SIPFF 2023 2023.11.02(Thu.) ~ 2023.11.08(Wed.)

LEE SONG Hee-il Master Class

Meeting the world of the maestro of Korean queer film, Lee-Song Hee-il

Moving beyond the life of gay with his keen social perspective

Penetrating the depths of Korean society, including sex, social class, and authority


2023  SIPFF presents “Director Lee-Song Hee-il’s Master Class.”

It is not an exaggeration to say that Director Lee-Song Hee-il pioneered the new region, “queer film,” in the field of Korean film and introduced it to the public. Director Lee-Song made his grand debut with his feature film, <No Regret (2006)>, plainly displaying the love and desires of male sexual minorities in Korean society. Drawing 40 thousand audiences at the time of its first release, making an extraordinary record as a queer melodrama, <No Regret> has been known as the legend in the queer film fandom.

Afterwards, Lee-Song has constantly presented the films strongly capturing the cross-sections of lives and social aspects the sexual minorities face living in Korean society, including <White Night (2012)> and <Night Flight (2014)>. It is noteworthy to trace his cinematic steps as he is greatly cheered by the audience while he has consistently met the audience via queer films displaying the reality of Korea within Korean society, a barren land for the sexual minorities. Even though there still exist the discriminations and prejudices, the fact that the topic “queer” seems no longer strange to the public is because of Director Lee-Song’s films being consecutively released.

“Director Lee-Song Hee-il’s Master Class” screens seven films in total. Through his three feature films, including <No Regret>, which bred up “Regret Manias,” becoming a sensation in the scene of Korean queer film, <White Night>, and <Night Flight>, the audience can understand Director Lee-Song’s view of the world, having expanding the extension of Korean queer films. Additionally, the audience can also watch the four short films, including <Sugar Hill (2000)>, <La Traviata (2004)>, <Suddenly Last Summer (2012)>, and <Going South (2012)>, where they can feel Director Lee-Song’s cinematic senses and heavy sentiment. 

The representative film of Director Lee-Song’s, <No Regret> deeply and sensuously depicted the lives of the two wandering main characters within the turmoil of complicating social classes and social issues they have to face as the sexual minorities. Presenting one night of a man who had to be groundlessly violated due to homophobia, and another man who had to just observe the situation, <White Night> successfully displays the rough, yet loving feelings between a wounded man and the other man who follows him with Director Lee-Song’s unique sentiment. <Night Flight> Portrays the basic features of a drama showing the teenage main characters’ growth, sex, love, and violence. Presenting the logic of authority of classrooms and the wounded feelings of the youth with lyrical images, the film got favorable reviews that it drew multilayers of emotions, beyond sympathy.

The audience can completely acknowledge unlimited competence of Director Lee-Song by watching his films, which utilized diverse hidden social issues as the theme for queer films, and delivered more in-depth messages, moving beyond the criticism against “the discriminative and prejudiced perspectives” toward the sexual minorities. After screening <Night Flight> on November 5th (Sun), Director Lee-Song will provide a lecture on direction theory and have Q&A session with the audience. 2023 Master Class, where the audience can watch diverse works of Director Lee-Song, who imprinted the existence of “queer film” in Korean society, will provide a valuable chance for the audience to meet the history and the significant pedigree of Korean queer films.