Renaissance: The Films of South Korea


 

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I have been an admirer of South Korean films for a number of years now, constantly touting them as, along with the output from Romania, the most interesting films being made today, far more interesting more often than not, in comparison to American films.

 

Now that Parasite has won best picture at the Academy Awards, I thought I would list my favorite South Korean filmmakers and their films. For those who are not as aware of the movies being made there, this might hopefully serve as somewhat of a primer or introduction. I certainly am not the expert others are, but still, I think my list is probably pretty decent. Continue reading

POSSESSION IS 9/10ths OF THE LAW: The Wailing and The Conjuring 2


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Warning: SPOILERS
rev 5Two movies have opened of late that revolve around children being taken over by supernatural forces beyond their control. I’m sure many of you might ask, “But how can you be sure it’s not just puberty?” Well, see the films and decide for yourself.
In the last number of years, the most interesting movies have been making their way over here from two unlikely sources: the Romanian and South Korean new waves. One might suggest that one is the result of having recently thrown off the cloak of Communism and the other from living under the specter of the same. But that’s little more than speculation.
However, there is a difference in the two. While the movies we get from Romania tend to be more political and social critiques (4 Months, 3Weeks, 2Days, Police: Adjective, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu), the ones from South Korea tend to be more genre focused (The Host, Thirst, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance).
Writer/director Hong-jin Han is one of the more interesting of the new set of Korean filmmakers. He started out with a psychological thriller (The Chaser, about a serial killer targeting prostitutes), and followed it up with a political thriller (Yellow Sea, about a man set up as a fall guy for an assassination, in a style worthy of Alfred Hitchcock).

Continue reading