Two Korea-based critics have published lists of their top movies of the year. Many of them were screened in London this year and merited a mention in our own roundup which you can find here. And while the two critics have a lot more enthusiasm for Okja than I do both of them highlight some films which look like they are really worth tracking down.
First, Jason Becharvaise in the Korea Times adds three films to LKL’s list:
- Jane (꿈의제인) Cho Hyun-hoon – an “enigmatic and superbly performed” movie with a transgender theme;
- Merry Christmas Mr. Mo (메리크리스마스미스터모) Lim Dae-hyung’s tragi-comic debut feature – which screened at the LKFF this year;
- Mis-President (미스프레지던트) Kim Jae-hwan – a Jeonju screening which “follows the daily lives of an old man and a married couple who worship Park Chung-hee and Park Geun-hye like gods”.
And Pierce Conran of Modern Korean Cinema has the following additional films in his list of top 15 movies from 2017 (links are to reviews on his website):
- Microhabitat (소공녀) from Jeon Go-woon and the Gwanghwamun Cinema Collective – “the year’s most impressive debut and a standout from this year’s Busan International Film Festival”;
- Midnight Runners (청년경찰) Jason Kim “the most unabashedly entertaining Korean film of the year”;
- Ecology in Concrete (아파트 생태계) Jeong Jae-eun’s documentary film which “examines the short history of Seoul’s unique urban planning”;
- Two gangster flicks that screened at the LKFF: The Outlaws and The Merciless;
- Behind the Dark Knight (어둔 밤) Shim Chan-yang’s “mockumentary … about a troupe of young and inexperienced filmmakers”;
- Rather topical, given the upcoming ban on coffee cups in Seoul’s buses, is Coffee Noir: Black Brown (커피 느와르 블랙 브라운) by Jang Hyun-sang;
- The “absurd and counterintuitively magnetic action-noir” Real (리얼) by Love Lee makes it on the list as the so-bad-it’s-good wildcard.
Update 31 December 2017: Simon McEnteggart has added his own list over on Hanguk Yeonghwa. To the films already mentioned, Simon appends Han Jae-rim’s The King (an LKFF Teaser) and Park Moon-chil’s Blue Butterfly Effect (which screened at Jeonju) – a documentary about the installation of THAAD. Read Simon McEnteggart’s full list here.
Update 7 January 2018: and the “Best of” list that we’ve all been waiting for – Darcy’s – has been uploaded on koreanfilm.org. Jane and 1987 get further endorsement, along with Merry Christmas Mr Mo and The First Lap. New titles not on any other list so far are: Romans 8:37, dir. Shin Yeon-shick; Still and All, dir. Kim Young-jo; Ash Flower, dir. Park Suk-young; The Table, dir. Kim Jong-kwan; and, in a completely different vein, The Fortress, dir. Hwang Dong-hyuk