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The Bard in Bollywood: "Maqbool"

This screening is held at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Watch a clip.  The “Scottish Play” moves to Mumbai in this reimagining of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, set in India’s criminal underworld. Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, The Lunchbox) stars as Maqbool, a gangster kingpin’s second-in-command in this classic tale of revenge, madness, and murder. When Maqbool begins an affair with the boss’s mistress, she eggs him into a plot to take over the gang, while two corrupt, wisecracking cops (played with élan by the great Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah) replace the famous three witches of the play.  The multitalented Vishal Bhardwaj not only directed this beautifully mounted production, but he also composed the music and songs for the film—as well as for his other Shakespeare adaptations, Omkara and Haider. (Dir.: Vishal Bhardwaj, India, 2003, 132 min. 35mm, Hindi and Urdu with English subtitles). Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Cost: Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in advance or on the day of the film, both at the venue and online. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first film of the day. Sunday, May 8, 2016, 3:30 PM.

The Bard in Bollywood: "Omkara"

This screening is held at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Watch the trailer.  A hit among audiences and critics—and an award winner in India and abroad—Omkara sets Shakespeare’s Othello amid the seedy, intertwined worlds of organized crime and politics in Vishal Bhardwaj’s native Uttar Pradesh. Bollywood superstar Ajay Devgan plays the title role—a violent gang enforcer who becomes increasingly convinced that his wife Dolly (Kareena Kapoor) is cheating on him. The tragic results befit Shakespeare’s bloody story of jealousy and skullduggery. “Omkara blew my mind . . . a superlative-exhausting work of passion and tribute, skill and style. Spellbinding stuff,” raved Raja Sen in Rediff India Abroad. (Dir.: Vishal Bhardwaj, India, 2006, 155 min. DVD, Hindi and Khariboli with English subtitles). Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Cost: Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in advance or on the day of the film, both at the venue and online. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first film of the day. Sunday, May 15, 2016, 1:30 PM.

Masters: Yasujiro Ozu’s "Late Spring"

This event is held at the Avalon Theatre and preceded by a talk by Tom Vick, Freer|Sackler curator of film, on Ozu’s career and Late Spring’s subtle yet powerful portrait of postwar life in Japan. One of the most powerful of Yasujiro Ozu’s family portraits, Late Spring tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his beloved only daughter. Eminent Ozu players Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara command this poignant tale of love and loss in postwar Japan, which remains as potent today as ever—and a strong justification for its maker’s inclusion in the pantheon of cinema’s greatest directors. “Immensely affecting. One of Ozu’s finest” (Vincent Canby, New York Times). Presented in a new digital restoration. (Dir.: Yasujiro Ozu, Japan, 1949, 108 min. B&W, DCP, Japanese with English subtitles) The Avalon Theatre’s Film Studies program offers people of all ages the opportunity to explore and develop a deeper appreciation of the rich art form that is cinema. Curated and presented by leading… Event Location: Avalon Theatre. Cost: Tickets are $15 for the general public and $12 for Avalon members, Freer|Sackler Friends, and Silk Road Society members. Tuesday, May 17, 2016, 10:30 AM.

Korean Film Festival: "Gangnam Blues"

This screening is held at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center.  Watch the trailer.    Immortalized by K-pop star Psy’s song “Gangnam Style,” Seoul’s most exclusive neighborhood was nothing but farmland a few short decades ago. Set in 1970, this epic drama from Yoo Ha (A Dirty Carnival) tells the story of how this millionaire’s playground was built by politicians, gangsters, and the armies of ruffians they hired to do their dirty work, implicitly implying that Korea’s economic miracle has its roots in corruption and thuggery. Yoo’s film is both intimate, as it traces the stories of two poor young men who become caught up in the high-stakes land grab, and vast in its thrilling set pieces, in which crowds of thugs battle it out on the muddy fields that will one day become an elite destination. “[A]n evocative and immensely entertaining saga. . . . one of the most beautifully designed and lushly filmed Korean productions ever made” (Pierce Conran, Twitch Film). (Dir.: Yoo Ha, Korea, 2015, 135 min.… Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Cost: Tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day of the film, both at the venue and online. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first film of the day. Thursday, May 19, 2016, 7:15 PM.

