During the last five years of the 1990s, while the Republic of Korea emerged from a string of repressive military governments, the region’s cinema was able, for the first time, to compete in the international market. It was no longer simply a question of producing films for domestic consumption, but of generating the mechanisms so that film production would find an audience beyond the borders of the peninsula.. Korea reunited its cinema with its spectators, while finding a new public willing to recognize itself on the screen despite all the linguistic and cultural differences, in addition to those linked to narrative and generic models. There was even talk of a miracle, but the truth is that the history of Korean cinema is, deep down, a story of deaths and resurrections.
The author of the paragraph is the journalist Diego Brodersen, a specialist in the subject and belongs to the book Korean Cinema in Argentina, a movie story of very recent edition within the framework of the Festival dedicated to this filmography that takes place from September 1 to 7 at the Cinemark complex in Palermo.
The Han Cine, that’s the name of this film gathering, has reached its ninth edition. Nine years that coincide with the constant progress of a cultural industry that expands from clear policies that understood the cultural and economic value that this could bring.
The edition of Korean Cinema in Argentina, a movie story is not finished, comments Gabriel Pressello, manager of the Korean Cultural Center in Argentina and compiler of the work, in addition to adding his perspective and experience by contributing some texts. And, as he points out in his commentary in the same book, he hopes that it will be a step forward to strengthen and expand that relationship that is maintained with the eastern country.
The book is a comprehensive approach to Korean cinema from different variables: there is an analysis of some films, articles about its outstanding directors, but also about the phenomenon of Korean cinema in relation to other movements such as the kpopthe gastronomic circuit, local series, K-drama and the breadth of its genre cinema. All the articles are short, developed by several Argentine journalists and critics.
It is a beautiful edition in physical format that has not gone on sale but there are games that have been sent to libraries, distributed for raffles and as gifts in different media. What is interesting, and very remarkable, is that the same PDF edition is available to the public free of charge.
The text is an impeccable introduction and the most accurate approach, up to now, to understand a world phenomenon that has been around for 30 years and that has been tremendously influential in the context of popular culture.
The parasite and the squid
In just 17 days it had a viewing of more than 100 million people. Thus, it became the premiere with the best performance in the entire history of the Netflix platform, surpassing its previous pearl, Bridgerton. Obviously it is The Squid Game, that visceral Korean series that impacted the entire world as a playful metaphor of the capitalist society of the new century.
For many it was a surprise but, for others, another example, an exponent of a process that has been developing strongly and that had its absolute expansion in the last twenty years. Korea is one of the few countries in the world where more local cinema is seen than Hollywood tanks or other foreign filmographies. It also has one of the highest shares of film consumption per capita in the world. and that is due to a promotion of the industry that had a clear expansion program starting in the 1990s.
Perhaps the immediate antecedent to the series and the best example of this phenomenon is the film Parasite, by director Bong Joon-ho. It is the palpable result of the Korean boom.
Parasite has collected since its premiere, at the box office, 263 million dollars. Its cost was only 11 million. They are the films that the industry loves the most and are blessed by the world’s leading producers; those that multiply the initial investment by several tens.
But not only that, in addition to winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival among other awards, it was the first non-English language film in history to win an Oscar for best film. Its screening was marathon, but Bong Joon-ho’s cinema had already shown that it had to be paid attention to with the co-production with Hollywood of Snowpiecer (starring Chris Evans, Jamie Bell and Tilda Swinton) and the Netflix movie, Okja, which also featured. had its passage through Cannes. But, in addition, he had attracted attention with his first opera of the year 2000, Barking Dogs Never Bite, the excellent Memoirs of a Murderer and the masterpiece The Host, which can now be seen on Netflix.
Bong is an emerging from this wave of Korean directors who have led this process of success during the last twenty years. Along with the names of Park Chan-wook, Hong Sang-soo, Lee Chang-dong and the best known and recently deceased, Kim Ki-duk. All different authors who draw on classic genres to give them their own identity and consolidate a cinema that fights inch by inch with the mega-empire of the Hollywood industry.
The Han Cine Festival and the book Korean Cinema in Argentina, a movie history are an excellent opportunity to enter this phenomenon and enjoy an exquisite filmography in all possible variables.