Korean Movie Night hits New York City this month with The Sword With No Name and Joint Security Area (JSA). These free movie screenings are courtesy of the Korean Cultural Service. Both films begin at 7pm at Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick Street, New York City. All seating is first-come, first served. Doors open at 6:30pm. IRIS fans should take special note of JSA, starring fan favorite Lee Byung Hun.

The Sword With No Name 2009, 124 minutes, New York Premiere

TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 7pm Holy blockbusters! A big hit at the box office last year, SWORD is the epitome of posh, luscious, decadent period filmmaking. Based on the real life Empress Myeongseong, it tells her story through the eyes of a bounty hunter who becomes her bodyguard (Cho Seung-Woo, now doing his mandatory military service). She tries to stand up to Russian and Japanese intervention in 19th Century Korea and the results are a series of luxurious, CGI-enhanced action scenes alternating with carefully calibrated and eye-meltingly colorful scenes of court life, making this movie feel like an unholy mix of Merchant-Ivory and THE MATRIX.

JSA: Joint Security Area 2000, 110 minutes

TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 7pm A special screening to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War, Park Chan-Wook’s JSA: JOINT SECURITY AREA is one of the most moving Korean films ever made, and the hit that put Director Park (OLDBOY) on the map. Starring Song Kang-Ho (THE HOST), Lee Young-Ae (LADY VENGEANCE), Lee Byung-Hun (GI JOE; THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD, IRIS) and Shin Ha-Kyun (SAVE THE GREEN PLANET, THIRST) it is the APOCALYPSE NOW of the Korean War, a shimmering, hyper-real epic that charts the spiritual fallout of international politics. JSA uses the partition, the arbitrary line drawn through the middle of Korea and manned by international oversight, as a door into the psychological wreckage of the Korean War. It starts with a present-day incident on the border that leaves a group of North and South Korean soldiers alternately wounded or dead. The Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission (NNSC) swoops in to investigate, led by Korean-Swiss Major Sophie Jean (Lee Young-Ae) and the stark, technocratic investigation becomes the frame for a series of extended flashbacks that depict the events leading up to the shooting. In every sense of the word, JSA is a tragedy, but at the same time, it's a testament to human nature. Not the cheap, sentimental Hallmark card version of human nature, but the human nature where, in the teeth of global politics, even in the face of extinction, like reaches out to like, and friendships are formed because we're humans, not ideologues. One of the most popular Korean movies of all time, both at home and overseas, JSA is a movie that takes Korea’s national tragedy of partition and manages to find within it something as fragile and precious as hope.