‘Rebel’ director’s retrospective opensThe 1955 classic film “Rebel Without a Cause” is remembered because of legendary actor James Dean. But little is recalled about the director who created the legend ― Nicholas Ray.
Seoul Art Cinema, an arthouse theater in central Seoul, is paying due homage to this American director with a retrospective running through Feb. 24.
Born Raymond Nicholas Kienzle in 1911 in Wisconsin, the director ruled 1950s Hollywood, gaining popularity with films like “Rebel” and acclaim from French directors Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut.
The retrospective will show 12 films from the director’s glory years. All films are in English, with Korean subtitles provided.
At his best, Ray enjoyed a prolific career after making his debut with “They Live by Night” (1949), a concoction of film noir and romance. The film scored disappointingly at the box office, yet it was a group of French directors like Godard who later rediscovered the importance of the film.
Other recommended films in the retrospective include “Johnny Guitar” (1954), “Bigger Than Life” (1956) and, of course, “Rebel.” Organizers say there is much more to appreciate in the film besides Dean’s performance as the symbol of a young social outcast. From a carefully orchestrated mise-en-scene to the delicate use of colors, “Rebel” is not only the most commercially successful but also the most memorable work by Ray.
“Johnny Guitar,” another Ray film, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. While having the surface style of a Western, the film has a musical-like mise-en-scene, leading to a genre of its own. Critics also read the film in a political context in light of the anti-communist tenor of the times. Even without such interpretations, however, the film leaves a strong impression, with its theme song of the same title performed by Peggy Lee.
Also included are films that have hardly been presented in Korea before, such as “A Woman’s Secret” (1949), “In a Lonely Place” (1950), “On Dangerous Ground” (1950) and “The Savage Innocents” (1960).
by Chun Su-jin
For more information, call (02) 720-9782.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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