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College campus welcoming back students with full-scale festivals
Updated: 2022-05-12 17:28:10 KST
It's Thursday, and that means its time for our regular segment "Arts and Culture," where we discuss what's trending in the arts and culture sector with our culture correspondent Kim Bo-kyoung.
Good evening Bo-kyoung,
The weather is wonderful thesedays so I assume there'll be lots of festivals or outdoor events for people to look forward to?

That's right, Mok-yeon.
There was once a time when university students could gather at the grassy areas on campus to socialize, have a chit-chat and enjoy a bit of freedom.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, all events and festivals that allowed people to do that were either canceled altogether or went online.
But now they are back.
Allow me take our viewers to that very scene.

The unrelenting pandemic had taken the highly-anticipated campus life away from new university students.
But now, with social distancing measures lifted, college festivals have returned.
Major universities in South Korea are already busy planning their festival schedules, and among them is Seoul National University which came up with the "Homecoming" festival.

"The once-quiet campus field is now filled with students enjoying the festival that is back in full and in-person for the first time in three years. A variety of booths, food trucks and activities add to the festive atmosphere."
One of the organizers says the festival wanted to welcome those who've felt the effects of the pandemic the most the classes of 2020 and 2021 as if they're coming back home.

"I believe a good festival helps students connect, makes them talk about the festival they enjoyed even years later. The main purpose is to let them bond and make new memories together."

The festival seemed to do what it set out to, letting students really feel like they're on a university campus, making new friends.

"I got in last year but could hardly come to campus because of COVID-19. It's hard to imagine that we're actually having a festival here. Now I feel like a real college student."

"I think it is our first time, and I think it is super fun and the weather is super nice today and it is very nice to be outside not to have our masks anymore and to just enjoy the vibes."

"People who were in the year above me at high school told me that going to college wouldn't be anything special so I was worried about being disappointed. But now we're having festivals and can meet many new friends, I feel so happy."

University festivals being back and at full capacity has been welcomed by the vendors, too.

"We went through such a tough period due to the virus. So having festivals like this gives us a lot of hope."

Other major universities are also working out their festival plans , to give students a place they can meet new people in person instead of on Zoom.

Seeing students enjoying in-person festivals again, it does seem like we're returning to normal.
So, Bo-kyung, are there any other cultural events for people wishing to enjoy some fresh air?

There is, such as the Royal Culture Festival the country's largest festival that focuses on the Korean royal palaces and its culture from the past.
The festival has been taking place ever since 2015, twice a year in May and October at five Joseon-era palaces in Seoul.
Due to the pandemic, festivals had to take place mainly online until finally returning to full capacity this year.
During the festival period, five royal palaces will open without closing on Mondays as they usually do.
Admission to Gyeongbokgung Palace will be free of charge, and Deoksu-gung and Changgyeong-gung palaces will remain open until 9PM for nighttime tours for a 13-day period, until May 22nd.

I remember the festival being held annually. Aside from being back at full scale, what special events do they offer?

Well, some may be excited to hear that some will for the first time take place at Cheong Wa Dae, the former presidential office and better known as the "Blue House."
It was informally known as the "back garden" of Gyeongbokgung Palace and so people might want to see it for themselves.

Speaking of going back to our daily lives, movie theaters too are expecting bigger audiences as many highly-anticipated films are being released.
I hear one of them is "Broker", what is it about?

You are absolutely right.
Many highly anticipated films are about to hit cinema screens, and among them is "Broker" one of two movies that have been selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the upcoming 75th Cannes Film Festival which is scheduled to be held from May 17th to the 28th.
Starring globally-recognized actor Song Kang-ho from director Bong Joon-ho's "Parasite", and directed by Japanese auteur Hirokazu Koreeda who previously won the Palme d'Or with 2018's "Shoplifters", the film shares a journey to find a new family for a baby who was found in a so-called "baby box.
This is Koreeda's very first Korean film, with Korean actors.
During the press conference held on Tuesday, he said his love of Korean dramas influenced his choice for cast members, while other actors said the film shows a hard-edged reality and that they tried to convey.

"When I was staying home, I fell in love with Korean dramas through OTT services. I became a huge fan of IU through her drama "My Mister" and by the end of the drama, I cried whenever she was in a scene so for this role, I thought she was the one. For Lee Joo-young, I watched "Itaewon Class" twice and she was an impressive actress so I asked her first to join the film."

"Starting with softness and warmth, the film leads audiences to look at the reality in a very objective and honest way, so I was very much impressed and touched right after I saw it."

"Dong-soo himself was raised in an orphanage and he believes that kids are better raised in households than orphanages. So I myself visited these places several times to talk to people there and tried to deliver the pain they felt."

It is interesting how the director's interest in Korean dramas led him to cast the actors.
When is it going to be released?

After world premiere at Cannes, the film will hit local cinemas on June 8th.

I'll look forward to that then. Alright, Bo-kyoung, thanks for today's wrap-up of what's happening in the in arts and culture sector. I will see you next week.

Thank you.
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