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Korea’s oldest film unearthed


Korea’s oldest film has been discovered.

The Korean Film Archive announced earlier this week that Crossroads of Youth [청춘의 십자로], a black-and-white silent movie made in 1934 and considered a historical asset, has spent the last eight months in restoration. It predates the work previously known as Korea’s oldest existing film, 1936’s Delusion or Mimong [미몽], by two years.

Directed by Ahn Jong Hwa, the story involves a rural village young man and woman who come to Seoul, face adventures, and encounter love. The film features a detailed look at Seoul Station, and the characters drink beer and play golf, depicting trappings of upper-class life. The actors include some famous names of the time, such as Shin Il Seon, Na Woon Kyu, action star Lee Won Yong, and Kim Yeon Shil.

Crossroads of Youth will have a special screening on May 9 at a film festival commemorating the Korea Film Archive’s opening.

What always strikes me about old movies is how much some aspects of life have changed, but others not at all. And that image of the woman smoking in a hanbok? Totally incongruous to my tendency to think of old films as belonging to a more innocent time (noir and pre-Code films notwithstanding).

Purely for curiosity’s sake, I did a little cross-checking: The first ever American film is listed as being Monkeyshines, No. 1, made in 1890. Argentina had La Bandera Argentina of 1897, Germany has six films listed in 1895, Spain lists two in 1897. Reports of Korea’s first movie also date back to 1897, although many films were lost during the Korean War; Crossroads of Youth is the oldest currently existing film.



Via SBS News, Interview 365

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interesting! cool stuff!

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it's good you have been able to restore your old films. we're i am from i fear we would lose a lot of what we had since most were lost in fire and the remnants no one seem to be paying attention.

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sounds like a plot line for a modern drama today!

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Now that you mention about the image of that woman smoking...I was REALLY suprised. I guess I've always thought that woman do not smoke back then, especially Asian woman. Boy am i wrong...she looked like she aint no noobie. LOLX.

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wow ive never thought of what the oldest film might be of any country.
interesting news.
haha but then just think what's the oldest film in the WORLD

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really interesting... korea looks quite developed & sophisticated back then..

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I think it is practically universally agreed that films originated in 1895 (Lumiere brothers, France). Out of curiosity - who is saying there was an American film made in 1890?

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If you Google it, there are numerous sites citing Monkeyshines, No. 1 as being filmed in 1889 or 1890; here's IMDB, Wikipedia, New York Times.

(I think the Lumiere brothers point is more about the birth of cinema whereas Monkeyshines is more about the mechanics of film.)

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I used to assume people in the past were much more "innocent" until I realised oral sex and the three million other " creative variants" to derive sexual pleasure can be traced to the very early asian dynasties and all over the world. Every culture did, no matter how conservative they appeared.

Therefore, I have ceased to think that we, people of the 22nd century, are wild.

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