Still room for movie theaters in a high-tech world

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Still room for movie theaters in a high-tech world

Trekking out to a movie theater might seem a bit quaint in today’s high-tech world, where it’s often easier and cheaper to watch films over the Internet or on DVD players and portable video devices.

But there’s a distinct - and rather important - difference between viewing films from your couch and catching a new release in a packed theater, according to internationally acclaimed Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.

“It is like the difference between listening to Rolling Stones songs by yourself in your house and going to their live concert. The contact with the people is what really generates emotion,” Inarritu said June 26 during a press conference to promote the opening of a cinema program at the Prada Transformer at Gyeonghui Palace in downtown Seoul. “I think that cinema is a communal experience. The energy of the room and the feeling that people in the room are connected are not something you can get watching a film on a TV or DVD in your house.”

Inarritu and U.S. film critic Elvis Mitchell were in town last week to promote the Prada Transformer’s “Flesh, Mind and Spirit” event. The two selected the program’s 14 featured films.

Although Inarritu focused his comments on the event, he also used his visit to express his personal interest in Korean cinema and filmmakers.

“I’m very excited to show my selection of films to the Korean audience and also to meet some great filmmakers in this country, whom I feel very close to for several reasons,” he said.

“Korea has a group of amazing filmmakers who made their appearance in the world with great films that changed the landscape of world cinema, including Lee Chang-dong, Park Chan-wook and Bong Joon-ho, to name just a few.”

Inarritu said the ongoing Prada Transformer cinematic program is a “powerful and eclectic selection” of his favorite films, adding that the series presents a great opportunity for Koreans - particularly the younger generation - to see masterpieces from different countries and eras.

The director also stressed the importance of preserving film history.

Considering that “95 percent of silent films have disappeared already, it is a huge commitment to restore those films that are still surviving,” the director said. “But besides restoring them, it is also important to distribute them so that audiences can actually see them.”

“Flesh, Mind and Spirit” runs through next Thursday at the Prada Transformer, central Seoul. Films are shown in their original language with Korean and English subtitles. Admission is free, but online reservations are required. Head to Seodaemun Station, line No. 5, exit 4; or Gwanghwamun Station, line No. 5, exit 7. For more information, visit

By Park Sun-young []

Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu speaks at a press conference on June 26 to open the Prada Transformer’s cinema program. Provided by the organizer

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