FILM AT LINCOLN CENTER AND SUBWAY CINEMA ANNOUNCE “KOREAN CINEMA’S GOLDEN DECADE: THE 1960s,” SEPTEMBER 1–17

The Great Monster Yonggary aka Yongary, Monster from the Deep / Daegoesu Yonggari
The Great Monster Yonggary aka Yongary, Monster from the Deep / Daegoesu Yonggari

Film at Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema announce “Korean Cinema’s Golden Decade: The 1960s,” a sweeping retrospective that features 24 films from this remarkable period in Korean film history. The series will run from September 1–17 and is one of the largest retrospectives ever of 1960s Korean Cinema outside of Korea, including many rarely screened films, several presented on 35mm archival prints.

Long before Bong Joon Ho, Hong Sangsoo, and Park Chan-wook catapulted South Korean cinema onto the world stage, the foundation of their country’s film industry formed in the aftermath of the Korean War. The period kickstarted a wealth of eclectic and innovative filmmaking that culminated in the 1960s. Closer inspection of this decade, now widely considered Korea’s premier film renaissance, reveals the arrival of seminal works from auteurs such as Kim Ki-young, Shin Sang-ok, Yu Hyun-mok, Kim Soo-yong, and Lee Man-hee, alongside a meteoric rise and reinvention of genres—from melodramas and period epics to action, horror, war, and giant monster movies. Although the military dictatorship still imposed tight constraints throughout this era, what these filmmakers managed to accomplish under such conditions, in arthouse fare and unabashed popular entertainment alike, continues to reverberate and inspire to this day. This September, Film at Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema are thrilled to showcase this rich period and its remarkably varied films, encapsulating a generation’s collective endeavor to define a national cinema.

Highlights include Kim Ki-young’s The Housemaid, one of the unquestionable masterpieces of Korean cinema which tells the story of a bizarre ménage à trois formed between a music teacher, his wife, and their increasingly assertive housemaid; Kang Dae-jin’s The Coachman, the first Korean film to win a major overseas award, the Silver Bear (Special Jury Prize) at the 1961 Berlin Film Festival; Hong Eun-won’s A Woman Judge, the second Korean feature to be directed by a woman and considered lost for more than 50 years until a 16mm print was recovered in 2015; Special Agent X-7, a highly entertaining and beautifully shot color spy film from Chung Chang-wha (The King Boxer), which was also long considered lost until the 35mm print was discovered in 2013; Kim Kee-duk’s The Great Monster Yonggary aka Yongary, Monster from the Deep, Korea’s first monster movie and an entertaining take on Godzilla and Gamera “that’s long on rampages and short on sensible behavior”; Shin Dong-hun’s The Story of Hong Gil-dong, South Korea’s very first animated feature film which follows the iconic Robin Hood-like figure Hong Gil-dong and was considered lost until 2008; and A Day Off, Lee Man-hee’s spare, lyrical film concerning the strained relationship of a poor young couple, belatedly recognized as one of the decade’s masterpieces after censors refused to allow its release.

The series will also include conversations following select screenings. After the September 2 screening of Yu Hyun-mok’s seminal Aimless Bullet, audiences will be treated to a discussion about the growth of the Korean film industry and major trends and filmmakers in Korean cinema in the 1960s—a not to be missed primer for the series as a whole; and on September 3, a conversation will follow the international premiere of the newly restored The Marines Who Never Returned, and how Lee Man-hee’s breakthrough feature became the first Korean movie to gain national theatrical distribution in the U.S.

Organized by Young Jin Eric Choi, Goran Topalovic, and Tyler Wilson. Co-presented by Subway Cinema in collaboration with the Korean Cultural Center New York and the Korean Film Archive.

Acknowledgements: Choi Jee-Woong and PROPAGANDA; Darcy Paquet; Kyungmi Kim; Taekyung Goh; SRS Cinema; Chae Yunsun; Kwon Munkyu; Sung Yeon Tae; Shon Kisoo; Roh Changwoo.

