South Korea may seem far away, but music and film transcend national borders and travel distances. This allows us to make a musical trip to the peninsula that has put out countless subversive and commercial film hits in the past decades. Film Fest Gent’s film music concert Korean Composers gathers music from generational talents such as Jung Jae-il, Cho Young-wuk and Lee Byeong-woo, among others.
Jung Jae-il, who features on this year’s festival poster, rocketed onto the scene with scores for Bong Joon-ho’s acclaimed films Okja and Parasite. The latter became a record-breaking phenomenon and is the first non-English feature to win the Oscar for Best Film. Jung’s music certainly added to the success, combining grand orchestral statements with solos, and baroque elements with sinister tones. The concert will include a lavish suite from Parasite, which recalls Vivaldi but builds towards a tremendous, melodramatic climax, alongside Squid Game’s “Way Back Then”, a track with a bizarre percussive introduction that crescendoes to a unison melody. Fans of the show will immediately recognise it as the musical theme of each game for survival. Fans of Bong Joon-ho’s entire oeuvre will be thrilled to hear music from the darkly intelligent film Mother and the brilliant creature feature The Host, both composed by Lee Byeong-woo, who will join the orchestra on guitar.
Also joining us in person is Cho Young-wuk, the go-to composer of filmmaker Park Chan-wook. Their creative partnership has led to many a lush score which will be performed live, including the waltz-inspired score from Oldboy, arguably the most visceral Korean thriller of all time. You’ll succumb to lustful passion by means of music from two other Park Chan-wook features, The Handmaiden and Thirst. Also Cho Young-wuk’s most recent scores are part of the concert: Decision to Leave (Park Chan-wook) and the Netflix series Suriname (Yoon Jong-bin). All music will be performed by the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Maestro Dirk Brossé in the Concert Hall of Music Centre De Bijloke.