Absorbing movies played at a new Sponge

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Absorbing movies played at a new Sponge


“Memories of Matsuko,” left, and “Factory Girl,”right, will be presented at a film festival offered by the Sponge House company in celebration of its move to a new home in Myeongdong, central Seoul. Provided by the Sponge House

The Sponge is the name of a Korean film distributor and importer that local cinephiles hold close to their hearts.
The founder, David Cho, or Cho Sung-gyu, chose the name for his company because he hoped to easily absorb every charming small film he could find. Offering independent and artistic films with a small market was the company’s mission statement.
However, the films selected by Cho were not the kind that multiplex theaters welcome, so Sponge decided to open theaters of its own. Thus was born the Sponge House.
With branches in Apgujeong and Jongno, the Sponge has succeeded in creating a small and faithful following. The Jongno Sponge House will soon move to a new home at Myeongdong’s Joongang Cinema. In celebration, the theater is having a month-long housewarming party featuring a film festival that starts next Monday and runs through Oct. 24.
The line-up includes “Factory Girl,” starring Sienna Miller as Edie Sedgwick, the muse of the pop artist Andy Warhol and “Klimt,” starring John Malkovich as the Austrian-born painter Gustav Klimt. For more lighthearted fun there will be “A Prairie Home Companion,” a Robert Altman comedy featuring a celebrated American radio show. Woody Allen’s 2006 film, “Scoop” with Scarlett Johanssen and Helen Mirren’s memorable performance in “The Queen,” will also be on offer.
For serious-minded cinephiles, Lars von Trier presents “Manderlay,” which is the second of his ambitious trilogy dissecting American society. The sequel to “Dogville,” which stars Nicole Kidman, “Manderlay” takes viewers to a southern American town afflicted by racial segregation. The festival also presents the award-winning drama “Babel,” a tragedy that unfurls amid different languages and cultures. Non-English films in the lineup are intriguing as well, including the Japanese film, “Memories of Matsuko.”

All screenings are offered at 5,000 won ($5.43). The new Sponge House can be reached by alighting at the Euljiro 3-ga subway station, line No. 2 and 3, exit 2 and walking about 10 minutes in the direction of the Paik Hospital. If you want to minimize walking, a bus is the best choice. Take No. 108, 405, 470, 471 or 472 and get off at the Paik Hospital station. For more information on screenings, call (02) 2285-2011 or visit www.spongehouse.com.

By Chun Su jin [sujiney@joongang.co.kr]
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