For the early movie bird, 3 subtitled Korean films

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For the early movie bird, 3 subtitled Korean films

Who would bother to get up early just to catch a flick? The answer: Foreigners who are eager for a rare chance to appreciate Korean movies on the big screen ― with subtitles.
At 10:15 a.m. daily starting today, the Gwanghwamun art house Cine Cube will show three of the year’s popular Korean movies with English subtitles. On the marquee are “Jealousy is My Middle Name,” “A Good Lawyer’s Wife” and “Ogu.” A fourth movie, “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring,” the latest from the acclaimed director, Kim Ki-duk, will also be shown, but alas, without English subtitles.
These are the kinds of excellent movies that appear and disappear in a flash. Critically acclaimed but not box office successes, they are definitely not winners in the survival-of-the-most-commercially-fit movie jungle.
After these movies were released, theaters in Seoul screened them at most a couple of weeks. For cinephiles fed up with watching subtitled Korean films in the close confines of a DVD room, here is a chance to stretch one’s legs and be entertained very well. Each day until 2004, one of the four films will be shown on the big screen.
“Jealousy is My Middle Name,” the female director Park Chan-ok’s feature debut, presents subtle yet keen tension in relating the story of a naive, timid young man stuck in a hopeless double love triangle.
The meticulous director focuses not on the tried-and-true game of love, but the complex psychology among the characters. The quality of acting is another welcomed point; their chemistry factors heavily into bringing this drama to life.
If “Jealousy” seems a bit static, “A Good Lawyer’s Wife” is by contrast an animated and electrifying drama, ready to challenge viewers’ stereotypes. The director Im Sang-soo, whose jeers at social absurdities shaped his reputation for producing an intense but flowing film style, remains true to form here, though in a more refined way. The director delves into the love affairs of each member of the lawyer’s family as they try to add spice to their humdrum lives.
For a taste of old Korea, don’t miss “Ogu,” named for an exorcism dance performed to soothe a dead spirit by satisfying his unfulfilled wishes. Though it is the most recent of the four, “Ogu” was actually conceived first, as a stage drama that attracted an audience of 2.7 million. The film version stars the same cast and crew as the stage production.
“Ogu,” along with “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring” offers a good opportunity to appreciate true Korean emotion. The latter, set at a Buddhist temple, follows a man’s life from childhood to old age.
Set to enjoy this rare movie feast? A 6,000-won ($5) ticket and an early-bird mentality is all you need to catch the worm ― or rather, the movie.


by Chun Su-jin

To reach Cine Cube, take subway line No. 5 to Gwanghwamun Station and use exit 6. Call (02) 2002-7770 for more information.
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