Introducing the Gukdo Art Cinema in Daeyeon

In my first two-year stint in South Korea, I neglected to mention the Gukdo Art Cinema in Daeyeon in any of my posts, although it was featured as a link on the sidebar, on account of its obscured location, user-unfriendly website and,  most importantly, poor selection of films. I only visited it once, when I was dragged along to a screening of “The Limits of Control” (Jim Jarmusch, 2009), a bad film made worse by the fact that the projector kept crapping out, giving the audience a series of unplanned intermissions. As soon as the end credits rolled up, I did what I usually do after enduring a bad example of art film – I darted for the exit. But instead of the liberation I sought, I was met with the trollish theater attendant who insisted that I stay until the final reel, that I would be missing an essential part of the movie if I didn’t. She was so insistent, in fact, that she wouldn’t let me leave. This topped my list as the single most unpleasant moment in all the time I had spent in movie theaters in South Korea, closely followed by when a father sitting in the same row as me let his son urinate into a soda cup in the middle of “How To Train Your Dragon” (Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders, 2010), and when a man decided to sit right next to me even though the whole theater was empty. The bad movie, coupled with this unfortunate incident, left a singularly poor impression of the movie theater as a whole, and I never returned.

Being a forgiving person, however, and wanting to see a really good film I had only been able to watch previously on the 15 inch display of my laptop computer, I went back to Gukdo for my second viewing of “Certified Copy” (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010). This time around, I found the theater much more endearing. With only one screen, this small cinema only shows a handful of films on any given week, a lot of them unknown independent Korean movies, a lot of them unknown foreign-language movies without English subtitles. And yet, this week they’re screening three films by directors I not only know, but really like: “Certified Copy” (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010), “Another Year” (Mike Leigh, 2010), and “Antichrist” (Lars Von Trier, 2010). I don’t know whether showing films of this caliber (they were all part of the Cannes 2010 Official Selection) is just a fluke or something Gukdo will be repeating in the future, but I’ll no longer ignore its screening schedule, which can be viewed by clicking the following link:

The website is no easier to navigate, and understanding the schedule requires the ability to read Korean and to decipher the English title of the movie from the sometimes completely different Korean title. It’s a pain in the ass, but if they continue to show interesting films (i.e. films I want to see), I will post the screening times. If not, Gukdo will go back to being relegated to a useless link on the sidebar of the blog.

Screening Times:

Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010) – Wednesday June 1 at 1:30pm (in English with Korean subtitles)

Antichrist (Lars Von Trier, 2010) – Wednesday June 1 at 4pm (in English with Korean subtitles)

Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami, 2010) – Wednesday June 1 at 6pm (in English, French, and Italian with Korean subtitles)

How to Get There:

Take line 2 (the green line) to Daeyeon station and get out at exit 3.


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