I don't know if there's really a "new wave" to be identified in Korea right now. The most interesting of the new films do have a lot in common stylistically and thematically, but they also tend to be somehow conservative in a way that doesn't really scream "vanguard." Still it's undeniable that far more Korean films are getting Western distribution, or making it to festival screens, than before. I wish I knew more about the phenomenon myself. I've seen a few films at festivals, and a few more thanks to eBay, where a number of recent Korean films are available on nice DVDs for realtively cheap. (Most are either Region 0 or Region 3.)
Some of the more interesting directors are Hong Sang-soo (The Power of Kangwon Province, The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well, Turning Gate) and Hur Jin-ho (Christmas in August, One Fine Spring Day). Many of these exhibit the influence of Hou Hsiao-hsien--long takes, lots of quotidian details and silent pauses, camera pulled well back from the actors--, but often applied to more conventional storylines than in Hou's own films. You could almost call it an academicizing of the Hou style, i.e. a "Hou school." An emblematic film in this regard is Spring in My Hometown where a lot of the action is staged in *extreme* long shot.
Another really good one in a different (more conventional perhaps) style is Take Care of My Cat, which does coming-of-age better than any other recent film I can think of. It follows a few characters and the cross-cutting between their lives is very graceful and rich.
I still haven't seen Shiri, or indeed many of the more commercial Korean films that have been getting a lot of press. I'd be interested to know everyone's impressions of the films mentioned above or of any other's they've been able to see.
― amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 19 May 2003 14:14 (sixteen years ago) link
― amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 19 May 2003 14:51 (sixteen years ago) link
I'm not familiar with the directors you mention, but has anyone seen any films by Kim Ki-duk? He seems to be a highly original talent.
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 19 May 2003 14:52 (sixteen years ago) link
Naturalism seems to be the key word; Kim Ki-duk is a prime example of this, but it is a word I'd also use for Take Care of My Cat, Attack the Gas Station, Barking Dogs Never Bite, Lies etc.
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 19 May 2003 15:02 (sixteen years ago) link
― slutsky (slutsky), Monday, 19 May 2003 15:38 (sixteen years ago) link
Is anyone here Korean?
― amateurist (amateurist), Monday, 19 May 2003 21:27 (sixteen years ago) link
― Jordan (Jordan), Monday, 19 May 2003 22:42 (sixteen years ago) link
The blockbuster stuff is as good as any film industry on the planet is producing at the moment, e.g. MUSA, the best Kurosawa rip-off in many a year. The art stuff I can't take - some flashes of style but no ideas behind them, e.g. Chunhyang which I mentioned in the "pictures I walked out of thread". The middle ground seems to be interesting, e.g. Il Mare, which definitely has ideas (mostly lame ones unfortunately) but more importantly succeeds on the "old-fashioned romance" level in a way that Hollywood films don't. I need to explore this middle ground more, though.
― b.R.A.d. (Brad), Monday, 19 May 2003 23:57 (sixteen years ago) link
― amateurist (amateurist), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 00:10 (sixteen years ago) link
Jonathan Rosenbaum liked it though - it was very lushly shot if you like that sort of thing.
― b.R.A.d. (Brad), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 01:02 (sixteen years ago) link
i really dislike the sentimentality that finds its way into lots of korean film/drama/music and media in general, always romantic longing or sweetness with autumn leaves and tepid pianos. im also not too down with the "wacky" sense of humor (ie: Foul King, My Sassy Girl).
ive found that i mostly like the pulpy horror/exploitation things that have been going on, 301/302, Phone, Memento Mori, The Isle (well, i was moved anyway). on the other hand i didn't think so much of Lies or Tell Me Something. admittedly i've long been a fan of the Japanese post-Ring horror and Miike/Tsukamoto/etc stuff so there may be a shared sensibility that's doing it.
maybe this is a sort of "middle ground"? or probably just a genre appreciation. Shiri and Chunhyang (as tenuous pop vs. arthouse sides) didn't hold my interest too well.
― Honda (Honda), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 05:23 (sixteen years ago) link
Attack the Gas Station is a comedy about a bunch of stupid wannabe gangsta's, who try to rob a gas station and take the employees as hostages. It's a brutal and thrashy slapstick sort of a film, quite weird fo western tastes, but apparently it was a surprise hit in Korea.
Barking Dogs Never Bite is a subtle comedy about ordinary people and the pursuit of their ordinary dreams. It's both low-key and funny, and quite moving in a quiet sort of way.
