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Member Lists

The "New" Korean Cinema
List creator: markhl
Created on: December 24, 2003 - 5:04 PM PST
Description: After a long period of time when korean films were domindated by international films, the quality of these have dramatically improved over the last ~ 10 years to produce some excellent films.. These are my picks/reviews from those in the GC catalog..

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average rating MPAA rating watch rent buy
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
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Oldboy (2004)
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  Parts I and II of the "Vengeance trilogy" by the acclaimed director, Park Chan Wook. Sympathy I provides a raw, powerful take on this universal theme while the better known film, Oldboy, is an amazingly orchestrated follow-up. Kudos to the wonderful performances by the ensemble casts of both of these films.
Oasis (2002)
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Not Rated
  A pair of brilliant performances by the two lead actors keeps us from distancing ourselves emotionally from the handicapped protagonists.. A very human, imaginative portrayal of those usually hidden from society..
Christmas in August (1998)
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  Korean cinema is replete with romances but this one from a while back avoids the cliches of the genre. Very subtle and understated portrayal of a moment in life. Christmas.. avoids melodrama and is refreshingly simple.. a sentimental favorite..
Failan (2001)
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Not Rated
  An often overlooked and underrated film in my opinion. Choi Min Sik establishes himself as the best actor of his generation with performances like these. Can a person whom you've never known make you re-evaluate your entire life? Is it already too late?
Memories of Murder (1990)
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Not Rated
  The best crime mystery to come out of Korea. Memories.. topped the box office for much of 2003. The story of Korea's first serial murder case serves as the medium by which we're transported into the difficult sociopolitical conditions of the '80s.
3-Iron (2004)
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  Simpler is quite often better. And this latest offering from Kim Ki Duk is a refreshing piece which doesn't rely on provacative subject matter nor excessive violence to entertain. A simple message.. beautifully delivered.
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
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  Essentially a drama/mystery which incorporates horror elements commonly used in japanese films for a great combined effect. Arguably the best korean horror to date, this blend may have started a trend, as followed by films like The Uninvited (2004)
Save the Green Planet (2003)
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Not Rated
  A rollercoaster ride of emotions elliciting absurd disbelief at one moment to deep pathos the next. Shin Ha Kyun shows that his wonderful acting in Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance was not a fluke with this delicate role. Unexpectedly unforgettable..
Samaritan Girl (2004)
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  As a director who seems to revel in making unapologetic films with challenging and controversial subjects, Kim Ki Duk presents a sobering look into the world of teenage prostitution. "Sonata," in particular, is powerfully moving and unforgettable.
My Sassy Girl (2001)
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Not Rated
  One of my absolute favorite comedies, korean or not. It's unfortunate that the korean word "Yupgi" cannot be better translated for the title ("bizarre" may be a better fit). A perfect blend of silly comedy and light romance..
Chunhyang (2000)
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  An atypical film which presents an old and familiar folk tale with a creative blend of the movie format and traditional pansori. Im Kwon-Taek, the "Kurosawa Akira" of korean cinema was only recently recognized internationally at Cannes 2002.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring (2003)
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  A grounded piece which draws upon fundamental buddhist principles to teach about life and self. Although it's surprising Kim Ki Duk made this theme-wise, the stunning cinematography and location are reminiscent of an earlier piece by him, The Isle.
Friend (2001)
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  A well-shot film that was immensely popular in Korea but may not cater to foreign audiences. The central themes of friendship, loyalty, and pride are emphasized to a greater extent in korean youth than in the US.. possibly the best of this genre
The Quiet Family (1998)
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  A rather strange, dark comedy from which the japanese film, The Happiness of the Katakuris, was made. Not ALL comedy from Korea is of the romantic variety! (just 80% of them :p) Song Kang Ho is pretty funny in this one.
Take Care of My Cat (2001)
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  The coming of age genre is a bit cliched but I enjoyed how real the characters (and situations) were. It's also a refreshing break away from Seoul to a smaller, more native locales in Korea. Almost like a step back in time for those used to seeing Seoul imagery in korean entertainment.
My Beautiful Girl, Mari (2002)
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Not Rated
  My only wish for korean animation is for more future work to be put together as well as this one... (instead of the well-animated-but-soulless pieces like Wonderful Days).. It takes some getting used to for japanese anime viewers..
Volcano High (2002)
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  This will be a place holder until Arahan (2004) comes in. The latter film is a great blend of comedy and martial arts and far supasses films like Bichunmoo and Volcano High..
My Wife is a Gangster (Bonus Disc) (2001)
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Not Rated
  Filler:
Keep an eye out for some more titles: Peppermint Candy (2000), Bungee Jumping of their Own (2001), One Fine Spring Day (2001), A Bittersweet Life (2005). Koreanfilm.org is an excellent info site.

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