Netflix has a treat in store for super fans of Korean cinema. The streamer dropped the first trailer for the upcoming documentary on Tuesday Yellow Door: 90s Lo-fi Film Club, described as “a cinematic ode to the golden age of Korean cinephilia.” (Watch the trailer below.)
The new documentary, directed by Lee Hyuk-rae, takes viewers back to Seoul in the 1990s, when film clubs exploded on Korean college campuses, giving young students a creative outlet and a platform to study the art of cinema. Much of the current global growth of Korean popular culture can be traced to this formative, free period. The country had only just emerged from the trauma of the pro-democracy student protests of the 1980s – and their often brutal suppression by the former authoritarian government – but the 1990s became a dawning, carefree era of greater freedom and cultural exploration among the youth of the country.
Yellow Door: 90s Lo-fi Film Club chronicles the memories of the members of the Yellow Door Film Club from that era, including the now legendary director Bong Joon-ho as one of the key members (as well as the documentary’s director, Lee). Decades before he became the Oscar-winning director of Parasite and Korea’s most famous author, a fresh-faced Bong, was an integral part of this gathering of film lovers, meticulously curating the club’s video library of cinematic masterpieces from around the world.
“We were the first generation of cinephiles,” Bong says in the trailer.
The film captures this brief moment of unfettered passion for films in Korea and also chronicles the creation of Bong’s very first short film, a stop-motion animation titled In search of paradisewhich was shown exclusively for Yellow Door members.
“It was the first time I created something with a story,” Bong says in the trailer. His fellow film club members also note how impactful that early effort was. “The essence of director Bong’s films was already captured in that film,” says another Yellow Door member in the trailer, with another joke: “I knew he would make it… but not this big.”
Yellow Door: 90s Lo-fi Film Club will make its world premiere at the upcoming 28th Busan International Film Festival, taking place from October 4 to 13. It will launch worldwide on Netflix on October 27.