The London Korean Film Festival 2010:Secret Reunion (2010), Dir. Hun Jang

Ji-won (Dong Won-kan) and Han-kyu (Kang Ho-Song) form a tense but later rewarding partnership.


Rating: 8.5/10

Hun Jang’s second film is a detective film which combines comedy with social commentary on the ongoing tensions between North and South Korea. The film pairs a South Korean ex-police detective turned private detective Lee Han-kyu (Kang-ho Song recognisable from his roles in the excellent Thirst (2009) and Memories Of Murder (2003)) with North Korean spy and hit-man Song Ji-won (Dong-won Kang).

The film starts off as a serious action thriller detailing a North Korean operation, involving Ji-won under the command of the ruthless assassin Shadow (Gook-hwan Jeon), to track down and kill North Korean defectors. When Song refuses to kill a child he is named a traitor and banished to South Korea, meanwhile Han-kyu starts a deadly gun battle with the spies and is fired as a result.

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54th BFI London Film Festival-Shungu: The Resilience Of A People (2009), Dir. Saki Mafundikwa

Rating: 4/10

Shungu is the first feature documentary by Saki Mafundikwa; a renowned Zimbabwean graphic designer and educator. The film came out of frustration with Zimbabwe’s terrible economic situation and a desire to show the world what exactly is happening in Zimbabwe, now that the mainstream media seems to have lost interest. Thus the film sets out to show the aftermath of the long queues for bread, empty shelves and political violence, and show Zimbabwe’s long term suffering.

This is done by focusing on the stories of people in Zimababwe who represent the struggle, frustration and determination of the Zimbabwean people, embodying the title Shungu which means all these things. So we learn about the lives of a 30-something metalsmith and opposition supporter trying to keep his business going amidst government supporters attacking and threatening him and his family, and people stealing his equipment or not paying him.

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The Social Network (2010), Dir. David Fincher

Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) and Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) are potrtayed as ruthless power-hungry mavericks.

Rating: 8.5/10 

One person for every 14 worldwide use Facebook, that’s 500 million people. Facebook really has changed the way we think about our social lives and the way we interact (as Justin Timberlake playing computer prodigy Sean Parker says: We lived in farms, then we lived in cities, and now we’re gonna live on the internet!). But will a film about it’s first year of inception really be that interesting? Won’t it just consist of loads of geeks staring at computer screens writing code and talking incomprehensible techno-babble?

Whatever your misgivings about a film based around the internet, Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and David Fincher (The Fight Club), have come up with something that is genuinely entertaining and involving. The fact that they had to play with the truth to do so is another matter which may annoy some looking purely for accuracy, but then how many films based on true stories do you know that are really 100% accurate?

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