The fifth Jeonju International Film Festival, held April 23-May 2, was again distinguished by an innovative and eclectic array of contemporary cinema. Held in the Korean provincial capital of Jeonju (Cheonju), it continues to offer opportunities for viewing a variety of international films not seen elsewhere.

Particularly so this year, because the focus was on contemporary independent cinema — movies made without studio or corporate support, and all the better for it.

In all, 284 films from 33 countries were screened. Among them was a wide range of Korean cinema, including new features, shorts, documentaries and screenings of classic films such as “Mandara,” Im Kown Taek’s 1981 masterpiece.

Independent film from other countries included a number of Japan’s Art Theater Guild pictures, offering a rare showing of Nagisa Oshima’s 1965 Korean-shot “Diary of Yunbog”; a selection of experimental films from Tokyo’s Image Forum; and a splendid retrospective of Cuban cinema as well as the beautiful new digitally shot documentary of life in the capital, Fernando Ferez’s “Suite Havana.”

Classical revivals included the new print of Pabst’s “Diary of a Lost Girl” (1929, with Louise Brooks), the negative of which was recently discovered in Uruguay, and two films of Germain Dulac, the 1922 “The Smiling Madame Beudet” and 1928 “The Seahell and the Clergymen” — all with music especially composed for these showings.

There were also three juries and three major prizes. The Indie Vision/Woosuk Award for “the best film defining a new direction for independent films” was won by the Iranian “Silence Between Two Thoughts,” directed by Babak Payam. The Digital Spectrum Award for “challenging and experimental digital work” went to “Suite Havana.” And the JIFF Audience Favorite award was won by Jim Jarmusch’s “Coffee and Cigarettes.”

Once again, the Jeonju Festival has proved itself to be one of the most interesting in Asia, offering screen space to innovative new cinema to be seen nowhere else.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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