Tickets will go on sale on Thursday, August 3 at 2pm, with an early access period for FLC Members starting at noon.Tickets are $17; $14 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $12 for FLC Members. See more and save with a 3+ Film Package ($15 for GP; $12 for students, seniors (62+), and persons with disabilities; and $10 for FLC Members) or All-Access Pass: $125 for General Public and $99 for Students. Add dinner at Café Paradiso, located in FLC’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, with our $30 Dinner + Movie Combo.

Enjoy two films for the price of one at select double features! Valid on September 2 & 17 with The Story of Hong Gil-dong + Hopi and Chadol-bawi , September 9 & 16 with The Great Monster Yonggary + Space Monster Wangmagwi, and September 14 with A Swordsman in the Twilight + Special Agent X-7. Discount automatically applied when adding both tickets to your cart; double features excluded from 3+ Film Package.

“Korean Cinema’s Golden Decade: The 1960s” is sponsored by MUBI GO. With MUBI GO, you can get a free ticket every week to see the best new film in a theater near you, plus a wide selection of films to stream any time, from iconic directors to emerging auteurs. All carefully chosen by MUBI’s curators.

Opening September 1, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will present Only the Young: Experimental Art in Korea, 1960s–1970 s, the first North American museum exhibition dedicated to Korean Experimental art (silheom misul) and its artists, whose radical approach to materials and process produced some of the most significant avant-garde practices of the 20th century.

FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS

Films will screen at the Walter Reade Theater (165 W. 65th St).

 

The Housemaid / Hanyo
Kim Ki-young, 1960, South Korea, 108m
Korean with English subtitles

One of the unquestionable masterpieces of Korean cinema, The Housemaid tells the story of Dong-sik, a married music teacher living in a working-class area. One of his students arranges for another young woman to work as the housemaid for Dong-sik and his family; meanwhile, the student expresses her own physical desires for Dong-sik, who rebuffs her. But the whole episode is witnessed by the housemaid, who launches her own, ultimately more successful effort to seduce Dong-sik. The housemaid becomes pregnant, and thus a bizarre ménage à trois is formed between Dong-sik, his wife, and their increasingly assertive housemaid. The Housemaid is an emotional roller coaster; characters’ stated desires so often contradict their actions that roles and positions are constantly in flux. Restored in 2008 by the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) and the World Cinema Foundation at HFR-Digital Film laboratory. Additional funding provided by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Museum Authority. 
Saturday, September 2 at 9:00pm
Saturday, September 9 at 6:00pm
Thursday, September 14 at 4:00pm

Aimless Bullet / Obaltan
Yu Hyun-mok, 1961, South Korea, 107m
Korean with English subtitles

Banned in 1961 for its scathing critique of postwar reconstruction but now widely hailed as one of the greatest Korean films ever made, Yu Hyun-mok’s breakout feature was this unrelentingly bleak, noir-tinged melodrama set in the aftermath of the Korean War. The film follows the tragic bond between two brothers living with their surviving family in a Seoul slum called Liberation Village. While Cheol-ho, an accountant suffering from a toothache he can’t afford to treat, struggles to scrape together a meager existence, the senseless consequences of the war gradually tear at the seams of his family and push his younger brother, Young-Ho, to a desperate measure. An on-location tour through the traumatized atmosphere of Korea’s capital, Aimless Bullet artfully blends expressionist and neorealist styles within a grimly introspective portrait of a nation left shattered by hatred and fear—touching on everything from military prostitution and economic inequality to the exploitations of the film industry itself. Restored in 2015 by the Korean Film Archive.
Saturday, September 2 at 6:00pm (post-screening discussion on the growth of the Korean film industry and major trends and filmmakers in 1960s Korean cinema)
Wednesday, September 6 at 6:15pm
Tuesday, September 12 at 4:00pm

The Coachman / Mabu
Kang Dae-jin, 1961, South Korea, 98m
Korean with English subtitles

