South Korea

Sang-soo Hong – Geu-hu AKA The Day After (2017)

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Quote:
The married Bongwan leaves home in the dark morning and sets off to work. The memories of the woman who left weigh down on him. That day Bongwan’s wife finds a love note, bursts into the office, and mistakes Areum for the woman who left. Read More »

Hong-jin Na – Goksung AKA The Wailing (2016)

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Quote:
Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing is a work of thriller maximal-ism, a rare case of more actually being more rather than less. In the spirit of other South Korean films like Memories of Murder, The Host, I Saw the Devil, and Park Chan-wook’s early work, among others, The Wailing thrives on genre crosspollination and tonal hyperbole, particularly a destabilizing contrast of broad comedy with ultraviolent portentousness. In American cinema, such a mix often results in a single tone dominating the enterprise, telegraphing to the audience how to feel. By contrast, prominent South Korean thrillers abound in ambiguous tones in which the comedy and the violence are accorded equal prominence, yielding an exhilarating sense of possibility and chaos. Read More »

Yong-Kyun Bae – Dharmaga tongjoguro kan kkadalgun AKA Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?: A Zen Fable (1989)

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Synopsis:
Three people live in a remote Buddhist monastery near Mount Chonan: Hyegok, the old master; Yong Nan, a young man who has left his extended family in the city to seek enlightenment – Hyegok calls him Kibong!; and, an orphan lad Haejin, whom Hyegok has brought to the monastery to raise as a monk. The story is mostly Yong Nan’s, told in flashbacks: how he came to the monastery, his brief return to the city, his vacillation between the turbulence of the world and his hope to overcome passions and escape the idea of self. We also see Hyegok as a teacher, a protector, and a father figure, and we watch Haejin make his way as a curious and nearly self-sufficient child. Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja AKA On the Beach at Night Alone (2017)

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Quote:
An actress wanders around a seaside town, pondering her relationship with a married man.
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Jang-ho Lee – Byeoldeului gohyang AKA The Stars Heavenly Home (1974)

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A woman slowly drinks herself to death as she is physically and emotionally used by one man after another. Read More »

Ki-duk Kim – Bin-Jip AKA 3-iron (2004)

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Plot Summary (Taken from IMDb): A young drifter enters strangers’ houses – and lives – while owners are away. He spends a night or a day squatting in, repaying their unwitting hospitality by doing laundry or small repairs. His life changes when he runs into a beautiful woman in an affluent mansion who is ready to escape her unhappy, abusive marriage. Read More »

Chan-wook Park – Ah-ga-ssi AKA The Handmaiden (2016)

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Quote:
Park Chan-wook’s giddy mixture of historical romance and auteur eroticism is spiced with ghosts, horror and S&M.
Expectations are fully met in Park Chan-wook’s exquisitely filmed The Handmaiden (Agassi), an amusingly kinky erotic thriller and love story that brims with delicious surprises, making its two-and-a-half hours fly by. Though spiced up with nudity and verbal perversions for adult audiences, it never descends into the cheap and tawdry, and violence, considering this is from the cult director of Oldboy, remains surprisingly offscreen. Its bow in competition at Cannes should get the CJ Entertainment release off to a fast start. Read More »