Bong Joon-ho makes Oscars history

We almost feared that he had jinxed himself with that comment about the Academy Awards being “very local”. The comment, made in an interview with Vulture in October 2019, was made in the context that it’s “not a big deal” that a Korean movie had yet to be nominated for an Oscar (the nominations for […]

Concert notes: Park Jiha at LSO St Lukes

What a difference a venue makes. Uncomfortable seats, noisy air conditioning and poor sight lines meant that Park Jiha’s gig at the Rich Mix in the 2019 K-music festival was less enjoyable than it could have been. At LSO St Luke’s at the end of January everything seemed right. Yes, there was the faint hiss […]

Brief book review: The Plotters

Kim Un-su: The Plotters Translated by Sora Kim-Russell Fourth Estate, 2019, 304 pp Originally published as 설계자들, Seoul 2010 I always find when embarking on a new book it pays to have neutral expectations. That way you won’t be disappointed. But sometimes it’s hard to filter out your own personal prejudices and the word of […]

Some non-fiction titles we can’t wait to read in 2020 [updated]

Outside of the wide range of upcoming literature and fiction titles, there’s plenty of non-fiction to look forward to as well. I’ve already highlighted three titles on Korean film which look worth exploring, and here’s the remainder of my 2020 reading longlist (which includes some titles from very late in 2019), split between (1) Books […]

February events 2020

We’re all keeping our fingers crossed for the two Korean movies with seven Oscar nominations between them. Be sure to buy your March copy of Sight & Sound (available from 3 Feb) guest-edited by man of the moment Bong Joon-ho. Music Unsuk Chin’s SPIRA – A Concerto for Orchestra – will be broadcast on Radio […]

Book review: When Adam Opens His Eyes

Jang Jung-il: When Adam Opens His Eyes Translated by Hwang Sun-ae and Horace Jeffery Hodges Dalkey Archive 2013, 126 pp Originally published as 아담이 눈뜰 때, Kimyeongsa, Seoul, 1990 Deleuze, Lacan, Bataille… if you’re reading a text that references any of those thinkers, you’re probably reading a rather turgid book on postcolonial or film studies, […]

Recently published books on Korean film

Having done my list of upcoming fiction titles, I’ve been working on a similar list of upcoming non-fiction. But in compiling the non-fiction list I’ve identified several titles that slipped under the radar towards the end of last year. Three of them relate to film. No doubt, following all the buzz about Parasite, there will […]

Global CONNECT, BTS art project launched at Serpentine

London’s Serpentine Gallery was chosen as the venue for today’s launch of a new international art project in collaboration with BTS. The band attended the event via a live stream. According to the Korea JoongAng Daily, the art project titled “CONNECT, BTS” is a series of exhibitions in five cities on four continents that is […]

Moon Jae-in’s 2020 New Year speech

Here is the text of President Moon Jae-in’s 2020 New Year Message, sourced from the Blue House website. Fellow Koreans, The New Year, the Year of the White Rat, has dawned. We rang out the significant past year that marked the centennial of the March First Independence Movement and the founding of the Provisional Republic […]

Upcoming literature and fiction titles in 2020 [updated]

I’m hoping that, as in previous years, by posting my own list of upcoming literature and fiction titles – pulled together by some targeted searching on Amazon and a trawl through Barbara J Zitwer’s website – I might persuade others to supplement it from their own specialist knowledge. Whatever happens, books inevitably fall through the […]

January events 2020

Thankfully, a reasonably quiet start to the New Year – and new decade. The KCC hasn’t yet announced its first season of film nights for the year – but in the past couple of years, if I recall right, those haven’t started until February anyway. But don’t miss their showcase of the Lady Hyegyong Uigwe. […]