Top 25 Korean Films - No. 6

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (Dir. Park Chan-wook, 2002)

People often ask me how I came to love Korean cinema. The truth is that Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the first one I ever saw. However, it watched it by mistake (thinking it was a new Japanese film) and I hated it… While shocking and extremely bleak, I believe the reason for that is that I couldn’t understand it. Weeks later, upon a second viewing, I fell in love with it and, as a result of a desire to untangle its mysterious complexity, with Korean cinema as a whole.

Park Chan-wook is often labeled a stylist but such as straightforward interpretation does his films no justice. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a wickedly stylish and brutally violent work, yet it speaks to a deep-seated national malaise and inability to grapple with anxiety and trauma, both past and present. As intense an entry point into Korean cinema as they come, I have Director Park to thank for drawing me towards his country’s electric cinematic output.

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Top 10 Lists

Year   2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - All Time (Top 25)

Genre   Gangster - Revenge

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