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Harvard Film Archive Stages HA Gil-jong Retrospective
Feb 07, 2017
- Writerby Pierce Conran
Classic Korean Cinema on Show in MA
The Harvard Film Archive is currently staging a showcase of the work of filmmaker HA Gil-jong, one of the most important Korean filmmakers of the 1970s which began on February 3rd and will run until the 27th. Though not as well known as fellow classic Korean filmmakers KIM Ki-young, YU Hyun-mok or SHIN Sang-ok, director HA Gil-jong has steadily seen his reputation grow over the past few years, with his 1975 film The March Of Fools now regarded as one of the greatest Korean films of all time.
A member of the April Generation, which comprised students who took part in the protest that led to the overthrow of RHEE Syngman in the early 1960s, HA spent time studying at UCLA before returning to make films in Korea. He would make just seven films in his life, starting with 1972’s The Pollen Of Flowers and ending with Byung-Tae And Young-Ja, a sequel to The March Of Fools, in 1979.
All seven of HA’s works are showing at the Harvard Film Archive, in addition to several other notable Korean works from the 1970s, such as KIM Ki-young’s Woman of Fire (1971) and Ieoh Island (1977), KIM Soo-yong’s Night Journey (1977) and A Splendid Outing (1977), LEE Jang-ho’s Heavenly Homecoming To Stars (1974), KIM Ho-sun’s Yeong-Ja's Heydays (1975) and YU Hyun-mok’s Flame (1975).
In an introductory essay, Haden Guest, director of the Harvard Film Archive, describes HA as a “tragic figure, a Jean Vigo of the Korean cinema, a youthful artist who emerged sui generis to shatter taboos and invent bold, poetically inspired cinematographic forms before his sudden death.”