Thursday, April 29, 2010

Twenty English Subtitled Films...

An article in today's JoongAng Daily brings good news to those of us who are fans of English subtitled Korean films in Seoul:

To meet foreign residents’ growing demand for greater access to cultural life, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and CGV, a local theater chain, will screen 20 Korean films with English subtitles starting today, the city government said in a statement yesterday.

So it looks like Cinus have dropped out from the subtitle race and handed the baton over to the far superior CGV chain!

This year, four CGV theaters were added, with locations in Gangnam, Yongsan, Myeongdong and Guro.

“These four theaters are located in places where there is a large expat population,” said Kim Dae-hee, an official at CGV who is in charge of promoting the English subtitle service.

Good news for me as my local cinema is CGV Yongsan, but hopefully this expanded service will offer more English speakers the chance to watch subtitled Korean films.

Blades of Blood, directed by Lee Joon-ik (“The King and The Clown”) is a period film set in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). “Maid” by Im Sang-soo, “Poetry” by Lee Chang-dong and “Dreams Come True” by Kye Yun-sik are also among the 20 films chosen.

If I get to see "Maid" and "Poetry" on the subtitled big screen then I will be a happy man indeed, but I wonder whether CGV will stick to their guns and deliver the full twenty film promise or whether they will fall foul of some problem or another.

There's talk of special events for foreign fans and also Chinese and Japanese subtitled screenings that will start later in the year, so it's good news all round for non-Korean Korean film fans.

I'm off to see Blades of Blood this weekend and I encourage all Korean film fans to do the same, show CGV that this is a sustainable service that the foreign community wants and needs. As for now CGV's English language website gives no hint of the service, but hopefully they'll sort something out and do a better job than Cinus' pathetic page.


crossmr said...

I don't see how it isn't sustainable. The films are all subtitled eventually anyway. Does it really matter when it's done? I can't imagine that there is really a big cost associated with showing a subtitled movie over one that isn't. They subtitle every western movie already.
There really is no reason that every single korean movie shouldn't be shown in theaters with subtitles somewhere at some point.

Paul Ajosshi said...

It's true that most if not all commercially released Korean films will be subtitled at some point, but the distributors need to be persuaded that it'll be worth their while otherwise there is no incentive for them to provide the service.

Digital projection hopefully offers an easier solution to subtitling films. Instead of having to make a print, the distributors can hopefully just put on subtitles as and when they are necessary (I know nothing when it comes to digital cinema projection and subtitles, but I am optimistic...).

It would be great if CGV keeps their promise; but I'm still skeptical, yet ever so grateful to get the chance to see these newly released films.

crossmr said...

Yes it is all a matter of making them 1000W more than it is going to cost them to put the subs on the movies. There seem to be plenty of digital theaters around now, so if it really is easier, they should be all over it. It would promote Korea and be a boon to residents and tourists who wanted to check out a movie while they're here.

After a weekend letter writing campaign I got Siren24 to acknowledge and fix their issue with foreign I-Pins and failed site sign-ups..maybe we need a similar letter writing campaign to get this whole movie business going.

shannon said...

Hey Paul,

The times and dates for "The Housemaid" and "Poetry" are up, along with one more, "Viewfinder". You can find the full info for each movie with times, dates, and locations at our blog ^^

Keep encouraging people to get out there and see them, I agree with you, it's important for the powers that be see that this is a viable service. I see that some of the screening have already started selling out of tickets, so I think your message is getting out there!