Film fest to pay homage to Cassavetes

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Film fest to pay homage to Cassavetes

Lee Chang-dong, a local leading art house director, who won this year's director's award at the Venice International Film Festival, said that he does not look up to other filmmakers. A few seconds later, he corrected himself. "If I have to name one, it would be John Cassavetes."

John Cassavetes (1929-1989) may be the father of American independent films. He could have played it safe as an accomplished actor, but he broke free to create his own small films. His career makes him the right person for this year's Seoul Independent Film Festival to celebrate. From Friday until Dec. 28, the annual celebration of independent films takes place at Seoul Art Cinema in Sogyeok-dong and Miro Space in Insa-dong, both in the Jongno area, central Seoul.

The Seoul Independent Film Festival rounds up each year's independent films, made on individuals' capital, without any major distributor or producer. Along with the John Cassavetes retrospective, this year there is a competition for the best local independent film. Entries are divided into short, medium-length and feature categories. Another program at the festival includes local films, highlighted by "Popee," in which the director tries to trace the true meaning of life through various people and their pets, and "Mudang -- the Reconciliation of the Living and the Dead," a graphic tale of local shamans.

For those with avant-garde tastes, there is a program under the theme "Images Through the Microscope," in which cutting edge and experimental works such as video poems and media arts will be shown.

The Cassavetes retrospective includes five films -- "Shadows" (1959) "Faces" (1968) "Opening Night" (1977) "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" (1976) and "A Woman Under the Influence" (1974). Another program, titled "British Special," presents 17 short films sorted out into three sections running about 80 minutes each.

The festival opens Friday at 7 p.m. at Seoul Art Cinema with Cassavetes' "Shadows." On Christmas Eve, you can wait up for Santa with an all-night-long feast of films.

For more information, go to (English available) or call the organizers at (02) 362 - 9513. Seoul Art Cinema can be found in the Artsonje Center, a short walk from exit 1 of Anguk Station on the orange subway line No. 3. Miro Space is in the second floor of the basement of the Insa Art Plaza building, reachable from Anguk Station and Jonggak Station on the dark blue subway line No. 1.

by Chun Su-jin

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