My Scary Girl (달콤, 살벌한 연인, 2006)

Synopsis A timid college lecturer, Dae-woo, who is smart but has never been in love, meets a mysterious but charming woman, Mi-na. With no skills to win a date, he asks her out awkwardly. To his surprise, she accepts. And as a first time lover, he behaves very unnaturally. However, as they fall in love,… Read More

Kim Ki-young’s The Housemaid (하녀) Remastered (1960)

When I reviewed the digitally restored print of The Housemaid at last year’s Pusan International Film Festival, I asserted that, when Kim Ki-young’s classic was released on video, it would be one of the most cherished DVDs of the year. Having seen the new Korean region-free transfer, I’ve had to temper my enthusiasm somewhat, though… Read More

Kim Ki-young (김기영) Collection

This month, Taewon Entertainment, under the auspices of the Korean Film Archive, has released a boxset of four films by legendary director Kim Ki-young. It has been over a decade since the 2nd Pusan International Film Festival hosted the first major retrospective of the director’s work, leading to requests from festivals the world over to… Read More

Hyperbola of Youth (청춘쌍곡선,1956)

Hyperbola of Youth (1956), Han Hyung-mo’s satirical musical comedy, tells the story of two friends, one rich, the other poor, both suffering from digestive disorders, who agree to exchange lifestyles for two weeks on the advice of their physician. Each of them falls in love with the other’s younger sister and by the end of… Read More

Family Ties

The box office success of films like last year’s The King and the Clown and this year’s The Host can’t conceal the fact that Korean cinema is facing difficult times. Exports of domestic films have dropped dramatically, as have those of television dramas. Industry watchers have pointed out the current under-representation of Korean films at… Read More

Ek Hasina Thi

Women in prison films have been with us for ages, and it looks as though they will continue to attract directors for a long time to come. My personal favorite is Female Convict Scorpion Jailhouse 41 (1972). Oddly enough, the most recent incarnation of the genre I’ve seen, Park Chan-Wook’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2006),… Read More

Daytime Drinking

Already screened at half a dozen film festivals worldwide (including Toronto and Rotterdam), with still a few more on the horizon, Daytime Drinking, the ultra low budget road movie by Noh Young-seok, signals the arrival of a fresh new voice in Korean cinema. While Noh—who served as writer, cinematographer, producer, editor and composer on his… Read More

Between Love and Hate (연애, 그 참을 수 없는 가벼움, 2006)

Straddling an uneasy line between humor and pathos, Between Love & Hate, the tale of an affair between Yeong-hun (Kim Seung-woo), an engaged man working as a waiter in his mother’s restaurant and Yeon-ah (Jang Jin-yeong), a hostess in a karaoke bar, is a singularly frustrating experience. The drama signals the directorial debut of actor/screenwriter… Read More

Angel Guts: Red Classroom [Tenshi No Harawata Akai Kyoshitsu]

Synopsis Muraki, a photographer for a pornographic magazine, develops a morbid infatuation for a young woman while watching her take part in a stag film, in which she is raped by three students. He eventually learns of her whereabouts, and arranges to meet with her in an isolated park. Upon discovering that she was the… Read More

Madame Freedom (1956)

“You chose depravity instead of your duties as a mother.”– Professor Jang Origins of Madame Freedom Madame Freedom was the most popular as well as the most controversial film of its time. The screenplay was based on a serialized novel by Jung Bee-suk. When it was published, the portrayal of women’s new-found sexual freedom aroused… Read More