17-23 April 2020

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HIFF Blog

October 27, 2019

SPOTLIGHT ON SOUTH KOREA: A Multi-Sighted Experience at HIFF39

With the awards and box-office success of Bong Joon-ho's PARASITE leading the pack, South Korean cinema is taking a greater presence on the world stage. Program coordinator Lee Ngo writes about HIFF39's South Korean film selections.

Im Yoon-a (GIRLS GENERATION) co-stars in the action comedy EXIT. 

With reigning Cannes Palme d’Or winner PARASITE (dir. Bong Jong-ho) taking the world by storm critically and commercially, the bar for cinema from South Korea has never been this imposingly high. Audiences have almost come to expect nothing but the best psychological horror drama seemingly unique to the peninsula, ushered in by auteurs such as Bong and Park Chan-wook (OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE).

Yet South Korea’s film industry is far more developed and diverse than international audiences might come to believe. We’ve selected six notable films that appeal to a broad audience, ranging from action thrillers to comedic romps to - what else - romantic dramas. 

For your consideration: our SPOTLIGHT ON KOREA:

ANOTHER CHILD (dir. Kim Yoon-seok) - High school student Joo-ri discovers that her father has been having an affair with the mother of her schoolmate, Yoon-ah. Joo-ri and Yoon-ah must begrudgingly learn together what it means to be a family.

BAD GUYS: REIGN OF CHAOS (dir. Son Yong-ho) - While a prisoner transport vehicle turns over and the baddest of the bad escape, the police decide to re-assemble a former crime unit comprised of ex-cons to hunt them down.

EXIT (dir. Lee Sang-Geun) - When a disaster strikes, covering an entire district in Seoul with mysterious toxic gas, Yong-Nam, a disgraced rock climber, must use his “unique set of skills" to get everyone to safety.

INSEPARABLE BROS. (dir. Yook Sang-Hyo) - Two kids—a quadriplegic and a mentally handicapped boy—find each other at a foster home for children with special needs. But after living 20 years together, the local government threatens to tear them apart.

MAN OF MEN (dir. Soo Yong) - Young-ki, a low-life gangster who wants to turn his life around, unexpectedly crosses paths with Jang-soo, a ruthless lawyer with a terminal illness. What follows is a light-hearted but also profoundly life-changing journey into friendship.

VERTIGO (dir. Jeon Gye-soo) - A contract office worker who works in a tall tower in Seoul suffers from vertigo. As her affair with her boss unravels, her mental stability breaks down as well.


Check out our full SPOTLIGHT ON KOREA


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