Posts Tagged ‘Busan Cinema Center’

Busan Cinema Center Opens to Motherload of Film Series

November 12, 2011


Where: Busan Cinema Center

When: November 10 – December 31

When I first heard about the Busan Cinema Center, the architectural monstrosity in the middle of Centum City built for the Busan International Film Festival for the price of 1,678.5 hundred million won (I’m not even gonna bother trying to figure how much that is in dollars, but it sounds like a lot), I couldn’t help but wonder what purpose it would serve during the other 355 days of the year. But it seems like it will be put to more than good use, as it’s offering 200-plus films for screening until the new year. And at a mere 3,000 won per ticket, this is an excellent opportunity to catch up on those all-time-classics that escaped you, in the ideal setting of a proper movie theater. I did the dirty work of sifting through the seemingly interminable list of films to find out which ones can be viewed by an English-speaking audience, so it wouldn’t hurt to leave comment just to reassure me that all that effort wasn’t made in vain.

For screening times, visit the Busan Cinema Center website. It’s extremely difficult to navigate for anyone who can’t read Korean, so I’m going to try to explain how to find the information you need if you care to see one of the movie being screened. There are eight different sections to the film series, which my shoddy Korean and Google Translate essentially translate to Assorted Classics, Carte Blanche (whatever that means), Epic Banquet, Animation Paradise, Beloved 21st Century Films, Korean Movies, the Audience’s Choice, and Cannes Critics Week 50th Anniversary Exhibition, and next to the picture logo for each section (which I’ve conveniently inserted into this post for cross-reference) are a turquoise button and a pink button. To find the screening time of the film you wish to see, click the pink button next to the picture logo and that will bring you to the list of films being shown in that section. Scroll through the list of films to find the one you wish to see – the screening time is in red at the bottom. I wish there was an easier way, but unfortunately the English version of the website amounts to little more than Busan Cinema Center = cinematic awesomeness, which I would tend to agree with if only it wasn’t so difficult for us fair-skinned Busan residents to understand the programming schedule. Anyway, I hope this blog post helps. Here’s the list of films:


English Language Films:

A Trip to the Moon (George Mieles, 1902)/The Great Train Robbery (1903)/An Andalusian Dog (Luis Bunuel, 1929) Silent

The Tramp (Charlie Chaplin, 1915) Silent

The Adventurer (Charlie Chaplin, 1917) Silent

Our Hospitality (Buster Keaton, 1923) Silent

Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924) Silent

Moana (Robert J. Flaherty, 1926) Silent

The Last Command (Josef von Sternberg, 1928) Silent

The Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929) Silent*

City Streets (Rouben, Mamoulian, 1931)

Only Angels Have Wings (Howard Hawks, 1939)

The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940)

Fantasia (1940) Silent

Sullivan’s Travels (Preston Sturges, 1941)

Tex Avery’s Collection (Dump-Hounded, Who Killed Who?, Swing Shift Cinderella, King-Size Canary, Bad Luck Blackie, Little Red Riding Hood)

Detour (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1945)

Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)

The Fugitive (John Ford, 1947)

On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray, 1952)

Band Wagon (vincent Minelli, 1953)

All That Heaven Allows (Douglas Sirk, 1955)*

Man of the West (Anthony Mann, 1958)

Scorpio Rising (Kenneth Anger, 1964)

Wavelength (Michael Snow, 1967)

Ride in the Whirlwind (Monte Hellman, 1965)

THX 1138 (George Lucas, 1971)

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)

Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973) in English & Italian

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Sam Peckinpah, 1973)

The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

The Outlaw Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood, 1976)

The King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese, 1983)*

Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)

Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton, 1990)

Carlito’s Way (Brian De Palma, 1993)

Velvet Goldmine (Todd Haynes, 1998)

A Streetcard Named Desire (Elia Kazan, 1951)*

Running on Empty (Sidney Lumet, 1988)

Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)*

It Happened One Night (Frank Capra, 1934)

Foreign Language Films with English Subtitles:

Violanta (Daniel Schmid, 1978)

Happiness (Agnes Varda, 1965)

Chronicle of a Summer (Edgar Morin & Jean Rouch, 1961)

The Iron Gate (Youssef Chahine, 1958)

Tokyo Twilight (Yasujiro Ozu, 1957)*

The Cry (Michaelangelo Antonioni, 1957)

Pather Panchali: Song of the Little Road (Satyajit Ray, 1955)*

Death of a Cyclist (Juan Antonio Bardem, 1955)

Mysterious Object at Noon (Apitchapong Weeresthakal, 2000)

The Phantom Carriage


English Language Films:

Papillon (Franklin J. Schaffner, 1973)

Opening Night (John Cassavetes, 1977)

Boy A (John Crowley, 2007)

Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953)*

The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)*

When Harry Met Sally (Rob Reiner, 1989)

Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994)

Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, 1956)*

The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)

Blade Runner: Director’s Cut (Ridley Scott, 1982)

