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Darcy Paquet's Review of Korean Cinema: The New Hong Kong

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Review by Darcy Paquet, KoreanFilm.org

David Bordwell made some interesting comments once on the Mobius' Asian Cinema Discussion board about three major categories of film books: academic books (the ones with footnotes), industry books, and fan books. Anthony's book is the first book on Korean cinema to be aimed at fans of Korean cinema, rather than academics (there are no industry books about Korean cinema yet).

It's designed for people who are in the process of discovering Korean film, and it's especially useful for people who are building DVD collections. Anthony approaches the industry as a fan of Hong Kong cinema who has gravitated towards Korean films in recent years. Most of the book is made up of 2-3 page reviews, with the following sections:

  • Ten Korean Films Everyone Should See
  • Gangsters, Guns & Girls: Action Films
  • Hard Gore Thrillers: Horror Films
  • True Love and Time Travel: Romance Films
  • Tears and Turmoil: Dramas
  • Fish Out of Water: Comedies

Many of the films reviewed are not reviewed on this site, but are available on DVD with subtitles. There's also a chapter with some information on films that don't have English subtitles.

At the beginning of the book are three essays of 5-6 pages each on these topics:

  • A Brief History of South Korea and its Film Industry
  • Korean Moviemaking Today (on how the industry has expanded)
  • Korea's Latest New Wave (what makes Korean films special)

There are also sections on rising stars of Korean cinema (actors and directors), some information about where to find Korean films, and thoughts about the future of Korean cinema in relation to Hong Kong. 266 pages in total, so there's a lot of information.

Anthony also mentioned that he plans to revise and expand the book as time passes, but at the moment it's pretty up to date.

I'm planning to write a proper review at some point, but I'd recommend it.

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