The South Korean culture wave has become an indomitable force in all entertainment genres. And while its most prominent ambassadors certainly are k pop And K-Dramas, the power of their film industry should not be underestimated. Korean cinema is finally getting the recognition it deserves Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film parasite Won 4 Oscars and countless other awards.
If you’re looking to explore the incredibly rich world of South Korean cinema on your next movie night, here’s a guide to the top ten titles currently streaming on Netflix. From lighthearted romantic comedies to carefully constructed critiques of modern society to heartbreaking crime thrillers, we’ve got it all.
20th Century Girl (2022)
Director/writer Bang Woo-ri’s big screen debut 20th Century Girls follows the life, love and struggles of teenagers in South Korea in 1999. Na Bo-ra (Kim Yoo-jung) promises her best friend Yeon-du (Roh Yoon-seo) to find out everything about Yeon-du and what she is Can Destroy Baek Hyun-jin (Park Jung-woo) while Yeon-du is in the US for heart surgery. In a typical case of mistaken identities, Bo-ra ends up falling in love with the exact same boy. This tear-jerking love drama will have you reaching for your tissues.
OK yes (2017)
The second of Bong Joon-ho (snowpiercer, parasite) works to really penetrate the discourse of Western pop culture, OK yes revolves around the eponymous “super pig” and Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), the girl who raised her. Once OK yes When she is kidnapped from Mija’s farm in the United States, Mija does everything in her power to free her from the clutches of the meat industry. Both touching and brutal, the film will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
love and linen (2022)
Directed by Park Hyun-jin love and linen It stars Seohyun, a member of the legendary K-pop group Girls’ Generation, and Lee Jun-young as colleagues who end up exploring the world of BDSM together. The movie is based on the webtoon Moral Consciousness by Gyeoul. This romantic comedy, with its light-hearted tone, has received a lot of positive attention and praise for the way it portrays the BDSM community and subculture.
space sweeper (2021)
Considered the first South Korean sci-fi blockbuster. space sweeper is as space western as it gets. Directed by Jo Sung-hee, the film is set in a not-too-distant future where Earth has become habitable. The film follows a crew as they clear rooms from rubble on behalf of megacorporation UTS. When the crew discovers a child robot that could potentially be a weapon of mass destruction, they must navigate through various parties trying to get their hands on it.
High society (2018)
Director: Byun Hyuk High society dives deep into the world of South Korea’s elite, as the title suggests. The film tells the story of a married couple, college professor Jang Tae-joon and gallery owner Oh Soo-yeon (played by Park Hae-il and Soo Ae, respectively), who would do anything to rise to the upper echelons of society. Of course, it’s only a matter of time before they figure out how those upper echelons are going to use everyone they need and then throw them away without a second thought.
Sweet Sour (2021)
Another romantic comedy Sweet Sour follows a couple drifting apart. Jang-Hyuk (Jang Ki-yong) and Da-eun (Chae Soo-bin) met when he was a patient at the hospital where Da-eun worked and have been together ever since. But a new job means long distances for him and less time for Da-eun, who is becoming more and more frustrated. When you bring in a new colleague for Jang-hyuk, Bo-yeong (Krystal Jung), you have the recipe for a crisis. Lee Gye-byeok’s film offers a nice twist at the end that closes the whole story quite well.
time to hunt (2020)
A dystopian thriller written and directed by Yoon Sung-hyun, time to hunt follows a group of friends who plan a robbery to escape their respective miserable situations, caused in part by a massive crash in the South Korean Won. Of course, things don’t go as planned. The film premiered at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, making it the first South Korean film to be screened in the Berlinale Special section.
Based on real events that took place in the early 2000s, silenced tells the story of art teacher Kang In-ho (Train to Busan‘s Gong Yoo), who takes up a new job at a school for deaf children. As he gains their trust, they reveal that they have been physically and sexually abused by other school staff for years. In-ho fights to bring these injustices to light by dealing with corruption and cover-ups. The film was a huge hit in South Korea and sparked a nationwide discussion that led to the retrial. A month after the film’s premiere, legislative reform was passed that abolished the statute of limitations for sex crimes against minors or people with disabilities.
I wish you: Your melody from my heart (2021)
A rather rare thing for South Korea, wishing you is a queer romance between two young men trying to break into the music industry. Directed by Seong Do-joon, the film revolves around Kang In-soo (of boy band Myname), a street musician and aspiring singer, and Yoon Sang-yi (Sang Lee), a keyboard player who watches one of In-soo’s videos and recommends him to his label. The two end up working together and developing feelings for each other.
Tune in for love (2019)
Directed by Jung Ji Woo Tune in for love Stars Kim Go-eun and Jung Hae-in, from Guardian: The lonely and great god And snowdrop Fame or The film is set in the 1990s when the 1997 financial crisis swept East and Southeast Asia. The two main characters – Kim’s Mi-soo and Jung’s Hyun-woo – keep crossing paths as they fall in love, even though the timing never seems right.
(Selected image: Netflix)
Do you have a tip we should know? (email protected)