The Korean Film Archive, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation of Korean film has been busy sharing select entries from its archive over the past year. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Korean, English subtitles have been provided courtesy of Google.
The Korean film archives are vast and there are now nearly 70 titles available for immediate streaming, with older 30s and 40s films as well as newer 90s releases. The uploads are not necessarily highly celebrated populist pictures like Oldboy or The Host, but they’re culturally relevant enough to tick the boxes if you’re into Asian and world cinema.
They’re also completely free to enjoy on your PC or YouTube-enabled TV or media centre.
A 1991 drama that’s currently topping the Korean Film Archive’s “Top 10” list and has seen over 70,000 views, The Road To Race Track tells the story of a relationship breakdown, the harsh reality of old age and deceit. A dialogue-heavy tale of a two lovers and conflicting priorities, this is one for those of you who enjoy a good story-driven tale that’s not reliant on special effects to move its audience.
A woman who volunteers to work at a farm in the hope of marrying well becomes entangled in a love triangle which turns sour. Another drama, though this time with lashings of murder and betrayal for good measure. Woman of Fire is a 1971 film brimming with insights into Korean life and society, recommended for fans of a good tragedy.
When Kim Dong-sik feels threatened by his wife’s thriving business he starts to feel incompetent and resorts to an affair as a means of escape. Before long he finds himself supporting two women, with two lives. When the two women make an unspoken pact to share their man, Dong-sik starts to wish he was tied to neither woman in this 1984 romantic flick.
Aimless Bullet is not a happy film, and instead documents a very unstable time in a man’s life which seems to go from bad to worse. After a rough upbringing with an unhinged mother, sister who is a prostitute and malnourished pregnant wife, Cheol-ho simply doesn’t earn enough money to live comfortably. The story continues along a suitably bleak path, so be prepared for some heartache before settling down to this one.
A 1990 action adventure about Kim Doo-han, a beggar who lost his mother at an early age and has made his living singing on the street. Of course, he’s also in possession of some formidable fighting skills and soon learns he is the son of an esteemed General who helped fight off occupying Japanese forces. The story then turns its attention to the Yakuza gangs looking to expand their influence in Doo-han’s area – it’s then up to him to protect and win over the support of the locals.
A comedian convinces a barber to sell his shop and follow him into a life of making movies and showbiz. Along their way the two encounter a beauitful woman on the run from gangsters, and decide to start making their mark on the world of cinema. When a soldier who has deserted the army hands over his gun, bank robbery and criminal records await – but is everything quite as it seems?
You can keep an eye on the KFA (not to be confused with this KFA) at the official website or by following “KoreanFilm” on YouTube. As ever, if we spot more quality world cinema on the big bad interwebs then you’ll find it in a future Stuff to Watch. Feel free to submit your own videos or links in the comments.
Do you like world cinema? Any favourite movies? Let us know in the comments below.