As Korean pop culture continues its worldwide ascent, now is a perfect time to catch up with the wild, genre-defying pleasures of the seemingly unstoppable movement known as the New Korean Cinema. Bringing together essential works by major directors like Bong Joon Ho (THE HOST, MOTHER), Park Chan-wook (SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE), Kim Jee-woon (A TALE OF TWO SISTERS), and Ryoo Seung-wan (CRYING FIST) this sampler of modern classics and cult favorites spotlights the innovative artists who have powered the commercial and creative renaissance that completely transformed South Korea’s film industry from the mid 1990s through the late 2000s. Characterized by an ingenious mixing and subversion of genre conventions and an effortless blending of art-house and commercial sensibilities, these visceral, audaciously constructed films deliver both high-octane thrills and biting social and political critiques of contemporary Korean life.
Guest programmed by Goran Topalovic, cofounder of Subway Cinema and the New York Asian Film Festival
Directed by Kim Jee-woon • 1998 • South Korea
Starring Park In-hwan, Na Moon-hee, Song Kang-ho
The feature debut from Kim Jee-woon is an audaciously warped blend of horror-thriller and pitch-black comedy. At their newly opened mountain inn, recent Seoul transplants the Kang family find themselve...
Directed by Bong Joon Ho • 2000 • South Korea
Starring Lee Sung-jae, Bae Doona, Kim Ho-jung
Bong Joon Ho’s entertainingly warped feature debut teems with the genre-bending tonal shifts, pitch-black humor, and astute social commentary that have become his trademarks. Ko Yun-ju (Lee Sung-jae), an ...
Directed by Park Chan-wook • 2002 • South Korea
Starring Song Kang-ho, Shin Ha-kyun, Bae Doona
The first film in Park Chan-wook’s bracing VENGEANCE TRILOGY is a morally complex human tragedy wrapped in the guise of a stylish, blood-spattered thriller. Unable to afford proper care for his sister ...
Directed by Kim Jee-woon • 2003 • South Korea
Starring Kim Kap-su, Yum Jung-ah, Lim Soo-jung
Inspired by a popular Korean folktale, Kim Jee-woon’s dreamily disturbing, spectrally beautiful psychological puzzle helped to popularize K-horror abroad when it became the first of its genre to be distr...
Directed by Bong Joon Ho • 2006 • South Korea
Starring Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il
Equal parts creature-feature thrill ride and poignant human drama, Bong Joon Ho’s exhilarating international breakthrough jolted new life into the monster-movie formula with its bracing intelligence, ...
Directed by Bong Joon Ho • 2009 • South Korea
Starring Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Jin Goo
Bong Joon Ho’s follow-up to his international triumph THE HOST uses a mother’s fierce, primal love for her son as the basis for singularly arresting, audacious murder mystery. Mother (a stunning Kim Hye-ja, playi...