South Korea

So Yong Kim – Na-moo-eobs-neun san AKA Treeless Mountain (2008)

Quote:
What is the nature of childhood resilience? Sisters Jin and Bin, ages 6 and 3, live with their mother. Jin likes school and does well. One day, their mother leaves the girls with their father’s sister, a woman they do not know. The mother seeks a reconciliation with their father. She leaves them a plastic piggy bank, promising to return when the bank is full. The girls scrub and clean for their aunt, a tippler who’s often cranky and complaining. She gives them a few coins for their work. They earn more money catching, grilling, and selling grasshoppers. They miss their mother. The bank fills. They watch for her from a mound of dirt. Will she return? Will stoic faces give way to a smile? Read More »

Bong Joon Ho – Gisaengchung AKA Parasite (2019) (HD)

Warning: Spoilers Ahead
Quote:

There’s an elegance that graces every frame of Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (aka Gisaengchung). From the stunning home of Mr. Park (Sun-kyun) to the slums where the Kim family resides, every shot is deliberate and masterfully constructed, resulting in a movie that is a visual wonder. Everything else about the film is just as expertly done, the story and the acting all top-notch. Joon-ho’s film blends a multitude of genres, collecting them all under the umbrella of “dark comedy”, which this film certainly encapsulates. Undeniably funny and sometimes shockingly emotional, Joon-ho’s film is about class disparity and the lengths people will go through in order to survive. Read More »

Dae-min Park – Geu-rim-ja sal-in AKA Private Eye (2009)

Synopsis:
The story takes place in occupied Korea at the start of the 20th century, where a young student in medicine discovers the murdered body of the son of a government official. Being scared of being accused, he decides to hire Hong Jin-ho (a detective) to help him find the murderer before the police accuse him of the murder. Read More »

Hun Jang – Ui-hyeong-je AKA Secret Reunion (2010)

Synopsis:
A North Korean killer known as “Shadow” is sent to assassinate an important dissident who found refuge in Seoul. He is helped by two sleeping agents: Son Tae-soon as look-out, and Song Ji-won, an elite fighter. The North Koreans have not counted with Lee Han-gyoo, from the South Korean National Intelligence Service, who has been tracking them and closes in with his men. Han-gyoo has not counted with the North Koreans’ skill and ruthlessness. True to his reputation, “Shadow” disappears. Ji-won manages to escape, but cannot return to his country, where he is suspected to be a traitor, nor defect, for this means certain death for his wife and daughter who remained in North Korea. Discredited, Han-gyoo is fired from the NIS. Several years later, Ji-won and Han-gyoo meet unexpectedly, and pick up their confrontation — but not quite from where they left it off. Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Yeojaneun namjaui miraeda AKA Woman is the Future of Man (2004)

Quote:
Woman is the Future of Man may not mark any major departures of style for celebrated auteur Hong Sang-soo, but the filmmaker is still in top form in this tightly-constructed, mesmerizing work. Although it features much of the awkward dialogue and cutting irony that has made Hong’s previous films so distinctive, Woman feels in some ways both more shallow and more elusive than the works that preceded it. As such, it is a difficult film to make sense of, unless you have had previous exposure to the negative energy that fills Hong’s cinematic world. Read More »

Chan-sang Lim – Hyojadong ibalsa AKA The President’s Barber [+commentaries] (2004)

Synopsis:
Seong Han-mo (Song Kang-ho) is a barber and owns a shop in the president’s neighborhood, the Blue House. Politically not very well-versed he always joins his acquaintances’ opinions and at first also isn’t aware what consequences result from president Rhee’s resignation in 1960 after several student demonstrations. Rhee leaves a power vacuum that his soon filled by a military regime lead by General Park Chung-hee (Jo Yeong-jin) who puts himself at the top of the government in 1963. Han-mo, however, has different concerns as his wife Min-ja (Moon So-ri) brings a son into this world of politically turbulent times. Read More »

Chan-sang Lim – Hyojadong ibalsa aka The Presidents Barber (2004)

Synopsis:
Seong Han-mo (Song Kang-ho) is a barber and owns a shop in the president’s neighborhood, the Blue House. Politically not very well-versed he always joins his acquaintances’ opinions and at first also isn’t aware what consequences result from president Rhee’s resignation in 1960 after several student demonstrations. Rhee leaves a power vacuum that his soon filled by a military regime lead by General Park Chung-hee (Jo Yeong-jin) who puts himself at the top of the government in 1963. Han-mo, however, has different concerns as his wife Min-ja (Moon So-ri) brings a son into this world of politically turbulent times. Read More »