Top 25 Korean Films - No. 25

Sleepless Night (Dir. Jang Kun-jae, 2012)

Easily the shortest film on this list (at just 65 minutes), the micro-budget indie Sleepless Night may seem very modest on its surface but its minimalism is but a diaphanous layer masking the contemporary anxieties of the urban middle class it explores. The film focuses on a young, loving couple who have moved, like so many, into Seoul’s clean but uniform and non-descript apartment jungles.

Director Jang Kun-jae does little to adorn the film’s style and locations as he punctuates his narrative with a number of long silences. The result, rather than ponderous, is organic and deceptively simple. Naturalistic performances, coupled with Jang’s sympathetic but perceptive eye, make Sleepless Night one of the most simple, honest and effective deconstructions of Seoul’s modern malaise. Few films, let alone Korean ones, have been so effective when working with so little.

MKC Review

Intro - 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 
15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 10 Lists

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

Genre   Gangster - Revenge


  1. thanks for putting so much work on this site. It has helped me so much in exploring korean cinema which I knew nothing about. In brazil, very few korean movies get distribution, and you showed me a new world of films. Keep the great work.

  2. Impressive that you know so many korean movies, and some of your other lists have been helpful in pointing me towards some Korean films to watch and likely enjoy. But really this list is some pretty weak bullshit. No Oldboy? No Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring?!!! No Mother? Snowpiercer I think was an underrated movie that has stuck with me somehow. A movie called the Wig (when I saw it, now listed in IMDB as Scary Hair) never gets mentioned but for really it stands so far above the genre its been lumped in with. Finally, Samaritan Girl I saw on NEtflex one of the films that reveal how world class Korean movies have been over the past 25 years.

    1. I love both OLDBOY and MOTHER and the only reason they're not on the list is because I made a rule of only 2 films per director. So those are my 3rd favorites from Park and Bong (though that can change depending on the day).

      As for SPRING, SUMMER..., while I think it's a good film (and certainly among Kim's best), I don't rate it or any of his films high enough to hit my top 25, though some came close.

      Personally not a fan of THE WIG.