All in all 2011 was a bit of a disappointing year for Korean cinema, at least as far as commercial cinema was concerned. On the other hand, independent films continued to build on their success of the last few years. However, I'm not overly worried about the state of the industry because at the end of the day it doesn't produce a huge amount of films and is more susceptible to the ebbs and flows of projects than a larger filmmaking centre like Hollywood. In any case, 2012 looks to be a much stronger year for Korean film.
For a while I was getting very worried about what my top 10 for the year would like, a month ago I'd only seen four of the films listed here. Thankfully a number of more recent releases became available and things suddenly started to look a lot better. That being said, I've seen about 45 films from last year but there's a lot that I haven't had a chance to see yet so this list will likely look quite different six month down the line, and if I feel so inclined perhaps I'll change it!
In the below links are my top 10 Korean films for 2011, followed by honourable mentions and my bottom 5. The only criteria I go by to consider a film from 2011 is if it was released in Korea during that calendar year.
Reviews and features on Korean film appear regularly on Modern Korean Cinema. For film news, external reviews, and box office analysis, take a look at the Korean Box Office Update, Korean Cinema News and the Weekly Korean Reviews, which appear weekly on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings (Korean Standard Time).