Tag: northkorea

Busan 2018 Review: BEAUTIFUL DAYS Handsomely Frames Somber Subject

As the veil of secrecy over the guarded North Korean regime threatens to give way (if only slightly) in the surprising geopolitical climate we find ourselves in today, the film industry in South Korea has also begun to change how...

Review: THE SPY GONE NORTH, Bold and Sumptuous Espionage Yarn Eschews Action for Geopolitical Intrigue

Following his period action blockbuster Kundo: The Age of the Rampant in 2014, Yoon Jong-bin is back in the summer season lineup with his 90s-set espionage drama The Spy Gone North, which bowed earlier this year as part of the...

Review: STEEL RAIN, Bombastic Action-Drama Ponders Nuclear Armageddon

The first of a trio of major end-of-year releases in Korea this winter, Steel Rain is the third North Korea-themed action-thriller of 2017 (following Confidential Assignment and V.I.P.) and easily its most bombastic. From The Attorney helmer Yang Woo-suk, who...

Review: V.I.P. Is D.O.A.

Following his period epic The Tiger, director Park Hoon-jung scales down his ambitions for the North Korea-themed investigative thriller V.I.P., a brooding procedural that lumbers its way through a serial killer tale mired in political intrigue. Much like his hit...

BiFan 2017 Review: RYEOHAENG Casts Abstract Light on NK Refugees

Director Im Heung-soon returns for his third feature, casting his artistic light on another under-served segment of the population with the documentary Ryeohaeng. Focusing on the lives of several female North Korean defectors in Korea, Im contrasts talking heads positioned...

Classic Movie Review: Pulgasari, a North Korean monster propaganda movie from 1985!

North Korea is a country that is infamous for dictatorship, brutal communism, crime against humanity, and propaganda movies. The 2nd leader Kim Jong Il was inspired by many great movie makers from Japan, the western countries and his neighbor in...

Classic movie review: Shiri, a South Korean action movie from 1998

Movies with war, political and society differences can be difficult to avoid being a propaganda movie instead of being just an ordinary movie. But there are a few movies that actually succeeded to get away from the propaganda stamp such...

Venice 2016 Review: THE NET Is a Simple Catch from Kim Ki-duk

Complex issues get a facile treatment in The Net, the latest work from Korean provocateur Kim Ki-duk. More coherent than his last two outings but a far cry from his best work, Kim's film comes off as little more than...

THE PROPAGANDA GAME: Alvaro Longoria Explains What Happened To The Truth While Filming In North Korea

In a world where information is ever more readily available, it can sometimes seem as if there are few real mysteries left, and for that reason North Korea can represent a darkly fascinating horizon to many of us. But what...

Review: NORTHERN LIMIT LINE Mistakes Nationalism For Narrative

Last summer gave us the nationalist call-to-arms Roaring Currents and, following its record-breaking run, this year unsurprisingly treats us to its own entree of patriotic balderdash, the melee of melodrama and jingoism that is Northern Limit Line. Going right for...

Destroy All Monsters: THE INTERVIEW Shows We're Happiest Under Attack

Recently a friend of mine intimated that North Korea's entire persona on the worldwide stage - the "don't go near them, they're crazy!" caricature of a wino with a broken bottle and a hearing problem - of which The Interview...

Review: THE INTERVIEW Deserves To Be More Than A Footnote

In 1940, just months after Wermacht tanks rolled over their borders in lightning strikes, a film came out that made the elected leader of Germany look like the fatuous lunatic that he was. Playing both the Jewish Barber and...

Review: THE SUSPECT Eschews Drama For Action, And Lots Of It

Thinking back to Shiri (1999) and Secret Reunion (2010), North Korean spies have a history of success at the Korean box office. Local producers have been especially keen to capitalize on their appeal this year with no less than four...

Review: RED FAMILY's High Concept Suffers From Stilted Delivery

Though as a theme it has spawned some of Korean cinema's biggest hits, including Shiri (1999), Joint Security Area (2000), Silmido (2003), Taegugki (2004) and Welcome to Dongmakgol (2005), the representation of North Korea on screen has always been a...

Review: Strong Scenes Doth Not a Narrative Make in Genre-Hopping COMMITMENT

Following on from this year's Secretly Greatly, another action-drama featuring Korean idols playing young North Korean spies who stay undercover in the south only to be targeted by their homeland, Commitment announces itself as a medley of genres, as commonly...

Melbourne 2013 Review: AIM HIGH IN CREATION Respects And Engages Gleefully With The DPRK

Director Anna Broinowski is no stranger to confrontation; kicking off her documentary career with Hell Bento, a film that exposed subsections of the Japanese underworld. More recently she directed a startling fib-filled terror tale about Muslim romance called Forbidden Lie$....