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 Post subject: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:58 pm
Location: Tokyo, Japan
I thought this label would be more 'at home' in this section than the "International" section.

English homepage Korean homepage

Since 2004, Korean Film Archive has been releasing English friendly releases of their country's small and mostly orphaned library of films. Many companies of the past faded away along with much of the films of the past, and along with WWII and the Korean War, films were not preserved with care as they should have.

All of their titles come with optional Korean and English subtitles. Sometimes Japanese subtitles as well.

Each single disc and multidisc set comes with a lengthy booklet, in Korean in half of the booklet and translated English in the other half.

All their bonus materials have English subtitles, including audio commentaries.
(Their earlier releases have some questionable subtitle translations, but recently they have really upped their standards in translation.)

Notable releases:
The Past Unearthed Volume 1: A Collection of Feature Films in the Japanese Colonial Period
The Past Unearthed Volume 2: A Collection of Chosun Films in the 1930s
The Past Unearthed: Volume 3: Dear Soldier (1944)
The Past Unearthed: Volume 4: Moving Images From Gosfilmofond (wartime newsreels)
Director Kim Ki Young Collection - 4 discs
The Housemaid (dir: Kim Ki Young)
Director Yoon Hyeon Mok Collection (4 discs)
Director Lee Man Hee Collection (4 discs)
Romantic Comedies Of The 1950's Collection (3 discs)
Landscape After The War Collection (4 discs)

And more, of course.

Upcoming:
October - <Box Set of Director, Kim Su-Yong>

"The Seaside Village" (Gaenma-eul ) (1965),
"Mist" ( Angae) (1967),
"Confession of an Actress" ( Eoneu Yeobaeu-ui Gobaek) (1967),
"Night Journey" (Yahaeng) (1976)


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:52 am 
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Watched "The Widow" (1955) from the "Landscape After The War" boxset today. Happens to be the first film by a female director in Korea, Park Nam-Ok, and sadly it was also her last. She quit directing after that because of sexist reasons, the grueling experience trying to get the money and equipment which studios were reluctant to lend out, post production houses that wouldn't let her use facilities, and only 1 theater screened the film for only 4 days. All this because she was a lady....

The DVD sadly is missing the final reel (16 minutes) of the film so the ending isn't there, and the last 10 minutes prior to that is missing sound, with no subtitles for that portion as there isn't a script to work off. The only thing to work off was a newspaper review from 1955 which mentioned the ending very ambiguously (not to give it away I guess). So you'll just have to imagine what the ending was...

Still a very well done movie with some pretty neat editing techniques used (Like the Hitchcock "Rope" edits) which I highly doubt Park copied, she probably didn't, or couldn't see "Rope" at that time. "The Widow" touches on the subject of post-war South Korea, with displaced people, separated familes and lovers, and the consequences of family.

The disc of "The Widow" comes with a 17 minute doc titled "Dream", from 2001 which is a documentary on the director Park Nam-Ok at 78 years old. Done in stylistic black and white, with her thoughts and reflections of her life and the film narrated over visuals of her in Los Angeles where she resides, clips of the film, recreations, and still photos (including one of her with Toshiro Mifune in Japan). A must-see.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 1:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm
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Just to double check all of these are English friendly? A few of these do look highly interesting and they seem to be highly cheap.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:31 pm
At least the first 7 boxes, manicsounds has listed, definitely are English-friendly, though, as manicsounds has already pointed out, the subtitles (and the bilingual booklets!) are, well, often questionable, to say the least - 'Housemaid' maybe being a positive exception.

Which leads me to another question: Which boxes would you recommend subtitle-wise, manicsounds? Or, to put it differently, since when has KOFA upped the quality of the subtitles in your opinion? And what do you think about the Lee Man-Hee subs?

Btw, I consider Lee's 'Last Witness' (despite its, as far as I remember, blatant anti-communism) to be another notable (and English-friendly) Kofa release!


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:49 pm 
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The Lee Man Hee set is excellent with the subtitles, including the commentaries. From the ones I have, the Kim Ki Young set has some questionable subtitles.