Stand by Me (Rob Reiner, 1986)*

Running on Empty (Sidney Lumet, 1988)

Dogfight (Nancy Savoca, 1991)

My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991)

The Thing Called Love (Peter Bogdanovitch, 1993)

The Wild One (Laslo Benedek, 1953)

On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954)

Guys and Dolls (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1955)

Apocalypse Now: Redux (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)*

Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)*

The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993)

Funny Face (Stanley Donen, 1957)

Stranger Than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch, 1984)

Bagdad Cafe (Percy Adlon, 1987) in English & German

Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997)*

Shadows (John Cassavetes, 1959)

The Train (John Frankenheimer, 1964) in English & German

Runaway Train (Andrey Konchalovskiy, 1985)

Foreign Language Films with English Subtitles:

Vagabond (Agnes Varda, 1985)


English Language Films:

The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)

The Ten Commandments (Cecil B. DeMille, 1956)

Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)

The Great Escape (John Sturges, 1963)*

Doctor Zhivago (David Lean, 1965)

Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968)

The Godfather: Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)


English Language Films:

The Plague Dogs (Martin Rosen, 1982)

When the Wind Blows (Jimmy T. Murakami, 1986)

The Iron Giant (Brad Bird, 1999)

Mary and Max (Adam Elliot, 2009)

The Illusionist (Sylvain Chomet, 2010) in English and French


English Language Films:

Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)*

The Pianist (Roman Polanski, 2002)

Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 2003)

Coffee and Cigarettes (Jim Jarmusch, 2003)

Land of Plenty (Wim Wenders, 2004)

The Fall (Tarsem Singh, 2006)

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Ken Loach, 2006)

I’m Not There (Todd Haynes, 2007)

Happy-Go-Lucky (Mike Leigh, 2008)


In Korean with English Subtitles:

A Wanderer Never Stops on the Road (Lee Jang-Ho, 1988)

Under the Sky of Seoul (Lee Hyung-Pyo, 1961)


English Language Films:

Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)*

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)*

Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)

The Mission (Roland Joffe, 1986)

Foreign Language Films with English Subtitles:

Goodbye South, Goodbye (Hou Hsiao Hsien, 1996)


English Language Films:

K.E.S. (Ken Loach, 1969)

Foreign Language Films with English Subtitles:

The Life of the Dead (Arnaud Despleschin, 1991)

See How They Fall (Jacques Audiard, 1994)

A Common Thread (Eleonore Faucher, 2004)

*denotes recommendations


In Busan, the Sixteenth Time’s the Charm

September 25, 2011

With the Busan cinematheque closed until November, and the dearth of quality movies in both mainstream theaters and at the Gukdo Art Cinema, it’s been a rough start to what’s typically referred to as the Oscar Season. But the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) is just around the corner, and like always, it will inject a temporary dose of world-class cinema to an otherwise provincial town.

This year promises to be a major milestone in the history of the festival. The official unveiling of the Busan Cinema Center, an ultra-modern cultural complex in the heart of Centum City, will undoubtedly create quite a hoo-ha, prompting local officials to make speeches and pat each other on the back, but to me, this means just one thing. Unlike previous years, BIFF will finally be held in one concentrated area of the city, a welcome change for cinephiles like myself who no longer have to ride the subway back and forth from Nampodong to Haeundae in between screenings, running up and down escalators to make it to the next movie in-time.  Whereas most other film festivals had this figured out from day one, in Busan, the sixteenth time’s the charm.

Advance tickets for the opening and closing ceremonies can be bought online starting Monday September 26 at 17:00, while tickets for general screenings go on sale Wednesday September 28 at 9:00. Only how remains a mystery: the guidelines on the website boil down to “visit and register Daum website.” My advice is to ask a Korean friend for help if you intend to buy tickets in advance, which I recommend for anyone who wants a guaranteed seat at a screening.

The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, USA)

Saturday October 8 at 11:30, Haneulyeon Theater, Code: 032

Wednesday October 12 at 16:00, Haneulyeon Theater, Code: 114

Have you ever been stuck somewhere with the stinging urge to go to the bathroom, but no toilet in sight? That’s kind of what waiting for “The Tree of Life” to come out has felt like for me. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I left the US for Korea shortly before its American release date and have spent every day since in a state of prolonged, torturous anticipation. But I have to say my reaction to seeing it on the BIFF lineup was somewhat muted knowing that it’s already slated for a release in major movie theaters at the end of October. Still, I’ll take what I can get, and if that means twenty days of less waiting, hell, I’m happy.

The Kid with a Bike (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France/Italy)

Sunday October 9 at 9:00, Haneulyeon Theater, Code: 049

Monday October 10 at 19:30, Haneulyeon Theater, Code: 085

The Dardenne brothers have yet to make a bad or even mediocre film. This consistency has won them the coveted Palme d’Or twice, making them part of a handful of directors to have done so. So obviously I always look forward to seeing their latest movie no matter what it’s about, who’s in it, or how it’s received by other critics.

