콘크리트 유토피아Directed by Um Tae-hwa
Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Park Bo-young, Park Seo-jun
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
South Korea submission for 2024 Academy Awards
In a cinematic landscape dominated by Hollywood’s formulaic blockbusters, South Korea’s CONCRETE UTOPIA breaks the mold, blending thrilling entertainment with sharp social commentary. A cataclysmic earthquake has reduced Seoul’s gleaming skyline and majestic high-rises to mere rubble. Amidst the chaos, one building remains. The Imperial Palace Apartments stand as a beacon, sheltering a motley crew of survivors teetering on the razor’s edge of life and death.
A crucible of society materializes in this lone surviving edifice. Once isolated urban dwellers, each bearing their own scars and stories, initially celebrate their good luck, then must grapple with dwindling supplies and profound moral conflicts as a growing crowd of desperate and increasingly hostile outsiders seek sanctuary within its walls. In a riveting performance by superstar Lee Byung-hun (Mr. Sunshine), the enigmatic Yeong-tak emerges as the group’s leader, driven by both self-interest and primal instincts, and is counterbalanced by a married couple, the compassionate Myeong-hwa (Park Bo-young, Strong Girl Bong-Soon) and the ethically torn Min-seong (Park Seo-jun, Itaewon Class).
Under the direction of Um Tae-hwa, CONCRETE UTOPIA serves as a compelling reflection on the existential absurdity of survival and the herculean challenges people will overcome in their determination to live. In this dystopian tale, the highrise serves not only as a relic of past aspirations but also as a testament to the complex decisions that will inevitably shape our collective destiny.
– Anthony Yooshin Kim
Co-presented by the San Diego Chapter of the Korean American Coalition.
Spotlight Sponsor: Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles (KCCLA).