Lies is the sort of art shit that's been criticized in this thread. It's about two sadomasochistic lovers who beat each other on the ass with big sticks. A curious film, but not worth the admission.
The Isle, of course, is the Korean sensation, at least for me it is. It's one of the most original and evocative films in years, I really can't understand how it could've left Slutsky unmoved. Also, it's not horror/exploitation as Honda, though it does have a couple of quite gruesome scenes. I guess you could call it an "art film", but it's not your typical pretentious art flick, since it's easy to understand and highly emotional. This review sums the film up neatly.
By the way, has anyone seen Peppermint Candy?
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 07:49 (sixteen years ago) link
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 07:51 (sixteen years ago) link
As Honda said, obviously.
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 07:53 (sixteen years ago) link
― Honda (Honda), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 08:10 (sixteen years ago) link
― Pete (Pete), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 08:46 (sixteen years ago) link
Jang Sun Woo's highly controversial film chronicles the bizarre sexual relations of a 38 year-old man, J, and an 18 year-old student, Y, who is intent on losing her virginity before graduation. After the initial encounter, they embark on a sexual odyssey toward the realms of obsession and sadomasochism. No common love affair, theirs tests the limits of both body and mind. Intense desires drive them into a relationship that revolves around pain, pleasure and unavoidable lies. As J's sexual needs take on addictive dimensions, Y begins to draw back. Insecurities, doubts and indiscretions begin to weigh on a love that once knew no limits... - From the Back Cover
There were a couple of things that will stick:1) When the female protagonist is telling her story on the train to the camera and she glances shyly to the old lady to see if she is not listening2) When the female protaganist is beaten up by her best friend and the crew cries cut, and the camera keeps rolling and the protagonist is in obious emotional distress3) the shit/kiss scene
so I would say: worth the price of admission/rental but I do concede that the SM scenes failed to strike a chord
― Jan Geerinck (jahsonic), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 10:01 (sixteen years ago) link
Classic lines from not so classic films, part IX: "Now I know you really love me. No one else would eat my shit."
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 20 May 2003 14:11 (sixteen years ago) link
I wasn't that blown away by Shiri at first (I think I was intially surprised by how 'Hollywood' it was), but I've grown to like it more and more over repeat viewings. The romantic stuff is a bit corny, but aside from that it's a great action movie.
I've got Symphony For Mr Vengeance and Die Bad on the way to me which I can't wait to see, have read good things about both.
― Mil, Saturday, 31 May 2003 00:16 (sixteen years ago) link
― PVC (peeveecee), Saturday, 31 May 2003 01:17 (sixteen years ago) link
― PVC (peeveecee), Saturday, 31 May 2003 01:18 (sixteen years ago) link
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Monday, 2 June 2003 09:08 (sixteen years ago) link
just saw Tale of Two Sisters and thought it was fantastic. manages to pull above the standard slow burn morose style that a lot of Asian horror is doing (though it too has long haired spooky girls). great macabre set design and multifaceted story/performances. next up, Whispering Corridors 3: Wishing Stairs.
i also liked Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance quite a bit as unrelentingly bleaks as it is. anybody see the My Wife is a Gangster films?
― scissors (Honda), Tuesday, 9 December 2003 12:03 (sixteen years ago) link
― Tuomas (Tuomas), Tuesday, 9 December 2003 15:04 (sixteen years ago) link
― amateur!st (amateurist), Monday, 2 February 2004 22:32 (fifteen years ago) link
Turning Gate is not only one of the best of the new Korean cinema, it is one of the greatest films I've seen in about ten years.
Come to think of it, ALL of Hong Sang-Soo's films are fantastic.
― BabyBuddha (BabyBuddha), Monday, 2 February 2004 23:04 (fifteen years ago) link
i was surprised honestly because i tend to think of asian cinemas, korea's especially, as notably chaste (even the japanese cinema if you except the subgenres of sadeian violence and sex, and of course porn) in what they can portray, but aside from the pubic hair thing, which is trivial as you note, these were some of the most forceful and almost discomfortingly realistic sex scenes i'd ever seen
― amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 3 February 2004 11:13 (fifteen years ago) link
Woman on the Beach out on DVD today.
― Dr Morbius, Tuesday, 30 December 2008 15:08 (ten years ago) link
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 22 November 2019 01:50 (two weeks ago) link
Parasite = o
― longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Saturday, 30 November 2019 03:02 (one week ago) link