With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, May 02, 2008

ACF 107: Lee Chang-dong: A Retrospective

A fantasy sequence from Lee Chang-dong's Oasis

New Yorkers rejoice! Soon we'll be treated to the four film retrospective of this brilliant South Korean director that was part of the still ongoing Korean Film Festival DC 2008 in our nation's capital.

Oasis will be the first film shown. It happens to have been the first of his films that I saw. Sol Kyung-gu stars as Jong-du, a young man of limited mental abilities who's just been released from prison for vehicular manslaughter. After re-uniting with his family, he goes to visit the victim's family, where he meets Gong-ju, played with incredible intensity by Moon So-ri.

Both are shunned or exploited by their respective families, depending on circumstances. The relationship that develops between them is remarkable, and the acting is fabulous.

I've seen the film at least two or three times, and each time I've been haunted by it for days afterward. "Haunted" in a good sense, a wonderful sense, as in unable to stop thinking about the story and the performances. This is the mark of truly great cinema.

Sol Kyung-gu (l) and Moon So-ri

Oasis garnered 11 of the 13 awards for which it was nominated at various festivals, and deservedly so. Lee won eight awards and was nominated for two others. Moon So-ri won two, and Sol Kyung-gu, one. (For complete awards information at imdb, click here.) Although his first two films each won several festival awards, for me Oasis marks Lee's true arrival as a master director on the international film scene, a position he has further solidified with last year's Secret Sunshine.

The four films in the retrospective will be shown at Asia Society, 725 Park Ave (at 70th Street), Manhattan. All showtimes are 7:00 pm.

The complete schedule is:

2002, 133 min
Monday, May 5, 2008
- This screening is co-sponsored by The Korea Society
- Director Lee and Ms Moon are scheduled to attend and participate in a Q&A after the screening

Secret Sunshine

2007, 142 min
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
- This screening is co-sponsored by The School of Visual Arts
- Director Lee is scheduled to be present

Peppermint Candy

2000, 127 min
Thursday, May 8, 2008

Green Fish
1997, 111 min
Monday, May 12, 2008

For more information or to order tickets, click here.

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