sat 18/11/2017

South Korea

Okja, Netflix review - joyous assault on the meat industry

Is meat murder? Will people eat anything if it’s cheap? Is the taste of bacon really what stops us half the western world turning vegetarian? Okja is a commercial stretch, a partly subtitled children’s fable from South Korea which unstintingly...

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The Handmaiden review - 'opulently lurid'

Park Chan-wook is a Korean decadent and moralist who’d have plenty to say to Aubrey Beardsley. The lesbian pulp Victoriana of Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith proves equally amenable in this opulently lurid mash-up with a novelist he adores so much (the...

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Sunday Book: Min Kym - Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung

“What’s it like to be a child prodigy?” is a question asked by violinist Min Kym several times in the course of this fascinating, agonising memoir. There’s no simple answer, but this description rings true: “There’s that peculiar sensation of...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Train to Busan

With its familiar scenario of massed zombies on the offensive against the living, South Korean blockbuster Train to Busan stands or falls on the fresh twists in brings to the table. For director Yeon Sang-ho’s first feature with live actors –...

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DVD: The Wailing

In the extras on the DVD release of The Wailing, South Korean director Na Hong-Jin says, “Every genre of film has its own strengths and weaknesses. By combining many genres you could say that I was able to build and emphasise the strengths, while...

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A Girl at My Door

When a lead character is warned that “it’s easier to be scrutinised in a small town”, it’s instantly clear they are not going to take the advice, keep their head down and make sure they don’t attract attention. In South Korean director July Jung’s...

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Chung, Kenner, Royal Festival Hall

In one way, it makes sense to give your London comeback concert in the venue where you made your European debut 44 years ago. Yet the Royal Festival Hall is a mighty big place for a violin-and-piano recital. Kyung Wha Chung had no problem nearly...

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Pieta

We learn from the front titles of Pieta that it’s Kim Ki-duk’s 18th film, and it won the Korean director the Golden Lion award at last year’s Venice film festival, against strong competition. Viewers may be asking themselves a rather different...

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MBC Korean Culture Festival, Indigo2

The rise of Korean pop (or K-pop, for short) in Europe has been steady; conceivably, all that’s needed for the common or garden music fan to become enraptured is one crossover artist. Countless new acts sprung up following the first wave of K-idols...

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Globe to Globe: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's Globe

A comedy of alienation, estrangement, and magical metamorphosis – if ever there was a Shakespeare play made for the linguistic transfigurations of the Globe to Globe season it’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Unmoored from the familiar English text and...

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Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Institute of Contemporary Arts

In his catalogue essay, Peter Osborne discusses the meaning of epithets such as “new” and “contemporary” when applied to current art, yet no one in this year’s New Contemporaries seems to be striving to make work that is “new”, “different”, “radical...

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Mother

Director Bong Joon-ho watched Psycho as he prepared his latest film, one of the most discomfiting visions of mother-love since Norman Bates last ran a motel. There is Hitchcockian perversity, too, in Bong’s casting of Kim Hye-ja, an iconic Korean...

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