"The Handmaid" was released last week - a new film by Park Chang Wook, beloved by Russians for the brutal dramas Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Revenge and Sympathy for Mr. Revenge. A bloody hammer, fishhooks in a causal place and other extreme manifestations of the mysterious oriental soul are the first things that come to mind of the viewer who met this wave in the 2000s. Film critic Vasily Milovidov talks about South Korean films that both confirm and refute this rule.
Memories of murder
Memories of Murder (Salinui chueok)
Producer: Bong Joon Ho
Director Bong Joon Ho is best known for his comedy sai-fai Dinosaur Invasion and the recent Hollywood project Through the Snow. However, his best and most difficult work is Memories of a Murder. In 1986, a provincial Korean town begins to terrorize a maniac who rapes and kills women. The case is first investigated by a couple of silly police officers, but soon a responsible detective from Seoul is sent to their aid. However, the local way of life soon affects him. The film is based on the never-solved case of the first Korean serial killer and is quite reminiscent of Fincher's Zodiac, filmed a few years later. This is also, first of all, a story not about answers, but about an era and how a series of incidents change the lives of several people forever.
I saw the devil
I Saw the Devil (Akmareul boattda)
Producer: Kim Ji Woon
Korean cinema throughout the 2000s was famous primarily for its extremeness and the resulting craving for thrillers (or vice versa). In 2010, director Kim Ji Woon tried to summarize and close the subject. The bus driver and part-time maniac kills and dismembers a young girl. She turns out to be the daughter of a large police officer and the bride of a local intelligence agent. The description of subsequent events would be too much like a pathologist's report. "I Saw the Devil" is a kind of exhibition of the achievements of the most popular direction of Korean cinema of that time. An extremely redundant work, fulfilling all the themes inherent in the genre in a double volume. The motive of revenge, varied and resourceful self-mutilation, catchy visual poetry - there is so much of all this here that while watching it, nausea can easily begin. On the other hand, this is all done at an absolutely masterful level.
The Isle (Seom)
Producer: Kim Ki Duk
In the mid-2000s, Kim Ki Duk was one of the most prominent and controversial authors of Asian art house. Soon, however, the public demoted him from a great master to a cruel circus worker, which was still not a fully justified decision. "The Island" is his first high-profile work, which caused fainting at film festivals. Kim Ki Duk tells the story of a strange love between a dumb owner of a houseboat rented by fishermen and a former police officer hiding from the law. Events unfold in a leisurely manner familiar to the cinema of that time, but the director now and then encourages the viewer with scenes of violence. You can relate to Kim Ki-Dook as you like, but he certainly influenced the landscape of Korean cinema, and the episodes of "Islands" with the participation of fishhooks will remain with you forever.
Producer: Park Chang Wook
The story is about a clerk who, for some unknown reason, was kept locked up for 15 years, after which he went to look for answers to the accumulated questions and cause serious physical injuries to those who stand in his way. Perhaps the most famous Korean film in history, a programmatic piece that tells everyone else. Insanely beautiful, cruel, cynical, wildly funny and sad at the same time.An ideal pop culture product like Wachowski's The Matrix, Oldboy, as is often the case in such cases, did as much harm as it did good. In this sense, the film really looks like hitting the head with a hammer - an extremely effective single action, the repetition of which can only be attributed to a state of passion.
The Chaser (Chugyeogja)
Producer: Na Hong Jin
Seoul is terrorized by a maniac killer, but the police are more busy looking for a bully who threw feces at the mayor of the city. As a result, a former detective, and now a pimp, has to investigate the case - among the victims were several of his charges, which spoiled his business. In his full-length debut, director Na Hong Jin simultaneously follows the precepts of Korean thrillers (not without the obligatory hammer and other carpentry tools), while simultaneously speaking cynically about the guardians of the rule of law and the legal system in general. The film is based in part on the case of a real-life serial killer.
A man out of nowhere
The Man From Nowhere (Ajeossi)
Producer: Lee Jong Bom
The unsociable owner of a pawnshop is friends with a little girl whose mother decides to steal heroin from the local drug mafia. In revenge, the bandits take her and her daughter hostage and substitute the main character. In the meantime, he turns out to be a former special forces and goes to save the girl. "The Man From Nowhere" is Korea's biggest hit in 2010 and has won numerous local awards. The film quite shamelessly and in places almost literally quotes Tony Scott's "Wrath" (which, however, is also not the original), but theft can be forgiven for the skill of execution. It is a violent and sentimental thriller, glossy and stylish in Korean.
The day he came
The Day He Arrives (Book chon bang hyang)
Producer: Hong Sang Soo
The former film director now living in the village comes to Seoul to visit his friend, a film critic. The friend does not answer the call, and the hero wanders around the city, meets acquaintances, gets drunk in the bar. The next day, about the same thing is repeated, as if for the first time. Korean cinema is renowned for its flamboyance and brutality, but director Hong Sang Soo is at the opposite end of the spectrum. He shoots seemingly deliberately careless, quiet pictures, the heroes of which are most often connected in one way or another with cinema and are mainly occupied with their romantic experiences. His films often tell the same stories in different ways, or consist of stories within stories. In some ways he is Korean Woody Allen, only more complicated. The Day He Came is one of the best entry points into his filmography.
Photos: CJ Entertainment, Showbox / Mediaplex, Show East, UniKorea Pictures, Jeonwonsa Film, Next Entertainment World