Koreans sure like to watch movies: last year, the domestic film industry made more money than ever before. One movie in particular was seen by no less than a third of the population. Korean cinema has also been able to establish itself abroad, with blockbusters such as “Oldboy” or “Snowpiercer” being among the most famous examples.
In this episode, we dive into the Korean movie ecosystem in order to learn more about the reasons for this success, both domestically and abroad, but also to look at the differences between mainstream and independent moviemaking as well as the political environment shaping the industry.
To navigate the realm of the Korean silver screen, there is probably no better guide than Simon McEnteggart, Korean movie buff extraordinaire and founder of one of the best reference sites for Korean cinema on the Internet: hangukyeonghwa.com. We had the pleasure of welcoming him as our guest for this episode of Korea and the World.
Simon fell in love with Korean cinema while pursuing a bachelor in film and art studies, which he complemented with a master’s degree in film and visual theory. After lecturing for three years at the university level, Simon moved to South Korea, where he’s been living since then, working as an independent film critic.
Korean films could easily win Oscars – easily. But the committee that selects the films […] purposefully chooses films that show Korea in this particular light – anything that is critical or character-driven tends to be overlooked […] It’s a marketing device, unfortunately.
The interview was conducted on February 6th in Seoul.