Korean Cultural Center New York (KCCNY), a branch of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea; Film at Lincoln Center; and the New York Asian Film Foundation are proud to present Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels, a once in-a-lifetime film and concert experience marrying cinema with traditional Korean music (gugak) at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 29, 2019 at 7PM.
The event features live traditional accompaniment performed by a 20-member ensemble from the National Gugak Center, the representative headquarters of Korean traditional performing arts, who will be playing the score for the first time in the U.S. Tickets go on sale May 24.
Director Kim Tae-yong, whose past films include Memento Mori (1999) and the critically acclaimed Late Autumn (2010); Music Director Bang Jun-seok of Korean box-office hits The Throne (2015) and the Along with the Gods series (2017 and 2018); and the National Gugak Center have joined forces to acquaint international audiences with Korean music and dance by bridging several art forms and building a unique, heartwarming story of loss and redemption, steeped in local Korean folklore but with a universal appeal.
Both a fairy tale and a phantasmagoria, the film follows two children, Su-min and her younger brother Dong-min, who accidentally fall in the realm of the dead after losing their grandmother’s shoes in a thoughtless, Faustian deal. The children search the netherworld to retrieve the shoes, unaware that they might not be able to return home. They encounter a mischievous band of living kokdu, the wooden figurines that guide the souls of the dead to the afterlife.
Melding fantasy and reality, Kokdu weaves between cinematic storytelling and an impressively staged theatrical piece, creating a moving and magical experience. It explores Korean myths and traditions while deftly addressing dark themes of death, guilt, and mourning with an empathetic, poignant, and ultimately uplifting touch. As a spectacle, not only does Kokdu brim with music and dance, it makes the challenging topic of our mortality accessible to audiences of all ages.
Kokdu premiered to much acclaim at the 2018 Busan International Film Festival, praised for its unique way of blending cinema, theater, and music. Kokdu was also presented at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival as a part of the Generation Kplus lineup. The National Gugak Center boasted an enchanting performance in Seoul as its “best-selling show” of 2017 and 2018, earning record ticket sales, and the team will now re-create the magic here in New York City.
This performance is presented by Film at Lincoln Center, New York Asian Film Foundation, and the Korean Cultural Center New York; performed by the National Gugak Center.
About Film at Lincoln Center
Film at Lincoln Center is dedicated to supporting the art and elevating the craft of cinema and enriching film culture.
Film at Lincoln Center fulfills its mission through the programming of festivals, series, retrospectives, and new releases; the publication of Film Comment; the presentation of podcasts, talks, and special events; the creation and implementation of Artist Initiatives; and our Film in Education curriculum and screenings. Since its founding in 1969, this nonprofit organization has brought the celebration of American and international film to the world-renowned arts complex Lincoln Center, making the discussion and appreciation of cinema accessible to a broad audience, and ensuring that it remains an essential art form for years to come.
Film at Lincoln Center receives generous, year-round support from The New York Times, Shutterstock, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. American Airlines is the Official Airline of the Film at Lincoln Center. For more information, visit www.filmlinc.org and follow @filmlinc on Twitter and Instagram.
About the New York Asian Film Festival
The New York Asian Film Foundation Inc. is America’s premier 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the exhibition and appreciation of Asian film culture in all its forms, with year-round festivals and programs, and a view to building bridges between Asia and America.
The New York Asian Film Foundation’s flagship event is the annual New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), which has been presented in collaboration with Film at Lincoln Center since 2010. Now entering its 18th year, NYAFF is North America’s leading festival of Asian cinema.
The Foundation’s other events and initiatives include monthly series at Quad Cinema (showcase for the best of classic martial arts films) and a Winter Showcase at the SVA Theatre. www.nyaff.org
About the Korean Cultural Center New York
Inaugurated in 1979, the Korean Cultural Center New York is a branch of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) of the Republic of Korea. Under the authority of the Consulate General, KCCNY works to promote cultural arts exchange and stimulate interest in Korean culture through various opportunities including exhibitions, concerts, film festivals, and educational programs. www.koreanculture.org
About the National Gugak Center
The National Gugak Center (NGC) is the headquarters of Korean traditional performing arts. Music is an essential part of Korean history, which stretches back over five millennia. As a national institution, NGC was first established as Eumseongseo during the Silla dynasty (7th century). NGC maintains a variety of assets ranging from the long standing traditions of court and popular music and dance to contemporary musical compositions for today’s audiences. NGC’s performing traditions and reinterpretations open a vast new world by broadening the scope of music made in the “here and now” with music that “has yet to come.”
Furthermore, by conducting studies of Korean music, NGC not only bolsters the preservation and transmission of Korean performing arts, but also elevates these traditions to entirely new heights. In addition, it offers diverse educational programs that promote Korean performing arts at home and abroad. Founded on the principle of “creating the new based upon the old,” NGC continues to cultivate Korean music with the aim of making a contribution to the greater culture of humanity. www.gugak.go.kr