Korean Film Festival in the UAE: six films you can screen for free from home

The event runs for 10 days and is open to all UAE residents

The Korean Film Festival is returning for its fifth year and will run online for 10 days from Thursday to August 28.

The event, held in commemoration of the Korea-UAE Cultural Dialogue, features six of the latest Korean films and 18 short independent animations.

The titles, which range in genre from historical drama to documentary, will be shown with English and Arabic subtitles, and will be limited to 500 viewers at a time. The event is free of charge, but only available to residents of the UAE.

Beginning with the Korean Film Festival, the Korean Cultural Centre has plans for other performances, events and shows to mark the 50th anniversary of the UAE and to welcome Expo 2020 Dubai in the second half of 2021.

Here’s a look at the main films that will be shown:

'The Book of Fish'

The historical drama, directed by Lee Joon-ik, is shot entirely in black and white. The 2021 film focuses on a Joseon-era scholar named Jeong Yak-jeon who is exiled to Heuksan Island. Once there, he meets a young fisherman named Chang-dae, who is an admirer of Confucianism and has a wide understanding of the sea. Fascinated by this, Yak-jeon decides to write a book as the two exchange knowledge with each other.

'The Day I Died: Unclosed Case'

Starring Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-eun and Roh Jeong-eui, the 2020 film centres on the disappearance of a young girl named Se-jin on a dark and stormy night. A detective named Hyun-soo is assigned to investigate the case, but owing to the bad weather, Se-jin's body cannot be found and the case remains open. As Se-jin’s shoes and last will are left behind, the police dismiss her death as a suicide. Hyun-soo heads to the island to find out the truth behind what really happened.

'Moving On'

The 2020 film is set in the port city of Inchon and revolves around a young girl named Ok-joo and her little brother Dong-joo. Along with their divorced father, who is down on his luck with his string of failed businesses, they are forced to move into their grandfather’s house. In the beginning, Ok-joo feels awkward about the new living situation. However, just as she begins to adjust to it, her grandfather gets sick, and her father and aunt decide to send him to the hospital and sell the house.


Kim Jinyu’s 2018 film Bori focuses on a girl named Bo Ri, 11, who lives in a seaside village and is the only member of her family who can hear. As she becomes more accustomed to talking with her friends at school, she finds it more difficult to communicate with her family at home in sign language. The more she thinks about it, the more alienated she feels. Wishing to be deaf like the other members of her family, she jumps into the sea and loses consciousness. After waking up, she pretends she can’t hear.

'The Man Standing Next'

This 2020 political drama is directed by Woo Min-ho and is based on an original novel of the same name. The film stars Lee Byung-hun, Lee Sung-min, Kwak Do-won and Lee Hee-joon as high-ranking officials of the Korean government and the Korean Central Intelligence Agency during the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee, 40 days before his assassination in 1979.

Kim Gyu-pyeong is the director of the KCIA and asserts his loyalty to the president despite having doubts about his intentions. When the former director of the KCIA flees to America, Kim is sent on a mission to stop him.

The film was selected as the South Korean entry for Best International Feature Film for the 93rd Academy Awards, but it didn't make the Oscars' shortlist.


The documentary, directed by Kim Sung-min, tells the real-life story of the disappearance of Choi Joon-won in 2000 and the effect it had on her family. The film observes her father’s long-time search for his vanished daughter and the overwhelming psychological burden it had not only on him but also other members of the family. After an unexpected witness appears, prompting the police to reinvestigate the case after 17 years, the thread of hope in finding Joon-won causes a subtle tension to arise between family members.

The Korean Film Festival runs from this Thursday until Saturday, August 28. All films can be watched at K-filmfest.com

Updated: August 17th 2021, 10:37 AM