The tradition and future of South Korean cinema

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The tradition and future of South Korean cinema

Before the turn of the millennium, few people, if any, could have foreseen that South Korean culture would go global.

After years of Japanese colonialism, the Korean War and a series of military governments, the real democratic transition took place in 1987.

Since then, the country that was once known as the “Land of Morning Calm,” has become one of the most important economies in the world. But when it comes to Korean culture, it’s not long ago that much of the West’s understanding has grown beyond K-pop and music. Gangnam Style.

The situation of Korean movies is a bit different, however. Since the beginning of 2000, movies like Park Chan-wook Old manor Kim Ki-duk’s Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Springit has attracted people all over the world.

Today, Korean films and series are an important part of the entertainment industry world.

The Busan International Film Festival, which is held in the second city of South Korea, is one of the most important festivals in Asia, and the country is the fifth largest film market in the world. about $ 1.7 billion (€1.6 billion) a year.

Korean entertainment is popular from America to Africa. It offers something for everyone, from horror to action to soap operas. The “Hallyu,” or Korean new wave of pop culture, has spread throughout the world, especially in movies. Parasite won Oscars and many international awards.

The term “Hallyuwood” has also been used to describe South Korean cinema, along with Hollywood, Bollywood (Hindi cinema) and Nollywood (Nigerian cinema).

Breaking film boundaries

The trend is only growing. Major US studios have opened branches in South Korea with the aim of co-producing films.

American versions of South Korean movies are popular, and streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ compete for popularity when it comes to movies. Korea.

In 2023, Netflix hopes to continue the success of the series Squid Game and it offers a lot of pictures and series of South Korea.

The production of Netflix Kill Boksoon and other Korean films will premiere at the 2023 Berlinale.

Meanwhile, European cinemas are showing the new film from director Park Chan-wook, Option to Leave, where he won best director at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

Despite the commercial success of their films, South Korean directors are not afraid to spoil the movie information media; or inject strange times like when Old man main character Oh Dae-su eats a live octopus.

Think stories on all sides

The cinema’s willingness to defy limits and its wealth of creative energy seem to stem from South Korea’s recent history.

Most Korean movies grew up during the period of public resistance to the military government. They secretly watched and discussed banned movies in their university theaters.

In addition, the sudden split with North Korea, along with the dominance of turbo-capitalism in the South, revealed a lot of world opinion.

The crisis of large corporations, and the widening gap between the rich and the poor – all that provides rich material for artists.

South Korea is also a country where creativity and innovation are very important: Cultural sights can be found, not only in the capital, Seoul but also also in all major cities. If someone wants to capture people’s attention here, they have to do something unique.

There are few female directors

The high level of domestic production does not matter either. Anyone who has been to South Korea knows that cinema is celebrated together and in public. For example, a car park in the big city of Jeonju, which is known for its international coverage, displays a statue of a photographer – and this is the whole year, not just during the festival season.

The coming years will show the improvement of the South Korean film industry for the future. One of its greatest weaknesses is that it is still dominated by men. Only in recent years has this started to change: At the 2019 film festival in Busan, 27% of Korean films were made by women – a huge jump from last year.

Now, after Korean movies and series around the world, it remains to be seen whether Hallyuwood will face the same problem as its name: temporary production or financial problems. But just as Hollywood continues to reinvent itself, perhaps South Korean cinema, a young but strong tradition, will do the same to remain relevant in the future. After all, the country certainly has many stories to tell.

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