The Bard in Bollywood: "Haider"

This screening is held at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Watch the trailer.  The final and most ambitious of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare adaptations sets Hamlet against the backdrop of the 1995 insurgency in Kashmir, the volatile border region between India and Pakistan. Haider (Shahid Kapoor), a student of revolutionary poetry, returns to his hometown to search for his father, who disappeared after being accused of supporting terrorists. Meanwhile, Haider’s mother has taken up with his uncle, whom Haider comes to suspect of murdering his father. Hamlet’s famous grave digging and “mousetrap” scenes are staged as dazzling musical numbers, and Indian cinema icons Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, The Lunchbox) and Tabu (The Namesake, The Life of Pi) both make appearances in this spectacular, epic drama. Haider was the first Indian film to win the People’s Choice Award at the Rome Film Festival, among its many accolades. (Dir.: Vishal Bhardwaj, India, 2014, 162 min. DCP, Hindi and Urdu… Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Cost: Tickets are $5 and can be purchased in advance or on the day of the film, both at the venue and online. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first film of the day. Saturday, May 21, 2016, 1:30 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "Right Now, Wrong Then"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History's Warner Brothers Theater. Watch the trailer.  The winner of the coveted Golden Leopard at the 2015 Locarno International Film Festival, this cleverly designed twice-told tale is the latest triumph from Korea’s master of intricate comedy-dramas, Hong Sang-soo (Night and Day, In Another Country). Jung Jae-young (Castaway on the Moon, Confession of Murder) won multiple awards for his performance as Ham Chun-soo, a respected filmmaker who travels to the town of Suwon to show his films. There he meets Yoon Hee-jung (Kim Min-hee), a female artist. During a long drinking bout, a relationship rises and falls. Then, the film begins again, with variations that show what might have been. “Either hour alone would be a wry, incisive, quietly painful drama. . . . Together, the two parts make a radical fiction about the crucial role of imagination in lived experience” (Richard Brody, The New Yorker). (Dir.: Hong Sang-soo, Korea, 2015, 121 min. DCP,… Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, May 22, 2016, 1:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "My Love, Don't Cross That River"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History's Warner Brothers Theater. Watch the trailer. This tender, tremendously moving documentary topped the Korean box office upon its release and went on to become the highest-grossing independent movie in Korean history. Beautifully filmed over the changing seasons in the countryside, it follows a husband (Jo Byeong-man, age ninety-eight) and wife (Kang Kye-yeol, age eighty-nine), who have been married for seventy-six years and are clearly as in love as they were when they married. Their joy in each other’s company is tempered by the bittersweet knowledge that their time on earth is growing shorter. This story takes us on a journey through the intense pains and euphoric joys of two people living their lives to their fullest capacity. (Dir.: Jin Mo-young, Korea, 2014, 85 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, May 22, 2016, 3:30 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "Gangnam Blues"

This screening is held at the Cinema Arts Theatres.  Watch the trailer.    Immortalized by K-pop star Psy’s song “Gangnam Style,” Seoul’s most exclusive neighborhood was nothing but farmland a few short decades ago. Set in 1970, this epic drama from Yoo Ha (A Dirty Carnival) tells the story of how this millionaire’s playground was built by politicians, gangsters, and the armies of ruffians they hired to do their dirty work, implicitly implying that Korea’s economic miracle has its roots in corruption and thuggery. Yoo’s film is both intimate, as it traces the stories of two poor young men who become caught up in the high-stakes land grab, and vast in its thrilling set pieces, in which crowds of thugs battle it out on the muddy fields that will one day become an elite destination. “[A]n evocative and immensely entertaining saga. . . . one of the most beautifully designed and lushly filmed Korean productions ever made” (Pierce Conran, Twitch Film). (Dir.: Yoo Ha, Korea, 2015, 135 min. DCP, Korean with… Event Location: Cinema Arts Theatres. Cost: Tickets are $3 and can be purchased online or in person. Thursday, May 26, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "Fourth Place"

This screening is held at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Veteran director Jung Ji-woo’s “poetic and engrossing drama” (Maggie Lee, Variety) examines the world of competitive sports and the toll it takes on its youngest members. Park Hae-jun plays Gwang-su, a washed-up competitive swimmer hired by an ambitious mother to coach her young son, who keeps finishing fourth in competitions. Gwang-su’s increasingly brutal training methods begin to carry on the circle of abuse that destroyed his own youthful athletic career. In addition to its strong performances and important message, Fourth Place boasts gorgeous underwater cinematography that emphasizes the pure joy of swimming. (Dir.: Jung Ji-woo, Korea, 2015, 116 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Cost: Tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day of the film, both at the venue and online. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first film of the day. Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "Veteran"

