By Pierce Conran
I've thought about doing a list like this for some time but frankly found the task quite daunting. Having seen so many Korean films and there being so many that I love, drawing up a list inevitably meant cutting out a large number of films that I wish could get more recognition. But for our 4th anniversary (it's hard to believe it's been that long) I wanted to do something a little special. It certain did prove to be a difficult task...
I've seen over 1000 Korean films, so a list of 25 constitutes my favorite 2.5%, or thereabouts. I love all of these films but I did enforce one rule when selecting the titles. There are a few directors who might have dominated and robbed spaces from others so I decided that filmmakers could not appear more than twice. This means some very big films do not appear and in fact you may be surprised at some famous names that fail to make the list altogether (though many were close). I think there's a decent spread between older and contemporary titles, as well as commercial and independent. But fear not, as most of the classic films on the list can be streamed for free over on the Korean Film Archive's Youtube channel (with Eng subs).
What I love about Korean cinema is that there's something for everyone. It's a rich national cinema that encompasses an ever-widening net of genres and filmmaking styles. Going through this list you may get a sense of the kind of films I like but I think these are films that most people can enjoy. Please let me know what you think and feel free to share your own lists in the comments!
Scroll through the below links to see my 25 favorite Korean films. As I discover new favorites, I hope to update the list in future:
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