“Korean Film Nights” Series Returns to Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Starting this Weekend

by Jessica Fuentes October 30, 2023

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) has announced the lineup for its annual Korean Film Nights series.

The Lynn Wyatt Theater on the lower level of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building at the MFAH

The Lynn Wyatt Theater

From Thursday, November 2 through Saturday, November 4, the MFAH will screen six critically-acclaimed films from South Korea. This year’s series launches with Cobweb (Geomijip), a new film by director Jee-woon Kim. As is tradition for the Korean Film Nights series, the Honorable Young-ho Jung, Consul General of the Republic of Korea, was invited to choose one of the films. He has selected Park Chan-wook’s Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA) to mark the 70th anniversary of the South Korea/U.S. Alliance. 

On December 3, the MFAH will screen the film Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob), directed by Lee Byeong-heon. Following the film, lead actor Ryu Seung-ryong, an important figure in the Korean New Wave cinema movement, will be in discussion with University of Houston professor Karen Fang.

Each of the films will be shown with English subtitles. See a full list of films that will be shown below, with descriptions provided by the museum. Visit the MFAH’s website to purchase tickets and learn more about the upcoming Korean Film Nights series.

A movie poster for the film "Cobweb (Geomijip)", directed by Jee-woon Kim.

“Cobweb (Geomijip)”, directed by Jee-woon Kim.

Cobweb (Geomijip)
Directed by Jee-woon Kim (2023, 135 min., digital)
Thursday, November 2, 7:00 p.m.
Brown Auditorium Theater

Set in the 1970s, this chaotically entertaining comedy about filmmaking finds a director causing upheaval when he decides to reshoot the ending of his latest movie, confident it will then be a masterpiece. At its premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, filmmaker Jee-woon Kim commented, “through this film-within-a-film, I want to send a hopeful and tentatively optimistic message that cinema will go on, just as life goes on despite all its ironies and hardships.”

Joint Security Area (Gongdong gyeongbi guyeok JSA)
Directed by Park Chan-wook (2000, 110 min., digital)
Consul General’s Choice!
Friday, November 3, 7:00 p.m.
Lynn Wyatt Theater

When gunfire breaks out in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers are killed (including Song Kang-ho from Parasite, also featured in Cobweb). However, a wounded South Korean soldier (Lee Byung-hun from I Saw the Devil) flees to safety. With the tenuous peace at risk, a neutral team of investigators—led by Swiss Army Major Sophie Jean (Lee Yeong-ae, Lady Vengeance)—is dispatched to determine what really happened.

The Man Who Paints Water Drops (Mulbang-ul-eul geulineun namja)
Directed by Brigitte Bouillot and Oan Kim (2021, 79 min., digital)
Saturday, November 4, 4:00 p.m.
Lynn Wyatt Theater

Introductory remarks by Bradley M. Bailey, the Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Curator of
Asian Art, MFAH; and Sumin Park, Curatorial Assistant, Asian Art, MFAH.

One of the most recognized artists in Korea, Kim Tschang-yeul (1929–2021) was known for his abstract paintings of water droplets. An exquisite and piercing essay film by the artist’s son explores their relationship while reflecting on their differences in culture, age, and temperament. The documentary also illuminates Tschang-yeul’s lifetime obsession with painting water drops—the symbol of a certain serenity that will gradually reveal a tragic origin, anchored in the history of Korea.

Walk Up (Tab)
Directed by Hong Sangsoo (2022, 97 min., digital)
Saturday, November 4, 6:00 p.m.
Lynn Wyatt Theater

Filmmaker Byungsoo (Kwon Haehyo) tours a building owned by an established designer (Lee Hyeyoung) with his aspiring interior-designer daughter (Park Miso). As Byungsoo makes his way up the floors of the building, Hong Sangsoo fills these spaces with a profusion of everyday details spanning art, love, career, religion, diet, and home renovations.

Hunt (Heon-teu)
Directed by Lee Jung-jae (2022, 131 min., digital)
Saturday, November 4, 8:30 p.m.
Lynn Wyatt Theater

A 1980s-set espionage action thriller stars Squid Game’s Lee Jung Jae (also making his directorial debut) as head of the foreign unit of the South Korean Agency for National Security Planning. He and the Domestic Unit chief (Jung Woo Sung) in Washington, D.C., must uncover a North Korean spy deeply embedded within their agency. When a plot to assassinate the president is uncovered, the two units are each assigned to investigate each other.

A movie poster for the film "Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob)," directed by Lee Byeong-heon.

“Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob),” directed by Lee Byeong-heon.

Extreme Job (Geukhanjikeob)
Directed by Lee Byeong-heon (2019, 111 min., digital)
Sunday, December 3, 5:00 p.m.
Brown Auditorium Theater

A team of young narcotics detectives and their squad chief (Ryu Seung-ryong) work undercover in a chicken joint to bust a gang of organized criminals. Things take an unexpected turn when a new recipe suddenly transforms the rundown restaurant into the hottest eatery in town. 

After the screening, the audience is invited to stay for a discussion with actor Ryu Seung-ryong, led by University of Houston professor Karen Fang.

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