The Korea Herald


Korea Film Archive recovers movies from 1960s, 70s

Through digitalization work, KOFA plans to release five of them in June

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Jan. 26, 2024 - 14:14

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Director Jeong Jin-woo's 1983 movie Director Jeong Jin-woo's 1983 movie "Betrayal" (KOFA)

The Korean Film Archive said Friday that it recovered 16 Korean movies from the 1960s and 70s that were previously unavailable for viewing due to lost sound and deleted scenes. These movies are meaningful as they are from the Korean film industry’s so-called “first renaissance,” KOFA explained.

“Recovering Korean films produced in the 1960s and 70s is a remarkable feat considering that it was when renowned filmmakers like Kim Ki-young and Shin Sang-ok actively produced movies. Going through the 50s and 60s, we saw hundreds of movies coming out. In 1969, a total of 229 movies were produced and released,” said film critic Kim Hong-won during a press conference held at KOFA in Seoul Friday.

According to Kim, the Korean film industry was in a golden age in the 1960s. Following director Lee Gyu-hwan’s “Chun-hyang Story” in 1955, the government began to fund filmmakers to explore more diverse genres and stories.

KOFA said it discovered a great number of movies on 16 mm film which were stored in public broadcaster KBS’s data center. KOFA clinched a deal with KBS in 2022 to recover 88 of the movies by 2027 through digitalization. KOFA explained that KBS had kept the films because there was no institution like KOFA previously. KBS, which was established in 1961 and another state-run broadcaster KTV, established in 1948, own some of the early Korean movies, officials added.

“Unlike movies these days that are produced digitally, decades-old movies were produced on film. It is our duty as the Korean Film Archive to discover precious works that should be archived as cultural heritage,” said KOFA Director Kim Hong-joon.

KOFA plans to reveal five of the 16 movies recovered through digitalization and hold a special exhibition in June for public viewing.