Since the Marrakech International Film Festival began back in 2000 it has focused on the national cinemas of Italy, Egypt and Spain. This year, signaling the growing importance of Korean film and certainly spurred by recent successes such as Bong Joon-ho's "Mother - 2009" and Park Chan-wook's "Thirst", the festival turns its eyes to South Korea.
A record 44 Korean films will screen and in addition, representatives from Korean government organizations, the Korean film industry: producers, directors, actors and film festival delegates will all be in attendance.
Im Kwon-taek, the godfather of Korean cinema (pictured above) will present "Surrogate Mother" (1986), "Seopyeonjae" (1993) "Chihwaseon" ("Strikes of Fire" - 2002) and more; LEE Do-yong "The Oldest Son" (1984); LEE Chang-ho "The Man with Three Coffins" (1988); Jang Sun-woo "Lies" (1999) and other directors; Park Chan-wook "Thirst" (2009); Yang Ik-joon "Breathless" (2008); Jeon Soo-il "With a Girl of Black Soil" (2008); Lee Hae-joon "Castaway on the Moon" (2009);
Producers expected to attend include KIM Moo-ryeong ("Castaway on the Moon", 2008) and KIM Hyo-jeong ("Tokyo Taxi", 2006). For the fans, a number of Korean stars will also accompany their films: "Surrogate Mother"'s Kang Soo-yeon, "Peppermint Candy"'s Moon So-ri, "Castaway on the Moon"'s Jeong Ryeo-won, and PARK Chan-wook-directed "Thirst"'s Kim Ok-bin. Korean Film Council chairman CHO Hee-moon will also be present as well as well as Korean Film Archive Chairman, LEE Byeong-Hun.
For those who are unfamiliar with Korean film, The View from Fez suggests you make an effort to see "Thirst". The story tells of a much admired and devoted priest from a small town who volunteers for a medical experiment which fails and turns him into a vampire. Physical and psychological changes lead to his affair with a wife of his childhood friend who is repressed and tired of her mundane life. The one-time priest falls deeper in despair and depravity. As things turn for worse, he struggles to maintain what’s left of his humanity. All good fun!