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Chungmuro International Film Festival

2008/08/28 Source

Organizers Open Door to Exchanging Cinematic Cultures

By Han Sang-hee
Staff Reporter

Korea has seen a line of interesting film festivals and the home of Korean cinema, Chungmuro, is bringing yet another one next month. The 2nd Chungmuro International Film Festival in Seoul (CHIFFS) will celebrate retro to recent films from Sept. 3 to 9.

CHIFFS will show fans what Chungmuro was built for: a strong backbone for the local cinema industry, the venue of communication between the old and young and the door to exchanging cinematic cultures with others. This year, CHIFFS will offer some 170 films from more than 40 countries, categorized into 11 different sections.

The first Chungmuro festival was held under three themes ― Discover, Restoration and Creation _ and these will be used again this year, but with more depth and insight. If last year's event set up the basic structure of the event, this year will further expand these concepts. New sections have been added to intensify the three themes while others have been developed to bring a more interesting approach: the International Competition to "discover" hidden cinematic treasures and the CHIFFS Masters where fans can look into the life and work of celebrated cinematic figures.

The Official Selection is the trademark section of CHIFFS, offering classic black and white movies along with hidden gems. With various sub-sections including Restored and New Prints, The Centenary of David Lean and A Tribute to Deborah Kerr, this part of the festival will bring the basic concept of the whole festival to the audience ― appreciating the past, discovering the new and restoring the valuable.

The International Competition section is a new feature. A group of judges, led by Michael Cimino ("The Deer Hunter", 1978), will choose the film that holds the chance to become a new classic. Films from Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, Russia and Thailand will compete.

Another not-to-miss section is the CHIFFS Masters. The main goal of this is to introduce filmmakers or cinematic artists who have dedicated their life to films and present their works to local fans. This year's master is Douglas Trumbull, a leading special effects supervisor whose works include "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" (1979) and "Blade Runner" (1983). A special screening of "2001: A Space Odyssey" will guide visitors to the fascinating works of the special effects master. Trumbull himself will also appear at a master class to share some of his secrets with fans. He was nominated for an Academy Awards five times and received a lifetime achievement Oscar for his optical and digital effects expertise.

CHIFFS will explore the film history and industry of Germany this year with "Mapping German Film History: Expression to Cinematic Journey". With the help of the Goethe Institute, visitors can journey their way through the distinctive spectrum of German cinema. A total of 40 movies will be presented dating back to the 1920s when expressionism reigned the art world with silent movies such as "Nosferatu" (1922) and "Blue Angel" (1930) to more recent works like "Into Great Silence" (2005) and "Yella" (2007).

The international cinema scene cannot be defined without the outstanding works and dedication of Asian directors and artists, so it is natural for the CHIFFS to hold a special section that "rediscovers" Asian cinema. Don't miss the "Rediscovering Asian Cinema: Auteur and Genre" which will focus on the life of the late Japanese director Kon Ichikawa as this year's auteur and this year's genre, thriller. Nine works including "The Inugami Family" (1976), "Doraheita" (2000) and a documentary of the filmmaker's life will be screened, while hit thrillers such as Yoshitaro Nomura's "The Castle of Sand" (1974), Max Makowski's "One Last Dance" and Jang Yoon-hyeon's "Tell Me Something" (1999) will offer an exhilarating experience.

The Chungmuro Now section will work as the playground for up and coming Korean directors who hold the heavy, yet meaningful, responsibility of the future of Korean cinema. A total of nine short films will offer a breath of fresh air with the filmmakers' experimental and intriguing ideas and expressions.

Also included in the festival are the Silent Film Feast, where visitors can watch silent films that made history; the Memories of Korean Cinema #8, which will introduce old Korean films; and a special homage section for Korean director Jang Sun-woo.

The block between Myungbo Arts Center and the former Maeil Business Newspaper will be full of interesting programs and events with the Chungmuro Nanjang Fun Fair being held Sept. 7. A movie costume competition will allow guests to rediscover the child inside them and dress as one of their favorite characters, while street performances will heighten the excitement with nonverbal performances and mime acts. Share love at the CHIFFS Auction where stars will sell personal items and donate the proceeds to an organization for needy children.

Programmer's Choice of CHIFFS

The organizers of the CHIFFS have recommended several films ― some too famous to miss and others comical, mind striking and nostalgic.

Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess (2008): The opening film of CHIFFS will be Japanese director Shinji Higuchi's "Hidden Fortress: The Last Princess". Based on the 1958 version directed by legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, this film has blended in a more modern touch and genres with the classic story of a young girl. The original movie by Kurosawa is known to have influenced director George Lucas with its incisive action scenes and humor.

Love Me Once Again (1968): Directed by Jeong So-young, this black and white film is one of the most famous works in Korean cinema history. Drawing more than 360,000 viewers at a time when Seoul's population stood at four million, this film represents Korean romantic cinematic artistry.

Good Bye Lenin! (2003): A comical yet touching story of a young boy who has to live a lie, this work became a big hit in Germany with more than seven million viewers. Afraid that his mother will suffer yet another fatal heart attack, young Alexander manages to pretend that the Berlin Wall has not fallen and that they are still living in the same time and space of East Germany.

The films will be screened in various venues, including the Daehan Theater, Myungbo Arts Center and the National Theater of Korea. Tickets vary depending on the event and range from no charge to 10,000 won. For more specific information, visit Open the link or call (02) 2267-0110.

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