South Korea

Jong-chan Yun – Sorum (2001)

Yong-hyun moves into a creepy apartment which seems somehow familiar to him. His apartment was formerly occupied by a writer who burned to death in his room, but that doesn’t seem to bother the detached young taxi driver. Across the hall from him is Jin-young who endures daily beatings from her husband. Her husband knows of a brutal murder that occurred about 30 years ago within the walls of this building and mysteriously touches on all their lives. Strange secrets begin to reveal themselves sending the characters down a path of terror… (from IMDB) Read More »

Gok Kim & Sun Kim – Bangdokpi AKA Anti Gas Skin (2010)

2009 – election day in the capital city of Seoul. Four people roam the city looking for a gas mask wearing serial killer for different reasons. Young werewolf Mi-Joo wants to be killed by the serial killer to overcome her trauma. Sang-Jun Joo is the leading mayoral candidate, but has been threatened that he will be killed if he wins. Traffic cop Bo-Sik wants to catch the serial killer, because he thinks of himself as a superhero. Lastly, American marine Patrick is after the serial killer, because he believes the serial killer killed his girlfriend. These four people meet on election day. Read More »

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 »

Kun-jae Jang – Han yeo-reum-ui pan-ta-ji-a AKA A Midsummer’s Fantasia (2014)

Split into two parts, shot in black and white, the opening chapter First Love, Yoshiko follows a Korean director (Lim Hyung-kook) who is scouting for locations for his next film in the Japanese rural town of Gojo, and is joined by his assistant director Mijung (Kim Sae-byuk) who interprets for him. There he meets the locals including an elderly lady and a civil servant (Ryo Iwase) who helps him tour the area. The second part, Well of Sakura, captured in colour, is inspired by a story told in the opening chapter of a romance between a Korean woman and a local man. Mijung is now an actress while the civil servant is a persimmon farmer as they walk around the town and learn about each other. Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Gangbyeon hotel AKA Hotel by the River (2018)

Synopsis
It is the dead of winter and a poet invites his sons to join him at a hotel for a reunion. The hotel also hosts a newly single woman who has a friend keep her company and with whom she shares a room, strolls and conversations. The poet is drawn to the beautiful girls and cannot resist the temptation to discover more. Their lives intersect, connect and disconnect and potentially become a metaphor for modern life. Read More »

Kwon-taek Im – Chunhyangdyun (2000)

Summary:
Mongryong marries the beautiful Chunhyang without telling his father, the Governor of Namwon. When his father is transferred to Seoul, Mongryong has to leave Chunhyang and finish his exams. Chunhyang, being the daughter of a courtesan, is also legally a courtesan. She is beaten and imprisoned when she refuses to obey the new Governor Byun, as she wishes to be faithful to her husband. After three years, Mongryong passes his exam and becomes an emissary to the King. He returns to Namwon, disguised as a beggar, just before Chunhyang is to be flogged to death at the governor’s birthday celebration. Read More »

Hyun-mok Yoo – Obaltan AKA The Aimless Bullet (1961)

Synopsis
A lowly clerk at an accountant’s office, Yeong-ho (Kim Jin-kyu) is the head of a household that consists of his mother (Noh Jae-shin), who lost her sanity in the war and sporadically cries, ’’Let’s go!’’ his extremely pregnant wife (Moon Jeong-suk), who is suffering from malnutrition; his younger sister (Seo Ae-ja), who has become a prostitute for U.S. soldiers; and his younger brother Cheol-ho (Choi Mu-ryong), who is an unemployed war veteran. Unfortunately, his meager salary is barely enough to support his large family, and he does not even dare to go to the dentist even though he suffers from a toothache. His brother Cheol-ho tries to overcome their desperate reality by robbing a bank, but fails in the attempt. Yeong-ho receives a phone call from the police informing him of his brother’s arrest. Read More »