Korean films with English subtitles
A couple of years ago, CGV cinemas in Seoul started screening Korean films with English subtitles, a welcome development for me and I know, for many other linguistically-challenged expats.
I understood from Korea Times reports (for example, a Sept. 21 article, “English-subtitled films to catch eyes”) that this was done in cooperation with Seoul City, which I took to mean that the city was paying a subsidy to CGV to provide a service to the foreign community.
However, the cinema chain’s attitude to these screenings seems to have become, to say the least, half-hearted. I was disappointed last spring when CGV Myeongdong pulled a subtitled version of Lee Chang-dong’s “Poetry” after about three days.
The film may have won the Best Screenplay prize at Cannes, and voted Best Picture at last week’s Daedong Awards, but CGV decided for whatever reason that a screening for foreigners didn’t merit even as much as a week.
Lately, the theater’s policy has been to show subtitled films at times when most people can’t see them. I looked forward to seeing “Midnight FM” recently, and had a choice of going at 11 a.m. or 11 p.m. ― an appropriate time for the subject-matter perhaps, but not good for anyone who needs transport home and goes to work or school in the morning.
I see the morning show has been dropped, and the evening one brought forward ― by just 10 minutes to 10:50. Meanwhile, over at CGV Yongsan, I can see “Acoustic,” and depending which day I go, at starting times ranging from 11:25 p.m. to 12:15 a.m.
I wonder: Is CGV receiving a subsidy from Seoul City to show these films as a public service? If so, it is clearly no longer providing that service. Is it cynically looking for an excuse to drop the screenings? Or are they used just as commercial fillers, occupying an odd screen or two during the graveyard hours?
Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province