Korean Short Competition comprises 18 films (15 narrative drama, 2 animations and 1 documentary), with a noticeably wider spectrum of styles and themes present than in last year's competition. Fewer entries talked about the nation's division/reunification issue, with the majority of films focusing on ironic social situations we encounter everyday.
With socio-economic inequality being the prevailing theme, we witnessed, to our dismay, scene after scene of poverty across many films. It was particularly painful to be reminded of how poverty is being transmitted from one generation to the next. The stark realities facing the underprivileged are vividly portrayed: kids worry about losing their home (Our House), a woman undertakes the job that belonged to her deceased mom (The Dog Days), a teen is left in a strange environment (Hide and Seek), a boy can only be the goalkeeper (Goalkeeper), and a young delivery driver can't stop working even when his parents die (Goodtime). If this sounds all too grim though, you can always turn to Alien, Run! Courier or Pick-Up for a glimmer of hope.
Another dominant issue was gender equality. From patriarchy (Tiger and Ox) and an old community culture (Dots) to fixed domestic gender roles (Full Moon) and lookism (She Is), diverse topics are dealt with in surprisingly smart, quick-witted ways, signalling a shift away from the past rigorism. The Last Egg on Earth, Zoo, School Meal and Mascot cleverly convey their messages with remarkable style. Crossing the Line deftly depicts a power hierarchy in the classroom, while Gurye Bakery presents a brave life choice made by a young woman.
Spanning a wide range of themes, these works of art are undoubtedly a sharp reflection of the zeitgeist, perfectly in line with the orientation of the PIPFF.