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Korean silent film captivates audience at Berlin fest
BERLIN, Feb. 12 (Yonhap) -- The oldest surviving Korean silent feature film "Crossroads of Youth" was screened before a sold-out audience at the Berlin International Film Festival on Sunday, 80 years after it was made.

   The 1934 masterwork by director Ahn Jong-hwa was rediscovered in 2008 by the Korean Film Archive after many years in private possession.


For the film festival, director Kim Tae-yong -- known for "Late Autumn," co-starring Korean actor Hyun Bin and Chinese actress Tang Wei -- has put together a modernized stage show complete with an orchestra, singers and an offscreen narrator called "beonsa" to accompany the film in celebration of its rediscovery.

   The movie is about a naive villager named Young-bok who is trying his luck in the big city, Seoul, but soon falls into despair realizing that the world is ruled by money. He then revenges himself on a womanizer Kye-chul who toyed with his newfound love Kye-soon and his sister Young-ok.

   The audience, mostly German, appeared to expect nothing more from the movie than an uninteresting, old-fashioned art-house film at first, but they were soon absorbed in the movie as the story began to evolve.

   They laughed and clapped their hands at the offscreen narrator's comical voice acting and stayed seated and applauded until the end of the credits.

   "I think Western viewers will like the 'Crossroads of Youth' because it is old but it feels new due to its accompaniment of theater elements such as the narrator and music, which makes it different from old Western silent films," Kim said.

   The "Crossroads of Youth" was presented at the New York Film Festival in 2009 and the Guanajuato International Film Festival in Mexico in 2011. But this was the movie's first screening at one of the world's big three film festivals. This year's Berlin festival opened on Thursday and is set to close on Feb. 17.