[ENTERTAINMENT]Korean Films, English Subtitles, and Free

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Korean Films, English Subtitles, and Free

Korea's answer to the Academy Awards is getting a makeover this year. The 38th annual Daejong Film Festival until now was only an awards ceremony. But the new, improved version of the event includes a six-day film retrospective. It kicked off yesterday with an opening ceremony at Seoul Cinema in Jongno.

The Daejong Film Festival is the longest-running event of its kind in Korea, beginning under the supervision of the government in 1958. The festival has been through ups and downs, failing to acquire the prestige its organizers might have hoped for. Despite its billing as an annual event, it was canceled in 1969, 1988 and 1998.

It was also the target of accusations of corruption recently when critics suggested that winners had cultivated personal connections with members of the judging panel.

But, this year, the festival organizers - the Motion Picture Association of Korea and the Korean Association of Film Art and Industry - say they have made award selection procedures transparent, in part by introducing public polls. They also say the event will offer more entertainment - not only for Korean visitors, but expatriates as well.

Fifty-one Korean films will be screened from Saturday to Tuesday in Seoul Cinema. Three have been specially provided with English-language subtitles, and expatriates can view them for free - a rare opportunity because, as the festival's public relations officer Choi Hee-jin commented, "The Korean movie scene has been a little lazy in providing chances for foreigners to enjoy Korean films."

The three films to be subtitled are "Interview," "Tears" and "2001 Yonggary vs. Cyker." "2001 Yonggary vs. Cyker" will air on Saturday at 11 a.m., while on Sunday, "Interview" will run at 5 p.m. and "Tears" at 8 p.m. All three movies will be screened at Seoul Cinema in Jongno (02-2277-3014, Korean service only).

"Interview" is a romance starring Korea's most wanted duo, Lee Jung-jae and Shim Eun-ha.

"Tears" is a sad tale about four teenagers who have been stigmatized as delinquents. It explores their journey down the road to disaffection in a society that offers them little other choice. Though it was not a huge box office success, the film attracted much attention overseas at venues such as the Berlin International Film Festival.

"2001 Yonggary vs Cyker" is an action/adventure movie directed by Shim Hyung-rae. It is best-known for its remarkable special effects that breathe life into the hero monster, Yonggary.

Special Q & A sessions for expats will follow each screening of the three movies. Those who have any questions about the Korean movie scene can find answers in English.

The festival's award ceremony will take place on Wednesday at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Many actors, actresses and film industry faces will tread the red carpet.

by Chun Su-jin

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