This screening is held at the Cinema Arts Theatres.  Watch the trailer.  The timely subject of income inequality gets the action-comedy treatment in the latest hit from Ryoo Seung-wan (The Berlin File, Crying Fist). Ode to My Father’s Hwang Jun-min stars as Detective Seo, a tough cop on the trail of a sneering heir to a vast conglomerate who uses his money and connections to make the less fortunate pay for his crimes. While the story has clear roots in Korea’s particular variety of class divide, Ryoo’s crisp, fast-paced direction is also an homage to classic Hollywood cop comedies like 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon. As Maggie Lee wrote in Variety, Veteran “delivers honest-to-goodness entertainment that pulses with nonstop adrenaline. . . . The film is unabashedly crowd-pleasing, but so what, if its heart is in the right place?” (Dir.: Ryoo Seung-wan, Korea, 2015, 124 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Event Location: Cinema Arts Theatres. Cost: Tickets are $3 and can be purchased online or in person. Thursday, June 2, 2016, 7:00 PM.

A Thousand Splendid Garments: Reception and Talk with Filmmaker Lee Won-suk

5:30 pm: reception George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum 701 21st Street NW Enjoy Korean delicacies courtesy of the Korean Cultural Center, Embassy of the Republic of Korea, and a display of Korean costumes, including reproductions of Joseon dynasty jeogori by designer Kim Hye-soon. 7 pm: talk GWU Elliott School of International Affairs, Harry Harding Auditorium 1957 E Street NW A wickedly entertaining tale of competition and skullduggery, Lee Won-suk’s The Royal Tailor also is a crash course in the eye-popping splendor of Korean textiles. More than a thousand traditional hanbok garments appear in the film, with the lead actress alone wearing thirty intricately embroidered examples. As a prelude to the screening on June 4, join director Lee Won-suk and Textile Museum curator Lee Talbot, an East Asian textiles expert who previously curated at the Chung Young Yang Embroidery Museum in Seoul, as they discuss the fascinating history of the film’s costumes. Event Location: George Washington University. Cost: Free. Friday, June 3, 2016, 5:30 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "The Royal Tailor"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History's Warner Brothers Theater. In person: Lee Won-suk, director; Yun Chang-suk, producer; Lee Talbot, curator, Textile Museum Watch the trailer. Featuring more than a thousand gorgeous costumes, Lee Won-suk’s historical comedy-drama tells the story of two tailors—one a staunch traditionalist, the other a brash newcomer—in a Joseon era king’s court. Their rivalry for the king’s favor is so fierce that their clothes are literally to die for. This “gorgeously styled and intricately woven yarn recalls the psychological twists of Mozart and Salieri in Amadeus in its engrossing tussles between craft and creativity, hard work and genius . . . and merits repeat viewings with its sensational visual aesthetic alone, preferably on the big screen,” raved Maggie Lee in Variety. (Dir.: Lee Won-suk, Korea, 2014, 127 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, June 4, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "How to Use Guys with Secret Tips"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History's Warner Brothers Theater. In person: Lee Won-suk, director; Yun Chang-suk, producer Watch the trailer. Lee Won-suk’s directorial debut stars Lee Si-yeong as an overworked assistant director of television commercials, who is so disregarded by her coworkers that they leave her behind on a cold beach when she falls asleep during a shoot. When she wakes up, she meets a mysterious hawker who sells her an advice video that he guarantees will turbocharge her romantic life. A cult hit at home and on the festival circuit (it won awards at the Udine Far East Film Festival and Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival), How to Use Guys with Secret Tips is credited with breathing new life into the romantic comedy genre. Along with wacky visuals and raunchy jokes, the film boasts generous doses of black humor springing from its director’s “frantic, nearly inexhaustible imagination” (Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter). (Dir.: Lee Won-suk,… Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Sunday, June 5, 2016, 2:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "The Throne"

This screening is held at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Watch the trailer. Based on the true story of an eighteenth-century king who executed the royal heir by locking him in a rice chest for eight days, Korea’s Oscar entry represents a triumphant return to form by historical drama specialist Lee Joon-ik (The King and the Clown). Anchored by a masterful performance by Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer, The Host) in the role of the king, “The Throne is palace-intrigue period drama par excellence” that “offers lavish production values and an acting master class from its stellar cast,” according to Clarence Tsui of the Hollywood Reporter. (Dir.: Lee Joon-ik, Korea, 2015, 125 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Cost: Tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day of the film, both at the venue and online. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first film of the day. Wednesday, June 8, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "The Throne"

