Female-led Korean films are headline the K-culture like never before. Just like Korean dramas have taken over the audience across the nation, especially post-pandemic, establishing a noticeable rise in viewership.
The increasing number of recommendations of Korean series on Netflix and spiked up reels related to k-pop or k-drama are a prove that we are hooked on the Korean culture.
However, the time when these shows picked up more interest among Indian viewers could be traced way back. Over the pandemic, when we had more time to binge countless shows, the k-dramas gained new avid fans. Besides the OTT platforms, Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s win at the Oscars for the breakthrough film, Parasite, opened gates of new possibilities for Korean content. The Korean cinema, which is a treasure of many such masterpieces, also holds innumerable women-centric films piercing through the action-noir and male-dominated thriller films.
Unlike the k-dramas, where majority of female characters are portrayed as damsel-in-distress (which is gradually changing), some Korean films are defying stereotypes through the atypical representation of women in cinema.
Here’s a list of must-watch Korean films with captivating female characters:
The South-Korean film that was released over a decade ago, follows a simple yet engaging storyline encompassing Yang Mi-Ja’s struggle with Alzheimer. The elderly woman develops an interest in poetry while she is slowly losing her memory. Another story runs parallelly as a school dies by suicide after being continously raped by a group of boys.
While Mi-ja takes her month-long course which ends with her submitting a poem, the family of the accused prepares for a settlement. As the film proceeds, the lead and the young girl’s story moves forward to coincide in an unexpected manner.
House of Hummingbird
House of Hummingbird is a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of South Korea in 1994. In Kim Bora’s semi-autobiographical film 14-year-old Eunhee desperately seeks the meaning of true love. The immensely touching drama which explored the contrasting the joy of adolescence as well as it’s miseries earned a whopping 59 awards. The Seoul city, which acts as a character in the film, is transforming as well and moving towards rapid-modernisation.
This gripping thriller is helmed by the prolific filmmaker Bong Joon-ho, who gave us the masterpiece Parasite, which itself makes the feature film interesting enough to watch. In the film, a widow takes on a mission to prove the innocence her disabled son, who is charged for the murder of a young girl.
The mother believes her son has been framed and is determined to find the true killer. Much like Joon-ho’s other thriller cinema, Mother, which was the sixth highest grossing film in South Korea, makes every moment in the film unmissable.
The comedy-drama is carried on by two storylines- the past and present- moving simultaneously. A middle-aged woman, Na-mi, who bumps into her best-friend in a hospital, decides to make her friend’s wish to reunite their high-school group come true.
The group members’ lives have changed over time and witnessing it now brings back Na-mi’s school memories, when they were young girls full of dreams, aspirations and fearlessness. The feel-good film, which shows how friends give us strength to overcome hardships, ends with a life-changing reunion of ‘Sunny’.
The sports drama film titled As One, based on true events, recounts the story of the first ever post-war Unified Korea women sports team, which won the gold medal at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships in Japan.
The world championship brings two opponents as a team with a unified goal, defeating a dominating Chinese team. A 46-days training turns the rivals into friends who now must prove that unity and teamwork outshines all the obstacles.
Featured Image: AsianWiki/High On Films