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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, August 3, 2008

Summer movie fest offers 2 Korean films

By Jeff Chung

K-Fest, Hawai'i's summer Korean film festival, started the year I became chairman of the board for the Hawai'i International Film Festival in 2005.

For three years, K-Fest featured six to nine South Korean films and proved so popular the first time around that the venue changed from the Doris Duke Theatre to the larger Regal Cinema Multiplex at Dole Cannery.

However, with the South Korean film industry in a slump, there are fewer domestic blockbusters. So what would have been K-Fest 4 this year has morphed into HIFF 2008 Summer Fest.

It's back to the basics starting with the venue: HIFF 2008 Summer Fest will be held at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The summer fest, from Aug. 22 to 24, will feature six films.

There are two Korean films and a film each from the United States, Japan, India and Hong Kong. Pre-sale tickets are available starting Friday at the HIFF box office, 680 Iwilei Road, Suite 100, Honolulu, HI 96817; www.hiff.org; or 550-8457.

HIFF SUMMER FEST

Here are synopses of the films in the HIFF 2008 Summer Fest:

"ONCE UPON A TIME IN KOREA"

2008, South Korea, 123 min., Korean with English subtitles. Set in the early '40s before Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule, a con artist and a jazz singer decide to steal back the "Light of Dong Bang," a 3,000-carat diamond Korea's most sacred national treasure from the Japanese government.

FRIDAY, AUG. 22, 6:30 P.M.; SUNDAY, AUG. 24, NOON

"PUBLIC ENEMY RETURNS"

2008, South Korea, 127 min., Korean with English subtitles. Low wages and lack of respect tempts Detective Kang Chul-Joong to turn in his badge; however, he's forced to solve a murder case involving a high-powered business executive.

Saturday, Aug. 23, 9:15 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 24, 3:15 p.m.

"ENCOUNTERS AT THE END OF THE WORLD"

2008, United States, 99 min. Filmmaker Werner Herzog goes into the icy realm of Antarctica, where he documents the fascinating and strange lives of the men and women of the McMurdo Station, a research center that exists for the advancement of science.

Friday, Aug. 22, 9:30 p.m.

"A Little Love, A Little Magic (Thoda Pyaar, Thoda Magic)"

2008, India, 145 min., Hindi with English subtitles. When a slick businessman is ordered to take care of four children he is responsible for orphaning, God offers divine intervention, which comes in the form of Geeta, his most mischievous angel.

Saturday, Aug. 23, 6 p.m.

"MR. CINEMA (LO KONG CHING CHUEN)"

2007, Hong Kong, 110 min., Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. An entertaining and bittersweet snapshot of Hong Kong over more than three decades.

Saturday, Aug. 23, 3 p.m.

"WALKING MY LIFE (ZO NO SENAKA)"

2007, Japan, 125 min., Japanese with English subtitles. Koji Yakusho plays Yukihiro Fujiyama, a successful executive and devoted family man. However, when he learns that he's dying of a terminal illness, he decides to live his life to the fullest.

Saturday, Aug. 23, noon; Sunday, Aug. 24, 6:30 pm

Jeff Chung is general manager of KBFD, which televises Korean dramas. Got a K-drama question or comment? Reach him at 521-8066 or jeffchung@kbfd.com.