(Welcome to Pop Culture Imports, a column that compiles the best, wackiest, and weirdest foreign-language movies and TV shows streaming right now.)
We’re midway through October, so you’re probably expecting some foreign horror flicks in this week’s Pop Culture Imports. And you’ll get them in time, but for now, let me indulge you in some French dramas. They’re more interesting than they sound! Two of the said dramas are from electric French filmmaker Jacques Audiard, the director behind the searing prison drama Un prophète, while another features a stunning tour-de-force from Charlotte Rampling. But if you want to avoid all that French ennui, there’s also Park Chan-wook’s vicious Vengeance Trilogy and an Indian millennial comedy series.
Let’s fire up the subtitles and get streaming.
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Park Chan-wook assembles a splendid cast to tackle the work of John le Carré in The Little Drummer Girl. This marks Park’s first foray into television, and based on the footage below, the results won’t disappoint. Florence Pugh, Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon star in the 1970s-set spy thriller. Watch The Little Drummer Girl trailer blow.
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Posted on Sunday, September 25th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
Park Chan-wook has spent much of his career being compared to the great Alfred Hitchock and The Handmaiden isn’t going to stop that. But there’s something to be said for a modern filmmaker being constantly placed side-by-side with one of the greatest directors of all time and there’s something more to be said when that director was known for his range and his willingness to take risks. Yes, Park’s films are Hitchockian in that they’re technically precise thrillers, but they’re also Hitchcockian because they muddle elements of horror and black comedy into the mix. And with The Handmaiden, Park proves that he can also match Mr. Hitchock in another category – he too is gloriously perverted.
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Posted on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016 by Angie Han
Following a brief foray into English-language filmmaking with Stoker, South Korean director Park Chan-wook returns to his home turf this fall with The Handmaiden. Well, kind of — his new thriller is actually an adaptation of the Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, with the action moved from Victorian-era Britain to Japanese-occupied Korea. Kim Tae-ri plays a young woman who’s hired by a con man (Ha Jung-woo) to help him defraud a Japanese heiress (Kim Min-hee). But the plan goes sideways when the two women begin to fall in love with one another.
The Handmaiden is just coming off of a warm debut at Cannes, and the first trailer suggests Park hasn’t lost any of his lavish style or pulse-pounding intensity. Watch The Handmaiden trailer after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 by Angie Han
After a foray into English-language filmmaking with Stoker, South Korean director Park Chan-wook is taking inspiration from an English-language source for his next Korean-language film. He’s currently at work on Fingersmith, based on a 2002 lesbian crime novel by Sarah Waters. Get all the details on the Park Chan-wook Fingersmith movie after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 by David Chen
Spike Lee’s Oldboy is a curiosity to be sure, a remake of a bizarre, twisted, gruesome Korean thriller. Most people thought Lee’s film was pretty terrible, and while I don’t have too many positive things to say about it, I did find it fascinating to compare the decisions that Lee made with those that Park Chan-wook made in his 2003 cult classic version of the story.
After the jump, you’ll find five reasons why I thought Lee’s version is inferior to Park Chan-Wook’s version. And please share your own opinions on the two films in the comments. Assume SPOILERS lie within the comments and the video. For more on the making of Oldboy, see Germain’s interview with Spike Lee and writer Mark Protosevich.
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Hany Abu-Assad, whose 2006 film Paradise Now was nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar, and who just won the Jury Prize at Cannes this year for his new effort, Omar, will be the latest to attempt a remake of Park Chan-Wook‘s first “vengeance” film, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.
The remake rights have been in the hands of a few companies over the past decade. Earlier this year a partnership between Silver Reel, Lotus Entertainment, di Bonaventura Pictures and CJ Entertainment set a new effort in motion, and it seems like the Brian Tucker (Broken City) script, commissioned by Warner Bros. in 2010, may still be in play. With a director on board, the next steps include casting, and actually getting the money together to make it happen. Read More »
Posted on Monday, July 22nd, 2013 by Angie Han
After much anticipation, neither Kim Ji-woon’s The Last Stand nor Park Chan-wook’s Stoker set Western audiences on fire when they opened earlier this year. But the third English-language debut by a South Korean director this year, Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, seems poised to blow the other two out of the water.
Following very early screenings for the highly anticipated sci-fi film, the very first reviews have begun trickling out. And the critics seem to agree on a few points: 1) that Snowpiercer is very, very dark, 2) that it’s so dark it could turn off movie ticket buyers, and 3) that it’s freakin’ fantastic. Hit the jump to read their comments.
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We’ve seen Tilda Swinton play many different roles, with an eclectic variety of looks over the years. But we’ve never seen her in a getup quite like what she sports for Bong Joon-ho‘s new film Snowpiercer. If you can imagine a halfway point between an aged Princess Leia and a stern schoolmistress, you’re close to nailing her look.
Nine character posters for the film have arrived today, and they show Swinton and eight of her co-stars (Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Ko Ah-sung, Song Kang-ho, Octavia Spencer and Ewen Bremner) in their fairly grimy garb.
Why the downtrodden appearance for all? Well, Snowpiercer takes place on a train that carries some of the last remnants of humanity as it speeds across an icy landscape. The film, directed by the man who made Mother and The Host, produced by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Stoker) and based on French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, could be the big genre film at Cannes this year.
Until we get a chance to see some footage, check out the character sheets below. Cross-reference them with these character bios for more info. Read More »
Park Chan-wook‘s first English-language film, Stoker, opens this week in limited release, before going out to more theaters in the weeks to follow. One of the better aspects of the movie is the score from Clint Mansell (Moon, Requiem For a Dream). The entire score is now available to stream in full, and you can check it out below. Note that the score opens with sampled dialogue that explains one of the film’s stranger traits — and one of its more awkward ones, I thought at Sundance. Read More »