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Learning Through Film – Korea

Posted by on March 9th, 2006 with 0 Comments

I was having lunch a couple days ago with co-workers Yu Jin Kwag (pictured at her desk) and S.Y. We had excellent Chinese Shrimp in Chili Sauce and discussed Korea movies.

As I firmly believe that film is one of the best ways to learn about a culture (be careful not to take it too literally – just like all Americans don’t carry guns; most Asians don’t know kung fu), I thought I’d give you a list of my five favorite Korean films.
All are available, with subtitles, in the US.

1 – Attack the Gas Station – A Tarentino-esque take on a night of escalating events that ends with the best ‘Mexican standoff’ I’ve ever seen. A hilarious film that also addresses the pressures that Korean youth feel.
2 – JSA – The best look at the tensions/ties between North and South Korea. Intense and human.
3 – Chunhyang – A beautifully filmed version of a classic Korean tale that could be called their ‘Romeo and Juliet’.
4 – Tell Me Something – If you’re into psychological thrillers, this one puts a particularly Korean spin on the genre. Definitely a mind-bender.
5 – Christmas in August – A quiet, touching look at life, love, and death. Too real to be considered a ‘chick flick’. It’s just a great, great film. This is a film that demonstrates the ‘high-context’ nature of Asia. So much is said without being said at all.

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