Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite wins Palme d’Or

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (기생충) is the first Korean film to take the Palme d’Or – the top prize – at the Cannes Film Festival. The awards were announced last night, 25 May. Announcing the 2019 CST Artist-Technician Prize, the Jury also noted Lee Ha-jun’s outstanding work as Artistic Director on the movie. According to Arirang […]

The Duke of York’s visit to Korea

HRH Prince Andrew paid a visit to Korea last week, and as part of his visit retraced the footsteps of his mother’s state visit twenty years ago. He arrived on 12 May and his first engagement was a reception hosted by the ambassador HE Simon Smith: https://twitter.com/TheDukeOfYork/status/1127907416526458885 The next day, after giving a welcome speech […]

Festival Film Review: Dark Figure of Crime

In a standard police procedural about a serial killer, a detective – maybe a bit of a loner, often with a drink problem – goes from crime scene to crime scene, from victim to victim, trying to fit together the pieces of the jigsaw that will eventually lead to the murderer, before the next crime […]

Brief review: Samuel Hawley — The Imjin War

Samuel Hawley: The Imjin War – Japan’s Sixteenth-Century Invasion of Korea and Attempt to Conquer China 2nd Edition, Conquistador Press 2014 Originally published by Royal Asiatic Society Korea Branch, Seoul, 2005 How is it that a 664 page book only merits a brief review? Well, because as an historical book a proper review should only […]

Book review: Kim Young-ha – Diary of a Murderer

Kim Young-ha: Diary of a Murderer and other stories Translated by Krys Lee Mariner Books, 2019, 200pp Originally published as 살인자의 기억법, Munhakdongne, 2013 Somewhat rashly, I approach Kim Young-ha’s novels with a keen sense of anticipation, particularly when translated by Krys Lee. Rashly, because with high expectations you usually set yourself up for a […]

May events 2019

A very busy month for music, among other things. Exhibitions: Kimsooja’s To Breathe is installed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park; Haegue Yang’s Tracing Movement is at South London Gallery until 26 May; Jukhee Kwon’s work is in October Gallery’s 40th birthday show until 25 May; Lee Jaehyo and Kim Bumsu are at Pontone Gallery until […]

BTS tops the UK album charts

BTS is the first Korean band to top the UK album charts, according to the Official Charts Company. Their new EP, Map of The Soul: Persona, released on 12 April, came straight in at number 1, while its lead single Boy With Luv (ft Halsey) narrowly missed a top 10 entry, coming in at number […]

2018 travel diary 3 – The Smile of Baekje

10 – 11 November 2018. My trips to Korea are usually preceded by a hurried piece of research on the Cultural Heritage Administration (CHA) website trying to find out what notable items of tangible or intangible heritage, or what other historic or scenic sites there might be, to attract an inquisitive traveller to the places […]

Why I’m beginning to warm to Netflix

After a rocky start with Netflix, I’m now coming round to it. I started subscribing to the online service in order to watch Okja, the Netflix-only feature film by director Bong Joon-ho. Although that particular experience was a big disappointment, I continued the subscription in case I was tempted by any of the other movies […]

Book review: Hwang Sok-yong – At Dusk

Hwang Sok-yong: At Dusk Translated by Sora Kim-Russell Scribe, 2018, 188pp Originally published as 해질 무렵, Munhakdongne, 2015 What a relief it is when a novel is both thought-provoking and a pleasure to read. Hwang Sok-yong’s At Dusk made me look forward to my daily commute (pretty much the only time I get to read). […]