Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun15,2024

Having become a veritable El Dorado for film buffs, South Korean cinema is undoubtedly one of the most exciting in the world. A few years ago, we offered you a top 15 of South Korean films. Today we offer you seven lesser-known but equally masterful films that you absolutely must see.

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

#1 Foul King, by Kim Jee-woon (2000)

Now an international star thanks to the global success of Parasite (2019) by Bong Joon-ho, Song Kang-ho is undoubtedly the greatest South Korean actor. Favorite actor of Park Chan-wook (Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mister VengeanceThirst) and Bong Joon-ho (Memories of MurderThe Host, SnowpiercerParasite ), he is also the muse of the great Kim Jee-woon.He is also the director of A Bittersweet Life and I met the Devilwho gave him his first major starring role with Fool King.

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

The film, recently distributed for the first time in France thanks to The Jokers àgrave; the occasion of a Kim Jee-woon cycle, is a brilliant social and sports comedy, telling the story of an employee who non-productive bank, which to escape his boss, who hates him and throws arms at him, becomes a wrestler. In addition to demonstrating – for those who didn't yet know it – the comic genius of Song Kang-ho, Fool Kingshows us his involvement, since he learned to do very complex takes, in order to do them without a stunt double. The birth of a cinema genius!

#2 Thirst, by Park Chan-wook (2009)

A true leader of South Korean New Wave cinema, Park Chan-wook is a true genius, whose mastery of staging is enough to discourage one from ever touching a camera. After Joint Security Area, The Vengeance Trilogy and the comedy I Am a Cyborg, the filmmaker is back with Thirst, a vampire film inspired by Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola. A South Korean priest – died after having served as a guinea pig for a vaccine – resuscitated, following a blood transfusion of unknown origin, and turns into a vampire. He will meet a beautiful young woman, with whom he will share certain appetites.

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

In addition to recalling the ingenuity of by Park Chan-wook as director,Thirst confirms all his talent as a screenwriter.The Korean director takes advantage of adapting Zola's novel to question our relationship to male and female sexual desires. Song Kang-ho is brilliant as usual, and his Play partner, Kim Ok-vin, is stunningly beautiful. and poisonous charm. 

#3 Mother, by Bong Joon-ho (2009)

After the masterpieces Memories of Murder (2003) andThe Host(2006) and before launching into the conquest of Hollywood withSnowpiercer (2013) andOkja (2016), the great Bong Joon-ho directed a little nugget, unfortunately too often forgotten: Mother. The film tells the story of a family woman's fight to exonerate her disabled son, accused of murder. of the murder of a young girl.As with As usual, Bong Joon-ho brilliantly mixes several genres; here, the detective film, the social chronicle and the comedy.

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

If the pace is slower than in his other films, Mother nonetheless remains a great Korean film, which manages to achieve create a certain unease, particularly with its profoundly immoral finale. Above all, Bong Joon-ho manages to achieve this. play with the image of the actress Kim Hye-ja, imperial in the film, well accustomed to the roles of mothers for South Korean television. p>

#4 The Murderer, by Na hONG-JIN (2010)

With only three films, Na Hong-jin rose to the top of the list. among the greatest filmmakers in the world. From his first shock film, the relentless thrillerThe Chaser(2008) inspired by serial killer Yoo Young-chul -, the filmmaker demonstrated his astonishing mastery of his art. In 2010, Na Hong-jin made his big comeback with  The Murderer (also known by its English title,  The Yellow Sea), in which he confirmed the essay. The film tells the story of a joseonjok – a Korean from China – who is in debt. up to his neck, forced to agree to kill a man Seoul on behalf of a local mafia boss.

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

With unprecedented violence, sublimated by an enraged production , The Murdereris a true masterpiece. Na Hong-jin reunites with the duo of main actors from The Chaser and reverses the roles. If Kim Yoon-seok impresses with his menacing charisma, Ha Jeong- woo (Mademoiselle) proves once again that he is one of the greatest South Korean actors, alongside Song Kang-ho and Choi Min-sik. After the extraordinaryThe Strangersand his impressive double shamanic ritual sequence, we can't wait to discover his next film scheduled for 2025.

#5 Burning, by Lee Chang-dong (2018)

#5 Burning, by Lee Chang-dong (2018)


If we can be surprised that so few works by the legendary Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami have been published. adapted to the cinema, we can be satisfied that some of these adaptations are great films. BeforeDrive My Car (2021) by Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, South Korean Lee Chang-dong adapted the short storyThe Burnt Barns, whose action he transposed to South Korea, to express the malaise of Korean youth.

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

The film, which tells the story of the love triangle between Jong-soo, a young introverted delivery man, Hae-mi, an attractive young woman who mysteriously disappears, and Ben, a rich, charismatic young man who burns barns, is < strong>an admirable adaptation of Murakami's work, of which he manages perfectly; capture poetry, melancholy and strangeness. A great film!

#6 About Kim Sohee, by July Jung (2022)

Eight years after the release of her first film, A Girl At My Door (2014), July Jung returned in 2022 withAbout Kim Sohee, which returns to a news item that shocked everyone. the company South Korean. A high school student with a strong character. is joining a Korea Telecom center for his end-of-study internship. A few months later, she committed suicide. A police inspector is investigating the circumstances of this tragedy.

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

Pointing out the dysfunctions and aberrations of neo-liberalism and society. South Korean, this drama is an essential film, brought to life by the always excellent Bae Doo-na (Sympathy for Mister Vengeance,Cloud Atlas). The film also marks the debut of a great actress – the young Kim Si-eun – whose career we can't wait to discover.

#7 The Good Stars, by Hirokazu Kore-eda (2022)

One of the most renowned Japanese filmmakers, Hirokazu Kore-eda posed its cameras in South Korea for a fascinating film: Les Bonnes Étoiles. Telling the story of brokers who steal babies abandoned by their parents to sell them on the market. adoption black, the film continues Kore-eda's thoughts on family. Full of grace and delicacy, the film mixes social comedy, social drama and detective film.

After Parasite and Old Boy, seven lesser-known Korean masterpieces

Les Bonnes É canvases is a new peak in the career of Hirokazu Kore-eda, carried by two legends of South Korean cinema, Song Kang-ho and Bae Doo-na. The film left the 2022 Cannes Film Festival with two prizes under its belt: the Ecumenical Jury Prize and the Male Actor Prize for Song Kang-ho. The film In the same year, Park Chan-wook's latest masterpiece, Decision to Leave, won the Cannes Director's Prize. South Korean cinema definitely has great days ahead of it!

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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