Chungmuro/Film Reviews

Longer-form reviews on South Korean films.

Chungmuro is a district in Seoul that came to be known as the original center of the South Korean film industry (think: Korean Hollywood). Though many studios moved away from Chungmuro, it is still known as home to artists and film culture.
Archive for the ‘Chungmuro/Film Reviews’ Category

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Hanji
by | September 9, 2013 | 11 Comments
Hanji is the name for Korea’s traditional paper, made from the bark of dak, a tree that grows in some mountainous areas of Korea. It is also the international title of director Im Kwon-taek’s most recent film, which is unsurprisingly about the traditional Korean paper. In this film, director Im crosses the line between exploration... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Jung Yumi courted for big screen romance with Yoochun
by | September 7, 2013 | 73 Comments
Jung Yumi (God of the Workplace, I Need Romance 2012) is having quite the busy year in film and TV, and it looks like she’ll be going right from romancing Yoo Ah-in in Kkang-chulie to being paired with Yoochun (I Miss You) in his big screen debut. She’s still considering the role, but I hope... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Beyond the Years
by | September 1, 2013 | 8 Comments
Sopyonje is a masterwork of Korean cinema and a pinnacle to director Im Kwon-taek’s career that he has yet to match again. It also marks Im’s fascination with traditional Korean culture and the musical storytelling form of pansori in particular. At the same time, it was a film that was perfectly self contained, even with... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Chunhyang
by | August 25, 2013 | 66 Comments
Director Im Kwon-taek‘s Chunhyang is a notable film for many reasons. Principally, it is perhaps the most formalistically adventurous works from the director, nearing his hundredth film. It is also one in a long line of adaptations of the Joseon-era pansori, “Chunhyangga,” perhaps one of the best known and most widely appreciated traditional folk story-songs... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Festival
by | August 11, 2013 | 11 Comments
Continuing with his exploration of Korean history and culture, director Im Kwon-taek‘s ninety-fifth film, Festival, adapts the writing of Lee Chung-joon and takes a look at family relationships through the lens of the traditional Korean funeral customs. Festival incorporates a level of formalism uncommon in Im’s work that might turn off those looking for more straightforward... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Tazza: The High Rollers
by | August 5, 2013 | 19 Comments
Although it would fail to reach the lofty numbers set by The Host in the summer, Tazza: The High Rollers would turn out to be the big film of the fall of 2006. Building upon the success of his heist film of 2004, The Big Swindle, director Choi Dong-hoon’s Tazza returns to the world of... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: The Taebaek Mountains
by | July 6, 2013 | 12 Comments
Although North and South Korea eventually ended up divided mostly along ideological lines, after Korea was freed from Japanese control at the end of the Second World War, leftists and rightists understandably existed in cities all over the peninsula and the political spectrum even among them varied. As the tension between communist and capitalist ideologies... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: The Tower
by | June 22, 2013 | 34 Comments
Disaster films have been around since at least the 1970s and, although Korea doesn’t have a huge history of disaster films, it seems like ever since the Korean film industry has modernized and budgets have increased, Korea has been happy to take on the genre as well. This year we are being treated to The... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: Sopyonje
by | June 15, 2013 | 41 Comments
A long time ago, when I was a film student in college, we had a series of frequently changing classes that were considered “national cinema” classes and as aspiring film majors, each of us was required to take at least one such class. While there wasn’t a hard and fast definition for precisely what the... More »

Chungmuro/Film Reviews
Movie Review: The Thieves
by | June 8, 2013 | 110 Comments
Some directors have made careers on the backs of making certain kinds of movies and Choi Dong-hoon is one such director. In many ways, his filmography kind of resembles that of English director Guy Ritchie as both started with crime caper films and largely built their careers on similar films with a deviation or two.... More »