Everything more recent, "The Old Potter", "The DMZ", "A Hometown In Heart" etc, are all excellent in quality of English subs. (And Japanese if that is important too)


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:07 pm 
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So basically only the stuff from the past year is 100%? Too bad, The Hand of Fate and Hyperbolae of Youth look really interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 2:13 am 
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Well, when we say 'questionable', it means it's obvious they are not written and proofread by native English speakers. But even with that, the meaning still gets across. I wouldn't let imperfect subtitles stand in the way of getting into these film.

I am still sad that I never got around to picking up the 5-DVD Shin Sang-Ok collection. Very hard to find now.

So I'd say 2008-onwards has excellent quality subtitles and reading materials (proofread by native English speakers), while prior to that is imperfect but certainly acceptable.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:49 am 
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manicsounds wrote:
Well, when we say 'questionable', it means it's obvious they are not written and proofread by native English speakers. But even with that, the meaning still gets across. I wouldn't let imperfect subtitles stand in the way of getting into these film.


I agree on the whole. As far as I remember, the subtitles of the older KOFA releases usually were not as bad as those of many other Korean or Chinese releases (I remember, that the Korean disc of 'Black Republic' unfortunately gave me a very hard time - though the subs of the lovely Kim Ki-Young box as well as of 'Piagol', for example, aren't good either).

Btw, as far as I remember, 'Hand of Fate'' as well as at least the first box of the 'Past Unearthed' have gone OOP, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 1:08 am 
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The Kim Su-Yong boxset which was scheduled for this month has been delayed until November...


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:17 am 
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Kim Soo Yong 4 disc collection is finally up for pre-order from Yesasia, after a 2-month delay. December 19th is the date on their site. Been waiting patiently for this one, but I won't be getting it on day 1, as I'll be out on vacation during then.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:59 pm 
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Wow, Korean Film Archive got director Kim Soo-Yong to participate in commentaries for all 4 titles, and as usual, all extras including commentary are subtitled in English

A Seashore Village
-Commentary by Kim Soo-Yong and critic Kim Young-Jin
-Image Gallery
-Filmmakers Documentary Series: Kim Soo Yong (55 minutes)
Confession Of An Actress
-Commentary by Kim Soo-Yong and director Kim Hong-Joon
-Image Gallery
Mist
-Commentary by Kim Soo-Young and critic/director Chung Sung-Il
-Image Gallery
-Film to Digital Restoration of “Mist” Before and After
Night Journey
-Commentary by Kim Soo-Young and critic Huh Moon-Yung
-Image Gallery


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:57 am
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manicsounds wrote:
Wow, Korean Film Archive got director Kim Soo-Yong to participate in commentaries for all 4 titles, and as usual, all extras including commentary are subtitled in English

How is the English translation? Also, are the films any good? I always like discovering new, good films, and having a bunch of English-friendly contextualizing extras and commentaries certainly makes this set tempting...


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:47 am 
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Well, just got the set today, so I can't comment yet on anything besides the packaging. Yes, I also love discovering films like these, and with the KOFA releases, it really is a treasure trove of forgotten cinema.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:58 pm
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Available in June 2012:
"Bloodline" (aka "Kinship") ("Hyeolmaek") (Kim Su-Yong, 1963)

Available in July 2012:
Boxset: "Historical Films About the Korean Empire" 4 DVD set of Historical films:
"King Gojong and Martyr An Jung-Geun" (Jeon chang-keun, 1959)
"A Blood Bamboo" ("Hanmalpung-ungwa Minchungjeonggong") (Hong-il Nam & Bong-chun Yun, 1959)
"Independence Association and Young Lee Shung-Man" ("Dokribhyeobhwiwa cheongnyeon Lee Seung-man") (Shin Sang-Ok. 1959)
"Ah! Baekbeom Kim Ku" ("Ah! Baek Beom Kim Ku Seonsaeng") (Jeon Chang-keun, 1960)

In December 2012:
Im Kwon-taek Collection (4 DVD set):
"Wang Sib Ri, My Hometown" ("Wangshibri") (1976)
"The Family Pedigree" ("Jogbo") (1978)
"Mismatched Nose" ("Jjagko") (1980)
"Mandara" (1981)


Last edited by manicsounds on Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:12 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:06 pm
Location: San Francisco
Darcey Paquet also tweeted that KOFA will be hosting it's own YouTube channel in May and will release 70 classic films (1949-1996) with English subs. Some of titles he mentioned are Kim Ki-Young's Woman of Fire and Killer Butterfly. There is no complete list that I know of, but I'm hoping to see Park Kwang-su's A Starry Island and A Single Spark as well as Jang Seon-woo's A Petal see the light. Here's the link.

