Korean Films

9 Sep

I love watching movies and I enjoy having an account with Netflix because they provide me with the indelible pleasure of watching foreign films that aren’t available in the US screens. Some of my favorite films have been foreign movies including Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran” and Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver”. Both of these films are part of World-class cinema that Japan and Spain, the respective origins of these movies, have long established.

Korea has recently had an increase in the visibility of their films worldwide and is enjoying a massive revitalization led by critical favorites like “Oasis” and “The Host”. The world is finally taking notice of the quality of films Korea is releasing.


My first experience with Korean films involve two of my favorite things: 1. The Academy Awards and 2. BIG BANG.

Since I’m a movie junkie and I love the Oscars ceremony, I just had to see “Mother”, directed by Bong Joon-ho, starring Kim Hye-Jin and Won Bin. The movie was Korea’s submission to the Academy Award’s Best Foreign Language category and it won many raves from critics in film festivals around the world. I found it a deeply moving if erratic (in a good way). There are so much artistic flourishes in the film, with its cinematography and the kooky drama that plays out. Most importantly, I love Kim Hye-Jin’s performance.

The second Korean movie I saw was “71: Into the Fire” and only because I wanted to see T.O.P. act. Because I love Big Bang and specifically T.O.P., I was curious as to whether or not he could act and the hype surrounding him wasn’t exaggerated. It turns out, he can act and act with such deep feeling that I felt his raw emotions just by looking at beautifully expressive eyes. Even if he is a little stiff (probably to do with his rapping stance), he manages to deliver such a strong performance.

The great thing about Korean entertainment industry is their devotion to the craft. It’s really rare for countries to have television shows that are as brilliantly lensed and edited and acted as films. Korean dramas are usually beautiful to look at if only because the materials used to film them are the same kind they use for films.

Given my recent efforts to learn Korean, I think watching Korean films will be a great supplement to my learning. In addition, I get to watch some of the films I’ve been dying to see. This week, if my Netflix account gets resolved, I’ll be watching “Secret Sunshine” and “The Housemaid”, two films that came out of Cannes Film Festival and won many raves. I will be writing reviews of those :).



4 Responses to “Korean Films”

  1. Alice September 9, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    GOODNESS T.O.P. was good in 71!!! I was SO surprised to find a kpop idol that could actually ACT! I think JYJ’s Jaejoong is a very natural actor, but I don’t know if he could handle the depth that this kind of movie needed from it’s main lead. T.O.P. was simply stunning as an actor.

    • dramapop September 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

      One of the most delightful things about Protect the Boss was how impressed I am with Jaejoong’s acting. Unlike many singers who force the charm through their stilted line readings (Kim Hyun Joong being the primary offender), Jaejoong is actually naturally charming and he plays it cool without going to extremes. Even in his sad scenes, he’s pretty damn impressive given that this is his first drama.

      TOP was so good! There’s a certain kind of vulnerability and “noobness” that he employs with this character which resonates with his character’s innocence so well. I never expected such a charismatic rapper to bring such emotions on screen.

      • berry September 9, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

        i remember i watched 71 because of TOP as well. i thought the character was perfect for him and his eyes were so expressively. the thing i’ve always loved about him is his eyes and the way they projected the fear, the sadness and vulnerability during the film was amazing. i remember crying at the end, even though i hardly ever cry at the end of movie (Pan’s Labyrinth is the only one that make’s me cry every time).
        i agree that often kpop idols tend to be awful at acting, or only just passable. often they are wooden or they over act. they don’t take the acting seriously, it is just another thing on their resume. i like it when they incorporate the flaws into the drama, ie Suzy’s character in Dream High was often teased for being rubbish at expressing emotions. or when a character fits what the drama is trying to do, ie Lee Seungri tends to overact, which was a bit annoying in brilliant inheritance but suited his character in gumiho.
        again i’ve written an essay – and must say i love Jaejoong in PTB, i didn’t know if he could act and was a bit apprehensive at first so was happily surprised

      • dramapop September 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

        Thanks for the comment! For some reason (it may be my love for Seungi blinding me or what) but I didn’t find him annoying in Brilliant Legacy. He had a certain charm that made even his weirdest acting decision seem natural and right.

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