Tag: koreanindie

BiFan 2024 Review: BASE STATION, Paranoia Reigns in Dystopian Indie Sci-fi from Talent to Watch

After impressing many viewers and critics two years ago with his wildly original debut film The Fifth Thoracic Vertebra, Park Syeyoung returns to BiFan with his second feature, Base Station, which he co-directed with artist and filmmaker Yeon Yeji, who...

Busan 2023 Review: WORK TO DO, Downsizing Drama Examines Moral Quagmire of Middle Management

Caught between professional duty and personal responsibility, a young man navigates through a maze of grey with a spinning moral compass in the compelling debut Work to Do from director Park Hong-jun. Jun-hee is a diligent young man, now in...

Busan 2023 Review: HERITAGE, Korea's Generational and Social Divides Under the Loop in Ruminative Indie

What sort of a world has the older generation left behind for the incoming one, how do they expect them to navigate it, and what do they anticipate in return? These questions and more concerning the uneasy ties that bind...

Busan 2023 Review: FAQ, A Young Girl's Surprising Journey Takes a Sci-Fi Turn

The intense and at times faintly ridiculous extremes of Korea's private education system are laid bare in the disarming fantasy satire FAQ. Morse code and Farsi language classes are just some of the things an elementary school girl is forced...

Udine 2022 Review: THUNDERBIRD, Money Makes People Do Bad Things in Grim and Gripping Korean Indie‚Ä®

Money can make people do funny things. It compels them to trust the wrong people, drives them to makes risky bets or, when all else fails, forces them to act out of desperation. Yet unlike riding a bike, when it...

Busan 2020 Review: SNOWBALL Gently Strikes with Familiar but Well-Told Tale

A wide variety of films find their way to the Busan Film Festival every year, but one thing you can always count on is the polished, youth-driven social indie that has become the de-facto Korean indie template, at least on...

Busan 2020 Review: VESTIGE Ponders the Ineffable with Grace and Mystery

Two Korean masters of arthouse cinema join forces for one of Busan's most intriguing offerings this year. Commissioned by the Muju Film Festival, Vestige features two mid-length films from Kim Jong-kwan (Worst Woman) and Jang Kun-jae (A Midsummer's Fantasia), which...

BiFan 2019 Review: FILM ADVENTURE, Well-Performed Drama Less Exciting Than Its Title Suggests

The accomplished young actor Cho Hyun-chul returns to screens as a neurotic actor who embarks on a pensive journey peppered by unusual encounters after a row with his girlfriend in Film Adventure, the second feature film by Lee Sang-deok, following...

Jeonju 2018 Review: HELLO DAYOUNG, Korean Comedy Goes Full Chaplin

For the third year on the trot, and after already receiving two prizes, director Ko Bong-soo returns to the Jeonju International Film Festival with his third work, Hello Dayoung. Largely working with the same troupe of actors, who are taking...

Busan 2017 Review: LAST CHILD, a Powerful Tale of Guilt and Grief

Grief and guilt get a thorough review in Shin Dong-seok's debut film Last Child, one of three Korean films competing in this year's New Currents competition in Busan. A trio of powerful performances ground this emotionally gritty tale and lure...

Busan 2017 Review: TAKLAMAKAN, Introspective Drama Dashes Dreams

Ko Eun-ki's sixth film Taklamakan, takes its name from a red desert in China which, as legend maintains, won't let you out once you step inside. In this dark and introspective drama, featuring characters that use the word as a...

Locarno 2017 Review: THE FIRST LAP, Stellar Cast Warms Up Strong, Low-Key Drama

Director Kim Dae-hwan builds on the strengths of his debut End of Winter with another character-driven drama dominated by family gatherings, long takes and strong performances. One of this year's Jeonju Cinema Projects, The First Lap debuted in Jeonju this...

BiFan 2017 Review: COFFEE NOIR: BLACK BROWN Brews Fresh Prohibition Drama with a Bitter Kick

An intriguing concept can be enough to pull you into a film, but what keeps you there is a sense of purpose and steadfast execution. Korean indie Coffee Noir: Black Brown, the third film from emerging talent Jang Hyun-sang, which...

BiFan 2017 Review: BEHIND THE DARK NIGHT Swedes Its Way to Victory

Low-budget, semi-autobiographical indies about young men trying to make their feature film debuts have been done to death in Korea (Cheer Up Mr. Lee, We Will Be OK and Director's Cut come to mind), so expectations were muted for Behind...

Busan 2014 Review: HAN RIVER Ponders Urban Malaise in Contemporary Korea

With black and white lensing, cheerful yet destitute protagonists and the absence of a clear narrative, the philosophical vagabond film Han River, benefits from a style and focus that sets it apart from the bulk of recent Korean indie fare,...

Busan 2014 Review: DAUGHTER Explores The Ills Of Modern Korean Parenting

Following a pair of indulgent films that awkwardly straddled the balance between fantasy and reality, the multi-hyphenate Ku Hye-sun, a well known actress, singer and artist as well as director, returns with Daughter, her most mature work to date. An...

Busan 2014 Review: WE WILL BE OK Hits Its Stride Too Late In The Game

Writers are told to write about what they know, so it stands to reason that the same rule should apply to filmmakers. As a result, many films take place within the film world and in the Korean industry this proves...

Busan 2014 Review: ENTANGLED Gets Caught Up In Its Own Depressing Narrative

Following the blistering debut Fatal, a gritty rape-revenge thriller that bowed at the Busan Film Festival in 2012, Lee Don-ku returns to Busan with the disappointing family drama Entangled. Though it seeks to inspire a similar sense of shock and...

Busan 2014 Review: GIFTED Takes An Interesting Turn Before Veering Off Course

Taking its cue from the common social grievances often found in Korean indie dramas, Gifted, the sophomore effort of Poongsan (2011) helmer Jung Jai-hung, examines the friction between unemployment and consumerist ambitions in modern Korea. Slight and familiar, the film...