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 29th, 2019.

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 US.

Director Tae-yong Kim, whose past films include Memento Mori (1999) and the critically acclaimed Late Autumn (2011), Music Director Jun-Seok Bang of Korean box-office hits The Throne (2015) and Along with the Gods (2017, 2018), and the National Gugak Center have joined forces to acquaint Korean music and dance to an international audience 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 dealing deftly with 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 and was praised for its unique way of blending cinema, theater and music. In an enchanting performance that the National Gugak Center in Seoul boasted as its “best-selling show” of 2017 and 2018 with record ticket sales, the team recreates the magic here in New York City. Recently, Kokdu was presented at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival as a part of the Generation KPlus lineup.

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