This year we decided to check out TIFF for the North American premiere of ‘The Age of Shadows (밀정)’. This was also our first time at the Princess of Wales Theater and the venue was a full house for the film’s final screening.
For select TIFF films, a director’s commentary is included as part of the film festival experience. Since this was one of the Special Presentations exclusive to TIFF, we were lucky to have the opportunity to hear the acclaimed director Kim Jee-won (김지운) speak to us about some of the film’s historical and background context. The film was set in the 1920s during the Japanese occupation in Korea and one of the nation’s darkest periods which resonates with much of the film’s audience. A number of colonial era films have been released in the past couple years such as previous box office hits, ‘Ode to my Father (국제시장)‘ in 2014, ‘Assassination (암살)‘ in 2015 and ‘The Handmaiden (아가씨)‘ which also had its North American on-screen debut at TIFF this year.
We had the privilege of seeing two of the film’s stars up close and personal: the beautiful Han Ji-min (한지민) who plays a female freedom fighter working with the Korean resistance, and Eom Tae-goo (엄태구) who plays a bloodthirsty Japanese agent that accompanies the film’s lead character Lee Jung-chul, a Korean officer who works for the Japanese police, played by Song Kang-ho (강송호). Lee Jung-chul is assigned by the Japanese police chief to expose the freedom fighters by going undercover in order to arrest the second-in-command Kim Woo-jin, played by Train to Busan‘s Gong Yoo (공유). Read more on the film synopsis here and a film review here *contains spoilers*
Though Gong Yoo and Song Kang-ho could not make it to the film festival due to their individual activities, we were more than happy to be graced by the presence of Han Ji-min and Eom Tae-goo.
Special Bonus! Some fan service from Han Ji-min (: She received a box of luxury chocolates from her fan in the audience who was lucky to have the lovely actress personally accept the gift. The TIFF staff was also gracious enough to allow the fans to take a few photos before she had to exit offstage.