KOFA receives large donation of lost Korean films

By Won Ho-jung
  • Published : Apr 7, 2015 - 20:23
  • Updated : Apr 7, 2015 - 20:23

A large trove of old Korean films considered lost have been acquired by a state-run film archive center, potentially filling some of the gaps in the official record of Korean cinema, Korea Film Archive revealed Tuesday.

At a press conference in Seoul, the Seoul-based KOFA said that it had received a donation of 450 films, 94 of which were Korean films from 1949-1981 that were believed to be lost. The films will lead to a fuller understanding of Korean cinematic history, officials said.

The 94 films include works from notable directors such as Lee Man-hee, Im Kwon-taek, Jung Jin-woo, and Kim Su-yong. Four of the films were debut titles from directors including Hong Eun-won, the second female director to debut in Korea. 

A scene from director Lee Man-hee’s 1966 film “Unforgettable Woman,” one of the 94 previously lost Korean films donated to KOFA. (KOFA)

The large donation came from Han Gyu-ho, who once ran a traveling film projection business in Seoul. In the past, once films were released through theaters nationwide, traveling projection businesses like Han’s would buy rights to screen the films in local community centers or makeshift theaters. He kept all the film reels he had collected through his business and donated them for safekeeping and management to KOFA.

Five of the films ― Jung Jin-woo’s “The Only Son” (1963), Im Kwon-taek’s “Battlefield and a Female Teacher” (1966), Lee Man-hee’s “Unforgettable Woman” (1966), Kim Su-yong’s “Full Ship,” and Choi Ha-won’s “Trees Stand on Slope” (1968) ― will be revealed this year to the public, the KOFA said.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)