Israeli cinema has the spotlight this weekPeople living in Seoul have been lucky enough lately to catch glimpses of a wide range of foreign cultures through film retrospectives. Today through Saturday, the cinema of Israel will be showcased, in honor of that country’s Independence Day.
Five award-winning Israeli films, ranging from lighthearted romances to a war-shadowed drama to a fantasy about the philosopher Spinoza, will be screened with both Korean and English subtitles at Art Cube, a small arthouse theater in Gwangwhamun, central Seoul. The Israeli embassy is sponsoring Israeli Film Week in cooperation with a local film agency, Baekdu Daegan, to celebrate Israel’s 56th Independence Day on April 29.
“This screening means a lot, in that it gives [Seoul] the first opportunity to focus on the culture of Israel, when the country is known here only for politics,” an embassy staffer said.
The opening film, “Yana’s Friends” (1999), directed by Arik Kaplun, is a romatic comedy set during the 1991 Gulf War, in which a pregnant woman has to share a flat with a male wedding photographer. The film was shown at the Pusan International Film Festival and attracted much attention.
“Everlasting Joy,” a 1996 film by Yigal Bursztyn, is a comic fantasy with the novel premise of bringing the 17th-century Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza into the present. Suffering from unrequited love, Spinoza locks himself in his home and looks for the secret of happiness.
“Pick a Card” (1997), by Julie Shles, is about a man who quits his job to become a magician, and his girlfriend who tries to bring him back to reality.
“Vulcan Junction” (1999), directed by Eran Riklis, is a drama about six young adults in Israel in the days before the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
“Lovesick on Nana Street” (1995), directed by Savi Gavison, is about a man running a pirate cable TV station whose love for a woman becomes a case of harrassment.
All five films will be screened each day of the festival, in a different order each day. Screenings will be at 11:20 a.m. and 1:30, 3:40, 6:10 and 8:20 p.m. daily.
Tickets are 3,000 won ($2.50) for each film.
In May and June, the films will be screened in Daegu, Gwangju and Busan.
by Chun Su-jin
Art Cube in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, is best reached by taking subway line No. 5 to Seodaemun Station. Take exit No. 6 and walk in the direction of Sinchon about 150 meters. Art Cube is located in the basement of the Hungkuk Life Insurance Building, along with Cine Cube. For more information, call the theater at (02) 2002-7770.