Steven Yeun appears in Minari by Lee Isaac Chung
Steven Yeun in Minari by Lee Isaac Chung

The UK premiere of director Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, starring Steven Yeun, will open 2021 Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) on Wednesday February 24. The award-winning autobiographical drama won the US Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and US Dramatic Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Starring Steven Yeun, best known for playing Glen in The Walking Dead, and his chilling performance in Burning, Minari follows a Korean-American family who move from the big city to a rural Arkansas farm in search of the American Dream. Jacob (Yeun) plans to grow Korean vegetables to sell to other immigrant families. His wife Monica (Yeri Han) is wary of his ambitions, and their two children, five-year-old son David (Alan Kim) and daughter Anne (Noel Kate Cho) are restless in the rural setting. The whole dynamic changes with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed grandmother from South Korea, Yuh-Jung Youn. Underneath the instability and challenges, Minari, named after a vegetable otherwise known as Korean Watercress or Chinese Celery, shows the undeniable resilience of a family and what really makes a home.

Lee Isaac Chung, writer and director of Minari, said: “I am honored that Minari will have its UK premiere at Glasgow Film Festival. We made this film in 2019 in a very different time, hoping that the story would connect with audiences all around the world. What I wouldn’t give for the fantasy then, that along the run, I might travel to the Glasgow Film Theatre and join with Scotland’s best cinephiles. In any case, I’m grateful to the festival for this opportunity, and I salute all their best efforts to showcase films during our strange times. Minari is a story of immigrants living in a new land while reinventing what it means to be a family. We are all immigrants now.”

The festival will close on Sunday March 7 with Spring Blossom, the remarkably assured debut feature from writer, director and actress Suzanne Lindon. Spring Blossom is an elegant tale of a bored Parisian student (Lindon), tired of her routine, who meets an older actor, Raphaël (Arnaud Valois), outside the theatre she passes each day. Curiosity gradually turns to infatuation in a tale of first love that unfolds in the streets and cafes of a sun-kissed Monmartre. Lindon expertly captures the feelings of a teenage girl on the cusp of adulthood, finding and losing herself, all set against a beautiful Parisian backdrop.

Suzanne Lindon, actor, director and writer of Spring Blossom, said: “When I learned that the Glasgow Film Festival had chosen Spring Blossom to be the closing film, I felt very honoured and I realised how lucky I was. Having a passion and being able to live it and to share it with the world is very precious and extremely rare. Today, I realise that this is what happens to me, and I never thought that I would be able to live this experience so young, at only 20. It gives me hope, strength and it intensifies my desire to make films, to play and to feel free to express myself through cinema. I want to thank Allison Gardner and Allan Hunter for having selected Spring Blossom and for allowing it to travel. It is a great honour and the continuity of an extraordinary adventure for me, that of seeing my biggest dream come true.”

Running from February 24 to March 7, GFF’s 17th edition is taking its premieres nationwide for 2021, with a partnership of 22 cinemas around the UK. In addition to these venues and Glasgow Film Theatre – GFF’s home in the city – festival films will screen on the new online platform Glasgow Film At Home.

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