Netflix has a treat in store for superfans of Korean cinema. The streamer dropped the first trailer Tuesday for the upcoming documentary Yellow Door: 90s Lo-fi Film Club, described as “a cinematic ode to the golden era of Korean cinephilia.” (Watch the trailer below.)
Directed by Lee Hyuk-rae, the new documentary takes viewers back to Seoul in the 1990s, when film clubs were exploding on Korean college campuses, providing young students with a creative outlet and a platform to study the art of cinema. Much of today’s global boom in Korean popular culture can be traced back to this formative, freewheeling period. The country had just emerged from the trauma of the student pro-democracy 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 country’s youth.
Yellow Door: ’90s Lo-fi Film Club retraces the memories of the members of the era’s Yellow Door Film Club, which included now-legendary director Bong Joon-ho among its key members (as well as the documentary’s director, Lee). Decades before he became the Oscar-winning director of Parasite and Korea’s best-known auteur, a fresh-faced Bong was an integral part of this gathering of film aficionados, meticulously managing 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 movies in Korea and also recounts the creation of Bong’s very first short film, a stop-motion animation titled Looking for Paradise, which was screened exclusively for Yellow Door members.
“It was the first time I created something with a narrative,” 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 established in that film,” recounts another Yellow Door member in the trailer, with another quipping, “I knew he’d make it… but not this big.”
Yellow Door: 90s Lo-fi Film Club is set to make its world premiere at the upcoming 28th Busan International Film Festival, running Oct. 4-13. It will launch worldwide on Netflix on Oct. 27.