South Korean film and music industry have been gaining worldwide popularity for the past few years. However, the greatest breakthrough came in the form of the 2019 Oscar-winning film, Parasite. This increased the popularity of South Korean films, by a fair measure. Beyond Parasite, the Korean film industry has already its fair share of global fans. From suspense thrillers and horror films to cheesy romantic comedies, the Korean film industry has many amazing films in all the genres. Furthermore, film critics all around the globe also recognize Korean films. If you are a fan of well-structured films, with a different storyline and amazing acting and direction, then you would love to check what Korean cinema has to offer. Being a cinephile, looking for the perfect top Korean movies to watch can be a little tricky.
But, don’t worry, because we got all the cinephiles covered. Scroll down and read our list of top Korean movies to watch this year.
This Korean cinematic masterpiece broke all the previous top Korean movie records. It also played the biggest part in the growing impact of the Korean film industry. Almost every film lover has heard of this movie. Directed by Bong-Joon Ho, the film revolves around two socially and economically different families, living in Seoul. The rich Park family hires the poor Kim family as housekeepers. The story then focuses on what happens between these two families. This dark comedy and thriller film focuses on class differences, greed, and social inequality.
According to Bong-Joon Ho, the film became so popular because it didn’t fit in any one genre. Also, the film has portrayed an international social issue with perfect execution. The suspenseful storytelling and the plot twists were also a huge factor in the film being so successful. The film ended up grossing revenue of more than $100 million internationally. Parasite won the critically acclaimed Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, becoming the first Korean film to receive the award. It also got nominations for 6 Academy Awards, winning four of them. It became the first non-English film to win an Oscar in the category of Best Picture. The film also has a rating of 8.6/10 on IMDb.
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Released in 2018 and second on our list of top Korean movies, Burning is a psychological thriller mystery drama film. The film received critical and audience acclaim from critics and audiences around the globe. Directed by Lee Chang-dong, the film revolves around a young guy, Jong-Su who finds his life turned upside down when his childhood friend Hae-mi returns from a trip. His friend brings back a mysterious guy, Ben, from the trip. Ben ends up telling Jong-su about his unusual hobby. The story then carries on as mysterious events keep happening in Jong-Su’s life, relating Hae-mi and Ben.
The film became so popular, as it had an unclear and uneasy narrative, adding more fuel to the fire. The film went on to win the FIPRESCI International Critics’ Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film festival. It was also in the list of best films of the year by the NewYork Times. The film also has a rating of 7.5/10 on IMDb.
Train To Busan
In 2016, one of the best zombie movies to be ever made was released in the form of Train To Busan. Directed by Yeon Sang-Ho, international audiences loved this horror thriller action film. The story of the film revolves around a divorced father, Seok-Woo, and his daughter Su-an. They are travelling from Seoul to Busan through the train, KTX 101. When an infected woman boards the train, transfers into a Zombie and attacks an attendant in the middle of the train ride, a survival war starts.
Our third pick in the list of top Korean movies, Train to Busan set a record as the first Korean film of 2016 to break the audience record of over 10 million people watching it in cinema. The film became so popular due to exceptional performances by the cast, and the deep emotions of parenthood and sacrifice that the film focuses on. The film has a rating of 7.6/10 on IMDb.
This melancholic drama film was released in the year 2010. Directed by Lee Chang-Don, the story revolves around a 66-year old woman, with a love for poetry. The woman, Yang Mi-Ja, is also suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Despite being a film with a heart-touching plot, the story has its fair share of twists and turns.
Poetry won the Best Screenplay Award at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. Based on its simple, yet complex nature, the film received a positive response from audiences and critics all around the world. The film also has a rating of 7.8/10 on IMDb.
Released in 2016, this psychological film was directed by Park Chan-wook. The story of this film is set in the 1930s. The plot revolves around a wealthy Japanese heiress, Lady Hideko, and her Korean handmaiden, Sook-hee, who is taking part in a con plot to inherit the wealth of Lady Hideko.
The film won the category of Best Film Not in the English Language at the 71st British Academy Film Awards. The film received critical acclaim globally. It also has an 8.1/10 rating on IMDb.
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