Korea's Oldest Surviving Film to be Screened in Berlin
The oldest surviving Korean silent film, Crossroads of Youth (1934) by Ahn Jong Hwa was discovered by the Korean Film Archive in 2007. Since only a brief summary was left of the film with no surviving script, Kim Tae Young (Late Autumn and Family Ties) re-directed the film into a byeonsa (silent film narration) performance in 2008. Now the film will be screened at the famous Berlin International Film Festival in the 1930s style, complete with live narration and a musical performance by a four-member band. Movies in Korea during the silent film era were part of a broader entertainment experience, and there were a variety of performing arts including songs by actresses or singers and performances of actors in the films. The theatrical experience has been revived with Crossroads of Youth.
The film is a love story that deals with the harsh times faced by young men and women during colonial Korea in the 1930s. The story follows Yong Bok, a young man betrayed by his wife who moves to Seoul leaving behind his mother and younger sister Yong Ok. When his mother dies, his sister follows him. Meanwhile Yong Bok falls in love while in Seoul. As fate would have it, his lover and sister get assaulted by the same man (who is living with his sister). Yong Bok meets his sister while trying to avenge his girlfriend's plight.
The video below gives a taste of the byeonsa style of Crossroads of Youth: