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Filmfest offers a summer haven for indie fans

2008/07/17 Source

Sultry summer days drive people to seek shelter.

Getting a comfy seat at an air-conditioned movie theater is a fine choice; watching indie-style films is an excellent choice.

The second annual Nextplus Summer Film Festival is targeting those who want some cinematic relief from the sizzling weather. Nextplus will kick off on July 25, featuring 220 films that tend to push the artistic envelope on the silver screen.

"Although art-house films do not attract a huge crowd in Korea, we believe that such high-quality movies deserve an important place in the country's culture industry", said Korean Film Council deputy director Shin Sung-min at a news conference Tuesday.

The filmfest, jointly organized by the Korean Film Council and the Seoul Metropolitan Government, will be held in the Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi areas from July 25 through Aug. 7, while theaters in other areas are scheduled to join the festival Aug. 1-14.

Unlike other festivals that involve only a handful of theaters, Nextplus recruits 25 venues across the nation, including members of Artplus Cinema Network, the country's largest association of theaters specializing in art-house and alternative films.

The festival provides five films including Djamel Bensalah's "Big City", Ayelet Menahemi's "Noodle", and John Woo's "A Better Tomorrow" at a discount price of 1,000 won.

Notable programs include screenings of Hal Hartley's seven films at Seoul Art Cinema (Open the link). Hartley, once touted as a leading figure in American indie film, is known for his philosophical musings and comic dialogue. "Trust" reflects Hartley's perceptions on family and modern society, while "Simple Men" depicts the journey of two brothers seeking to reunite with their father.

Sponge House JoongAng (Open the link) joins the festival with a tribute to Japanese filmmaker Satoshi Miki, who built his fame as a comedian before making movies and screenplays. "Turtles Swim Faster Than Expected" was screened here in 2006, marking Miki's formal debut in Korea, but it was the humorous television drama series "Jiko Keisatsu" that created a huge Korean following. Sponge will screen "In the Pool" (2005) and "Adrift in Tokyo" (2007) in addition to "Turtles" whose main character is played by Juri Ueno ("Swing Girls".)

CineCity (Open the link), located in Apgujeong-dong, has opted for musical films. The lineup is made up of six high-profile titles: "Dreamgirls", "Ray", "Buena Vista Social Club", "I'm Not There", "The Phantom of the Opera", and "Hairspray".

Hypertech Nada (Open the link) has taken a similar path, introducing music films such as "Calle54" (2002), "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" (2006) and "Cafe de los Maestros" (2008).

Cinematheque KOFA (Open the link) stands out due to its distinct selections: Korean monster flicks. Most Koreans in their 30s and 40s still remember crudely made but enjoyable monster movies where many of the supposedly scary characters wer

e just actors in silly costumes. KOFA has assembled 11 Korean monster movies including Bong Joon-ho's "The Host" and Shim Hyung-rae's "D-War".

What's interesting, though, is that the selection includes monster movies made in 1960s and 1970s. A KOFA official said Korean monster films traditionally cater to younger audiences, so some old films, like "Space Alien King Monster" (1967) might amuse children.

Cinecube Gwanghwamun (Open the link) and IndieSpace (Open the link) have embraced cult and horror films.

Cinecube is set to screen "Mulholland Dr". (1984) and "Rocky Horror Picture Show", a 1975 classic that still amazes today's alternative movie fans, and IndieSpace said it will organize a costume event, allowing moviegoers to put on scary outfits and watch films such as "Terror Firmer" (1999) and "The Toxic Avenger" (1985).

For further information about the film festival, visit Open the link

By Yang Sung-jin

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