Is Lady Vengeance REALLY the best Korean film of the decade?

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That’s what The Times seems to think. I’ve never had much confidence in that paper when it comes to Korean film (one of their critics in particular, Wendy Ide, seems to have a complete downer on the country), but I’m not sure that many informed Korean film buffs would agree with the choice of Lady Venceance as the top Korean film of the Noughties. I’m not sure even that Park Chan-wook fans would nominate it as his best.

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Yesterday’s Times had one of those periodic “top films” lists, this one being the top 100 films of the decade. The only Korean film to make it, at #97, was Lady V. The top East Asian film in the list (unless you consider Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, at #17) is Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love (#37), followed by Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (#61), Edward Yang’s A One and a Two (#82), Zhang Yimou’s House of Flying Daggers (#93), Lady V and then Kinji Fukusaku’s Battle Royale (#99).

Team America Kim Jong-il puppetAnd dull-as-ditchwater films such as Gladiator make it in at #32.

Any consolations? Team America, World Police, with its famous Kim Jong-il puppet, is at #5.

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2 thoughts on “Is Lady Vengeance REALLY the best Korean film of the decade?

    • Colette: Certainly not! I think it is Park Chan-wook’s least successful film. Sympathy for Mr Vengeance is my personal favorite, although I think Old Boy would be on other people’s lists. I suspect the people who write stuff like this know very little about East Asian cinema generally and Korean cinema specifically. And I agree I don’t think Park Chan-wook would nominate it as his best film.
    • Philip: Difficult to know which K-film to nominate as the best of the decade. I think I’d vote for Memories of Murder, but it’s a tough decision.
    • Aashish: The fact that Team America is number 5 tells you how seriously you should take this list! Oh and I agree, Mr Vengeance is the best in the trilogy.
    • Philip: I’d definitely agree that Mr V is the best in the trilogy, but I think Lady V is the most accessible to a westerner.
    • Aashish: Its also the most marketable as the western market only wants asian films that are violent, wierd and brutal. So called ‘extreme’ cinema. Lady V is not a bad film by any means, the visuals are stunning for one, but yes western joirnalists need to open their minds a bit more.
    • Colette: Absolutely agree Aashish, and although I work mainly with horror film and do write about extreme cinema, it is a stereotype that excludes so many other good films. I hope to address this issue in my book as I think it is so important.
    • Kay: I would vote for Memories of Murder too – It really lingers with you in a way the violent ones do not.

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