I was lucky enough to be invited along to the Opening Night of the Korean Film Festival in Australia on Wednesday. The event was incredibly well run, and it is a tribute to Artistic Director Kieran Tully and the team of KOFFIA volunteers for getting this year's festival - which features a fantastic line-up - off to a great start. The film, War of the Arrows, commenced just after 6.30pm at Dendy Opera Quays with quests offered an assortment of alcoholic rice drinks and delicious canapes in the foyer. The introductory speeches were heartfelt and inspired and we were also privileged to a beautiful traditional dance performance.
Jumping forward thirteen years, Nam-Yi is now an elite archer and hunter and Ja-In is set to marry the son of the man who took them in, Seo-goon (Kim Mu-yeol). With Nam-yi out in the mountains during their wedding ceremony, the Qing army invades the village, Ja-In and Seo-goon are captured and many villagers are slaughtered. Learning of their capture, Nam-yi sets out after the army, utilizing his superior bow skills to take out his enemies one by one in a desperate attempt to save his sister and ends up being pursued by Qing commander Jyuushinta (Ryoo Seung-ryong) and his warrior squad.
Though the film started out slow and took some time to become engrossing, some of the skirmishes are extraordinary. They do take some work to process, because they are at times erratically shot and over-edited, and become a little repetitious (the film is a tad too long), but it will remains an important blockbuster in Korean cinema and will surely be influential within the genre for years to come.