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Oldest Surviving Korean Film

Cheongchun's Sipjaro by An Jong-hwa

In the Korea Times, Cathy Rose A. Garcia reports that the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) has screened the oldest surviving Korean film, the silent, black-and-white social drama Cheongchun's Sipjaro.

Directed by An Jong-hwa, Cheongchun's Sipjaro was first screened at Seoul's Joseon Theater in September 1934.

As per Garcia's article, there are two other Korean films known to be older than Cheongchun's Sipjaro (Crossroads of Youth): Uilijeogguto (Fight for Justice), screened on October 27, 1919; and the first dramatic Korean film, Weolha-ui Mangseo (The Vow Made Below the Moon), directed by Yun Baek-nam and screened in 1923.

Garcia states that KOFA doesn't have prints of those two films, but I couldn't quite figure out – since Cheongchun's Sipjaro is hailed as the oldest surviving Korean film – if no one else has any prints, either. The reason for my confusion is that, as per Garcia's piece, Korea produced about 70 films before 1930. In other words, there were many more than just two Korean films older than Cheongchun's Sipjaro.

In case I'm making things more confusing than they should, you might want to check out Garcia's report in the Korea Times.

Addendum: Variety reports that (a nitrate negative of) Crossroads of Youth was discovered by the son of a former theater owner. As per the article, “eight of the film's nine reels were in viewable condition and have undergone restoration in Japan.” KOFA will hold the first public screening of the 73-minute drama in May.

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2 Comments to Oldest Surviving Korean Film

  1. Andre

    Good question. I don't know the answer. Sorry.

  2. Les

    Confusing article indeed…
    So, are there any older Koren films in existence? I mean, older than the oldest Korean film?