After Parasite: Five Korean films you should know

South Korean cinema is in the spotlight after Bong Joon-ho’s film Parasite made history on Sunday, becoming the first movie in a language other than English to take home the Oscar for best picture in the award show’s 92-year run.

But film fans and critics have long looked to auteurs from the Asian nation for lavish productions, complex class studies and dark tales of revenge.

Oldboy (2003)

After 15 years trapped in a windowless room, a door swings open and Oh Dae-su is suddenly free.

Armed with a hammer and an insatiable thirst for revenge, Oh sets out on a brutal quest to find out who imprisoned him and what happened to his wife and daughter.

Oldboy marks the culmination of Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance trilogy, which explores the themes of revenge and retribution. Its stomach-turning reveal continues to shock audiences almost 20 years after its original release.

The Spy Gone North (2018)

Set in the 1990s, The Spy Gone North tells the true story of South Korean operative Park Chae-seo – Park Sun-young in the film – who became famous under his codename “Black Venus”.

Sent to investigate the North’s nascent nuclear programme in the guise of a businessman eager to shoot an advertising campaign, Park successfully infiltrates the highest levels of the North Korean government.

Yoon Jong-bin’s tense thriller takes a turn when events at home make Park’s position increasingly dangerous and force him to question where his loyalties truly lie.

Watch the trailer here.


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