By Lee Hyo-won
There's nothing like spending a warm summer evening by the sea, but why not make it extra special with an outdoor movie screening? Two film festivals invite not only movie buffs but also vacationers to scenic vacation spots ― the Jeongdongjin Independent Film & Video Festival and Jecheon International Music Film Festival.
By the Beach
This weekend, Jeongdongjin, Gangwon Province, which is known for its beautiful beach, turns into an open-air film festival. The Jeongdongjin Independent Film & Video Festival screens its entire lineup outdoors, and visitors can indulge in the creativity and free spirit of indie flicks beneath the star-lit sky.
Director-actor Yang Ik-june
and actress Kim Kkobbi
will host the opening ceremony 7:30 p.m. tonight at Jeongdongjin Elementary School. Their indie film "Breathless"
has been making headlines as it reaped one award after another at international film festivals ― three prizes were recently added to its roster, totaling 16. Quirky rock band Oh! Brothers will perform for festivalgoers.
The 11th edition of the event brings together 24 independent films. The lineup includes two feature films, "Fly, Penguin
", a human rights film by feted femme filmmaker Yim Soon-rye
, and "A Better Tomorrow on the Street", which documents the courage of street musicians.
The rest are unique short films including live action and animated stories. Not to be missed are the environment-themed animation "My Friend Go-ra-ni" by renowned animator Jang Hyung-yoon and the world premiere of "Roti", "Pictogram Story" and "On Fire". The shorts will be screened in groups under five different sections.
Screenings begin at 8 p.m. each evening through Sunday at Jeongdongjin Elementary School. In order to service fans for late-night shows, a free shuttle bus will run between the festival venue and downtown Jeongdongjin.
During the daytime, the IndiePower Noon program invites visitors to participate in various fun activities under the sun, including a "jjajangmyeon" (black curd noodle) eating contest on the beach. At midnight, after the screenings, moviegoers are welcome to stay for IndiePower Night ― sip free beer and hear directors speak about their work.
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By the Lake
The scenic lakeside city in North Chungcheong Province hosts the 5th Jecheon International Music Film Festival, Aug. 13-18. Though only in its fifth year, the music-themed film event has emerged as a popular summer hotspot among not only film buffs and concertgoers but also vacationing families.
This year's edition presents 89 movies from 35 countries. "The Soloist" makes its Korean premiere as the event's opening film. Based on a true story, the movie features "Iron Man" star Robert Downey Jr. as a Los Angeles Times reporter who crosses paths with a homeless man who was once a promising cello prodigy, played by the talented Jamie Fox.
Classical music fans can enjoy more of their favorite tunes in the Theme & Variation section, which captures the flight of maestros and orchestras around the world. Featured films include "Americans in Pyongyang" (Germany, 2008), which traces the New York Philharmonic's historic 2008 tour of North Korea, and "Knowledge Is the Beginning" (Germany, 2006), which shows how Maestro Daniel Barenboim brings together young musicians from the conflicting states of Israel and Palestine in concert.
The Music in Sight section provides a glimpse into a kaleidoscopic range of music genres through documentaries about salsa, rock, tango, Serbian trumpet tunes and Korean shamanistic rituals and "pansori" (opera).
But the festival is not just about films directly depicting music; many works show how music becomes a central language and character, such as "Universalove" (2008, Austria/Luxembourg/Serbia). Not to be missed is Cinema Concert, which will revive the spirit of the "original" music movies ― silent films with live music. Naked Lunch, the Austrian indie band that co-directed "Universalove", will provide live music during the screening. Also featured in the concert is Grammy Award-nominated guitarist Garry Lucas, who will play songs for the 1920 German Expressionist film "The Golem".
Festivalgoers will be able to enjoy more outdoor movie screenings and live concerts by popular singers like Kim Jang-hoon
right by the breathtaking Cheongpung Lake. Films will also be shown in theaters around downtown Jecheon. The grand prize winning film of the international competition section, World Music Film Today, will be featured in the closing ceremony.
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Cinema & the City
You don't have to go far for a cinematic break. For those stuck in the city, the air-conditioned cinema provides for a cool escape from the heat. August in Seoul will be a treat for moviegoers, for two unique film festivals offer alternatives to the usual batch of horror stories and action flicks available in the summer box office.
Blast From the Past
Seoul Art Cinema invites moviegoers to get a whiff of the past through old movies. All throughout the month the 4th Cine-Vacances Seoul presents classic films that are difficult to find on the big screen.
This year's lineup includes 10 works by Don Siegel, the American master of B-movies that span a wide range of genres including Westerns, crime thrillers, gangster stories and noir dramas.
Fans can tune into literary crossovers inspired by Tolstoy novels, including "Anna Karenina" (1967) and the epic "War and Peace" (1965-67), which will be presented in four parts. More things "Russian" are featured in the Otar Iosseliani Retrospective. The Georgian-French auteur's works may have been repeatedly banned in his former Soviet state, but four films including "Monday Morning" (2002) come to life in Seoul.
Also featured are classic musical movies by Jacque Demy, including "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964) and "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967).
fans who can't make the opening ceremony of the 11th Jeongdongjin Independent Film & Video Festival can look forward to seeing the "Breathless"
star at Seoul Art Cinema, Saturday. Following the screening of his short films (4:30 p.m.) and his multiple award-winning feature "Breathless"
(7 p.m.), Yang will converse with moviegoers.
Film critic Kim Young-jin, director Oh Seung-uk and Seoul National University professor Park Jong-so will also join the festival as special guests and give lectures following some of the screenings.
Back to the Future
There were silent black and white films, then ones with sound and color, and now digital films have revolutionized the analogue age.
Cinema Digital Seoul (CinDi), opening for the third time Aug. 19-25 at CGV Apgujeong, showcases the latest trends in digital cinema. This year's edition explores the future prospects of the digital medium, and in doing so invites 92 works from 17 countries.
For the first time in a domestic film festival, CinDi will screen 16 films, including the opening film and competitors in the feature competition section, in D-Cinema. D-Cinema plays movies in the form of digital file transfer, rather than playing film or digital tape. There will be no stretching and thus the audiovisual quality remains the same no matter how many times a given movie is shown.
Digital cinema has revolutionized the way movies are made ― with an HD camera, a director can double or triple, etc. as an actor, producer, editor and so on to shoot a film over a prolonged period of time. But the essence of a great movie ― a great story told in audiovisual form ― does not change.
The opening film this year is "Spring Fever" by Lou Ye, who has emerged as a major post-modernist director in China alongside Jia Zhang-ke. The film won the award for Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival this year. While it made headlines for its explicit portrayal of gay sex and destructive romantic relationships, the film is noted for capturing the mood of modern-day urban China in a lively way only a digital handheld camera can provide.
Moviegoers can look forward to seeing a panorama of the latest films from different corners of the world, that may be all digitally shot but vary widely in theme and style. One notable world premiere is "The Case of Itaewon Homicide
" starring popular actor Jang Keun-suk
. Also worth catching are creative digital shorts in the newly introduced Korean Short Competition section.
Digital does not pertain exclusively to the future. Digital technology has paved a way to restore classic films, and this year's Digital Restoration section features "A Triangular Trap", a 1974 piece by master filmmaker Lee Man-hee-I
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