An aging widower with two sons and two daughters makes a living operating a horse-drawn cart but, in a city that is modernizing after the destruction of the Korean War, automobiles are quickly rendering such carts obsolete. The Coachman is a drama told with warmth and sympathy about a family trying to lift its way out of poverty and into the middle class. The father, played by the iconic Kim Seung-ho, represents many older residents of the time who were not able to cope with the rapid social changes of the era. The Coachman was the first Korean film to win a major overseas award, receiving the Silver Bear (Special Jury Prize) at the 1961 Berlin Film Festival. Although now somewhat overshadowed by its contemporaries The Housemaid and Aimless Bullet, The Coachman remains a crowd-pleaser and a revealing portrait of a society in transition. Restored in 2021 by the Korean Film Archive.
Tuesday, September 5 at 8:30pm
Saturday, September 16 at 2:15pm

A Woman Judge / Yeopansa
Hong Eun-won, 1962, South Korea, 86m
Korean with English subtitles

The second Korean feature to be directed by a woman, A Woman Judge is a revelatory directorial debut from Hong Eun-won that is loosely inspired by a true story. The film revolves around Jin-sook, a newly appointed judge who is facing mounting pressure from her jealous husband and his family to conform to the traditional expectations of a housewife. As compelling as this family melodrama is in itself, the film is particularly remarkable for its sudden tonal shift in the third act, transforming seamlessly into a detective procedural before culminating in a riveting courtroom climax. It was considered lost for more than 50 years (the fate of Hong’s two subsequent directorial efforts), but then a 16mm print was recovered by the Korean Film Archive in 2015. Though the film is plagued with severe deterioration and missing footage, the story of a fearless woman who fought against societal norms, told by a director who herself broke the boundaries of her time, bursts through the noise and resonates to this day. Digitally mastered in 2015 by the Korean Film Archive.
Tuesday, September 5 at 6:30pm
Monday, September 11 at 8:45pm

Goryeojang
Kim Ki-young, 1963, South Korea, 89m (Film Festival Version)
Korean with English subtitles

Set in a famine-inflicted village that practices the custom of abandoning the elderly in the mountains once they reach the age of 70, the story follows the trials of Guryong (Kim Jin-kyu) as he goes through life with a disability due to an incident that happened in childhood, while trying to maintain his humanity in an environment filled with fear, greed, and superstition. Likely influenced by Keisuke Kinoshita’s The Ballad of Narayama (1958), Goryeojang is another masterpiece from Kim Ki-young (The Housemaid ) that works as both a dark fairy tale and a reflection on South Korea’s April 1960 Revolution (protests that led to the resignation of president Syngman Rhee). With flawless mise-en-scène, elaborate sets, and atmospheric black-and-white cinematography, the film effectively brings to light the inherent corruption of human society, and the disastrous consequences of fear-based politics. Restored in 2019 by the Korean Film Archive. The original screenplay has been utilized to provide on-screen description of the missing scenes (the third and the sixth reels), for which only audio remains.
Sunday, September 3 at 6:00pm
Wednesday, September 6 at 4:15pm
Saturday, September 9 at 8:30pm

The Marines Who Never Returned / Dora-oji Anneun Haebyeong
Lee Man-hee, 1963, South Korea, 110m
Korean with English subtitles
International Premiere of the 4K restoration

Lee Man-hee’s breakthrough feature, The Marines Who Never Returned, is simultaneously among his most acclaimed films and one of the greatest Korean War films ever made. Produced within 10 years of the armistice, the film centers on a squad of marines who happen across a newly orphaned girl in the battlefield, Young-hui. Taking her under their wings, the marines form a heartwarming bond with Young-hui that lifts their spirits as they take on increasingly dangerous odds. The Marines Who Never Returned was a gargantuan production with the full support of the Korean military and the use of live ammunition and explosives that lend the combat sequences a rarely achieved level of authenticity. But what elevates the film as a classic is its warmth and humor, brought to life by the heartfelt camaraderie amongst the soldiers and their newly adopted daughter. The first Korean film to achieve a nationwide commercial release in the United States, the film is presented here in a beautiful 4K restoration version for the first time outside of Korea. Restored in 2022 by the Korean Film Archive.
Sunday, September 3 at 3:00pm (post-screening discussion on Lee Man-hee’s breakthrough feature and how it became the first Korean movie to gain national theatrical distribution in the U.S.)
Thursday, September 7 at 4:00pm
Friday, September 15 at 4:00pm

