By Lee Hyo-won
The New Year will dawn with a special treat for local cinephiles. It marks "Year Zero", or a fresh new start for Seoul Art Cinema, with the Third Cinematheque Friends Film Festival due Jan. 9-Feb. 3, as well as big plans to revamp Korea's one and only cinematheque or "cinema library".
The upcoming film festival features 29 works from six countries, 12 of which were handpicked by "Friends" of the cinematheque ― Korea's celebrated directors and actors and renowned film critics.
Director Park Chan-wook
chose Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Conformist" (1970). "I'm into Italian films so I recommend this one", said the maker of "Old Boy"
and the head of "Friends" during a press conference in Seoul, Wednesday. "This is a film that the Coen brothers watch with their staff before shooting a film, and perhaps I can do the same with my staff for (my upcoming piece) "Thirst"
, the director of "Tazza: The High Rollers
" and his film's heroine Kim Hye-soo
recommend Gloria (1980) by John Cassavetes. "Kim Hye-soo
is a very intellectual actress who always wanted to support the cinematheque… I'd like to share the shocking scene where Gloria shoots at gangs and takes a cab. I have my own fantasy of filming Kim Hye-soo
shooting a gun, so we chose `Gloria' together", Choi told reporters.
Actor Ryoo Seung-bum
is also taking part in the festival. Ryoo said he wanted to rewatch Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho" (1991), which he saw six years ago.
Works selected by filmmakers include: "Taxi Driver" (1976, Martins Scorsese) recommended by Kim Jee-woon
; "A Short Love Affair" (1990, Chang Seon-woo) by Kim Tae-yong
; "Roma" (1972, Federico Fellini) by Lee Myung-se
; and "L'Atalante" (1934, Jean Vigo) by Hong Sang-soo
These directors and stars will take part in a series of "Cine-talks", joining the audience to discuss the respective works they wanted to see on the big screen.
"Filmmakers in affluent countries have their own movie theaters at their office or home complete with a 35 millimeter projector. Tarantino or Coppola purchase their own prints and watch movies whenever they want to, and invite friends for small parties. Even though we can't do that _ actually we might be better off like this since we filmmakers and film buffs can all gather together", said Park.
A big highlight of the film festival is Abel Ferrera's visit. The American independent film maverick will be in Korea Jan. 10-15 to give a master class. "I was very much influenced by Ferrera's (works). He's an artist that Tarantino also highly praises", said Park.
This year's festival also pays homage to Korea's own, director Lee Doo-yong
, and will screen his masterworks such as "Mulberry"
(1985) and "The Hut" (1980) that showcased Korean cinema on the international scene. Lee will also give a master class.
, the programmer of Seoul Art Cinema, also announced plans to finally build a new home for the cinematheque. This is in sync with the festival's theme "Year Zero", which marks a fresh new start.
"It's upsetting that we don't have a decent cinematheque (in Korea)", said Choi, recalling how envious he was to see the well-equipped cinematheque in Paris. He also emphasized the importance of having a venue where one can see great films, both old and new, on the big screen.
A 33 billion won budget has been drawn up for a centralized facility complete with theaters, archives and a seminar room that can provide both entertainment and education for cineastes. About 10 billion has been allocated for next year. Details such as the new location and dates, as well as concrete support from Seoul City, are yet to be discussed, said Seoul Art Cinema.
"You can watch any movie on DVD, but I believe that is like seeing a masterpiece painting in an art book", said Park. "Movies have their original versions, too. Having a central cinematheque enables you to see the films on the big screen like a large-scale museum ― it's like having our own Louvre Museum".
Tickets for screenings at the Cinematheque Friends Film Festival cost 6,000 won. Visit Open the link
for information in Korean and English.