A princely audience for film on Gwanghwamun

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A princely audience for film on Gwanghwamun


Royalty, dignitaries and special guests gathered in London on Monday for the premier of a documentary about the restoration of Gwanghwamun, including, from right to left: Dowager Viscountess Rothermere; Choo Kyu-ho, Korean ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hong Seok-hyun, chairman of the JoongAng Ilbo; Prince Charles; Ambassador Choo’s wife; executive producer Andre Singer and his wife; film director Howard Reid; and James Hunt, head of programming for Sky Arts. [AP/YONHAP]

LONDON - A documentary chronicling the restoration of Gwanghwamun - the main gate of Korea’s most prominent palace dating to the Joseon Dynasty - premiered in London on Monday and drew an A-list audience.

Prince Charles of Wales was joined by Hong Seok-hyun, chairman of the JoongAng Ilbo, and about 300 other people at the premiere, which was held at the Curzon Mayfair cinema.

The documentary, titled “The Arch of Enlightenment,” is part of the “Masterpieces” series by West Park Pictures, a British documentary producer, recording the restoration of famous historic sites. The Prince’s Charities Foundation, founded by Prince Charles, supports the “Masterpieces” series. The JoongAng Ilbo was a local partner in the endeavor.

“The archway, originally built in the 14th century, is not merely ornamental; it has always been seen as an important symbol for the Korean people, representing wisdom, peace and prosperity and as such became an almost inevitable target,” said Prince Charles at the event.

“The Arch of Enlightenment” - also the English name for the gate - was filmed between 2007 and 2010, which coincided with the actual restoration.

Since it was originally constructed in 1395 as the main gate to Gyeongbok Palace in Seoul, Gwanghwamun has been restored three times. The first time was in 1860’s following damage by Japanese invaders in the 1590s. The second was in the 1960’s, after the devastation of the Korean War.

The second restoration, however, did not return the gate to its original orientation - it only moved it to the same spot. During Japanese colonial rule, the gate was moved inward to make room for the Japanese Governor General Building. It was only until the third and most recent restoration that Gwanghwamun was reangled to face north from the outside. This process is detailed in the documentary.

Prince Charles thanked Hong for his help in the documentary. “The film and book could not have been made without the help of a great many individuals and, most significantly, without the generous support of Hong Seok-hyun,” Prince Charles said.

Hong said in reply, “When the Prince’s Charities Foundation, known for its work to protect precious cultural properties around the world, joined the project, it became clear to us that we were not alone. I have high hopes that Gwanghwamun will remain a source of light to extinguish the darkness of ignorance that still afflicts our world.”

The documentary was directed by Howard Reid, a British documentary filmmaker. It will be aired through Sky TV in the U.K. in the spring.

By Ryu Kwon-ha [joe@joongang.co.kr]

Related Korean Article [중앙일보]

찰스 왕세자·홍석현 회장 ‘광화문의 부활 … ’ 함께 관람

찰스 윈저(63·Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor) 영국 왕세자가 제작을 주도한 다큐멘터리 영화 ‘광화문의 부활, 잃어버린 빛을 찾다’의 첫 시사회가 지난달 31일 오후 8시(현지시간) 영국 런던 커즌 마이페어 시네마 영화관에서 열렸다.

이 자리에는 찰스 왕세자, 로이터 통신 전 회장의 미망인인 로더미어 자작부인, 홍석현 중앙일보 회장, 찰스 왕세자 자선재단 사무총장 톰 쉬비어 경, 추규호 주 영국대사 등 영국 왕실과 문화계 인사, 현지 교포 등 300여명이 참석해 성황을 이뤘다.

시사회는 찰스 왕세자 자선재단이 전 세계 주요 문화유산의 복원 작업을 영상으로 담아 기록하는 ‘매스터 피스(위대한 업적) 필름’ 시리즈의 하나로 마련됐다. 이 기록영화는 BBC 방송사 출신으로 1986년 에미상을 수상한 다큐 전문 하워드 레이드 박사가 감독했다. 제작비는 왕세자 자선재단이 전액 지원했다. …

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