It was once assumed that all pre-1945 Korean cinema had vanished from existence, but in the 2000s a series of remarkable archival discoveries revealed a diverse treasure trove of melodramas, propaganda films and newsreels from the colonial period. We’re delighted to present them for the first time in the UK, thanks to the restoration work of the Korean Film Archive.
Here you can learn about the stars, directors and politics of this complex and controversial period in Korean history – a time when the nation was under Japanese occupation. However, rejecting these products as nothing more than colonial propaganda refuses to acknowledge the skills, desires and ambitions of the Korean filmmakers behind them.
These are unique creations that, despite their background, are the very origins of contemporary Korean cinema.
Tuition - Introduced by season co-curator Hyun Jin Cho
Tuition follows the trials and tribulations of schoolboy Yeong-dal as he struggles to find the money to pay for his education. Facing expulsion for failure to pay his fees, the young protagonist decides to undertake an arduous journey to ask his grandmother for financial help. The child’s viewpoint of economic hardship and the film’s upbeat ending make this film a charming example of the films of the period.
Hurrah! For Freedom - Introduced by season co-curator Kate Taylor-Jones
In 1945, Korea once more became an independent nation. Hurrah! For Freedom, the first film made after Japan’s defeat, charts the life and death battle that Korean freedom fighters faced under Japanese occupation. Directed by Choi In-gyu, who had previously made colonial propaganda films, Hurrah! For Freedom shows the complex personal and artistic decisions people had to make under colonial occupation.
While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Early Korean Cinema: Lost Films From the Japanese Colonial Period are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment. All information (whether in text or photographs) is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement of representation or fact.
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