South Korea

Kwon-taek Im – Seopyeonje (1993)

Quote:
This heart-rending and accessible melodrama concerns the relationship between two children and their adoptive ‘father’/master, a travelling – necessarily poor – pansori musician. The pansori, a traditional music of aching love laments or upbeat festive songs, performed to the accompaniment of a lone drum, gives the movie its elegiac tone. Flashing back to the early ’50s, it follows the three on their journeys through the loving photographed by Korean landscapes, in all seasons, as they fight for a living, while their music is literally drowned out by the emerging fashion for Western sounds. It’s a film of looks, rhythms, intimations and feelings, expressed in pure cinematic terms, and it’s almost impossible not to be moved by it. The sopyonje is a song described as sorrowful and tender – there are few films more tender, if not more sorrowful than this. Unmissable. — TimeOut. Read More »

Ki-young Kim – Goryeo jang AKA Burying Old Alive (1963)

Prior to the adoption of Confucianism, it was the tradition to abandon one’s parents on a mountainside if they were over 70 years of age. In the ancient kingdom of Goryeo, now modern Korea, a nobleman defies this tradition when he refuses to leave his mother to starve to death. Read More »

Chan-ok Park – Jil-too-neun na-euh heem AKA Jealousy Is My Middle Name (2002)

A soft-spoken, fastidious graduate student Won-sang goes through a bad break-up with his girlfriend. He gets a job at a small but prestigious literary magazine, and is attracted to the magazine’s part-time photographer, a permanently disheveled but freewheeling veterinarian Seong-yeon. To his consternation, however, he finds out that his boss Han Yun-sik, the outspoken, charismatic and womanizing editor-in-chief, was responsible for snatching his girlfriend away. Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Ji-geum-eun-mat-go-geu-ddae-neun-teul-li-da AKA Right Now, Wrong Then (2015) (HD)

Quite by mistake, art-film director Chunsu arrives in Suwon a day early. With time to kill before his lecture the next day, Chunsu stops by a restored, old palace and meets a fledgling artist, Yoon Heejung. She’s never seen any of his films, but knows he’s famous. They talk. And together, they go to Heejung’s workshop to look at her paintings, have Sushi and Soju. Read More »

Hun Jang – Go-ji-jeon AKA The Front Line [+extras] (2011)

Towards the end of the Korean War an uneasy ceasefire is ordered, but out on the Eastern front line of the Aerok Hills fierce fighting continues. A race to capture a strategic point to determine a new border between the two Koreas is the ultimate prize. A bullet is then found in the body of dead company commander of the South Korean army. The bullet that killed the company commander belongs to the South Korean army. Lieutenant of the Defense Security Command Kang Eun-Pyo is ordered to go out into the Eastern front line and investigate the murder. Read More »

John H. Lee – Pohwasogeuro AKA 71: Into the Fire [+extras] (2010)

Synopsis:
A story of 71 student soldier trainees who fought an impossible war against seasoned North Korean army during Korean War which broke out in 1950. Based on real history, the film delicately depicts the fierce battle that teenage student soldiers fall into as they fight to protect the final defense line by themselves when under a surprise attack and their emotions and conflicts as they experience the grown-ups’ war. Read More »

Je-kyu Kang – Taegukgi hwinalrimyeo AKA Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War [+extras] (2004)

Synopsis:
In 1950, in South Korea, shoe-shiner Jin-tae Lee and his 18-year-old old student brother, Jin-seok Lee, form a poor but happy family with their mother, Jin-tae’s fiancé Young-shin Kim, and her young sisters. Jin-tae and his mother are tough workers, who sacrifice themselves to send Jin-seok to the university. When North Korea invades the South, the family escapes to a relative’s house in the country, but along their journey, Jin-seok is forced to join the army to fight in the front, and Jin-tae enlists too to protect his young brother. The commander promises Jin-tae that if he gets a medal he would release his brother, and Jin-tae becomes the braver soldier in the company. Along the bloody war between brothers, the relationship of Jin-seok with his older brother deteriorates leading to a dramatic and tragic end. Read More »