Browsing: South Korea

Reviews In-Her-Place

A dirt road surrounded by trees and bushes; a dilapidated farmstead; cracked and peeling walls; a middle-aged woman jogging in an unfamiliar town; the imaginative flights of a teenage girl; an older woman hunched in a field uprooting vegetables.

Reviews ode to my father

The effectiveness of a melodrama often comes down to how well a film makes you relate to the characters and their outsized pain. A great melodrama is so engrossing, it forces you to contend with the titanic weight of the emotions on display, but it also in some sense replicates the way you experience…

AFI FILM FEST 2014 Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 6.01.44 PM

Park Jung-bum’s second feature, one of the Jeonju Digital Project feature films for 2014, begins with a man chopping wood in the countryside, in the bitter cold. He is alone and determined in his actions, captured in long takes. The next sequence consists of a woman whose face we do not see; with her back to the camera, she takes off her blouse and begins to flagellate herself with a branch. She then nears the wall of the room in what …

AFI FILM FEST 2014 f91895263b8bd79e277100da237a2ba1

The debut feature of Shim Sung-bo is a leviathan of a film, given its production values, socio-historical and emotional scope, and subject. At one level, it tells of a rickety, small-time fishing vessel whose captain agrees to smuggle twenty-five Korean Chinese into South Korea in order to save the ship from being sold. Though new to …

Film Festival 1389736103252

Fasten Your Seatbelts is billed as a comedy / drama, or “dramedy”, a sub-genre that seems to crop up increasingly often. For the majority of the film this is certainly the case as two inherently oppositely inclined people are unavoidably drawn to each other by a mutual attraction that neither understand or initially wants…

Reviews 5_zps54c3ee05

Kim Ki-duk’s latest is a twisted tale of incest with the addition of our natural love of genitalia. It feels weird to say that the most absurd thing about this film is its complete lack of dialogue; not the inclusions of castration, cannibalism, incest, masturbation, voyeurism and rape. Its extremism says a lot about humanity’s condition …

Film Festival hilloffreedom_1-1

Memory and time are two things that are often associated with one another as running on parallel lines but often find themselves at crossroads when perception gets blurred by the passage of time. Hill of Freedom is a short and sweet feature from the talented Hong Sang-soo that structures itself in a non-linear chronology despite having a very low-key slice of life narrative. Despite such…

Reviews 140917-001

The gangster film is one of the most lasting and widely adapted of American exports. Every country has their own take on the story of course, either remixing elements from the standard stories, or adding cultural specificity to make something unique. Every country has its own gangsters, after all, and the particular ways …

Special Edition bongjoonho

Bong Joon-ho is a leading figure of the Korean New Wave and one of the most innovative filmmakers working today. Known for a macabre sense of humor, deft sensibility and social consciousness, he consistently garners excellent reviews and cult praise…

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