By Joon Soh
If you want to get a free crash course in contemporary Korean cinema, check out the Korea Film Archive all next week.
Twelve critically acclaimed feature films from the past five years, along with 13 short films, will be shown for five days beginning Nov. 1 at the theater of the archive, which is located in Seoul Arts Center, southern Seoul. All the screenings are free.
The oldest of the features is already a classic of Korean cinema. "Pakha Satang (Peppermint Candy
)", the 1999 film by Lee Chang-dong
, tells the story of one troubled man's life, beginning from his suicide and slowly tracing his life backwards.
Two recent films by director Park Chan-wook
will be presented. "Old Boy"
, which garnered the director the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and "Poksunun Naui Kot (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
)", about a man bent on vengeance after his daughter is kidnapped. The films are part of Park's trilogy on the theme of revenge, the last of which is set to begin filming later this year.
Auteur director Hong Sang-soo
is represented by his newest work "Yojanun Namjaui Miraeda (Woman is the Future of Man
)", a quiet, odd tale of two men searching out an old girlfriend.
Fans of Kim Ki-duk
, who has made the news this year with his films "Samaria
(Samaritan Girl)" and "Pinjip (3-Iron
)", will have a chance to watch an earlier film by the director. "Som (The Isle
)" from 2000, tells of a relationship between two desperate people in a remote fishing village.
Two of the biggest commercial and critical hits of last year will be presented. They are "Salinui Chuok (Memories of Murder
)", Bong Joon-ho
's thriller based on a true serial-murder case, and the horror film "Changhwa, Hongryon (A Tale of Two Sisters
Another film from 2003, "Chigurul Chikyora (Save the Green Planet
)", may not have had the commercial success of the films above, but is worth watching for its original and strange interpretation of the science-fiction genre.
The remaining four films to be shown are some of the finest human dramas to come out of South Korea in recent years. Jung Ji-woo
's "Happy End"
(1999), a tale of infidelity and jealousy, is highlighted by great performances by actress Jeon Do-yeon
and actor Choi Min-sik
. "Pomnali Omyon (One Fine Spring Day
)" by Heo Jin-ho
is a muted but effective look at a relationship's many different phases.
Byun Young-joo's "Milae (Ardor)" from 2002 is another film about adultery that was driven by powerful performances by its leads _ actress Kim Yon-jin and actor Lee Jong-won
. "Waikiki Brothers
" (2003) by Im Soon-rye is a gentle and lyrical look at the bittersweet lives of a small-time band going nowhere.
Among the short films to be presented are earlier works of directors like Bong Joon-ho
, Jung Ji-woo
, Im Soon-rye and Kim Jee-woon. It will give visitors an opportunity to see what these filmmakers were making before they became famous.
'Special Screening for Foreigners
in Korea _ New Korean Connection'
When: Nov. 1 through 5
Where: Korean Film Archive theater, located within Seoul Arts Center, near Nambu Bus Terminal Station on subway line 3
How much: Free