trouble resisting a film festival. So I was excited when I was in Busan, Korea looking for my next destination and discovered that the Jeonju International Film Festival was under way and ending in a few days.

Soon I was on a bus to Jeonju, and upon arriving I went straight to the Tourist Information Office outside the bus station (little English spoken, but the representative was quite fluent in Japanese) and picked up the program guide for the festival.

Jeonju Film Festival area

Jeonju Film Festival area

After getting a room for a few days at a local love hotel, I headed into town and started watching movies. I didn’t get to see any from Korea, but my favorite was “Buddha Collapsed Out Of Shame” (Iran, 2007) about the situation in Afghanistan told through a 6-year-old girl, who is “kidnapped” by boys playing Taliban & Americans (like we might play Cowboys & Indians).

They try to show all films with both Korean and English subtitles, and since few film prints have both, they have extra small screens at the bottom (for English) and side (for Korean) of the main screen, upon which they project extra subtitles by way of a projector attached to a computer. What an interesting idea!

After the films are done for the day, many gather at a nearby plaza. It was here that I saw an American singer (and English teacher), Seth Martin, playing for a small crowd.

Seth Martin in Jeonju

Seth Martin in Jeonju

I hung out listening to his music (it was pretty good) and talking with some of the locals until late in the evening before heading back to my love hotel (alone) to rest up for another full day of movie viewing.

I’m now trying to figure out how I can come up with a good reason to go back next year for the whole festival. They even offer cheap dorm accommodations for visitors. I’m seriously tempted…

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