South Korean cinema has opened an entirely new world to cinema-goers everywhere. It has established itself as one of the world’s most diverse and dynamic film industries. The films that come out of Korea turn heads globally as filmmakers consistently produce critically acclaimed box-office hits whether they are artistic and independent films or action blockbusters. Korean cinema outperforms Hollywood films at the local box office and is a regular winner on the film festival circuit, Cannes, Venice, Berlin, and San Sebastián.
Films from South Korea appeal to eclectic tastes as directors borrow techniques and styles from Japanese cinema, Hong Kong, and Hollywood to tell uniquely Korean stories. Korean cinema right now and since the early 2000s, much like Hollywood in the 1950s, does not depend on special effects or over the top promotional antics to reach audiences. They depend on talented actors and directors and an eclectic minimalism that accentuates powerful stories. Korean cinema has a plethora of talented actors, actresses, and directors working to define the greatest era of Korean cinema yet. Actors such as Lee Jung-jae (The Thieves, 2012), Hwang Jung-min (Bloody Tie, 2006), and Choi Min-sik (Oldboy, 2003). Actresses such as Jeon Do-yeon (The Housemaid, 2010), Son Ye-jin (The Tower, 2012), and Jun Ji-hyun (My Sassy Girl, 2001). Directors such Kim Jee-woon (A Tale of Two Sisters, 2003), Park Chan-wook (Stoker, 2013), and Kang Je-gyu (My Way, 2011). With a list of hits that features New World (2013), J.S.A Joint Security Area (2000), Memories of Murder (2003), Poetry (2010), and Miracle in Cell No. 7 (2013). Korean cinema has more jewels to offer as home-grown talented cinematographers and soundtrack composers surface; such as cinematographer Lee Mo-gae (Way Back Home, 2013) and composer Shim Hyun-jeong (Man From Nowhere, 2012).
Korean cinema is most impressive not just in the arsenal of talent it possesses or the top-grossing movies, but in their organic approach to storytelling. This minimalist approach affects the cinematic aesthetic; creating a riveting and relatable experience out of every story. The modern Korean film industry has demonstrated to all the simplicity and the beauty of the cinematic arts and by doing so engrained themselves in the codex of cinematic legends alongside Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, and Ingrid Bergman.