2013 has just gotten underway and what better way for MKC to ring in the new year than to reflect on what has simply been a gargantuan year for Korean cinema. The vaunted 10 million admissions club welcomed two new members as The Thieves and Masquerade rode their way into the top three of the all time Korean box office chart. Indeed commercial cinema across the board enjoyed spectacular success as well over 100 million tickets were sold to domestic films at the Korean box office, a first for the industry. As of this writing seven films have crossed 4 million admissions (with an eighth on the way in the form of The Tower). What's more Kim Ki-duk became the first Korean filmmaker to prevail at one of the big three European film festivals as he took home the Golden Lion from Venice for his 18th feature Pieta. Elsewhere on the festival circuit a flurry of Korean films took home big awards, including Juvenile Offender, Barbie, The Weight, Circle Line, and many more.
As I sit down to draw up my top 10 films of 2012 there are still a few I have not yet had the chance to see, including a number of documentaries, but I think that after 88 films during the year it's time to get down to business. Below is my top 10 for 2012, as well as 15 honorable mentions and my 5 least favorite features of last year. My move to Korea has afforded far greater opportunities to watch a lot of Korean films and to watch them early! As such I've included any film that screened for the first time (be it on release or at a festival) and some films from last year's Busan, none of which I had previously had a chance to see.
Scroll through the below gallery and let us know if you agree or disagree!
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).