▲ Original Cafe Society movie poster provided by imdb.com
According to François Truffaut, a renowned French film director, there are three steps to enjoying a film. First is to watch the same film multiple times, second is to write about films, and the last is to start making one. Film Society Avi seems to be nailing all three methods of loving a film. As a member of Korea University (KU)’s self-published media outlets, Avi is paving a new road of critique culture in KU.
Quite a number of KU students will be aware of Avi for its recent magazine release. A fall-appropriate brown cover and a reasonable price (500 won) may be the contributing factors for its popularity, since they sold out all their supplied copies. Anyone who actually read this magazine would not be surprised at this sell-out. The magazine was both very entertaining and well-written. It was unique and emotional, making it easy for the reader to read it cover to cover in one sitting.
The mind and soul behind this magazine were the members of the Film Society Avi, and The Granite Tower (GT) was able to listen to their stories in person. Ahn Hyun-do (’16, Philosophy), the head of Avi, and Lee Jae-hyun (’13, English Language and Literature), the chief editor of Avi, shared the club’s past, present, and future with GT. It was easy to see their enthusiasm and love for cinema.
In November of 2012, six people gathered together, with their sole similarity being that they were film lovers via Koreapas*. Following this very first meeting, Avi continued its session every Thursday until now. During the semester, Avi holds a movie review meeting, where the members discuss a movie for about two hours. During vacation, there are writing sessions, where they give and receive feedback for their articles that will be published in the following semester. Last year, they also shot short films like Choco-pies are the best when frozen (2015) and Voodoo Zombie (2015).
* online forum for KU students
The real charm of Avi is its unique members. For example, a member under the pen name Peeping Tom, who wrote the review of Train to Busan (2016) for Avi’s recent fall magazine, is a movie nerd in the best way possible. He is well-informed about numerous behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and as a natural science major, he is known to interpret movies analytically. Ahn recalled his first meeting when Peeping Tom discussed Zodiac (2007) using an Excel document. He divided sequences of the entire movie into six different categories according to the distance between the camera and the characters.
There are other film clubs in KU like Dol-bit, but Avi is the only club publishing film magazines. Avi publishes two magazines per year, in spring and autumn. Members can select whatever movie they want and the form of the writing is also up to the members. From essays discussing personal and emotional experiences to critiques of different aspects of the film, there is no restriction. Lee said that she tends to choose a movie that has topics to debate about, whether it is the message or the filming technique. Also, when writing a critique, she gears towards films that left doubts and unclear parts, and when writing an essay or a quick review, she chooses films that made her experience something new.
▲ Photo of Ahn Hyun-do. Photographed by Kim Seung Hyun.
The movies featured during review sessions are also quite dependent on the designated member. Each member takes a turn to choose a film that the club will discuss, and the member leads the discussion. Genres of the films are also varied according to each member’s preference. For example, a member from the Arts and Design major might choose animation movies. Thrillers, comedies, and dramas are all welcomed in the meetings.
There are currently about eight members actively participating in Avi, and due to its small size, the flexible and comfortable atmosphere is also a distinct feature of Avi. The members easily express their own opinions, without the fear of being dismissed. The movie review sessions allow the members to encounter fresh opinions and unique viewpoints, enlarging their scope of knowledge and perception.
Lee and Ahn recommended some films that can be good company for the winter time. Ahn recommended December (2013), a film that interprets December as a special time of the year. Comparing our own December with this movie would also be an interesting way of enjoying this film. He also mentioned Synecdoche, New York (2008), a film that views life through the main character who is a theatre director, in a fascinating manner and with a vibe of winter in it.
Lee also happened to pick a film written by Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). This relatively well known film is set in the winter time, and has a deep message about love and relationships. She also recommended Oki’s Movie (2010) which consists of four stories, interwoven by narration. The Hateful Eight (2015) was also suggested as a humorous, mysterious, and well-made film to watch under the covers on long winter nights.
“We do everything related to cinema.” This is a quote that the Film Society Avi uses to represent its philosophy. Ahn and Lee’s future hopes for Avi were preserving Avi as this friendly community and maintaining the club with new members and a newly appointed chief editor. It is unlikely that Avi will change its original intentions, and this amazing group of people will successfully attract similar devotees of film in KU. It would be a great loss not to have a film society like this in KU.
▲ Photo of Lee Jae-hyun. Photographed by Kim Seung Hyun.
Recruitment Period: No specific period. Open anytime for any KU students, regardless of age.
How to Get In: Anyone can text a message to the head of the club, and you will be informed about the next Avi meeting.
Contact Information: 010 4873 6570 (Ahn Hyun-do, Head of Film Society Avi)