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Korean Film Magazine Cine 21 Publishes Top 10 for 2019

Jan 03, 2020
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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Korean Film Critics Favor Indie Films in Year-end Roundup

Influential Korean film magazine Cine 21 has revealed its top 10 films for 2019. While the Korean film exhibition sector reached a new box office high, the magazine’s critics largely favored indie films in their end-of-year round-up, with only three commercial titles entering the list, one of which was a mid-level production. Three of the films were by women directors.

Coming in at first place was BONG Joon-ho’s massively successful PARASITE, which earned the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival – a first for a Korean film – before opening domestically and selling over ten million tickets. The film has proven to be a box office hit around the world and is currently campaigning in several North American awards races, where it is considered a frontrunner.

A New Currents competitor at the Busan International Film Festival last year, House of Hummingbird, the debut film by director KIM Bora, is the second ranked film on the list. An indie drama about a young girl coming into her own in Seoul in the 1990s, the film has been an indie hit in Korea and a major awards winner on the global festival circuit, picking up prizes at the Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals, among many others. 

Hong Sangsoo claimed third place with his 22rd film Hotel by the River. The black and white film, featuring KI Joo-bong playing an ailing poet who tries to reconnect with his sons at a countryside hotel, where a character played by KIM Min-hee is also staying, debuted at the Locarno International Film Festival last year, where KI picked up the Silver Leopard for Best Actor.

The documentary Kim-gun (2018) by director KANG Sang-woo is in fourth place. Another Busan selection from last year, the film chronicles the search for the man in a photo dating back to the Gwangju massacre of 1980.

Actor KIM Yun-seok’s directorial debut Another Child occupies fifth place. An affair drama with a unique family perspective, the film has been praised for its ensemble cast, which comprises YUM Jung-ah, KIM So-jin, KIM Hye-jun and PARK Se-jin, as well as KIM Yun-seok.

Sixth and seventh place are once again occupied by films introduced by last year’s Busan Film Festival, HAN Ka-ram’s Our Body and YI Ok-seop’s Maggie. LIM Dae-hyung’s Moonlit Winter, the closing film of this year’s Busan Film Festival, comes in at eighth, the comedy disaster drama EXIT is in ninth and tenth place is occupied by LEE Kang-hyun’s Possible Faces, which bowed in Busan’s 2017 lineup.
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