The National Library of Russia has started the spring season of the lecture series of the Korean cinema. Screenings of the Korean films are organised by St Petersburg University; the Korea−Russia Dialogue Forum; the National Library of Russia; and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in St Petersburg.

The cycle introduces Korean films of the 20th-21st centuries and offers lectures by experts in the field of Korean culture and art.

The screenings were opened by the film Seopyeonje by Im Kwon-taek in 1993. The first lecture was delivered by Inna Tsoy, Associate Professor in the Department of Korean Studies at St Petersburg University. The film is based on the short story Seopyeonje (1976) by Yi Chong-jun. The film unfolds a story of a family of musicians: a father and his adopted daughter and son from South Jeolla Province. The film is set in the 1930s and 1960s.

The Days of Korean Cinema were held for the first time last autumn. It featured the following films: The Daughters of Pharmacist Kim; Our Twisted Hero; A Taxi Driver; Burning; and Parasite.

The characters are pansori singers, i.e. a traditional folklore genre that resembles throat singing. Family pansori artistry is not surprising. They usually begin to learn to perform pansori in childhood. Sometimes, it takes 10 or even more years to become an expert pansori singer. In 1964, Pansori was designated a National Intangible Cultural Property in Korea. In 2003, UNESCO proclaimed the pansori tradition a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The lecture by Inna Tsoy focused on pansori. Pansori is a genre of musical storytelling performed by a vocalist and a drummer. ‘A Pansori singer must have an outstanding acting technique to convey all the experiences and feelings of the heroes of the narrative,’ said Inna Tsoy. ‘In this regard, a pansori singer must have an external acting technique (voice and gesture) and a special state of mind (han)’.

Inna Tsoy showed the connection between pansori and han, i.e. a category in Korean culture that means a special state of mind that can be described as a feeling of helplessness in insurmountable circumstances and regret about the inevitability of what is happening. The "mission" of the pansori performer is to experience and overcome this state of mind by telling a story, and the listeners, empathising with it, must free themselves from their feeling of han.