We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lynne Ramsay, United Kingdom)

Saturday October 8 at 9:00, Haneulyeon Theater, Code: 031

Sunday Oct 9 at 13:00, CGV Centum  City 4, Code: 208

When Lynne Ramsay makes a movie and it’s playing in a theater near you, you get your ass there. It’s been nine years since her last film came out, and it seems as though she’s trying something a little different this time around. Set outside of her native Scotland, and with Hollywood stars Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly in the main roles alongside rising actor Ezra Miller, “We Need to Talk About Kevin” clearly marks a new direction in Ramsay’s relatively short, but impressive career. I just hope that, during her long absence, she hasn’t lost it.


Faust  (Aleksandr Sokurov, Russia)

Monday October 10 at 20:00, Lotte Centum City 6, Code: 468

Monday October 10 at 20:00, Lotte Centum City 7, Code: 470

Tuesday October 11 at 14:00, Megabox Haeundae M, Code: 707

Wednesday October 12 at 13:30, Lotte Centum City 6, Code: 504

Wednesday October 12 at 13:30, Lotte Centum City 7, Code: 506

Aleksandr Sokurov’s eerie filmmaking style is often compared to that of Andrei Tarkovsky, the Russian master whose films are usually only appreciated by ardent cinema lovers. While Sokurov is a touch more accessible, his movies are at times cryptic, slow, and seemingly plot-less, but in spite of it all, strangely atmospheric and enthralling. “Faust,” a retelling of the classic German legend, is the last installment in his four-part series on power and corruption, themes he previously approached in films about Lenin, Hitler, and Emperor Hirohito.

Melancholia (Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany)

Friday Oct 7 at 9:30, Haneulyeon Theater, Code: 011

Monday October 10 at 11:00, Lotte Centum City 6, Code: 450

Monday October 10 at 11:00, Lotte Centum City 7, Code: 449

Tuesday October 11 at 20:00, Megabox Haeundae 6, Code: 725

 Tuesday October 11 at 20:00, Megabox Haeundae 7, Code: 723

Lars von Trier was banned from the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year after saying “I’m a Nazi” and “I understand Hitler” during a long, incoherent answer to a question about aesthetics. He later apologized for his remarks but recently admitted: “It’s not true. I’m not sorry.” The Danish filmmaker has a history of saying outrageous things and is known as a provocateur, not only in interviews but also in his films. Love him or hate him, it’s hard to watch his movies and not walk away with a strong, gut reaction.


The Day He Arrives (Hong Sang-Soo, Korea)

Friday October 7 at 16:00, Megabox Haeundae 3, Code: 568

Sunday October 9 at 21:00, Megabox Haeundae 1, Code: 658

Wednesday October 12 at 10:00, Megabox Haeundae 1, Code: 731

I feel like Korean cinema in general has been on the slump for the better part of the last five years, failing to produce the kind of masterpieces that were so prevalent in the first six years of the new millenium. Hong Sang-Soo is no exception. While he remains my favorite working Korean director, I’m going to start losing some serious esteem for him unless he really wows me with this one.

Amen (Kim Ki-Duk, Korea)

Friday October 7 at 19:00, Megabox Haeundae 3, Code: 583

Sunday October 9 at 10:00, Megabox Haeundae 3, Code: 630

Wednesday October 12 at 16:00, Megabox Haeundae 1, Code: 751

It definitely came as a surprise to see this one on the lineup since Kim Ki-Duk just premiered his documentary “Arirang” at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Though it won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard sidebar competition, I’ve heard it’s no more than a painfully dull and self-indulgent rant where the filmmaker turns the camera on himself and essentially wails about the creative block he’s experienced over the past few years. He hasn’t made a movie movie since 2008’s “Dream,” and neither that nor its predecessor was any good. But who knows, this could mark a return to form for the notorious director of “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring,” “3-Iron,” and “Bad Guy.”


The next three movies aren’t really high on my list, and frankly I don’t know if I’ll get around to seeing them, but I thought I would mention them anyway since they caught my eye for one reason or another.

Hara-kiri: Death of a Samurai (Takashi Miike, Japan)

Friday October 7 at 9:30, Cinema 1, Code: 010

Sunday October 9 at 19:30, Lotte Centum City 4, Code: 447

Wednesday October 12 at 12:30, Lotte Centum City  5, Code: 503

Almayer’s Folly (Chantal Akerman, Belgium/France)

Saturday October 8 at 19:30, CGV Centum City 4, Code: 191

Sunday October 9 at 11:00, Lotte Centum City 3, Code: 420

Tuesday October 11 at 11:00, Megabox Haeundae M, Code: 701

Goodbye First Love (Mia Hansen-Love, France/Germany)

Friday October 7 at 17:00, Megabox Haeundae M, Code: 571

Wednesday October 12 at 11:00, Megabox Haeundae 8, Code: 734

Wednesday October 12  at 11:00, Megabox Haeundae 9, Code: 739

Thursday October 13 at 10:00, CGV Centum City 4, Code: 324