The eagerly-anticipated Directory of World Cinema: South Korea was recently published by Intellect Books and is most definitely a must-have for anyone interested in this dynamic sector of national film production. This entry in the pioneering Directory of World Cinema series is edited by Colette Balmain, the author of Introduction to Japanese Horror Film (EUP, 2008), which is one of the key academic texts on its subject and will soon go into a second edition. Here, she turns her attention to the various genres and movements that constitute the cinema of South Korea, with a wide-ranging overview that encompasses Golden Age Melodrama, the Korean New Wave, New Koran Cinema, Period Drama, Romantic Comedy, Queer Cinema, Musicals, Science Fiction, and K-Horror. Auteur directors covered in-depth include Bong Joon-ho, Hang Sang-soo, Im Kwon-taek, and the indefatigable Kim Ki-duk, whose fiercely revealing self-portrait Arirang (2011) receives the ‘Film of the Year’ treatment. The increasingly hot London Korean Film Festival is profiled at length, while the volume is rounded-out with an extensive recommended list that will prove useful to any researcher in the field.
The contributors to the Directory of World Cinema: South Korea constitute a veritable who’s who of Asian film coverage with entries from such commentators as Jason Bechervaise (Screen International) Martin Cleary (New Korean Cinema), Pierce Conran (Modern Korean Cinema), Tom Giammarco (Koreanfilm.org), Gary Needham (Asian Cinemas: A Reader and Guide, EUP, 2006), Paul Quinn (Hangul Celluloid), Rufus de Rham (What’s Korean Cinema?), plus VCinema bloggers John Berra and Adam Hartzell.
This is a splendid volume which should appeal to devotees of South Korean cinema and relative newcomers alike as it includes insightful reviews of established classics, festival favourites, and some fascinating obscurities that here receive long-overdue scholarly attention.
Directory of World Cinema: South Korea is now available for order from Amazon UK with US publication scheduled for February 2014.