Korean Films at TIFF 2013


Every year, the Toronto International Film Festival gives us amazing opportunities to see Korean films which may never be released in Canadian theatres. In some cases, the films screened at TIFF have not even been released in their native land. Even better, many screenings are followed by Q&A’s with some mixture of the director, production staff, and cast. So, while you may be stressed out about returning to school, put off your first assignments just a bit longer and head downtown.

The TIFF website is your best resource for full details about screening times and HanCinema is a decent source of information about the films in English. Getting exact details about who is attending which screening is difficult and sketchy, but when I do find out, I will keep you informed.

We can, however, predict the presence of Cold Eyes’ (감시자들) directors Cho Ui-Seok and Kim Byeong-Seo as well as some or all of the main cast (including: Sol Kyung-gu, Jung Woo-sung, Han Hyo-joo and Lee Junho of 2PM fame) at the North American premiere on Friday, September 13th at 9:30PM at Roy Thomson Hall.

Further, given that the World Premieres of both Intruders (조난자들) and The Fake (사이비) will take place in Toronto, we might expect a larger presence from these films’ staffs.

Read on to see a full list complete with trailers of the Korean films at this year’s TIFF. 


Watching The Hobbit in Korea

Update (12/15): I watched The Hobbit at COEX’s M2관 and can confirm a few things. The dual projectors make for a much brighter, clearer, less headache-inducing 3D experience. There was almost no blur from fast motion (perhaps that’s the 48FPS). Further the screen is not as tall as an IMAX, but is super-wide and fits the films aspect ratio almost perfectly. I was in  Row F but probably will chose Row G for a full view.

The big winner is the Atmos sound system, which gives you an amazing sense of perspective. It feels as if you are in the centre of the action, while the sounds move above and around you. There is a particular scene with a group of dwarves singing in which you can distinguish each individual singer’s voice coming from a different point in space while the soundtrack creates an encompassing soundfield.

Update (12/14): According to Dolby, Mokdong Megabox’s M2관 has Atmos as well. The Megabox site does not report this to be the case, but they also had poor information on the COEX M2관 until today (12/14). Proceed at your own risk. (source)

This topic got a decent amount of retweets, and given that there is no one place to get all the details in English, I will give a brief rundown of the (potentially) best places to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Korea. I won’t bother with the basic theatres or even regular 3D as those will be quite easy to find. If you’re a die hard LotR, Tolkien, or Peter Jackson fan you’ll want to look out for these key words: HFR 3D, IMAX HFR 3D, Atmos.

Sound / Dolby Atmos: You can read up on Atmos yourself, but imagine the surround sound experience extending above you with ceiling mounted speakers to create a completely immersing soundfield (source). By soundfield, I mean you should not hear the passage of sounds between speakers. The idea of Atmos is to for you do be immersed in a sphere of sound. By the way, your only other option for Atmos in Korea is Yeongdeungpo CGV’s 4관.

Video / Dual 4K projector HFR 3D: Peter Jackson has promised that HFR (high frame rate) 3D wil blow us away where regular 3D has proven disappointing to some. Regardless, 3D movies are darker and generally half the resolution of their 2D counterparts if the cinema doesn’t use dual projectors. This is why IMAX 3D is much better and why, if you can’t get to COEX, your next best bet is an IMAX cinema. M2관 has matched IMAX’s two projectors, and while the video may not be as crystal clear as IMAX (in theory), the Atmos (mentioned above) tips the scale, and definitely makes seeing it in any other cinema a non-possibility.

If video is the most important thing (while IMAX sounds was the most amazing, it’s no Atmos) then Wangsimni IMAX is your best bet due to it’s large properly concave screen and spacious, well-angled seating.

Finally, if you can’t get to an HFR 3D cinema, then see it in 2D, please. However, most CGV’s have at least one screen showing it in HFR 3D.

A list: (Note: Except Sangam and Wangsimni, it appears the other IMAX screens are not capable of HFR)


COEX Megabox m2관 – HFR 3D / Dolby Atmos / Dual 4K Projectors (schedule)

Yeongdeungpo CGV 4관 – HFR 3D **Single 2K projector / Dolby Atmos (schedule)

Wangsimni CGV IMAX – IMAX HFR3D  (schedule)

Sangam CGV IMAX – IMAX HFR 3D (schedule note: this is the one at World Cup Stadium)

Suwon Local: Baekjeong barbecue

Destination: Baekjeong (백정) near Suwon Station.
Why: Delicious meat, great atmosphere, interesting grill.
Price: 10,000~
Note: This chain of barbecue (samgyupsal, galbi, beef, etc.) restaurants is represented by (perhaps owned by, though who knows) by Kang Ho-dong of 1박2일 fame. As you will see, they have a neat ring around the grill for cooking egg, onions, kimchi, and garlic. On a personal note, grilling kimchi is one of the best things you could ever do in your life.

The grill: the orangish stuff is an egg which will fry along with the onions, garlic, and kimchi as the grill heats up.

Fresh and delicious samgyeopsal.


Head down the main rodeo / bar / restaurant street. It is located on the second floor of the building which houses CNA (on your left).

지도 크게 보기
2012.7.28 | 지도 크게 보기 ©  NHN Corp.

Bundang Hyperlocal: Peggy Pie meat pies

Destination: Peggy Pie in Jeongja-dong
Why: Delicious meat / fruit pies and oven baked sandwiches
Price: 5,000won~
Note: A delicious alternative to Jesters (which doesn’t even exist in Bundang any longer).

Peggy Pie in Jeongja-dong, Bundang-gu, Seongnam-si

Leave Exit 3 of Jeongja Station, cross the first street and turn right. Turn down the 3rd small street (just before the main Jeongja-il-ro). It’s quite visible!


지도 크게 보기
2012.7.27 | 지도 크게 보기 ©  NHN Corp.

Bundang Hyperlocal: Yongin Arpia Tower

Destination: Yongin Arpia Tower / observation deck. (용인 아르피아)
Why: Great view of Suji-gu / Jukjeon area from skyscraper hights.
Price: FREE
Accessibility: Easy
Notes: Nice exercise / sports park (Yongin Respia) by the complex.

Leave Exit 1 of Jukjeon Station, and cross the street. Look up to the Northwest and you will see the *only* tower in the area. That is your destination! Check the pictures above.

Enter the tower from the park side (in front of the soccer field). Walk past the small cafe and into the elevator lobby. Hit Level 4 for the top, and enjoy the view!


지도 크게 보기
2012.7.27 | 지도 크게 보기 ©  NHN Corp.