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Directors make their pick at Cinematheque

The official poster of 2012 Cinematheque Friends Film Festival (Seoul Art Cinema)
The official poster of 2012 Cinematheque Friends Film Festival (Seoul Art Cinema)
7th Cinematheque Festival celebrates 10th anniversary of Seoul Art Cinema


Lee Chang-dong, Kim Tae-yong, Ryu Seung-wan, Lee Joon-ik, and Byeon Young-joo.

If you are a fan of any of the directors above, here’s your chance to find out the films they love, and watch the pieces along with their commentaries.

The seventh edition of Cinematheque Friends Film Festival, which will open with the 1925 Charlie Chaplin movie “Gold Rush” on Jan. 12, features a total of 19 films picked by 23 acclaimed cineastes in the country, including filmmakers, film critics, actors and actresses.

The upcoming 2012 edition is especially meaningful for Seoul Art Cinema, which is celebrating its 10th year anniversary next year. Located in central Seoul near Insa-dong, the property is the only non-profit cinematheque ― a film archive with small venues that screen mostly classic and art-house films ― in Seoul. It currently screens some 500 films from different countries and receives over 60,000 visitors every year.

“The theme this year is called ‘This is Cinema,’” said the association’s programmer and film critic Kim Seong-wook during a press conference held at the venue on Tuesday. “The participants were asked to choose films that matter to them now, and films that continue to make them wonder.”

Renowned author-turned-director Lee Chang-dong picked Jerry Schatzberg’s 1973 road movie “Scarecrow,” a portrait of two young vagabonds.

“I saw the film really long time ago,” the director said in a statement. “It deals with young lost souls in America’s late 60’s, and I thought the piece reflects a lot of what our youngsters are going through here in Korea.”

“Ardor” director Byeon Young-joo picked Roman Polanski’s 1974 film “Chinatown,” along with actress Kim Min-hee. Byeon said the cinematheque deserves more support from the city of Seoul and is in need of a library and a salon so visitors can share their cinematic experience with others. 
Director Byeon Young-joo (right), along with directors Lee Hae-young (middle) and Kim Jong-gwan (left), speaks during a press conference promoting the seventh edition of Cinematheque Friends Film Festival at Seoul Art Cinema in Seoul, Tuesday. (Seoul Art Cinema)
Director Byeon Young-joo (right), along with directors Lee Hae-young (middle) and Kim Jong-gwan (left), speaks during a press conference promoting the seventh edition of Cinematheque Friends Film Festival at Seoul Art Cinema in Seoul, Tuesday. (Seoul Art Cinema)

“Theaters should be owned by the people who love movies,” she told reporters during a press conference.

Kim Yong-gwan, best known for his sentimental shorts “How to Operate a Polaroid Camera (2004)” and “Monologue No. 1 (2006),” chose French director Alain Resnais’ 1959 film “Hiroshima mon amour.”

“I recently took a trip to Japan and went to Fukushima,” Kim told reporters. “Things weren’t so well with me when I took the trip, and I watched the film as though in the foreign city. And it really consoled me. The film explores two separate places through a love story.”

“Late Autumn” director Kim Tae-yong also picked a romance film for the festival ― Mikio Naruse’s depressing 1955 drama “Floating Clouds.” Based on Japan’s celebrated writer Fumiko Hayashi’1951 novel of the same title, the film tells a story of a woman who falls in love with a man who is supposedly committed to his ill wife.

“The tragedy in this film is caused by the characters’ vulnerability, not their cruelty,” Kim said. “I wanted to share the tragedy of particular kind with others.”

Veteran actor Ahn Sung-ki chose his 1985 film “Deep Blue Night,” which was an adaptation of author Choi In-ho’s novel of the same title.

“It’s been already 20 years since I watched the film for the last time. I’m curious to watch it again, especially with others,” said Ahn.

Meanwhile, actor Park Jung-hoon chose Brian De Palma’s 1983 epic crime film “Scarface.”

“I watched the film more than 50 times,” the actor said. “It really mesmerized me throughout my teenage years and during my 20s.”

These film figures will attend the screenings of the films they chose, and talk with the audience about their selection.

Programmer Kim said the Seoul Art Cinema is planning a series of events for its 12th year anniversary next year, including a special film awards in May and reduced ticket price for youngsters.

The festival runs until Feb. 26. For tickets and information, call (02) 741-9782 or visit www.cinematheque.seoul.kr.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)
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