Also, Manicsounds, have you had a chance to watch Holiday from the Lee Man-Hee set? It was quite an unexpected surprise for me that while it still carries traditional Korean melodramatic elements, it's quite a standout and captures the malaise of the General Park's military government. The film was banned for decades before being re-released in 2005 and perhaps because of the ban the film elements are in rare form and the picture is terrific quality.

I don't want to get on too much of a tangent, but I've also been reading quite a bit of Korean literature recently, and the characters in Holiday occupy the same world as that in Kim Seung-ok's "Seoul: 1964, Winter," a story and writer I wholeheartedly recommend (Kim Su-yong's Mist and Kim Ki-young's Insect Woman are both based on Kim's stories)


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:06 pm 
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"Holiday" is not one of the titles in the Lee Man Hee boxset. There is "Holiday in Seoul" from the Romantic Comedies collection....?

"Mist" (1967) from the Kim Soo Yong boxset was fantastic to see. Although it seemed like a Korean version of "L'eclisse" or "Un Homme Et Une Femme" in mood and non linear storytelling, in the commentary Kim actually says "Antonioni bored me..." and "This movie was made before Lelouch made his film (1966)". Although he is technically wrong on the latter statement, he probably didn't see it until after he made "Mist".


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 6:06 pm
Location: San Francisco
My apologies. I'm learning Korean so I try to remember the film titles of Korean films primarily in Korean (which is actually really helpful). Anyways, the film Hyu Il, has been translated as A Day Off and Holiday and it appears as A Day Off in the box set. It also has some Antonioni elements to it.

I still haven't seen Mist. If you're interested, you can read the story "A Record of a Journy to Mujin" (which the film is based on) in the book Ten Korean Short Stories (translated by Kevin O'Rourke). It's not the best anthology as many of the stories are too literal for my taste, but Mujin alone is definitely worth the price! I'm really curious how the film works.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 4:55 pm 
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Seventy classic titles have been uploaded to the Archive's YouTube channel, all with English subs.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:52 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm
antnield wrote:
Seventy classic titles have been uploaded to the Archive's YouTube channel, all with English subs.

Amazing. Anybody have any thoughts on image quality? I'm not at home so I can't test these on the plasma.

Also, has anyone done any cross-checking against KFA's DVD sets, especially the massively OOP ones? Looks like all the films from the Landscape After the War box set are there, but nothing from the first Past Unearthed set, which is impossible to find.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Print damage and ancient burned in subs aside, they look pretty great! Mostly the same sources that have been circulating as avi rips, but streaming HD. I'll be watching a lot of these. Kim Ki-young, Hong Sang-soo, Aimless Bullet; tons of classics, both old and new.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:12 pm 
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I was hoping they would release "Aimless Bullet" as a DVD release sometime, but this will gladly do for now.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:40 pm 
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Great to see Park Kwang-su's Black Republic on there. One of the key Korean films of the 90s. It'll be good to see it again.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 2:55 pm 
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"Aimless" was released as a DVD in Korea, but it's out of print: http://www.yesasia.com/us/the-aimless-b ... /info.html

The film was also released on DVD in the USA as "Stray Bullet": http://www.amazon.com/Stray-Bullet-Kim- ... 0013D8LVI/

As far as I know the best surviving print of this film is actually an English hand-subbed copy sent to the USA for the San Francisco International Film Festival. That's where the Korean DVD comes from; I haven't seen the American one.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 7:16 pm 
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Yes, but I never got the Korean "Aimless Bullet" DVD and it went out of print. Was hoping KOFA would get the rights and upgrade it with extras.


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 Post subject: Re: Korean Film Archive
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:12 am 
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Bloodline DVD preorder at yesasia


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