Korean Classic 자유부인 (Madame Freedom) on DVD

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We will cover one of KOFA's DVD titles 운명의 손 (The Hand of Fate) in our upcoming 'Korean DVD Round-up', but it's worth to spend a few words about this collection.

As you probably know, the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) is working with Spectrum to bring some of the classics of Korean Cinema (from the 50s and 60s) on DVD. No, I'm not talking about simply slapping a transfer on DVD, add shoddy subtitles and a poster. I mean fully subtitled, extremely interesting extra features (documentaries about the directors' careers, interview with leading critics, essays), a booklet in English and Korean with even more essays, and the film itself. And what's even more pleasing is the price, which is about half what you'd spend for your regular Korean DVD.

They already released three titles: the influential 자유만세 (Hurrah For Freedom) from 1946, Kim Ki-Young's 양산도 (Yangsan Province) and the aforementioned 'The Hand of Fate.'

Now their upcoming project has been announced: Han Hyung-Mo's 자유부인 (Madame Freedom) from 1956. The film is perhaps the prototype for future Korean melodramas, describing social and popular trends in postwar Korea, along with Director Han's usual eye for composition, innovative editing and filming techniques (he was the first Korean director to seriously take advantage of crane shots). The film was adapted from a work by Jung Bi-Seok, which was serialized over 8 months in the Seoul Shinmun from Fall 1954. It aroused a big debate in the Korean Press over the issues depicted, the morality and social values of the characters, with Professor Hwang San-Deok criticizing the film so much it became even more popular. It starred Park Am - who would later star on many TV Drama, including the landmark 수사반장 (Inspector Chief) - Kim Jung-Rim and Joo Seon-Tae.

The DVD will feature an interview with film critic Kim Jong-Won, another with actress Lee Min and Art Director Noh In-Taek, along with the usual array of photos, posters and filmographies. Out on November 29, the DVD has a retail price of 12,100 Won, which means you should be able to get it at your usual etailer of choice for around US$ 13 to 15.

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