The Devil’s Stairway / Ma-ui Gyue-dan
Lee Man-hee, 1964, South Korea, 110m
Korean with English subtitles

With the Diabolique-tinged The Devil’s Stairway, featuring a striking setting and superbly executed black-and-white photography, Lee Man-hee (A Day Off) added to the list of Korea’s most accomplished psychological thrillers. The film takes place in a gothic-looking two-story hospital and focuses on an ambitious doctor who stands on the verge of becoming chief surgeon by marrying the hospital owner’s daughter. However, a clandestine affair the doctor is having with one of the nurses puts his plans in jeopardy. When the doctor’s lover becomes jealous and events start spinning out of control, he takes drastic measures to cover up the affair. Actor Kim Jin-gyu as the doctor and Moon Jeong-sook (one of Lee Man-hee’s favorite actresses) as the nurse both excel in their roles, completely convincing in their depictions of betrayal, revenge, and guilt-induced paranoia. Restored in 2015 by the Korean Film Archive.
Friday, September 8 at 6:30pm
Friday, September 15 at 8:45pm

The Red Muffler / Ppalgan Mahura
Shin Sang-ok, 1964, South Korea, 105m
Korean with English subtitles

Shin Sang-ok, a pivotal figure in the South Korean film industry—as a prolific director, producer, and a studio mogul running Shin Films—had a soaring box-office hit on his hands with The Red Muffler. Taking place near the end of the Korean War, the story is centered around a tough but kindhearted air force major, his mentorship of a rookie pilot, and his relationship with a hostess working at a local bar (star Choi Eun-hee and director Shin’s wife) with whom he has a history. Featuring exciting battles in the air (the first-ever application of aerial cinematography in Korean cinema), heartbreaking romance on the ground, and even a musical number, this precursor to Top Gun is a blockbusting, rousing, and romanticized tribute to South Korea’s jet-fighter pilots, and a perfectly packaged piece of popular entertainment of its time. Restored in 2012 by the Korean Film Archive.
Tuesday, September 5 at 4:00pm
Sunday, September 10 at 8:00pm
Wednesday, September 13 at 4:15pm

The Barefooted Young / Maenbal-ui Cheongchun
Kim Kee-duk, 1964, South Korea, 116m
Korean with English subtitles

A new genre emerged in South Korea in the 1960s. This was the first decade in which youth culture- strongly influenced by the West- clearly distinguished itself from the values and lifestyle of older generations. Of the ”youth films” that emerged depicting and celebrating this culture, Kim Kee-duk’s The Barefooted Young is by far the best known. Mixing humor and social critique in its story of a poor young troublemaker who falls in love with a wealthy ambassador’s daughter, the film highlights not only Korea’s stark class divisions, but also its widening generation gap, with increasingly wild youth and ever more alarmed parents. Nearly banned by censors, the film enjoyed huge commercial success, turning lead actors Shin Sung-il and Eom Aeng-ran into the decade’s most famous on- and off-screen couple. Digital mastered in 2011 under the supervision of  the Korean Film Archive.
Friday, September 1 at 6:15pm
Tuesday, September 12 at 8:30pm

The Empty Dream / Chunmong
Yu Hyun-mok, 1965, South Korea, 71m
Korean with English subtitles

