A Glimpse into Korea's Past through Black-and-White Movies
A Glimpse into Korea's Past through Black-and-White Movies
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2006.04.05 00:00
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▲ Photo provided by KOFA. Korean Classics can be viewed at the KOFA Classic Cinema which is located in the Seoul Arts Center. Top photo is a movie released in 1960 titled A Romantic Papa by the director Shin Sang-ok.

   Gone with the Wind and The Sound of Music are all-time favorite classical movies regardless of people's age or race. But how many of us have seen, or at least know about "Korean's" classical movies? Did you know that the first Korean movie, Fight for Justice, was made in 1919 by the director Kim Do-san? Have you ever heard of the funny story behind the first kiss scene in Korea in 1954 (Hand of Destiny), in which the actress's husband almost sued the director? The exclusive theater, where the history of Korean black-and-white movies can be found, awaits visitors to knock on its door.
   The KOFA Classic Cinema, which is located inside the Seoul Arts Center, shows Korean classical movies all year around. Run by the Korean Film Archive (KOFA), the only film-archiving public foundation that acquires and preserves films and visual materials of the nation, the theater screens Korean films dating back as far as the 1930s.
   The KOFA Classic Cinema opened when KOFA started a small movement called the "Cinematheque Movement" in 1991. The theater was run with the purpose of showing people some 3,500 pieces of Korean classical movies that KOFA has been collecting and preserving since its establishment in 1974.
   Categorized by genre, directors and time periods, and aimed at different audiences, the theater provides various screening programs such as, "Weekend Classics," "Classic Movie Relay," "Movie for Teenagers," and "Korean Classic Movies for Expats." Other convenient programs include watching classical movies online or allowing a group of ten or more people to watch a movie they wish to see by making reservations.
All one needs to prepare in order to take part is a small amount of cash (2,000 won or slightly above), and a mindset that is ready to love Korean movies. Movies are shown from Tuesdays through Sundays and the schedule for movies can be found on the website, (www.koreafilm.or.kr).
   A visitor to the Classic Cinema, Kim Hyeok (25) says, "It was new and interesting to see Korea in black and white."
   Kim Bong-young, Leader of Research and Education Team, says, "Classics refer to art pieces that transcend time and are highly evaluated. We would like to show famous or popular Korean classics and also unearth films that didn't receive spotlight in their time and rediscover their value and meaning."

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