Korea on the Verge: Social Faultlines in Korean Cinema

Korean cinema exploded into life after the arrival of civilian government in 1993. As the commercial mainstream has calmed, indie filmmakers have stepped up to scratch the itches in Korean society: political scandals, social injustices, sexual deviances and, re-examined traditions. It makes for great, provocative cinema!

Tony Rayns
Guest Programmer


Supported  by

Alice in Earnestland

This decade's answer to Korea's blackest comedies, Alice in Earnestland (Best Korean Feature, Jeonju 2015) presents one woman versus the system as a theatre-of-cruelty blast.

A Fish

Superbly shot in homemade 3D, Park Hong-min's neo-noir mystery involves murder, shamanism, a violent gumshoe and an increasingly deranged teacher.

Love and...

Chinese-Korean director Zhang Lu has never done mainstream, but this four-chapter conundrum (featuring three top stars) is funny and sad enough to seduce many.

Non Fiction Diary

Jung Yoon-suk's prize-winning film is more an essay than a documentary, a punch to Korea's body politic framed as an investigation of ‘freedom' and social control.

Stateless Things

Kim Kyung-mook compares two ways of being ‘stateless' in his devastating vision of South Korean society when an illegal immigrant from North Korea meets a sexual outlaw.