Talks & Interviews — December 27, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Expert: Korean cinema going through second golden age (exclusive)

korean-film-councilThe recent data from the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) suggests that admissions for local films reached 115,473,995 by 1 Dec 2013, a new record for South Korean cinema.

Last year, local admissions crossed 100 million for the first time, with a total of 114,613,190 by year-end.

In 2013, that number has been bested one month early with several high profile films still awaiting release in December.

Expert on Asian cinema James Mudge believes Korean films have been consistently strong for some time already, so it’s not surprising that local product continues to do so well at the domestic box office.

“Partly, this has been due to protectionism, Korean cinema is definitely going through a second golden age and has been churning out some really great and well made films,” Mudge told BZFilm.

“The role of the Korean Film Council has played a large role in this, supporting domestic film production and the development of directors as well as the releases of films,” he added.

Mudge went on to add that Korean films have generally found it easier to break into the U.S. film market, compared to those from China, due to the fact that Korean industry has in its recent period been more open internationally.

“Korean films are frequent award winners at various international festivals, and have been the subject of many remakes, with quite a few of the country’s directors enjoying success overseas as well,” Mudge said.

“Korean cinema has been comfortable with the blockbuster form for a while now, and though the question of Hollywood influence is obviously worth considering, a lot of the country’s commercial popcorn films tend to be more accessible than those from China,” he said.

Mudge dismissed the thought that a high number of film admissions means to have movies of lesser quality being released.

“A pretty high proportion of recent Korean blockbusters have been of undeniably high quality,” he said.

“Of course, as with any country Korea is responsible for a fair number of quick cash-grab films and generic fluff, particularly when it comes to romantic comedies, though in general there does seem to be a higher proportion of popular films which are genuinely pretty good.”

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