A young man and woman under anesthesia for oral surgery meet in a shared dream and fall into an increasingly bizarre love triangle with their dentist. So begins Yu Hyun-mok’s lusty and sinister headtrip of a film, which takes Tetsuji Takechi’s pink film Daydream as its jumping-off point and playfully nods to Yu’s own tooth-ached protagonist in Aimless Bullet while becoming something altogether unclassifiable. A nearly wordless mashup of Freudian ideas played out on strikingly stylized sets, loosely connected by a referential, oddball soundtrack ranging from Johann Strauss’s “On the Blue Danube” to the theme song of René Clément’s pulpy Joy House, The Empty Dream is a wildly imaginative surrealistic gem ripe for rediscovery. Digitally mastered in 2022 by the Korean Film Archive.
Wednesday, September 6 at 8:30pm
Sunday, September 10 at 6:00pm
Wednesday, September 13 at 8:30pm

A Bloodthirsty Killer / Sal-inma
Lee Yong-min, 1965, South Korea, 94m
Korean with English subtitles

Classic Korean horror films tend to spring from certain templates, the most common being a story about a woman who is deceived, betrayed, and killed before coming back as an angry ghost to exact her revenge. A Bloodthirsty Killer sticks to this formula, but in all other respects it is unique among its contemporaries. This is thanks in part to director Lee Yong-min’s distinctive style, exaggerated and slightly absurd, with characters behaving in bizarre and unpredictable ways, and the plot lurching quickly from one supernatural twist to the next. Lee also possesses a talent for producing striking visual imagery, despite the difficult conditions under which the film was shot. Korean audiences in the 1960s were surely more impressionable than the horror fans of today, but there is much in this film that will catch even contemporary viewers unawares. Restored in 2021 by the Korean Film Archive.
Friday, September 8 at 9:00pm
Sunday, September 17 at 5:30pm

The Seashore Village / Gaenma-eul
Kim Soo-yong, 1965, South Korea, 35mm, 94m
Korean with English subtitles

The prolific Kim Soo-yong (who directed 109 films between 1958 and 2000) brings a meditative and frank sensuality to his screen adaptation of Oh Yeong-su’s novel of the same name, which trains its focus on the women of a remote fishing island commonly left widowed by its dangerous surrounding sea. After one newlywed loses her husband during a fishing expedition, she falls into another relationship with a predatory suitor that leads to their exile to the mountains. A deep and searching exploration of community that sneaks in gestures of sapphic desire, The Seashore Village offers a fascinating, radical examination of postwar Korea’s fractured sense of identity and unfolds in sumptuous, on-location black-and-white cinematography. Restored in 2011 by the Korean Film Archive.
Monday, September 4 at 4:15pm
Friday, September 8 at 4:15pm
Sunday, September 17 at 8:00pm

Let’s Meet at Walkerhill / Wokeohileseo Mannapsida
Han Hyeong-mo, 1966, South Korea, 96m
Korean with English subtitles

Two country bumpkins (Twist Kim and Seo Yeong-chun) meet on a train bound for Seoul. One of them is hoping to locate his long-lost daughter in the big city, and the other is looking for a former sweetheart who may now be an up-and-coming nightclub singer. During their search, fish-out-of-water hijinks ensue that stitch together music and dance performances at various Seoul nightclubs and dance halls featuring top stars of the time, including the Park Chun-seok Orchestra, Hyeon Mi, Lee Geum-hee, and Lee Mi-ja. Han Hyeong-mo, one of Korea’s leading filmmakers of the 1950s and known for “women’s pictures” (e.g., Madame Freedom), delivers this charming musical comedy during the late stage of his career. Ultimately, this film is a loving time capsule that gives a front-row view of the music scene of South Korea of the mid-1960s, long before K-pop would take over the world. Digitally mastered in 2013 by the Korean Film Archive.
Sunday, September 3 at 12:45pm
Tuesday, September 12 at 6:15pm

Special Agent X-7 / Sunganeun yeongwonhi 
Chung Chang-wha, 1966, Hong Kong/South Korea, 106m
No sound, with English subtitles