This screening is held at the Cinema Arts Theatres.  Watch the trailer. Based on the true story of an eighteenth-century king who executed the royal heir by locking him in a rice chest for eight days, Korea’s Oscar entry represents a triumphant return to form by historical drama specialist Lee Joon-ik (The King and the Clown). Anchored by a masterful performance by Song Kang-ho (Snowpiercer, The Host) in the role of the king, “The Throne is palace-intrigue period drama par excellence” that “offers lavish production values and an acting master class from its stellar cast,” according to Clarence Tsui of the Hollywood Reporter. (Dir.: Lee Joon-ik, Korea, 2015, 125 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Event Location: Cinema Arts Theatres. Cost: Tickets are $3 and can be purchased online or in person. Thursday, June 9, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "Fourth Place"

This screening is held at the Cinema Arts Theatres.  Veteran director Jung Ji-woo’s “poetic and engrossing drama” (Maggie Lee, Variety) examines the world of competitive sports and the toll it takes on its youngest members. Park Hae-jun plays Gwang-su, a washed-up competitive swimmer hired by an ambitious mother to coach her young son, who keeps finishing fourth in competitions. Gwang-su’s increasingly brutal training methods begin to carry on the circle of abuse that destroyed his own youthful athletic career. In addition to its strong performances and important message, Fourth Place boasts gorgeous underwater cinematography that emphasizes the pure joy of swimming. (Dir.: Jung Ji-woo, Korea, 2015, 116 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Event Location: Cinema Arts Theatres. Cost: Tickets are $3 and can be purchased online or in person. Sunday, June 12, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "Veteran"

This screening is held at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Watch the trailer.  The timely subject of income inequality gets the action-comedy treatment in the latest hit from Ryoo Seung-wan (The Berlin File, Crying Fist). Ode to My Father’s Hwang Jun-min stars as Detective Seo, a tough cop on the trail of a sneering heir to a vast conglomerate who uses his money and connections to make the less fortunate pay for his crimes. While the story has clear roots in Korea’s particular variety of class divide, Ryoo’s crisp, fast-paced direction is also an homage to classic Hollywood cop comedies like 48 Hours and Lethal Weapon. As Maggie Lee wrote in Variety, Veteran “delivers honest-to-goodness entertainment that pulses with nonstop adrenaline. . . . The film is unabashedly crowd-pleasing, but so what, if its heart is in the right place?” (Dir.: Ryoo Seung-wan, Korea, 2015, 124 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Event Location: AFI Silver Theatre. Cost: Tickets can be purchased in advance or on the day of the film, both at the venue and online. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first film of the day. Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 7:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "Eyelids"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History's Warner Brothers Theater.  In this poetic feature from the director of the Sundance Award-winning Jiseul, an old man lives an ascetic existence on a mysterious island, communing in sometimes amusing ways with the wildlife who share his home. Once in a while, the phone rings, heralding a visitor on his or her way to the next world. The old man prepares rice cakes as a last meal for these passersby. Director O Muel wrote the script for Eyelids over the course of three days in grief over the Sewol ferry disaster, in which more than three hundred people, most of them children, lost their lives. Although the references to the disaster in the film are oblique, its elegiac tone movingly conveys its director’s intent to console the souls of the dead. His achievement was rewarded with the CGV Arthouse and the Directors Guild of Korea Awards at the Busan International Film Festival. (Dir.: O Muel, Korea, 2015, 85 min. DCP, Korean with English… Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, June 18, 2016, 1:00 PM.

Korean Film Festival: "The Battle of Gwangju"

This screening is held at the National Museum of American History's Warner Brothers Theater.  The 1980 Gwangju Uprising, in which government soldiers firing on student protesters led to days of deadly fighting, is one of the most significant events in recent Korean history. In this powerful documentary, Yi Ji-sang combines archival footage with reenactments based on the actual experiences of everyday people—factory workers, waitresses, and college students, for example—who took up arms against the military. As the director is determined not to show the ultimate symbol of violence, no guns actually appear in the film; the actors only pantomime their presence. The film is challenging on both an aesthetic and political level, as Korea today grapples with the return of the kind of totalitarian impulses that brought about the tragedy of Gwangju more than thirty years ago. (Dir.: Yi Ji-sang, Korea, 2015, 121 min. DCP, Korean with English subtitles). Venue: American History Museum. Event Location: Warner Brothers Theater. Cost: Free and open to the public. Admission is first-come, first-served. Auditorium doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Saturday, June 18, 2016, 3:00 PM.