Since the late 1990s, Korean film industry has made startling progress, and is now Korean movies enjoying unprecedented popularity. While Hollywood movies dominate over 80% of the world movie market, Korea is one of few countries which is capable of both movie production and distribution.
Up to the mid-1990s, the Korean movies industry had barely maintained a minimum share of audiences under the screen-quota system, which required Korean movies theater to show domestic films for a minimum number of days each year. However, beginning with Swiri in the late 1990s, successive blockbusters like Slimido and Taegukgi have made striking hits. Memories of Murder and Old Boy, which are well-made pieces, full of innovative ideas and well-knit themes, grabbed large audiences.
Korean movies have a strong impact not only in this nation but in Asian countries like Japan and China, and even in Europe. The Korean Wave, known as Hallyu has spread to many countries including China, Japan, Taiwan, Hongkong, Vietnam and East Asian countries where Hallyu movie stars such as Bae Yong Jun, Jang Dong Gun, Lee Yeong Ae enjoy explosive popularity.
On the other hand, the scenarios of the successful Korean movies My Sassy Girl and Marryong the Mafia are being re-made by Hollywood studios. Film directors including Im Kwon Taek, Kim Ki Duk, Hong Sang Su and Old Boy’s Park Chan Wook have gained fame and made Korean cinematic history by winning awards at major international film festival.
Credit: Seoul National University