The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) has made its unanimous decision to submit the riveting disaster epic “Concrete Utopia” as South Korea’s contender for the Best International Feature Film category at the prestigious 2024 Academy Awards.
In an official statement posted on their website, KOFIC conveyed their aim to pick a film that merges Korean essence with a global standard, effectively balancing artistic integrity and mass appeal. They sought a film that seamlessly resonates with the Academy Awards’ criteria, and their unanimous choice, “Concrete Utopia,” encapsulates these qualities perfectly. The film stands as a bridge between the burgeoning trend of K-culture and the familiarity of North American audiences.
Directed by Um Tae-hwa, “Concrete Utopia” draws inspiration from Part 2 of the highly acclaimed webtoon “Joyful Outcast” (“Pleasant Neighbors”). The movie assembles a stellar cast of A-list Korean actors, including Lee Byung-hun, Park Seo-jun, Park Bo-young, Park Ji-hu, Kim Do-yoon, and Kim Sun-young. The storyline unfolds as a gripping disaster thriller set in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake. The narrative delves into the lives of survivors who congregate at the Hwang Gung Apartments, the solitary structure left standing amidst a quake-ravaged Seoul.
“Concrete Utopia” serves as a thought-provoking parable, chronicling the characters’ gradual descent into ruthless tribalism—a reflection that eerily mirrors contemporary global events.
Mark your calendars for the 2024 Academy Awards, scheduled for March 10, 2024. The final slate of nominees for the Best International Feature Film category will be unveiled on January 23. Prior to the Oscars, the much-lauded South Korean masterpiece will take center stage at the 48th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), with its North American premiere and a grand gala presentation set for September 9.
Excitingly, TIFF has also announced that luminaries Lee Byung-hun (known for “Inside Men,” “Mr. Sunshine,” and “Squid Game”) and Park Seo-jun (famed for “Itaewon Class,” “Midnight Runners,” and “What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim”) will engage in the festival’s engaging “In Conversation With…” series. This series offers audiences insightful discussions with film artists, writers, and cultural figures, shedding light on their creative journeys.
Following its triumphant debut at the pinnacle of the Korean box office on August 9, “Concrete Utopia” is set to grace Philippine cinemas on September 20.