With the film industry being one of the biggest incomes generating activity in the 21st century Korea has not been left behind, and the country has been producing some great films with a global appeal. The Korean wave has taken the entertainment industry by storm and is being touted as the next big thing after Hollywood. South Korea has become of the countries where local productions have dominated the local market even surpassing the American movies. The movies which are produced in the country are not only famous in their homeland but have also become a global phenomenon and have won several international awards such as the Cannes or Venice awards. The Korean film industry occupies a significant place in the international entertainment sector, and every country is trying is trying to get involved or are borrowing the various themes and techniques applied in the film as much as the interpretation might be in different ways and that is why this paper analyses the Korean film industry by doing an analysis of two films that relate and how they have been produced and received global attention.
My Sassy Girl is one of the few Korean films which have been an international sensation. Produced in 2001 by Kwak Jae-yong, the film is a romantic comedy which has been wildly successful in Korea selling over 4 million tickets in its first ten weeks of the debut. It became the second highest-grossing film of all time after also being successful. The movie was written by Kim Ho-Sik and produced by Shin Chul. The movie is a love story between the two main characters, the sassy girl and Gyeun-woo with their story being very unconventional but also to an extent sensible. There are a good mixing and meshing of the two characters that the audience can believe that it was the fate for them to meet or the least be on the screen together. The partnership that exists between the two main characters is amazing, and there is a great chemistry which makes the movie an enjoyable one to watch. The two characters blend and complement each other in all aspects of the film both comically and sentimentally. This is one of the reasons that make the movie be incredibly amazing as the characters can get the notion of the film at any precise moment.
The character of the sassy girl is much obsessed with fate and traveling to an extent that she is convinced of meeting someone in the future. The film shows the screenplays of the sassy girl back in time trying to save her lover. She slowly starts to learn of her heartache and starts to wish that she could turn back in time, but since she was unable to, she believes that fate will make her happy in the future. The director of the film gives several references to fate and time travel within the film. Fate is noticeable as Sassy wears the same color of cloths to some other characters in the film and also what happens to the tree in their meeting. The film is split into several sections with each having a full screen with a brightly colored Hangul lettering placed on a dark background. The First section of the film is the lightest hearted and takes the audience through the first meeting of the two characters and the early stages of their relationship including all the embarrassment and humiliation that the characters have to deal with. The film becomes more dramatic and romantic in the second half when the vulnerable side of the girl begins to show. In the overtime section, there is a conclusion of the story and a wrap of the audience emotions involving laughter and tears in equal measure.
My Sassy Girl has become translational as it has been adapted in other countries including Japan and America. In Japan, it was aired in 2008, in eleven episodes as Ryokiteki and Kanojo and it revolved around two characters who were college students. The overall plot of the two films is similar, but the Japanese version has more characters and is more complex due to its longevity. The longevity of this version is done by the introduction of new characters and sub-plots within the film. In America, on the other hand, the film was directly released to video in August of 2008, but many contexts of the original film could not be well adapted to the culture in America making the film to lack a theatrical release. In this version, the film also revolves around two main characters with different pasts. In a nutshell, My Sassy Girl film can be considered as a successful international film which has been adapted by various countries such as China, India, and Japan and produced in various versions and therefore clearly depicting the effect of the Korean film on the international film industry.
Oldboy is another Korean film that has received a lot of credit which it apparently deserves. The film produced in 2003 was directed by Park Chan-Wook and revolves around a revenge story. As a result, the film has to negotiate the genres long history which it successfully achieves. The film has a sense a postmodern attitude and has a revenge trilogy with ideologies such as democracy and socialism which are either faltering or already not functioning. The movie can be seen as not an impression of reality but just a matter of space and time which is not any way related to the reality. Several critics have argued that the film does not have a sense of social criticism and has an unknowable notion.
In his revenge trilogy, Park Chan Wook works have become successful in the local Korean market as well as the international film festivals. Most of these films have a careful restriction of vengeance which does not get into the public limelight. There is no social criticism of the state institutions nor is the revenge aimed at the institutions but rather aimed at other individuals. The film shows the role of the police as purely per functionary with the erasure of the authority being vital on several occasions. It shows that the heroes and the villains of the film are acting outside the domain of the law and that they do not refer to the judicial system while committing their merciless acts of killing, abducting and threatening other individuals.
In Oldboy, the main character, Dae-su is transformed after being locked for fifteen years and one significant change is depicted by his voice. He speaks in both voice-overs and terse monotone after being released, and this makes his voice be heard as detaching from being social and personal but rather transcendental. Dae-su becomes inhumane through the transformation in his voice and even before his loss in the battle against his protagonist he can easily be perceived as quasi-mute. Through the change in voice, the audience can be engaged in tension between the human and non-human versions of the character.
In Conclusion, the two South Korean films which have made a mark in the international entertainment scene have several similarities mostly regarding themes and production but have different interpretations. These two films have become a global phenomenon and have been adapted by several countries such as Japan, China, and America. All in all, the Korean wave has just begun and is not stopping any soon.