Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lectures on Local Films for Foreigners

The Korea Foundation will hold a series of six lectures on Korean films this month. "Open Lectures on Korean Culture for Foreigners: Treasures of Korean Cinema" (OLoKCfF:ToKC). The Foundation was established in 1991 by the Korean National Assembly with the aim of enhancing the image of Korea to people around the world who have Internet Explorer and Adobe Flash Player version 10.1.0 or greater installed on their computers.

"The power of the Korean film industry to portray diverse lives with a fraction of the budget for Hollywood blockbusters like Titanic stems from the creativity that was impacted by the Japanese occupation and the Korean War" said one of the lecturers. Japan is likely to welcome the comments as it has always maintained that it was doing Korea a favor when it staged its brutal occupation - which Tokyo characterizes as an extended holiday excursion by its military.

The OLoKCfF:ToKC lectures will lecture foreigners who wish to find out more about Korean Cinema and why it is better than the inferior output of Hollywood, and these questionable foreigners will also be invited to see a number of landmark Korean films as part of the lectures.

The series will kick off with Yu Hyun-mok's "Obaltan" (1961) - a grim portrayal of the struggles of a Northern Korean refugee family living in Seoul in the late 1950s, following the civil war that was ultimately caused by the Japanese occupation of Korea. It was judged to be so depressing the government banned it shortly after its release for public safety reasons, but it was subsequently praised for its realism.

Later a "Flower in Hell" will be screened. The film offers grim portrayal of a Korean prostitute, or "flower", who is forced to work around a U.S. Army base, or "hell", and sleep with American demons. From the film, foreigners will see how an otherwise respectable if inexpensive whore can become so desperate and debased as to have to sleep with foreigners working in a disgusting occupation.

Also being shown is Hanyo (The Housemaid) - a grim and claustrophobic character study about the hardships of post-war life caused by the Japanese and Chinese and one family's descent into psychosis caused by marriage, Mist - a grim story of a loveless marriage in a claustrophobic town far away from Seoul populated by mediocre examples of humanity, Holiday - the grim and violent story of a neighborhood bulldozed to make way for the foreigners attending the Olympic Games and the shattered lives of its former residents, and One Fine Spring Day - a grim story of a love affair which blossoms in spring only to decline the following spring.

Other films, described as 'equally grim', will portray the intricate minutia of Korean life that is thought to so fascinate moviegoers around the world, while taking the opportunity to subtly attack a variety of foreigners and foreign ideas from other countries outside Korea, not just America and Japan. "It's really surprising that Korean films are not more popular outside Korea" said a grim-faced spokesman for the event.

OLoKCfF:ToKC is the second lecture on Korean film at the Korean Foundation. In September 2011, the institute introduced productions from the 1950s and '60s. Several suicides marred the event, but their cause remains a mystery.

Related Links
Lectures on local films for foreigners
Suicide top cause of death for under 40s
Korea makes news abroad with 40 suicides a day
Jinju Suicide Festival Draws Fire
Korea Foundation
Korea Foundation - Wikipedia
The Housemaid (Hanyo) Review
Mist (1967)
Holiday – Korean Movie – English Sub DVD
One Fine Spring Day

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