Legendary action filmmaker Chung Chang-wha (The King Boxer) lights up the screen with his own take on the spy genre. The Korean Intelligence Agency dispatches its top agent, X-7 (Nam Koong-won), to put a stop to a gold-smuggling operation run by North Korean spies in Hong Kong. During his mission, X-7 meets a mysterious woman (Jang Jung-moon) who offers to deliver North Korean secret documents in exchange for 50,000 dollars. Beautifully filmed on locations in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, Special Agent X-7 is full of car chases, spy gadgets, secret lairs, and surprising plot twists—all under the impeccable direction of Chung. After seeing this film, Sir Run Run Shaw (founder of the Shaw Brothers Studio) didn’t think twice about signing an exclusive contract with Chung. Long considered lost, the 35mm print of Special Agent X-7 was discovered in 2013 in Hong Kong, without the sound. Digitally mastered in 2014 by the Korean Film Archive.
Sunday, September 3 at 8:00pm
Thursday, September 14 at 8:30pm

The Goddess of Mercy aka The Great Tyrant / Daepokgun
Lim Won-sik, 1966, Hong Kong/South Korea, 97m
Korean with English subtitles

A reimagining of the tale of princess Miao Shan, an incarnation of Bodhisattva Guanyin in Chinese Buddhist teachings, this second collaborative project between the Shaw Brothers Studio and Shin Films marked a high point in Hong Kong-Korea coproductions. Featuring grandiose battles, heavenly miracles, and even song-and-dance numbers, the film spares no expense in delivering sheer spectacle. Two separate versions of the film were shot simultaneously, with Hong Kong actress Li Li-hua and Korean actress Choi Eun-hee each appearing in the titular role. Only the Hong Kong version was known to exist until 2017, when the Korean Film Archive discovered the Korean version, titled The Great Tyrant, among the Shaw Brothers collection. This will mark the first time the Choi Eun-hee version has ever been screened outside of Korea. Digitally mastered in 2017 by the Korean Film Archive. Due to the incomplete nature of the sound elements, 10 minutes of audio is missing from the feature. 
Monday, September 4 at 8:30pm
Monday, September 11, at 6:30pm

The Great Monster Yonggary aka Yongary, Monster from the Deep / Daegoesu Yonggari
Kim Kee-duk, 1967, South Korea, 35mm, 79m
English-dubbed version

Born out of a nuclear explosion, Yonggary, another misunderstood monster destroying everything in its path, appears on Inwangsan mountain and drives everyone in Seoul into a panic! The authorities are helpless. Can anyone stop Yonggary?! Inspired by kaiju (giant monster) movies, director Kim Kee-duk (The Barefooted Young) set out to make the first Korean monster movie, and enlisted the aid of technical experts from Japan—making this the first collaboration of its kind between South Korea and Japan. The film was released in the United States in 1969 by American International Pictures under the title Yongary, Monster from the Dee p; later it received the Mystery Science Theater 3K treatment, where it was described as a “monster film that’s long on rampages and short on sensible behavior.” What better way to experience this landmark in Korean kaiju cinema than by seeing Yonggary’s lack of sensible behavior on the big screen—and on the only surviving 35mm print.
Friday, September 1 at 4:15pm
Saturday, September 9 at 2:15pm
Saturday, September 16 at 8:30pm

Space Monster Wangmagwi / Ujugoein Wangmagwi
Gwon Hyeok-jin, 1967, South Korea, 82m
Korean with English subtitles

Dastardly aliens initiate an invasion of Earth by releasing an enormous creature, Wangmagwi, in the middle of Seoul and waiting as the monster demolishes everything in its path. The incident disrupts the wedding plans of an air force pilot (Nam Kung-won) whose fiancée (Kim Hye-kyeong) is waiting at the wedding hall. The bride-to-be ends up being captured and carried away by Wangmagwi, King Kong–style. Space Monster Wangmagwi, which opened before The Great Monster Yonggary and was accused of plagiarism by Yonggary’s production company, is a bit of a silly hodgepodge. It is part allegory on the Korean War, part kids’ movie, and part comedy, with skits performed by popular comedians as they encounter the monster. In addition to its historical importance, and with a poorly designed rubber suit that is anything but convincing, this film can best be enjoyed as a fun and campy low-budget genre romp.
Saturday, September 9 at 4:00pm
Wednesday, September 13 at 6:30pm
Saturday, September 16 at 6:30pm

