Parasite: a non-review

What can one say about a movie that has won Best Picture at Cannes and the Oscars, that has won best screenplay at the Oscars and BAFTAs, best edited drama feature at the Eddies, and best ensemble performance at the Screen Actors Guild? A movie that has been seen more widely in this country, and […]

Bong Joon-ho’s BAFTA talk has now been uploaded

Bong Joon-ho’s BAFTA lecture at the Curzon Mayfair on 12 December 2019 has now been uploaded to the BAFTA Guru Youtube channel. The talk was part of a lecture series that “exists to celebrate screenwriters’ authorial contribution to film and gives esteemed writers a platform to share highlights and insights from their careers with an […]

A review of the Korean cultural year 2019

A review of some of the highlights and trends in the Korean cultural year, primarily in London but also with half an eye to anything we might have seen elsewhere in the UK. The review is a personal one, inevitably skewed towards the events we managed to get to. Introduction This time last year I […]

Film Review: Love, Lies (Park Heung-sik, 2016)

An historic album made by a hitherto unknown Korean popular music singer from the colonial period is literally unearthed in a modern-day construction site. Miraculously, although the LP is damaged, audio engineers can restore the sound to something like the original, for broadcast on a golden oldies radio show. But who is the singer, and […]

Review: Kokdu – a story of guardian angels

The death of a grandmother in remote, rural Jindo becomes dramatically intertwined with a stage performance by dancers, court and folk musicians from the National Gugak Centre as they portray the journey of a soul in the afterlife. The unauthorised purchase of a Jindo puppy by her two grandchildren gets them entangled in the drama […]

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: Crossroads of Youth

Crossroads of Youth, Korea’s earliest surviving feature-length movie, was a great way to start the season of films from Korea’s colonial period. It is a season that could not have taken place 15 years ago, because these films have only recently come to light in the film archives of Beijing, Moscow and Tokyo. Crossroads of […]

Movie review: E J-Yong – My Brilliant Life

A feelgood Korean drama which the main character has a fatal and incurable disease, and who is writing an account for the benefit of loved ones when he is gone? Been there, done that. Well, not exactly: when the director is E J-Yong and the movie is an adaptation of a Kim Aeran novel, you […]

Festival Film Review: The Return

I was as delighted as I was surprised when I saw that the London Korean Film Festival had selected The Return for its closing gala screening. The huge numbers of overseas adoptions from Korea is often a sidelined subject and understandably wouldn’t be a natural choice when showcasing Korean culture and arts. But the 2018 […]

Festival Film Review: Microhabitat

Miso just about gets by, living in a cockroach-infested room, earning just enough to pay the rent by taking low-paid cleaning jobs. She has to budget carefully, and can just afford a couple of her little indulgences: smoking cigarettes (preferably foreign brands), and frequenting whisky bars for a drop of single malt on the way […]