MUMBAI: The only surviving single-screen theatre in
Seoul, Seodaemun Art Hall, is soon to be knocked down
and replaced by a hotel. As a parting shot, the cinema
hall played its final film, the Italian classic The
Bicycle Thief, yesterday. The moment was so emotional
for the theatre operator that she publicly shaved her
head in frustration.
heart is aching because I have to let (the theatre)
go like this," Kim Eun-ju, 39, the head of theatre
operator Hollywood Classic, reportedly said before having
her head shaved.
theatre, which opened in 1964, had become a place where
mostly elderly moviegoers gathered regularly to watch
classic Hollywood and South Korean films and go back
in time and indulge in nostalgia.
huge multiplexes made it hard to compete financially,
the cinema hall played up the one thing the newer theatres
could never match - its age. But the theatre's attempt
to keep business alive based on that shared joy of nostalgia
and a sense of community among its elderly patrons came
to an end on Wednesday.
building venerates Hollywood royalty, with a hand-painted
advertising board over the theater and big photos of
American movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth
Taylor hanging on the walls.
officials approved plans to demolish the theatre way
back in August last year to build a high-rise hotel
that, according to them, would create jobs and resolve
a shortage of hotel rooms for foreign tourists.
theater's end has been hard to take for many of the
workers and people who regularly watched movies here,
hundreds of whom came Wednesday to see Italian director
Vittorio De Sica's 1948 classic.