mon 13/07/2020

South Korea

DVD/Blu-ray: Parasite

So what exactly is all the fuss about? For those of us from a cinema-deprived area, it’s been a long wait for the homevideo release of this much vaunted "masterpiece". And the trailer gives away so much, there’s probably little to surprise us, right...

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The Beast review - bad cop blues

“They say we all have a beast locked up inside of us,” a character observes early in this Korean crime movie. Monsters are certainly chewing at the moral fibre of police captains Jung (Lee Sung-min) and Han (Yoo Jae-myung) as they corruptly pursue...

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Album: BTS – Map of the Soul: 7

To anyone out of their teens or without a grasp of the Korean language, BTS are probably an unknown quantity. Yet, they are probably the most successful boyband, if not the most successful band, in the world. In fact, just as Abba had a massive...

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Parasite review - a class war with grand designs

With the Oscars approaching, one film building momentum in the fight for best picture – and whose victory would delight all but the most blinkered – is the Korean Bong Joon Ho’s deliriously dark and entertaining black comedy, Parasite. It...

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Cannes 2019: Parasite review - hilarious and horrifying

Like Snowpiercer before it, Bong Joon-ho’s rage-fuelled satire Parasite puts class inequality squarely in its sights. This time however, the story is grounded in the real world and concerns a family of hustlers who will do anything to get by. ...

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Burning review - an explosive psychological thriller

Burning, which is the first film directed by the Korean master Lee Chang-dong since 2010’s Poetry, begins as the desultory story of a hook-up between a pair of poor, unmotivated millennials – the girl already a lost soul, the boy a wannabe writer...

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theartsdesk in Korea: national pride and candour

Fear not. The Arts Desk has not suddenly sprouted a Sports Desk. Heaven forfend. Korea in late February had more to offer than luge, bobsleigh, skeleton and all the other bemedalled and potentially life-threatening variants of hurling bodies down...

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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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