Film festivals bring a taste of Europeans’ savoir faireA diet of kimchi and butter won't exactly make you healthy. But that's what happening in Korean theaters, cinematically speaking, as the offerings are mostly either Korean film or ones from Hollywood. But a fresh breeze has arrived with an ongoing showing of European films presented through several small-scale film festival throughout Seoul.
The Europe-Korea Foundation is screening will 15 films from Belgium to Denmark to many others through Thursday. Most of the films are either in English or shown with English and Korean subtitles. In another part of the city, Seoul Art Cinema is holding a retrospective on the late French director Jacques Demy that runs through Thursday. Most of those films are also shown with English and Korean subtitles.
The Seoul EU Film Festival, sponsored in part by the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Seoul, selected 15 acclaimed films have not had the chance to be shown in Korea. Films on the menu include "The Third Night" from Greek director Dimitris Panayotatos. The film reveals a mysterious tale surrounding three surviving women and three missing men after an airplane crash.
Another from the Czech Republic, "Loners" by David Ondricek, presents an interesting description on how attempts at love end up bringing loneliness. All of the screenings take place at Cine Cube Gwanghwamun in central Seoul.
Seoul Art Cinema, on the other hand, is presenting a retrospective on Jacques Demy (1931-1990), whose arguably best-known film would be the musical "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964) starring Catherine Deneuve. The image of the young Deneuve singing and acting in the middle of rain for her lost love is a phenomenal scene in movie history.
Seven other films by Demy will be shown along with another three documentary films on the director including "The World of Jacques Demy"(1995), by Agnes Varda, a director herself, who was Demy's best friend and partner. Organizers recommend musical by Demy, the beat genre of the director who believed in the power of music and images. To look into Demy's enthusiasm on the musical genre, his last film "Three Places for the 26th"(1988) is a must-see.
by Chun Su-jin
Cinecube Gwanghwamun is best reachable from the Gwanghwamun Station, exit No. 6 on subway No. 5 line and Seoul Art Cinema is located in Jongno by Jongno 3-ga Station on subway No. 1 line. For more information on Jacques Demy retrospective, call the Seoul Art Cinema (02) 745-3316. For the Seoul EU Film Festival, call the Europe-Korea Foundation (02) 725-0381 or visit www.cinecube.net (information available also in English).