The Story of Hong Gil-dong / Hong Gil-dongjeon
Shin Dong-hun, 1967, South Korea, 70m
Korean with English subtitles

Hong Gil-dong is an iconic figure in Korean literature and pop culture who first appeared in the mid-19th century as the protagonist of an adventure novel, The Story of Hong Gil-dong. So it’s no surprise that South Korea’s first animated feature film would center on Gil-dong, in this case in an adaptation by director Shin Dong-hun of his younger brother Shin Dong-woo’s popular manhwa (comic) Lucky Adventurer, Hong Gil-dong (serialized from 1965 to 1969 in Children’s Chosun Ilbo). Born the illegitimate son of a government official—which automatically makes him a social outcast—Gil-dong leaves home, spends time training in martial arts under Master Baekwun, and becomes a leader of a group of bandits who steal from corrupt officials in order to punish them and help the poor. The film was considered lost until a 16mm print was discovered in Japan in 2008; it was blown up to 35mm before undergoing digital restoration. Restored in 2021 by the Korean Film Archive.
Saturday, September 2 at 2:15pm
Sunday, September 17 at 2:15pm

Hopi and Chadol-Bawi / Hopiwa Chadolbawi
Shin Dong-hun, 1967, South Korea, 70m
Korean with English subtitles

After the enormous success of Shin Dong-hun’s The Story of Hong Gil-dong, a sequel was planned, but the director ended up parting ways with the original production company due to creative disagreements. This in part explains why, for his second animated feature, he focused on Hopi and Chadol-Bawi, the two supporting characters from the Hong Gil-dong manhwa. A companion piece to The Story of Hong Gil-dong as much as a delightful standalone adventure, the film tells the story of a tiger-skin-wearing thief, Hopi, who turns over a new leaf after being trained in martial arts by Master Sakpung and ultimately defends the country from an attack by a Jurchen general. Building off the big trial-and-error learning experience of making The Story of Hong Gil-dong, Shin and his animation team let loose with Hopi and Chadol-Bawi, creating a gorgeously colorful mixture of hand-drawn art styles that feels more confident and experimental than its precursor, but no less rich with humor and sword-and-magic thrills. Restored in 2021 by the Korean Film Archive and the Image Power Station.
Saturday, September 2 at 4:00pm
Sunday, September 17 at 3:45pm

Mist / Angae
Kim Soo-yong, 1967, South Korea, 78m
Korean with English subtitles

An atmospheric work by an immensely talented filmmaker, Mist has taken its place as one of the high points of 1960s South Korean cinema. Based on a famous 1964 modernist novel by Kim Seung-ok titled Journey to Mujin, Kim Soo-yong’s film tells the story of a middle-class office worker in Seoul who takes a trip to his rural hometown. As he revisits the place of his youth, familiar locations and people trigger flashbacks of his troubled past. At the same time, he meets a young schoolteacher who yearns to escape from the confines of her everyday life. Powered by magnetic performances from Shin Sung-il (the most prolific actor in Korean film history) and Yoon Jeong-hee (who years later would play the lead in Lee Chang-dong’s Poetry), Mist offers experimental blurring of past and present that captures the restlessness and disappointment of an entire generation of dreamers. Restored in 2011 by the Korean Film Archive.
Friday, September 1 at 8:45pm
Sunday, September 10 at 4:00pm

Burning Mountain / Sanbul
Kim Soo-yong, 1967, South Korea, 80m
Korean with English subtitles

