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Korean cinema – A brief Arrow Guide

13th February 2020
By Louise Buckler


With Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean Parasite making Oscar history by winning Best Picture (along with many other gongs!) interest in Korean film has exploded with many movie fans keen to sample more cinematic delights from Korea. To celebrate, we're exploring 10 wacky, wonderful and wild films from Korea available on the Arrow Store (and beyond!)


Bleak Night

Director: Yoon Sung-Hyun

After the suicide of troubled high school student Ki-tae, his father starts to investigate his son’s school life to find the whys and hows which led his son to take his own life. We learn about his son and his two best friends and the cracks which formed in their friendship which led to them reaching a point of no return. A compelling coming of age tale and gritty feature debut from Yoon Sung-Hyun.

Own it on DVD in the UK 


How to Use Guys with Secret Tips 

Director: Lee Won-Suk

The directorial debut of Lee Won Suk, How to Use Guys with Secret Tips is a hilarious anti-romantic comedy starring Lee Si Young (Meet the In Laws) as a young woman who acquires a set of self-help tapes that teaches her to use the misogynistic attitudes of the men she works with to her own advantage. Oh Jung Se (Quick) goes all-out, co-starring as an arrogant soap opera star who unwittingly becomes the heroine’s victim. A charming and quirky ride filled slapstick comedy and offbeat humour that will certainly bring a smile to your face.

Out now on DVD in the UK


Lady Vengeance 

Director: Park Chan-wook

Lee Geum-ja (Lee Young-ae), a model prisoner is serving a 13-year sentence for a murder she did not commit. Whilst behind bars, she plots a dastardly plan of revenge to against the real murderer… With a vivid style and a brilliant displays of brutality, Lady Vengeance is a fitting end to Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance trilogy – and proves that revenge is still sweet.  

Featured in The Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray boxset, available now in the UK



Director: Lee Chang-dong

Mija lives in a small city by the Han River with her teenage grandson. When she discovers her grandson's part in the gang-rape and suicide of a Catholic school girl, Mija takes up poetry classes to explore her inner world while her outer world is collapsing on her. A Cannes Film Festival winner and favourite, Lee Chang-dong's Poetry is raw and unsentimental and features a masterclass performance by Jeong-Hie Yun as Mija at its centre.

Own it on Bu-ray and Digital HD in the UK 



Director: Park Chan-wook

Often cited as one of the best films of the 2000s and possibly the definitive example of extreme Asian cinema, Oldboy is a brutal, lyrical modern classic of the revenge genre. Based on the Japanese manga of the same name, the film tells the horrific tale of Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik), a businessman who is inexplicably kidnapped and imprisoned in a grim hotel room-like cell for 15 years, without knowing his captor or the reason for his incarceration. Eventually released, he learns of his wife’s murder and embarks on a quest for revenge whilst also striking up a romance with a young, attractive sushi chef, Mi-do (Kang Hye-jung). He eventually finds his tormentor, but their final encounter will yield yet more unimaginable horrors...

Available in the UK on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital 4K HDR. Also featured in The Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray boxset


Sympathy for Mr Vengeance

Director: Park Chan-wook

The harrowing tale of a young deaf-mute man, Ryu, who kidnaps a wealthy businessman’s daughter in an attempt to extort money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant. However, when the plan goes awry, the child’s father sets out on a violent path of revenge. A blood-splatted tale personal tragedy and desperate decisions that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  

Featured in The Vengeance Trilogy Blu-ray boxset


Tale of Cinema

Director: Hong Sangsoo

Tale of Cinema uses the trope of a film within a film to tell two stories, that of a depressive young man (Lee Kiwoo) who forms a suicide pact with a friend (Uhm Jiwon); and the tale of a filmmaker (Kim Sangkyung) who sees see a film that he believes was based on his life, and who meets the actress from the film with view to turning their onscreen relationship into reality. A fascinating study of human relationships, Tale of Cinema develops the themes prevalent in Hong Sangsoo’s earlier works – including his trademark use of the zoom lens.

Featured in Women is the Future of Man and Tale of Cinema: Two Films by Hong Sangsoo. Own it in the UK, US and Canada


The Taste of Money

Director: Im Sang-soo

Wealthy businessman Yoon (Yun-shik Baek) lives in the South Korean capital Seoul with his wife Geum-ok (Yeo-Jung Yoon) and their two grown-up children Nami (Hyo-jin Kim) and Chul (Ju-wan On). Having married Geum-ok for her money and powerful status due to her father's success, Yoon is ruled by his domineering wife despite being president of the family company. When Geum-ok discovers Yoon is having an affair with the maid, she seeks her own revenge… An erotic drama following the antics of a prominent South Korean family and the corruption and dishonour they bring upon themselves.

On DVD and Digital HD in the UK


The Villainess

Director: Jung Byung-Gil

Sook-hee (Kim Ok-bin, Thirst) is a trained assassin who takes revenge on the men who murdered her father in a breathtaking opening sequence. After losing consciousness she awakes at the National Intelligence Service who recruit her as an agent to undertake confidential missions. Initially refusing, Sook-hee soon realises it is her only method of escape, until she is assigned a new assignment that changes everything... Exploding onto the screen in a kinetic flurry of hyper-stylised action, The Villainess is a stunning vengeance film that draws its inspiration from western classics including Nikita and Kill Bill...

Available in the UK on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD 


Zombie For Sale

Director: Lee Min-Jae

Get ready for a dead funny zombie apocalypse! Korea’s biggest pharmaceutical company conducts illegal experiments on humans. One test goes wrong and creates a sexy zombie who escapes and winds up with the crazy Park family, owners of a country gas station. But when the head of the household is bitten, it restores his youth, so they monetise Zzong- bie’s powers to help their struggling business. Events take a grisly turn of course, and all Living Dead lore explodes in a hilarious riff on the genre, borrowing from the best and adding its own startling twists to the beloved formula.

Catch it on the big screen at Glasgow FrightFest and watch out for a release later this year