An amazing nation, A standout culture, Extraordinary movies and The Academy Awards!
I am delighted that Korean cinema is finally getting the recognition that has been long overdue!
Parasite (2019) is the first foreign language film to win the “Best Motion Picture” award, in the history of the Oscars.
It was back in 2007, that I watched my first Korean film ‘Oldboy‘, a gritty action thriller, released in 2003. I was left spellbound by this sensational plot, flawless screenplay and top class acting.
I followed it up with two more movies, from very different genres.
‘The Host‘ (2006), a monster movie, and ‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird” (2008), an action comedy movie.
Since then, I have watched a few hundred Korean movies till date, and a large majority of them are exceptional. Starting with Chan-wook Park, I have watched movies from Bong Joon-ho, Kim Ki-duk 김기덕 and Na Hong-jin / Hong-jin Na and found each of them amazingly well made.
I have also come to love two particular actors, among a host of super talents, that Korean cinema has offered to the world.
Choi Min-sik (Oldboy, I saw the Devil, The Tiger etc.)
and Song Kang-Ho (송강호) (Parasite, The host, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance etc.)
I have been laughed at and ridiculed for my obsession with Korean cinema, over the last decade or so, and many people find it amusing, probably even unbelievable, that I watch so many movies in a language I don’t understand. But Korean cinema is worth every minute I have invested.
So, for those who are relatively open minded, and wish to explore Korean cinema, now that it has been endorsed by the Academy Awards, here is my list of top ten Korean films that I have watched and thoroughly loved:
(they are not ranked in order and I have kept Parasite out, since it is now well known)
1. OldBoy (2003) – Action, Thriller
2. Memories of a Murder (2003) – Crime, Drama
3. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002) – Thriller
4. The Man from Nowhere (2010) – Action, Thriller
5. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004) – War, Drama
6. Silenced (2011) – Drama
7. The Chaser (2008) – Crime, Thriller
8. I saw the Devil (2012) – Action, Thriller
9. Mother (2009) – Drama, Thriller
10. Oasis (2002) – Drama, Romance
Give them a try. You won’t regret!