Opening an Asian film archive

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Opening an Asian film archive

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If you are in the mood for seeing some pride-inducing, smart films this weekend, you have a chance to look into rare documentaries you can’t see in multiplex theaters.
“The Documentary Collections,” by the Korean Film Archives, feature screenings of five documentaries by noted Asian directors. The best part of all: it’s free.
The screening today begins with “Surname Viet Given Name Nam,” an experimental documentary film about exile and displacement by the acclaimed writer and a filmmaker Trinh T-Min-ha.
The film explores the history of Vietnamese women using dance, text and interview clips of women in Vietnam and the United States. It delves into the difficulty of translating and the struggles of dislocation and exile suffered by women with a history of war and oppression.
“Narita: Heta Village,” a 1973 black-and-white documentary by Japan’s premier documentary filmmaker, Shinsuke Ogawa, draws a compelling story out of the lives of farmers protesting the construction of Japan’s biggest airport. The film, released five years before Narita officially opened, concentrates on how the lives of the village elders was disturbed when their communal graveyard fell into the hands of the airport authorities.
Another documentary in the venue by Ogawa is “A Japanese Village; Furuyashikimura,” which focuses on a Japanese mountain village that deals with the trauma of global warfare.
On Friday and Sunday, the archives will feature “ABC Africa,” an evocative film by the Iranian Director Abbas Kiarostami, which was funded by the United Nations as part of the organization’s project to assist AIDS orphans in Uganda.
“Minamata - The Victims and their World,” a two-hour documentary by the Japanese filmmaker Tsuchimoto Noriaki, focuses on the 29 families who filed a lawsuit against a fertilizer company in the Minamata district after the villagers were diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder caused by mercury poisoning.


by Park Soo-mee

“The Documentary Collections” by the Korean Film Archives runs at the Seoul Arts Center through Sunday. Screenings on Friday begin at 2, 5 and 7:30, on Saturday and Sunday, at 1 and 3 p.m. The Japanese films are not in English. For more information, call (02) 521-3147.

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