Burning Mountain is set in a southwestern rural village during the Korean War in the early 1950s.Partisan soldiers fighting on the side of North Korea are hiding out in the mountains. Meanwhile, the village is filled with widows and single women, having lost the entire male population to war or forced conscription. One day, a deserter from the North Korean People’s Army begins hiding out in a nearby bamboo forest. A widow, Jeom-rye (whose husband fought for the South), brings him food, and they start a sexual affair. However, another widow, Sawol (whose husband fought for the North), soon discovers their secret. Shot in widescreen with sharp black-and-white visuals, this 80-minute film is dramatically tense and visually stunning, despite the limited resources available to director Kim Soo-yong. A completely unique perspective on the Korean War, as well as a timeless fable about human instinct and desire. Restored in 2021 by the Korean Film Archive.
Sunday, September 10 at 2:00pm
Saturday, September 16 at 4:30pm

A Swordsman in the Twilight / Hwanghonui Geomgaek
Chung Chang-wha, 1967, South Korea, 35mm, 80m
Korean with English subtitles

Before he started working for the Shaw Brothers Studio and kicked off the martial arts movie craze in the West with The King Boxer, Chung Chang-wha built the foundations for action and genre filmmaking in South Korea. Set during the Joseon Dynasty period, A Swordsman in the Twilight introduces us to a lone bamboo-hat-wearing swordsman (Nam Koong-won) who appears in a lawless village. And while what follows may be a standard revenge story, Chung employs long shots to film action sequences that—in contrast to the more acrobatic and energetic style of Hong Kong wuxia—consist primarily of graceful and restrained movements of swordsmen in hanbok facing off against each other. Action is framed against the backdrops of Korean landscapes and palace architecture, the meetings of the swords ever brief, and ultimately deadly. Confidently directed and tightly edited, this film is a rare example of a distinctly Korean-style sword-fighting film that only Chung could have made.
Monday, September 4 at 6:30pm
Thursday, September 14 at 6:30pm

A Day Off / Hyuil
Lee Man-hee, 1968, South Korea, 74m
Korean with English subtitles

Heo-wook and Ji-youn are a young couple, desperately poor, who can meet only on Sundays. Without any money to go to a cafe, they wander the windswept streets and parks of Seoul. Their future is bleak and their relationship appears strained. And they face a crisis: Ji-youn is pregnant. Unable to support a child, she tells Heo-wook that she wants an abortion. Forgotten in storage for 37 years after censors refused to allow its release, A Day Off was belatedly recognized as one of the decade’s masterpieces. Clearly influenced by European auteurs such as Antonioni and Resnais, Lee Man-hee’s spare, lyrical images express everything that the film’s physically and spiritually exhausted heroes struggle to put into words. Poetic and rich, A Day Off is, for all its bitter pessimism, a kind of love letter to the expressive potential of cinema. Restored in 2017 by the Korean Film Archive.
Monday, September 4 at 2:30pm
Thursday, September 7 at 6:30pm
Monday, September 11 at 4:30pm

Eunuch / Naesi
Shin Sang-ok, 1968, South Korea, 35mm, 93m
Korean with English subtitles

A tale of doomed romance and palace power games, Eunuch follows two forlorn lovers who end up in the service of the king: one after being forced to become a eunuch, and the other after being sent away by her father to the royal harem. Set in the Joseon Dynasty era, with beautiful cinematography and production design, Eunuch stands out among Shin Sang-ok’s costume dramas as an especially lush widescreen technicolor entertainment that takes a step into exploitation cinema with sprinkles of sensuous eroticism and bursts of violence. At the same time, it also serves as a critique of the oppressive social structure of the past, especially when it comes to the role of women. Living within the suffocating confines of the royal palace, the queen and the court ladies have only two choices: to suppress their need for fulfillment, or to be punished for excesses that go against Confucian social norms.
Thursday, September 7 at 8:15pm
Friday, September 15 at 6:30pm

 

 

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TCM Announces First Three Movies on the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival Lineup
  Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has unveiled the first three movies in...
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