Virtual Cinema | 2020 Korean Film Days

Korean Film Days | December 4–13, 2020
The second annual MFAH Korean Film Days festival takes place online. Following the worldwide success of Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning Parasite, awareness of Korea’s strong national cinema has expanded—and this year you can attend the festival from home! The 2020 lineup includes drama, comedy, action, and a foodie documentary. Each ticket purchase ($8) supports the MFAH film program.


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Baseball Girl

Baseball Girl (Yagusonyeo)
Directed by Choi Yun-tae
(2019, 105 minutes)
Indie film star Joo Young-lee plays Joo Soo-in, a talented high school baseball pitcher whose goal is to play in the male-dominated professional baseball league. As graduation approaches, her mother wants her to go to college or take a factory job. But Joo Soo-in remains determined. With the encouragement of a new coach, she gets the attention of pro managers—but will they take a chance on her? This cathartic underdog story breaks new ground on an old playing field.

Beasts Clawing at Straws

Beasts Clawing at Straws (Jipuragirado jabgo sipeun jimseungdeul)
Directed by Kim Yong-hoon
(2020, 108 minutes)
The action in this noir thriller begins when a Louis Vuitton bag full of cash is crammed into a locker. Who will claim it? A desperate chase for the fortune begins with gangsters, a shady cop, an innocent gym cleaner, a young wife who works as an escort, her ruthless boss, and her clueless boyfriend all scheming to get their hands on the elusive bag. First-time director Kim Yong-hoon crafts a beautifully constructed puzzle, full of double crosses and twists. Jung Woo-sung (Asura: City of Madness) and Jeon Do-yeon (Secret Sunshine) star.

Lucky Chan-sil

Lucky Chan-sil (Chansil-ineun bogdo manhji)
Directed by Kim Cho-hee
(2019, 96 minutes)
Kang Mal-geum stars as Chan-sil, a film producer who must downsize her life to makes ends meet after the director she works with suddenly dies. So she rents a small studio in the suburbs, begins working as a housekeeper for her actress friend, and starts a flirtation with a French teacher. Chan-sil learns hard lessons on the dating scene but is guided by her aging landlady and a sexy ghost (claiming to be Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung). First-time feature-film director Kim Cho-hee presents a refreshingly authentic female character in a story laced with cinematic references.

Secret Zoo

Secret Zoo (Haechijianha)
Directed by Jae-Gon son
(2020, 117 minutes)
Tae-soo (Ahn Jae-hong), an ambitious junior lawyer, protects his boss at a protest and in return is promised a permanent position at the firm—if he can save the Dongsan Park Zoo from closing. Appointed its interim director, Tae-soo discovers that most of the animals have been sold to cover debts. With the help of the remaining employees, he devises a daring and hilarious plan. The Los Angeles Times called Secret Zoo “an inspired family comedy that gives fresh meaning to faux fur.”

The Wandering Chef

The Wandering Chef (Bapjeong)
Directed by Park Hye-Ryoung
(2018, 85 minutes)
This unique foodie documentary is a heartwarming ode to family and the healing power of food. The Wandering Chef takes a journey with famous chef Jiho Im as he travels the Korean peninsula in search of unusual ingredients that he transforms into appetizing dishes. Chef Jiho picks herbs and other local fare, speaking about the medicinal and nutritional value they carry. Along the way, he shares his personal story, leading to an epic 100-course meal that honors the three mothers in his life.

The Woman Who Ran

The Woman Who Ran (Domangchin yeoja)
Directed by Hong Sang-soo
(2020, 77 minutes)
Hong Sang-soo’s 24th film celebrates female friendships. The Woman Who Ran follows Gam-hee as she visits three friends while her husband is away on business. Gam-hee catches up with Youngsoon, who gardens and feeds stray cats; Suyoung, who has a crush on an architect neighbor but is aggressively pursued by a young poet; and Woojin, who works at cinema and is married to a famous writer. As conversation and drinks flow freely, a simple premise becomes a subtle, powerful look at dramas large and small that women everywhere face.

Generous support has been provided by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Houston.

Special thanks for programming assistance goes to Tom Vick (National Museum of Asian Art) and Samuel Jamier (New York Asian Film Festival).

The MFAH film department is supported by Tenaris; the Vaughn Foundation; The Consulate General of Israel Houston; Nina and Michael Zilkha; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Mr. and Mrs. H. Bruce Sallee; Lynn S. Wyatt; ILEX Foundation; Consolato Generale D’Italia Houston; L’Alliance Française de Houston; and The Foundation for Independent Media Arts.