Originating from South Korea, Sung Hoon had always dreamed of being an athlete. He was a promising swimmer, but his career abruptly ended due to a spinal injury. Nevertheless, he managed to move on from professional swimming to a more unexpected career: acting.  Sung Hoon debuted in 2009 with White Brown’s Because I Love You. […]

In recent years, Korean cinema has been very successful not only with releasing hits on the big screen, but also with producing a new generation of superb, first-time filmmakers. One of those talented filmmakers is Pil Gam-sung, writer and director of Hostage: Missing Celebrity, starring Hwang Jung-min.  “Hostage: Missing Celebrity is Pil’s feature film debut, […]

The 2022 Udine Far East Film Festival was a real treat. Not only because of the great films in the programme, but because it was the first year that film guests were able to attend the event since Covid restrictions had been lifted. Mostly consisting of producers and filmmakers, we had a very productive and […]

On paper, it sounds like a recipe for a formulaic crime caper. One lawmaker who has always followed the rules and played everything by the book is forced by circumstance to team up with a maverick who will happily ignore standard procedure if it means getting results. It’s no surprise that, over the course of […]

For the past 30 years or so, Asian cinema has become a part of life for European filmgoers. Although the Western continent itself has a lot to offer, the films from the Far East are the ones that grab viewers by their throats. It is important to remember that Far East cinema does not only […]

The fact that in recent years it has been difficult to find a true representation of the noir genre shows that there are still opportunities out there for filmmakers to bring it back to life. In 2021, however, Yoon Young-bin, an emerging South Korean filmmaker, grabbed that chance by domestically releasing Tomb of the River, […]

Breaking news! Hwang Jung-min, Korea’s top star, has been kidnapped by a gang of thugs and taken to a remote location. Well, not really, but that’s the concept of Pil Gam-sung’s action-thriller Hostage: Missing Celebrity. As per the previous (joke) announcement, Hostage: Missing Celebrity is what you probably expect it to be about: It follows […]

Sometimes, when you have seen too many dramas, you just wish to chill out while watching a good action film. And Special Delivery, written and directed by Park Dae-min, is one of those films.  Eun-ha (Park So-dam: Parasite) is a delivery driver who asks no questions. She works for Baek Sa-jang (Kim Eui-sung: Taxi Driver), […]

There’s nothing groundbreaking in the idea that, rather than bringing us closer together, technology has left us more divided and isolated than ever before. There have been several films in recent years that have criticised the dehumanisation of the digital age, and almost all of them have invited immediate parody (most notably, Jason Reitman’s Men, […]

While not as stylistically apparent as Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008), Kundo: Age of the Rampant by Yoon Jong-bin is the second highest budget South Korean film, made by using western conventions. The film’s plot is firmly embedded in the late Joseon period and deals with a gang of thieves called […]