DMZ Docs 2021 Overview

The 13th DMZ International Documentary Film Festival

September 9-16

More than 70 new and recent feature documentaries are presented at this notable South Korean nonfiction event.

Among the offerings:
Korean Competition

1989 Berlin, Seoul Now
Director: Choi Woo-young
Three Germans living in Korea come to think that North and South Korea of today bears subtle resemblance to East and West Germany in 1989 beyond time and space.

Boundary: Flaming Feminist Action
Director: Yun Gahyun
A feminist group reflects on four years of action campaigns promoting women’s liberation.

Burning Flower
Director: Won Ho-yeon
68-yar-old Lim Seonn-yeo, who has never left her mountain village, must bid farewell to the cow she has been with all her life and to the house where she lived with her late husband. 

In the Sky Where Seasons Pass By
Director: Ko Hanbul
A new teacher must contend with an unwieldy elementary school class.

Life Goes On
Director: Jang Minkyung
Bereaved families of numerous notable tragedies meet to talk about life after.

Asian Competition:

The Mani Stone Wall
Director: Guo Hengqi
A Buddhist nun who has worked for years to set up schools for local children in ethnically-Tibetan regions comes up against local resistance to the teachers she has hired.

The Silhouettes
Director: Afsaneh Salari
An Afghan man, born after the generation that fled the Soviet invasion to seek refuge in Iran, traces his identity and the future of the homeland he has never known.

Director: Thomas Ash
An investigation into the consequences of Japan’s recent – and highly contentious – immigration reform efforts, which has held refugees seeking asylum detained indefinitely.

The Wheel
Director: Nomin Lkhagvasuren
An exploration of the taboo subject of suicide among the descendants of Mongolia’s invincible horseback warriors.

When the Dawn Comes
Director: Zhang Hongjie
The 30-year struggle of a longtime AIDS activist – and the first openly public gay man in Taiwan – for recognition.

International Competition:

After the Rain
Director: Fan Jian
Encouraged to replace the children they lost following a devastating earthquake in 2008, two families are followed for over a decade.​

I Am More
Director: Lee Ilha
More, who dreamt of becoming a ballerina as a boy, is invited to perform in NYC after meeting John Cameron Mitchell.

Keep Running
Director: Sun Geting
In the coldest part of China, a team of teenagers from underprivileged backgrounds run every day under extremely harsh circumstances, providing joy and hope for a better life.

Life in Common
Director: Diogo Pereira
Poeta and Belinha, of Cape Verdean origin, who live in a community which will be dismantled, face the uncertainty of the future.

Soup and Ideology
Director: Yang Yong-hi
After a lifetime of silence, a woman reveals to her daughter that she experienced the brutal Jeju uprising.

Korean Docs Showcase:

Beyond the Sight
Director: Lim Chanik
An exploration of societal prejudice against and limited representations of disabled people through the work of a visually impaired director.

Coming to You
Director: Byun Gyuri
Mothers in their 50s face new challenges as their children reveal their queer identities.

Director: Park Cheolhwan
The filmmaker follows his mother, who divorces after 29 years of marriage, leaves her home, and searches for work.

Sewing Sisters
Director: Lee Hyukrae, Kim Jung-young
The untold story of women factory workers in the 1970s who fought against exploitation through labor organizing.

Small Bird and Mr Pig
Director: Kim Saebom
The filmmaker films the daily lives of her parents, learning about their lost dreams, hopes, and love. 

Global Vision:

Director: Alberto Gerosa
Indonesian Dea, who faces abuse by working as a foreign domestic helper in Hong Kong to support her family and younger sister’s education, hopes to realize her dream of becoming a singer.

Director: Mariko Tetsuya
A global snapshot of a world in crisis through the common lens of food.

Stratum 2: The Asthenosphere
Director: Cong Feng
A film both about the spectacle and the space, about how the spectacle has caused the mutation of the space in which we reside.

Director: Ishida Tomoya
Experienced dancers and people with disabilities – including the film’s director – collaborate on a project of self-expression and discovery.

Open Cinema:

Keep Rolling
Director: Man Limchung
An intimate portrait of one of Hong Kong’s greatest filmmakers, Ann Hui. 

Director: Joanna Bowers
Three passionate Hong Kongers strive to disrupt the textile and recycling industries by innovating sustainable solutions to change mindsets and transition towards a circular economy before the landfills overflow. 

Song Hae b 1927
Director: Jero Yun
An unheralded but long-working entertainer experiences newfound fame after appearing on a national singing competition program.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Overviews, Recommendations

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