Everything old is Choo again at film festivalFinding high-quality movies can be difficult these days. Theaters are swamped with megabudget, Hollywood sequels and Korean romantic-comedy gangster flicks.
But there are a handful of cinematheques in Korea striving to bring thought-provoking cinema to viewers. (They’re named after Henri Langlois’s Cinematheque Francaise, founded in 1936 to preserve the world’s best movies.)
One of these cinematheques is Theater Choo, founded by the Korean actor and film critic Choo Song-woong and based in the Hongdae area of western Seoul.
In addition to movies, Theater Choo also offers workshops and seminars so its patrons learn more about the shadowy art.
Theatre Choo is in the midst of a program dedicated to presenting some of the best films from the past. The retrospective, called “Memorize: Movies We Should Reminisce,” runs until July 6. Its offerings are varied ― from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Notorious” (1942) to Rene Laloux and Roland Topor’s “The Fantastic Planet” (1973).
“It’s difficult to find art films in Korea, where the two weeks of international film festivals is all you get to glimpse movies that are more concerned with the arts rather than the audiences’ pleasure,” says Choi Ji-yeon of Theatre Choo’s Planning Office. “Through ‘Memorize,’ we hope these classics can be enjoyed again.”
On the slate is the director Roger Corman’s “The Little Shop of Horrors” (1960), which captures the schlockmeister in peak form, along with a then-neophyte Jack Nicholson.
George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) is one of the greatest zombie movies (no, not an oxymoron) ever released. The independently made flick’s use of politically loaded topics ― the Cold War, racial prejudice and the public’s fear of atomic radiation ― heighten the movie’s sense of terror.
One of the series’ classics is “To Kill a Mockingbird” (1962) starring Gregory Peck. Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel and directed by Robert Mulligan, it uses a trial of a black man accused of raping a white woman to highlight the racial tensions that were brewing in America as the civil-rights movement got under way.
by Kim Hyun-jung
For more information or the full slate of films, call (02) 325-5574 or check the Web site www.cinemachoo.co.kr.