Wed. Apr 24th, 2024


Korean cinema continues to captivate audiences worldwide with its diverse storytelling and compelling narratives. From thought-provoking dramas to heart-pounding action, here’s a list of five of the best Korean films of 2023 so far, each a gem in its own right. From the Cannes entry “Cobweb” to the critically acclaimed “Past Lives,” and the emotionally charged “Road to Boston,” to the action-packed “Kill Boksoon” and futuristic flick “Jung_E,” these films are a testament to the enduring quality and creativity of Korean cinema.
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Every year, the Cannes Film Festival welcomes a handful of films “out of competition”, in 2023, ‘Cobweb’ by Kim Jee-woon seized this opportunity, and took viewers on a surreal journey into the world of filmmaking.
Set in the 1970s, the film takes us on a journey where the boundaries of reality and fiction blur. The film follows a movie director (played by Song Kang-ho), who becomes consumed by the idea of reshooting the ending of his last film, believing it can be improved. This meta-fictional comedy-drama invites viewers to ponder questions about art, acclaim, and the relentless pursuit of originality in the world of cinema.
The film had its world premiere at Cannes, where it received a 10-minute standing ovation.

Cobweb (2023) – Official Trailer

Past Lives
Director: Celine Song
Past Lives, the feature-film debut of Korean-Canadian playwright Celine Song, garnered great reviews since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival. The story follows two long-lost childhood friends, Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo), who reunite years after they were torn apart following Nora’s family’s decision to emigrate from South Korea. As the married Nora and visiting Hae Sung wander the streets of New York City, they ponder what might have been had they chosen each other.
With a poignant exploration of love and lost opportunities, ‘Past Lives’ beautifully captures the complexities of human emotions. Song’s directorial debut shines a spotlight on the delicate balance between destiny and choice, leaving audiences deeply moved by its heartfelt narrative.

Past Lives | Official Trailer HD | A24

Kill Boksoon
Director: Byun Sung-hyun
‘Kill Boksoon’, the high-stakes thriller, stars Jeon Do-yeon as a single mother who also happens to be an ace contract killer. The film also stars Sol Kyung-gu, who plays her ‘trainer’. As she finds herself in a kill-or-be-killed situation, the film takes audiences on a rollercoaster ride of suspense and intrigue. Going by the fan and critics reactions, the film offers a gripping cinematic experience that delivers thrills and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats.
Joining the cast are Koo Kyo-hwan, Esom, and the legendary Hwang Jung-min in an important, extended cameo appearance. With the reunion of Hwang Jung-min and Jeon Do-yeon after 18 years, fans have eagerly anticipated their on-screen chemistry. The film had an OTT release and is available for streaming on Netflix.

Kill Boksoon | Official Trailer 2 | Netflix

Road to Boston
Director: Lee Jae-hoon
‘Road to Boston’ takes us back to 1947, a pivotal year for Korean athletes participating in the Boston International Marathon—the first global marathon held since World War II. Liberated from Japanese colonial rule, Korean runners have the opportunity to earn international recognition under their own flag. The film follows the journey of Suh Yun-bok (Im Si-wan), coached by Head Coach Son Kee-jung (Ha Jung-woo), who is determined to see Suh succeed while wearing the Korean flag.
With powerful performances and an inspiring narrative, Road to Boston showcases the resilience and determination of individuals striving for greatness in the face of adversity. Park Eun-bin’s extraordinary portrayal adds depth to this emotional sports biopic, making it a must-watch.

Road to Boston | Official Main Trailer | INTL

Director: Yeon Sang-ho
The film ‘Jung_E’ delves into a dystopian future where humanity’s fate rests on the shoulders of an AI creation. Set in the 22nd century, the film centres around a world rendered uninhabitable by the relentless march of climate change. This, in turn, drives humanity to seek sanctuary within carefully engineered shelters. Amid the turmoil and civil upheaval that ensues, a pivotal figure from the allied forces, Jung Yi (portrayed by Kim Hyun-joo), is transformed into a formidable AI robot, entrusted with the solemn duty of leading the battle for survival.
As the narrative unfolds, it artfully raises questions on the intricate interplay between technology and the essence of humanity itself. Director Yeon Sang-ho masterfully crafts a visually captivating and intellectually provocative cinematic journey, further elevated by the exceptional performances of a talented ensemble, including Kang Soo-youn and Ryu Kyung-soo.

JUNG_E | Official Trailer | Netflix


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