Seoul is for Film Geeks (Where to watch Korean films for free)

Written by on September 21, 2013 in Arts, Lifestyle, Worldwide Korea Bloggers

Korean films are known for their quirky plots, soulful quality, and clever twists and turns. Coupled with beautiful scenery and an equally beautiful-looking cast, Korean films surely have the right recipe for success.

But Korea, and its capital city Seoul, is also known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. Movies, too, can be a bit expensive. But fear not for your wallet’s health, because the ticket price also depends on which time of the day you’re watching – Morning screenings are less expensive that evening screenings.

But did you know that there are places when you can watch Korean films for free? When I was living in Korea as an exchange student, I took advantage of these places. Of course, one can obviously watch Korean movies with subtitles on the internet. Streaming sites abound. But what’s the fun of watching on a teeny-tiny screen when you can actually go out and see a good movie with other Korean film geeks like you?

Here are three places I frequented which offer Korean movie viewing for free!

Indieplus Cinema

Indieplus Cinema

1. IndiePlus Cinema through Community Korea

Before coming to Korea, I chanced upon the Community Korea Facebook page through another Facebook friend. The first post I saw was a giveaway for free movie tickets to  back-to-back movies about gay life in Korea at IndiePlus Cinema in Sinsa. I just followed the instructions, emailed my contact information, and in less than a day, I got a reply saying I was one of 10 lucky recipients of the movie tickets! While on the lookout for free movie tickets, be sure to act fast, by the way.

Since then (well, throughout my stay in Seoul, anyway), I’ve been actively checking the Community Korea Facebook page for free movie tickets and other promos and events around Seoul. Because of Community Korea and IndiePlus, I got exposed to Korea’s indie film scene and discovered the diversity of thoughts, feelings, and ideas contained in Korean society. You know, things you wouldn’t normally see in mainstream films.

Another thing I like about IndiePlus is the interesting discussion that comes after the film showing. Usually, it’s the film director who comes, so film buffs like us can glean valuable insights on what goes on into the creative process. Don’t worry, though, if you don’t speak Korean. The host is a bi-lingual Korean who can translate perfectly!

Itaewon Gobal Village Center. Photo from global.seoul.go.kr

Itaewon Gobal Village Center. Photo from global.seoul.go.kr

2. Seoul Global Village Center

Another one of my favorite places to watch free movies in Seoul is at the Seoul Global Village Center in Itaewon. It’s not exactly a real movie theater. In fact, we just watch movies from a small conference room of sorts, with less than 15 people or thereabouts. However, what’s nice about this place is that you get to see other foreigners who also love Korean films.

Sometimes, there are interesting discussions about the film as well. And, there’s also free chips, cookies, and soda to munch while watching! Thursday nights in Seoul can be this much fun!

 

Korean Film Archive. Photo from blog.korea.net

Korean Film Archive. Photo from blog.korea.net

 3. Korean Film Archive

If you want a place that’s essentially a treasure trove of anything and everything related to Korean movies, then the Korean Film Archive is the place for you. It’s basically a repository of all the films ever produced in Korea. Just search for the film, borrow it, and watch it. You may need some assistance from a Koreans-speaking friend though, while searching for movies, since the database is in Korean.

There’s even a small library about Korean films, and films around the world in general. There are comfy chairs and tables where you can read these books. On the first day that I went there, the place teemed with people quietly enjoying their movies and their books. I felt completely at home.

Getting a membership card is easy, too. It’s also for free. Just sign up, and you can get your card before you leave the Korean Film Archive.

And here’s an added bonus! The Korean Film Archive also has an official Youtube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/KoreanFilm) where you can watch classic Korean films with English subtitles. It’s a great way of seeing the old Korea, how much has changed from then and now, and how glorious the peninsula was, is, and will be.

Happy viewing!

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About the Author

Mitzie Correa

Michelle Camille Correa is a Filipino graduate student, majoring in Korean Studies in a university in Thailand and a university in Korea. When people ask her why this roundabout way of learning about Korea, her reply often would be, "Because it sounded like a good idea at the time." When she's not buried in books, she watches Korean TV dramas and movies on the internet. She is deeply indebted to fan subbers whose extreme dedication allows language dummies like her to enjoy K-dramas with ease.