Two Gaijin Thumbs Way Up – South Korean Edition

The second part of my picks for the east-asian film genre are much less shocking than their Japanese counterparts, yet they are wonderfully strange and must-sees for anyone who’s looking for some variety in his/her weekend viewing.

1. ‘Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… And Spring’: One of the simplest but most beautiful movies I’ve ever seen. I would compare it with ‘The Seventh Seal’ for its straight-forwardness but the amount of monologues, dialogues and conversation in ‘Spring, summer…’ is much, much lesser. There are no flashy gimmicks, no technical wizardry. If there was a movie that could be called the perfect Buddhist film, then this would be it. Much of the story takes place on a lake. The lake with the surrounding scenery becomes a metaphor for life. If you don’t want any surprises in a film, but a linear, no-frills story that speaks to you in powerful, simple ways, then this is the one for you.
My Rating: armchairs out of 5

2. ‘3-Iron’: Another movie by the director of ‘Spring, Summer…’, Kim Ki-Duk. Kim takes on the weird this time, and plays with ideas that are bizarre but pleasing at the same time. A hero who never speaks with the heroine, more buddhist imagery, and death by golf-balls – these are the elements that make this a delight to watch.
My Rating: out of 5

3. ‘Oldboy’: I saved the best for last. It’s the movie Tarantino would’ve made, if Tarantino had been a philosophy professor. The director of Oldboy, Chan Wook Park, used to be one and it shows through in his creation. It’s as exciting as a whodunit, but the story revolves around the whydunit. When the revelation comes, you realize that no one has gone this far before. Even if the setup seems too fantastic, the payoff in terms of action and style is well worth it.
My Rating: out of 5