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Asian Film Collection: Korean Films


Hidden Korea
Korea , 2000
Run Time: Approx. 60 min
Directed by Jan Thompson

At first glance, it may seem that Korea is engulfed by modern culture; but a bedrock of tradition, inherited from shamanism, Buddhism and Confucianism, underlies families, rituals and, of course, the food. Hidden Korea is a nourishing introduction to, or a reminder of, the rich culture of an ancient society. In Hidden Korea, the husband and wife team of Professor Bruce Kraig and Director Jan Thompson explore the Republic of South Korea during the fall harvest time. Among the many things that we see during this time is the celebration of their Thanksgiving holiday, Chu'sok, where family members gather to build shrines and bow at their ancestral mounds; a highly skilled potter who produces celadon pottery; a Confucian scholar at a traditional village; Buddhist temples where the monks perform dances and rituals; the famous Cheju Island pearl divers, a group of women whose average age is 50; and a Ginseng factory where some of the best ginseng in the world originates. The program focuses on the special foods that are unique to the Korean peninsula, such as preserved vegetables (kimchee), bean and chili paste; and many varieties of seafood.

My Sassy Girl
Korea , 2001
Run Time: 137 min

Winner of the 22 nd Annual Hong Kong Film Awards as the Best Asian Film, My Sassy Girl tells a Korean love story. One night, Kyun-woo meets a terribly drunken girl. He is ashamed to help her, but once he does, a deep sense of responsibility has been developed within him. He decides to heal her pain. Even though she slaps him, pushes him into the pool, forces him to wear heels, he tolerates. Will she stay after the pain is healed? See why this movie was number one at the box office for six weeks in Korea !

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter.and Spring
Korea , 2003
Run Time: 102 min
Directed by Kim Ki-duk

A tiny Buddhist monastery floats on a raft amidst a breathtaking landscape, tended to by a solitary Monk. Into this serene setting comes a young child, who will become the Old Monk's protégé.and so begins a lifelong journey of hope, despair, passion and redemption in a film hailed as "a triumph of sheer cinematic craft," (Rene Rodriquez, Miami Herald ).

From the brash actions of youth, through the dawn of adolescence and the fullness of adulthood, one man's life lessons are learned as seasons pass, his emotional inner life changing as the landscape around him. Award-winning Korean writer/director/editor Kim Ki-duk has crafted a lushly exotic yet universal story about the human spirit and its evolution, from Innocence to Love, Evil to Enlightenment, and ultimately to Rebirth that Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News calls " a beautifully composed canvas, the sort of film one falls into, resurfacing at the end with great reluctance."

The Way Home
Korea , 2002
Run Time: 88 min
Directed by Yeong-Hyang Lee

Take a delightful journey with this "magnificently expressive," award-winning Korean movie that has captured the hearts of audiences throughout the world. The Way Home is the story of Sang-woo, a seven-year-old boy from the city, and his elderly grandmother, a deaf-mute who has spent her entire life in a small rural village. When Sang-woo's mother is forced to send him to live with his grandmother, Sang-woo is shocked at what he finds-a place without electricity, indoor plumbing or access to fast-food restaurants. Angry and confused, Sang-woo rejects his grandmother's attempts to please him. But, as time passes, the old woman's kindness begins to touch the young boy's heart-awakening curiosity, understanding, and finally, love. With irresistible performances, charm and humor, The Way Home is "one of the very best movies of the year!" - Boston Globe


NOTE: Films that have an asterisk (*) by the title have some particularly violent content that may disturb some viewers. Films that have two asterisks (**) have some erotic content that may offend some viewers.
Film listings are alphabetized by the title name, but if a title begins with “the”, the alphabetizing is based on the second word of the title. Japanese directors’ names are given in western style, with the first name followed by the surname. Chinese directors’ names are given in Asian fashion, with the last name given first.