Festival film review: This Charming Girl

Lee Yoon-ki (이윤기) This Charming Girl (여자, 정혜, 2004, 99 mins). Review by Robert Cottingham. You know how people talk about reality TV, even though there is nothing ‘real’ about it? Well, if you wanted to see actual reality, the sheer day-to-day mundane-ness of the average person’s life, then this film is the closest you […]

Korean films at the 2018 BFI London Film Fest

An exciting selection of Korean movies is lined up for the BFI London Film Festival, of which the highlight is undoubtedly Burning. Finally: Lee Chang-dong will be in town! All details below are from the BFI LFF website. Become a member and get access to tickets from 6 September, a week earlier than general release. […]

Film review: The Battleship Island

Synopsis Some nasty Japanese are being beastly to the Korean forced labourers in an offshore Japanese coal mine as the Second World War comes to a close. And one or two Koreans aren’t exactly being that patriotic either. In the middle of it all is a weak, venal Korean who is among the labourers with […]

Battleship Island gets a UK release

Last summer it was Kim Seong-hun’s Tunnel that got a UK release even while the movie was still topping the Korean box office. This year the summer blockbuster Battleship Island, released in Korea on 27 July, gets some London screenings just two weeks later, from 11 August. The film raked in $27 million in box […]

Brief review: Lee Seok-hoon’s Himalaya

What do Himalaya (Lee Seok-hoon, 2015), Possessed (Lee Yong-ju, 2009) and A Better Tomorrow (Song Hae-seong, 2012) have in common? They are all Korean films which I have gone to a screening room or theatre to watch but couldn’t be bothered to stay to the end. When you pop a DVD into the machine at […]

Festival Film Review: Ode to My Father

The time is the present. Yoon Deok-su, a grandfather living in Busan but born in South Hamgyong province in North Korea, looks back at his life of hardship which has coincided exactly with the life of the Republic of Korea. Surrounded by his grandchildren, he has managed to raise his family from nothing to relative prosperity, […]