Welles Revisited: 12 Films on Tap At Seoul Theater

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Welles Revisited: 12 Films on Tap At Seoul Theater

Seoul Cinematheque in Chung-dong, Seoul, is currently showing "Homage to Orson Welles" through Dec.1, a season of 12 films by the legendary and controversial filmmaker. It is the first time so many of his works have been shown together in Korea.

George Orson Welles (1916-1985) has had a huge influence on the 20th century film industry. A rebel who resisted the Hollywood production system, his talents were not fully acknowledged while he was alive.

His 1941 masterpiece "Citizen Kane," the story of a ruthless newspaper magnate, was a landmark in cinema history, with elaborate narrative and sensational innovative cinematography. Newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, on whose life the film was said to be based, tried to stop the movie's distribution.

Because of a copyright dispute, "Citizen Kane" will not be screened during this retrospective. But film buffs will have a chance to see two other well-known Welles films, "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "The Lady from Shanghai."

"The Magnificent Ambersons", the follow-up to "Citizen Kane," is a drama about a family unwilling to change its way of life with the times. Critics have praised the film for its brilliant character study and reflection of its times.

"The Lady from Shanghai" is a classic film noir about an Irish sailor aboard a ship owned by an American millionaire. Starring Rita Hayworth, then the director's partner, the film is famous for its shooting scene near the end. Many Hollywood films have imitated this scene.

Other films included in the homage are "Touch of Evil" (1958) set on the Mexican-American border, "The Trial" (1962) based on Kafka's novel, and "F For Fake" (1974).

Welles also reinterpreted Shakespeare's classics, directing "Othello; The Lost Masterpiece" (1952),and "King Lear" (1953).

Gary Grayber, director of photography for Welles in the 1970s, will present a lecture at Seoul Cinematheque on Sunday.

Seoul Cinematheque's representative, Im Jae-chul said, "Welles's greatest achievement was his ability to marry tradition and contemporary thinking. This season of films is an opportunity to take a closer look at the essence of the man."

Seoul Cinematheque specializes in classic and art-house movies.

by Park Jung-ho

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