Seoul Cinematheque Construction Gets Underway

Construction has begun in Seoul’s Chungmuro district on a complex that will house a museum, film archives and screening rooms. Chungmuro is the old center of Korea’s film industry, akin to Hollywood in Los Angeles, or Soho in London.

In recent years, much of the Korean industry has moved to newer premises south of the Han River, including the trendy Gangnam district. Korea’s national government is intent on further relocating the film industry to Busan, where the country’s biggest film festival is sited, and where it has transferred the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and the Media Ratings Board. Given that delocalization pressure, the Seoul Cinematheque, then is a project backed by the Seoul city authorities.

They estimate that the facility will cost $22.5 million to build. They aim to complete construction, on what was previously a public car park, by March 2022. As a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, authorities cancelled a symbolic breaking ground ceremony that they had planned.

The city government said that it likened the project to the Cinematheque Francaise in Paris and New York’s Film Forum.

Popular on Variety

On completion, the 13-story venue will house three non-commercial theaters of different sizes, a film museum and archives, film media center, cafe and a bookstore. Rooftop screenings for 150 spectators are also a possibility.

The Yonhap news agency reported that the public will be able to screen old films, rent video equipment and produce their own movies. Film production classes may also be on offer.

  • The Cinematheque announcement came the same week as KOFIC announced that South Korean box office in January plunged to an 8-year low. Only 16.8 million people visited movie theaters during the month. Public fear about the spread of the new coronavirus is understood to be a factor keeping people away.

More Film

  • 'Charlatan' Review: Agnieszka Holland Shows Faith

    'Charlatan': Film Review

    At several points in “Charlatan,” the camera looks glossily on as our protagonist holds small bottles of amber liquid to the light, academically scrutinizing their contents as they beam a light golden glow onto his features: an effect both ennobling and almost romantic. The man is Jan Mikolášek, a famous Czech herbalist and healer with [...]

  • Toho Cinemas at Tokyo Midtown Hibiya

    Japanese Cinemas To Refund Tickets in Virus Response

    In response to the coronavirus crisis, the Japanese film industry has begun to delay releases, close theaters and refund ticket purchases. The releases of the new “Doraemon” and “Jimaro” feature animations targeted at kids out of school for the spring break, have been delayed. The former was scheduled to open March 6, the latter on [...]

  • Blood on Her Name

    Film Review: ‘Blood on Her Name’

    In the opening moments of “Blood on Her Name,” an arrestingly twisty and suspenseful Southern noir thriller in the tradition of “One False Move,” we’re introduced to Leigh, the working-class protagonist played by Bethany Anne Lind, with a jarring close-up that is at once explicit and ambiguous. Her face is battered, her breathing is labored, [...]

  • Liev Schreiber Broadway

    Film News Roundup: Liev Schreiber Joins Will Smith's Tennis Drama 'King Richard'

    In today’s film news roundup, Liev Schreiber and retired pro footballer Vernon Davis score roles, Jason Blum will speak at his alma mater, Irish drama “Rialto” finds a U.S. distributor and “1917” hits a box office milestone. CASTINGS Liev Schreiber will portray tennis coach Paul Cohen in Warner Bros.’ “King Richard” opposite Will Smith. Reinaldo [...]

  • AMC theater

    AMC Entertainment Reports Mixed Fourth-Quarter Results

    AMC Entertainment has reported mixed fourth-quarter results, which saw revenues rise 2.4% to $1.45 billion, despite a 4.4% drop in U.S. attendance to 62.3 million. The exhibitor, owned by Dalian Wanda Group, announced a fourth-quarter loss of $13.5 million, compared to a year-earlier profit of $170.6 million, due to $84.3 million of expense related to [...]

  • 'Straight Up' Review: James Sweeney's Gay

    'Straight Up': Film Review

    There’s a tradition in movies, as vital as a hypnotic action scene or a swooning love scene, of dialogue so witty and nimble and rapid-fire that it comes at you like something out of a stylized dream. I first encountered that brand of high-velocity verbal jousting in “A Hard Day’s Night,” and later on in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content