Classic films screen by revived art cinema

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Classic films screen by revived art cinema

There are times when you have to accept changes even if you don’t want to, and the temporary loss of the Seoul Art Cinema was a hard one.
After three sweet years, this small art house theater was driven out of its first home in Sogyeok-dong. After months of effort to find a new home, the theater has moved to the Hollywood Theater building and reopened last week.
To celebrate its reopening, the theater is holding “The Feast of Cinephiles” a screening that runs until May 1, with the support of the Korea Film Council, Goethe Institute and the French Embassy.
The cinema is showing 16 film classics ranging from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” to Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown.” The theater again remains expatriate friendly, with every film coming with English (not to mention Korean) subtitles or English dialogue.
New, restored prints with a much improved quality of legendary classics are being screened, such as “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” directed by Sergio Leone in 1960 and the 1963 epic film, “The Leopard,” directed by Luchino Visconti.
Mr. Leone’s film is a prototypical Western starring Clint Eastwood, while “The Leopard” is a grandeur epic about the decline of an Italian aristocratic family on Sicily. It earned Mr. Visconti the Golden Palm award at the Cannes International Film Festival.
If you still think it’s too demanding to sit through three hours for each film, there are shorter films such as Marguerite Duras’s 1975 phantasmal “India Song.”
But the two-hour running time is the only conventional aspect of this film by the avant-garde artist.
Ms. Duras made the film only with a voice-over by narrators, including herself, without a single line of the dialogue by a character.
Other films include “Lisbon Story,” by Wim Wenders, with picture-perfect scenery of the Portuguese city; “Every Man for Himself/Slow Motion,” by the legendary French critic-cum-director Jean-Luc Godard; “A Woman Under the Influence,” by American independent filmmaker John Cassavetes; and “8 1/2” by Federico Fellini, the Italian master film director.
One thing is for sure: you can’t go wrong with Seoul Art Cinema’s selections for its first screening at its new home.

by Chun Su-jin

The new Seoul Art Cinema can be found at the Hollywood Theater complex in Insa-dong, central Seoul, best reached from Jongno 3-ga station on subway lines No. 1 and 3. Screenings are 6,000 won ($6). For more information, call (02) 741-9782 or visit
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