Motto and Thematic Focus: “Encounters and Relationships”

The year 2023 marks an anniversary year for Korean history: 140 years ago, German-Korean relations were established. For us, this is a perfect occasion to draw attention to the friendly ties between the two countries as part of this year’s festival focus “Encounters and Relationships”. For example, 60 years ago, the first guest worker agreement was signed between Germany and South Korea, which is why numerous miners and nurses have come to Germany since 1963 and shaped Korean culture in Germany. In 1980, German journalist Jürgen Hinzpeter contributed to the South Korean democracy movement by reporting from the besieged city of Gwanjgu. The events in Gwangju were the inspiration for the film A Taxi Driver (2017), which we screened this year as part of our Summer Special.

For us as a film festival, cinema is a special space. Only in the cinema do we share a film experience with so many other people. Seeing films in the cinema means building relationships. To the film, the audience and of course the filmmakers. We are happy to present to you the diversity of the South Korean film world.

Our opening film, Killing Romance (2023), is a quirky black comedy that lives up to the spirit of the Korean Wave. Speaking of the Korean Wave, PARK Chan-wook’s Oldboy was released 20 years ago. We want to honor this milestone with a special screening. With Halloween just around the corner, we’ve also prepared another modern classic for you: A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) will scare you to the bones. Recent action blockbusters like The Roundup: No Way Home (2023) and The Childe (2023), give you an idea of how powerful South Korean cinema still is today. To complete our selection we also present recent independent productions like Next Sohee, Soulmate and Gyeong-ah’s Daughter. Through the film Hommage, we would like to draw attention to South Korea’s first courageous female filmmakers. We also present HONG Sang-soo’s new film Walk Up (2023), where he once again shows us the absurdity of everyday life as an artist

Whether mainstream or independent productions: we are sure that through these unique cinematic encounters our viewers will be able to build their very own relationship with South Korean culture. We wish you a great time at the festival!